Aviation, My Life, Travel

Flight Experience: Paris – Amsterdam KL 1224

Flight Detail:

Airline: KLM – Royal Dutch Airline
Date: 22 December 2012
Route: Paris – Amsterdam
STD: 0900 hrs (UTC +1)
ATD: 0900 hrs (UTC +1)
STA: 1020 hrs (UTC +1)
ATA: 1010 hrs (UTC +1)
Traveling Class: Business Class
Seat No: 6E move to 4F

Hello again people! This time I am back with another trip report from my last journey from Paris to Amsterdam using KLM – the flying dutchmen! 🙂

After spending 3 days and 2 nights in Paris, finally we flew back to Amsterdam for another 3 days and 2 nights visit before we’re heading to Rome for Christmas eve. As usual, we were flying standby then – listed on the first flight at 0900 hrs.

We left our hotel which situated in the Austerlitz area (near Notre Damme cathedral) at 0700 hrs using Metro train to Gare Du Nord and connecting with RER train direct to Charles De Gaulle. I was lucky to get a reservation at Hotel Libertel Austerlitz near Jardin Des Plantes as it is located right in front of the Gare De Austerlitz station, which made our travel got very convenient (The hotel is very well recommended guys!).

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We came on the first train to Gare Du Nord at 0700 hrs in the morning, still dark, and not only a few people waited at the train station just like us. Unfortunately, staying in Paris for 3 days had successfully made me a bit paranoid of losing valuable items and I was actually a bit nervous for taking the first train early morning and might meet any criminal act that might happen to us, as Paris is notoriously known for that.

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Luckily, we had a safe trip back to airport and we felt much safer. The situation of CDG airport that morning was a bit rushy!  It was weekend, and everyone was set for their Christmas holiday.Looking at the very long Air France – KLM General Check – in counter queue line, made me a bit hopeless actually – but at least by asking the ground staff  should there were any special desk for standby passengers would be helpful for us not waiting too long, and voila! they had it. The lady who stood by the near standby counter found us with standby tickets and she opened the strap for us as saying: “You can proceed from here.”

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We’re greeted by a friendly french lady at the standby check in counter. She handed our tickets and she reconfirmed if we’re standby passengers. “Are you flying out to Amsterdam this morning?” – “Yes, we are, and we have been listed before”

The lady attempted to the find our standby confirmation, took a bit long and she smiled when she found our confirmation. “Okay, I’ve found you already, let me check if we can confirm your seats from here..” I prayed inside that we could get the seat from this counter, but seems like procedure had to be followed, she said that we could get the boarding pass from here, and but our fixed boarding pass with seat number would be confirmed later at the Gate after boarding process started. We were asked to report to Gate 25A and we’d find her AF colleagues who would give us our confirmed boarding pass. However, our luggage could be check-in in advance and she labeled our luggage with “Standby luggage”. Before we left she said “Good luck and Happy Christmas”.

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We strolled around the airport for more than an hour, killing time with duty free shopping. One thing that I like from CDG is the various branded fashion stores that could be so pleasant to our eyes.

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We didn’t notice that our boarding gate was at Gate 34, as I thought we boarded through gate 25. My parents were just sitting around at Gate 25, but I became suspicious when it was supposed to be near boarding time, the agents were not there. I came back to the standby counter below the 25A counter, and the counter was empty, I walked upstairs again and asked the lady at the 25A counter if she could get us on the flight to Amsterdam or not. She said “Oh sir, you are just in time. The flight is boarding now, and the system is nearly closed. Here are you boarding passes, 3 pax, and the boarding gate is at Gate 34,” the lady said.

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Hearing this lady, made me more nervous than ever. As soon as I got our boarding pass, I used my last second saying thank you and adore how great the Air France stewardess and ground staff uniforms were. I ran to my parents and told them we were totally waiting at the wrong gate and we were late for boarding. Another dramatic situation, my parents were jumping off their chairs immediately and we ran real quick to Gate 34. It looked like we were not too late, as we were among the last 8 passengers to board the plane.

Boarding


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Today we’re flying with Boeing 737-700! I was really excited for my first time flight on this Boeing 737-800NG’s younger sister. We were greeted by a warm and friendly purser and flight attendant at the front door, she led me to our seats. KLM’s business class and most of European carriers are configured 3 – 3 just like in economy, but what made it different is the middle chair is reserved for our personal comfort. Do not expect the business class is as comfortable as in Garuda’s business class with personal TV and footrest, but on KLM’s service, the difference between economy and business class for regional flights were just on the meal service.

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Seat No.6 was apparently making me a bit uncomfortable as it has no window. After door closed the cabin crew told us, there were some empty seats in front, and we were allowed to change seats. I was the first to stand up and changed my seat to a window seat in row 4. I noticed there was a KLM’s captain traveling with his family and I moved to a seat where his little daughter sat.

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The plane pushed back on time at 0900 hrs, and in less than 10 minutes we took off in a windy weather and climbed up to 27,000 feet.

In-flight Service

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Shortly after flight, the fasten seatbelt sign had been switched off. It was time for breakfast service! The cabin crew began to visit each passenger with their trolley offering with what some to drink and giving us the meal package which was specially designed by a famous European designer for KLM.

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“This is your meal, Sir.” – the flight purser said.

“Dank u wel” I said, receiving the meal package in a great enthusiasm. “The cover looks cool!” I added.

She smiled and saying “You will be much happier once you know what’s inside this breakfast box,” – “Oh not to forget which bread you want to have with your meal?” she said offering a basket of bread.

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It turned out yes! I was surprised with the meal service, there were salads, yogurts, and cold cuts with cheese.

“Wat wil je drinken?” she asked in dutch

“Ik wil water en sap alstublief,” I replied in a very limited dutch.

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She smiled, “Oh good one!” Looks like the little lady who sat next to me were smiling to hear me speaking dutch – in a very limited way. But she kept busy with her iPod afterwards singing some songs with pulling some hand acts attempting to dance. Looks like she had fun. I wanted to say hello to her, but well she’s too young for me.

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I looked out at the window, while Captain returned with announcement that the plane would begin to descend. He also reported the weather forecast in Amsterdam that mostly cloudy that time. However, above Belgium, the sun began to rise as the orange part appeared from behind the white thick clouds, “It should be a great start today,” I said.

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In 10 minutes after Captain announcement over, the plane started its descend and we made our final approach to Schipol.

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Arrival

On 1010 hrs, the plane touched down smoothly at Schipol Airport. The landing, I must admit was another smooth landing I experienced despite weather condition. After landing the purser greeted us with an announcement “Welkom bij Amsterdam..” she indicated that the taxi would take some 10 minutes to reach gate 13 where our plane would be parked. Schipol is literally a huge airport.

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Our aircraft then finally parked at Gate 13, “Cabin crew, when ready, the door maybe opened,” The door was opened and we disembarked the plane accordingly.

Summary

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Overall, my last trip on Paris – Amsterdam sector was very good and enjoyable. The cabin is clean, comfy seats, and the foods were really good for a short flight, and not to mention the professionalism, hospitality and friendliness of KLM’s flight and cabin crew makes us feel more comfortable during our flight back to Amsterdam. No wonder that KLM’s crew was previously awarded as the best airline staff in Europe.

Thank you, Mr. Flying Dutchman! keep flying high!

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