Goodness, talk about a déjà-vu experience! This morning when I boarded the plane from Basel to Amsterdam I was greeted at the door like a long lost friend. Turns out the layover of last night’s crew was exactly as long as mine! Later on when I arrived in Amsterdam, we touched down on runway 18C, as we did when I arrived from Lisbon fifteen hours previously.
So here I am. This evening I’m off to Warsaw to give a course with my colleague, the valiant M. In fact, we’ve been more or less each other’s shadows ever since I arrived in Montreal two week ago.
If it’s all the same to you, I think I’ll spare you the details of how I got to the airport and what the Crown Lounge looks like. Instead, let’s begin this narrative just as I board the aircraft.
From: Amsterdam Schiphol
To: Warsaw Okecie
Date: 06 April 2014
Airline: KLM Royal Dutch Airline
Aircraft: Boeing B 737-700
Cabin: Business Class
Seat: 1F, window
I arrive at the gate just as they finish calling out our names. It’s the last call. Strangely, that happens to me quite a bit when I’m travelling with M. and somehow always in Amsterdam. I’m not really quite sure what the hurry is. As we reach the end of the airbridge, there are still people queuing outside. I enter the cabin, only to find that Business Class is completely empty. At least I won’t have to worry about finding place for my luggage.
There are two rows of Business Class, with a total of twelve seats for me to choose from. Twelve seats. All mine. Mine alone. I can even take the ‘Reserved for your comfort’ seat if I like! Originally I’m seated on 1A. But there’s a window missing on the left side, so instead I take 1F on the opposite side of the plane.
The crew on this flight are excellent. Of course it helps that up front we have a ratio of one flight attendant for one passenger. The purser is a friendly, chatty chap and we have a nice little natter throughout the flight, whenever he comes to check on my.
Service beings on the ground with the distribution of the newspapers and a welcome drink. I have a glass of fresh orange juice.
Our departure is from 18L, if I’m not mistaken, and we’re treated to a truly poetic sunset on climb out.
As soon as the seatbelt sign is turned off, the meal service begins.
We start with a packet of salted almonds and another orange juice. Next the purser brings me the menu for tonight’s flight. I’m quite impressed to find that there are two options for the hot meal. One is beef and the other is fish. I go with the latter. Before the meal tray is brought to me though, I am handed a hot towel.
The First Course
Cucumber gazapcho with diced tomato.
A seasonal salad with mozzarella cheese and bell peppers.
The Main Course
Pan-fried salmon and tilapia with lemon butter sauce, vegetable medley and herbed potatoes.
Pineapple crumble with coconut jelly and strawberry.
Coffee with Puneslie’s biscuits.
Blimey KLM, that was really excellent. The hot meal is in fact piping hot when it arrives and the flavour of all the dishes is great. The dessert is perhaps a tad too sweet, but I just suffer in silence, all alone in the big empty Business Class…
The flight is only 95 minutes long, and before long we’re already descending into Warsaw. Obviously it’s dark by the time we land.
We decide to take a taxi to the hotel. Beware of the many drivers offering you a taxi as you exit the terminal. These are not authorised providers. It’s best if you queue at the normal taxi stand. We’re staying at the Warsaw Hilton in the centre. The fare from the airport will cost you about 40 Zloty by authorised taxi.
And with that ends another memorable journey with KLM. I think this will be the last report in this series. The return home is with KLM anyway. But if you’ll just give me a week, I’ll have something new and quite unusual lined up.