KLM Royal Dutch Airlines 836, DPS – SIN

KL 836

DPS – SIN

Boeing 777-300ER

Economy Class, Seat 62G

 

Prologue

With its striking blue colours and a rich history dating back to 1919, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines never fails to turn heads wherever they fly. The world’s oldest airline has long flown the flag of the Netherlands, showcasing its culture and bringing its people to far flung corners around the world, including the Indonesian resort island of Bali. We had the opportunity recently to join its fifth-freedom service to Singapore.

 

Check-In

   

The island’s main gateway, Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport is centrally located from the tourist center. International flights depart from a new and aesthetically-pleasing terminal combining modern and cultural architectural elements, while also boasting improved passenger-flow within.

 

Like other major Indonesian airports, we had to show our e-ticket at the security checkpoint before being allowed inside to the check-in desks. KLM and Skyteam signposts made it easy to locate the counters, which open 4 hours before departure. We definitely recommend performing an online check-in prior, which allowed us to skip the horrendously long lines and get our printed boarding pass from the friendly agent in under 5 minutes.

 

Boarding & Departure

   

Tonight’s flight to Singapore and Amsterdam would be operated by KLM’s flagship Boeing 777-300ER jet and depart from gate 3. Seeing the full passenger load, the gate agents made several pre-boarding announcements detailing the boarding sequence (families with young children, Sky Priority and status holders, followed by general boarding by row number) in an attempt to manage the situation. While priorities were enforced, we felt they could have done better in organising the  passengers who were all bottle-necked at the podium waiting for their sequence.

 

The situation was much better onboard the aircraft, with the cheerful crew welcoming passengers and assisting with finding space in the overhead lockers for carry-on bags. Of notable mention also was their proactiveness in ensuring that passengers were settled and comfortable whilst conducting final preparations for departure.

 

Seat

   

Our aircraft featured KLM’s new Economy Class seat from Dutch designer Hella Jongerius. Introduced just under 2 years ago, this product is flying on the airline’s B777-200ERs, with the larger B777-300ERs currently being refitted.

 

Smart-looking, well-designed and comfortable, the seat did not disappoint when we settled in for the 2.5-hour flight. Immediately obvious was the excelllent seat pitch (officially indicated as 32 inches but feeling more like 34 inches) which provided better comfort for the knees. This was attained by the overall slimline design as well as the literature shelf being placed higher under the 9-inch, high-definition touchscreen.

   

   

Ergonomically optimised headrests offer improved neck support, while the durable, high-density synthetic material meant the seat stayed cool unlike some types of fabric and leather seats. The tray table breaks from monotony with KLM’s signature blue trim along the edge and folds onto itself, further saving space and improving passenger comfort.

 

While the seat boasts many positives, it does have its drawbacks in being narrower than previous iterations to accommodate a denser 3-4-3 layout. Accordingly, the armrests between seats are also narrower making elbow space a premium. We recommend opting for a seat towards the rear of the aircraft, where each seat gains a little more space due to the tapering of the fuselage.

 

Crew

The operating crew tonight were in high spirits and very friendly, with plenty of smiles and laughter as they worked the flight. We felt that the good vibes exuded by them contributed to a pleasant cabin atmosphere despite the time of day and the tired passengers facing a long journey back to Europe. Our section was taken care of by a female Dutch flight attendant who was very personable whilst remaining very professional in going about her duties. Despite the full cabin and short flight, she efficiently got the passengers settled, helping with requests and making sure to follow-up with them.

 

Meal

   

   
Shortly after being released from their jumpseats, the aroma of food being heated filled the cabin. Meal service began with hot, scented towels being distributed by the crew, followed by pre-ordered special meals and the trolleys down the aisle. While there was no choice of meal, KLM offers Indonesian dishes curated by celebrity chef and television personality Farah Quinn on its flights to-and-from the country. Tonight’s main was a soya sauce chicken with rice and diced vegetables, accompanied by an Asian coleslaw starter, warm roll and apricot cake dessert, together with a bottle of water and choice of beverage. We opted for the house white wine, a Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay blend from South African label Julian Schaal, to complement the meal.

 

Our only complaint for the meal was that the portions were rather small, undoubtedly a consequence of cost cutting measures prevalent in the industry today. Despite this, the dish itself was flavourful and tasty, with the tangy coleslaw whetting appetites for the main and its chicken chunks. The dessert provided the finishing touch offering a hint of sweetness without being overpowering. Coffee, tea and liquors were also offered by the crew.

 

Entertainment

   

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Tucked in the literature pocket was a copy of the award-winning Holland Herald, the world’s oldest inflight magazine and also the largest circulating English-language publication in the Netherlands. Turning the pages of the magazine, it was easy to see why it is highly-rated with innovative content and breathtaking photography. The november issue focused around the topic of food, with articles devoted to the culinary scene whilst not forgetting to showcase the airline’s heritage through features of Dutch men and women that have made their mark internationally.

   

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We also had access to KLM’s latest inflight entertainment system, offering more than 150 movies and 200 television shows in multiple languages, including a selection of Dutch movies, Hollywood releases and Asian films. These were delivered via a responsive 9-inch touchscreen, which enabled the airline to remove the traitional remote control handset. The system was available from gate to gate, with passengers having the option of using their own audio headphones or the airline-provided sets and we settled in to tunes from Norwegian DJ Kygo. We like how the moving map can be displayed as a screen-within-screen image, allowing uninterrupted updates to the current flying position.

 

Arrival & Deboarding

Time quickly flew by and we were soon descending over Indonesia’s Riau Islands in preparation for landing on-time. A long taxi followed before the jet was parked at gate D44 for its intermediate stop enroute to Amsterdam. The crew prepared to bid passengers farewell, engaging them in conversation and offering tips for those continuing to Europe while waiting for the doors to be opened. Despite this being the end of the day for them, they maintained their cheerful disposition for a nice conclusion to the excellent flight.

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