KLM, Business Class – Boeing B 737-900: Barcelona via Amsterdam to Basel

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INTRODUCTION
I just arrived in Barcelona on the Singapore Airlines flight from Sao Paolo. We arrived in at 07h40, fifty minutes ahead of schedule. And I now have until 13h20 to make my connection to Amsterdam and then Basel on KLM.

CHECK-IN
I checked in for the flight yesterday evening in Sao Paolo before I left for the airport. I do not have any checked luggage so I am good to go.

LOUNGE
Location:
In the Schengen area, on the far right as you come down the escalators from security. The lounge is one floor up from the main airside area.
Type of Lounge:
Premium Traveller contractor lounge.
Facilities:
Toilets and showers available in the lounge, workstations, dining area.
Catering: Limited selection of cold breakfast dishes, like bread with puréed raw tomato and olive oil.
Internet:
Free wifi is provided by the airport authority.

I need a shower to wake me up. For EUR10.- you can buy a set of one towel, shower gel and shampoo and a pair of slippers at reception. The shower is clean and spacious. However, there is no toilet in the shower room.

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BOARDING
Priority Boarding:
Available and enforce.

Boarding begins with the gate attendant announcing that the flight to Amsterdam will be rather full today. Therefore, oversized baggage will have to go into the hold. Fortunately, being a Platinum member I will not to hand in my suitcase, which is good because I only have a short connection in Amsterdam.

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CABIN
Configuration:
2 + 2, in Business Class the middle seat is kept empty.
Seat: Originally I am seated on 6A, but then I am upgraded to 1F in Business Class. However, once I board the plane, there is a girl sitting on 1D and her dad is on 1C. Apparently, the girl would like to sit next to the window. So I suggest swapping places with her dad so they can sit together on 1D and 1F, while I take 1C. Admittedly, my motives are not all together innocent. If you are seated on 1C on the B 737-900, you call fully stretch out your legs without getting in anybody’s way.
Pitch: 33 inches.
Width: 17 inches.
Facilities: 110V ac power port at every seat.

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SERVICE
The service is typically KLM. No more, no less. All of the cabin crew are female and there is a good mix of older and more experienced cabin crew and some fresh young ones too.

THE MEAL
Welcome drink on the ground:
No.
Towel before the meal: Hot towel served after take-off.
Pre-meal drink:
No.
Choice:
There is a choice of chicken or pasta.
Delivery:
Trolley service.
Type of meal:
Lunch.
Meal:

  • Mixed salad.
  • Ricotta Tortellini with Zucchini, Bechamel and tomato sauce.
  • Selection from the breadbasket.
  • Something sweet with cherries.
  • Tea or coffee.

Strangely enough, the food on the tray is not entirely what is says on the menu that is distributed by the crew. Apparently, the salad should have been something with mozzarella balls. But it makes not difference, the salad is good enough as it is.

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Inevitably, one the meal is over I drop off to sleep immediately. I am just so tired.

ARRIVAL
Oh crap! As we approach Amsterdam the weather starts to deteriorate. In fact, it is so bad that spacing between arriving aircraft has to be increased. And indeed, it really is a very bumpy ride into Amsterdam. By the time we arrive and dock at the terminal it is 16h03 and we are parked at the C dock. My onward flight to Basel departs at 16h20 from the B dock and boarding is expected to close in two minutes. Run Forest, run…!

But I actually make it. Fortunately, the aircraft is parked at the gate and not on a remote stand. Otherwise I doubt it KLM would have left the bus waiting just for me. There has also been an aircraft change, and instead I shall by flying on an Embraer 190 instead of the usual Fokker F 70.

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I board the aircraft, take my seat and buckle up. And then I drop off to sleep again. I do not notice us taxiing out or taking off. Nothing. The next time I open my eyes, we are just turning off the runway after our arrival in Basel. It is so good to be home!

 

KLM, Economy Class – B 737-900: Lisbon to Amsterdam

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INTRODUCTION

I arrived back in Lisbon on Friday evening from Ponta Delgada. Although technically speaking it was already early Saturday morning by the time we landed in Lisbon. And so now what? Well, to be honest I’d love to say I’m finally on my way home again. But I’m afraid that isn’t entirely true. I am in fact about to fly from Lisbon via Amsterdam back to Basel, where I live. But I’ll only be there for about thirteen hours. On Sunday morning I’m heading back for Amsterdam and then on to give another a course. Perhaps you’re wondering what important business calls me back to Basel so urgently that I decided not to fly straight form Lisbon to Warsaw?

Well, it’s quite simple really: I need to wash some clothes!

CHECK-IN

Hey guess what, KLM actually reads my blog! I know because they twittered me to let me know. While they were at it, they also reminded me to get in touch if ever I needed their help. As luck will have it, looks like that ever has arrived: I’m travelling with a colleague from work. We’re booked on different PNRs. At the time we booked the flights we were able to sit together. But since then there’s been an aircraft change and the flight is now being operated by a Boeing B 737-900. While I still have my original seat, my colleague does not. And I can’t change my seat any more.

But all of this is nothing to despair about. So I tweet KLM to ask them for help. And indeed, next thing I know I receive an email from them informing me that my colleague and I have been assigned seats together.

The down side is that we’re now sitting on row 32, which is I believe the penultimate row from the back. But that’s alright. After all it’s not every day you get to travel on a Boeing B 737-900.

Fortunately, I’m only travelling with hand luggage. The queue for the Air France/KLM check-in looks endless when we arrive at the airport. Having said that, the TAP Air Portugal queue is even worse. Much worse.

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So I decide to head straight for security and the lounge. The queue is quite long here too, but at least it’s moving quite fast. In my previous post I mentioned just how nice the guys at security in Lisbon are. Well, today while I’m standing behind security putting my stuff in my back in my bag, suddenly one of the security guys comes up to me and says ‘Hello, you again’! Seriously? I ask him how on earth he recognised me and he simply points to the ICAO sticker on my suitcase. He then wishes me a safe journey and goes back to his station.

I think I should perhaps take this as some divine sign. You’re probably already flying just a bit too much when the cabin crew start recognising you from previous flights. But when the guys at security even start to remember you’re face, you’re definitely pushing it.

THE LOUNGE

In Lisbon KLM uses the Lisbon lounge, which is operated by Lisbon airport, if I’m not mistaken. I rather like the lounge. It may not be quite as flashy and stylish as the TAP Portugal lounge, but it’s certainly quieter and a lot more spacious. Moreover, it’s the first airport lounge I’ve ever been to that has painted underpants hanging on the walls in the guise of what presumably should be art… Oh yes, and there’s free wifi as well.

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About half an hour before departure I leave the lounge and walk the short distance to gate 15, from there my flight will be leaving. And indeed, a little while after I arrive, boarding begins.

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THE CABIN

According to the Holland Herald, the KLM inflight magazine, maximum seating on the Boeing B 737-900 is only eight more than on the -800. Even so, this seems like an awfully long plane.

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Eventually the cabin fills up nearly completely, with only a few seats here and there left empty. Even this far back the seat pitch is perfectly adequate and even though I’m sitting in between two big guys, there’s still enough space for me.

Take-off is to the south-west. And I rather like it. It’s a powerful and noise affair.

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SERVICE

To be honest, I think I’ve been travelling a little too much lately. I say this because I don’t really notice anything much about the service on this particular flight. Except perhaps that there’s a young couple with a baby in the seat row in front of me and the cabin crew take very good care of them.

THE MEAL

I can’t really comment on the taste of the meal either because I didn’t have much. The meal consists of a rectangular piece of pizza. It looks very greasy, and from what I can tell from the passengers sitting around me, the cardboard box the pizza is served in has a nasty habit of going all soggy from the grease and merging with the food into one huge globule of goo. But my colleague confirms that apparently the taste is okay. It must be, because eventually he even ends up eating my slice as well.

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The cabin crew come to collect the rubbish before doing a second drinks round with coffee and dessert. The latter consists of a piece of square chocolate cake with a bit of crumble on it. It’s not a bad dessert actually.

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Shortly before landing the crew does another drinks run, and also offers a selection of sweets snacks to choose from.

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ARRIVAL

All in all the flight passes quickly and before long we’re already descending into Amsterdam.

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We land on runway 18C, which means rather a short taxi to our stand on the D gates. It’s now 19:30. In exactly 24 hours I shall be back in Amsterdam, boarding another flight. To be honest, right now this has stopped being fun…

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