May 18, 2016

Back from Lima Onboard KLM: I Expected Better

The last time I traveled with KLM was in 2004. Since then I've been waiting for the chance to try it again. After 12 long years I was about to step into KLM's aircraft and the anticipation was building. Sadly my first impression after all these years was a disappointment.

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I chose to fly KLM because Air France doesn't have a direct flight from Lima on Thursdays. I was hoping to travel on their Business class, but it was fully booked for weeks.

Let's start by educating the KLM's staff about the Skyteam Alliance. Arriving onboard I sat in the middle seat of the side row because I asked Air France - and reconfirmed it with the ground staff- for this privilege being a gold member of the Skyteam Alliance.

The chief of cabin, unaware of this, disregarded my request. Her approach was arrogant and unprofessional. I had forgotten the issue, after taking a long breath before writing my review, until she came back again during dinner time to help me fill the Flying Blue application; come on! Seriously! I already showed her my gold card, why fill another flying blue! I was hoping as an elite member to be treated differently.

So, dear KLM management, please find a way to add the list of members to your books and train your staff about Skyteam partners and privileges.

Now for the plane: A beautiful blue cabin with enough leg room in economy class, smiling hostesses and large screens to enjoy a wide selection of movies. The Holland Herald is their magazine combined with Sky-high, the KLM shopping collection. Dinner service started with no menu. I expected to know what we're eating and how many meals were going to be distributed on this flight.

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What I liked and didn't like: 

  • You're reminded with the many signboards stuck here and there, again and again that you're in economy class.
  • Wet refreshing napkins were distributed before dinner.
  • Aperitif service started with a choice of drinks. I had the South Afrian red wine, The Elements, Julien Schaal, Cabernet and Chiraz served with Peruvian hapas crackers.
  • Pasta with beef or chicken with rice, these are the choices. I had the pasta with ground beef, flavorful pasta that's way too overcooked like a purée. With that is a goat cheese salad, a cake, butter, processed cheese and bread with a bag of crackers. I loved the dessert, so fluffy, juicy and full of taste. But plastic cutlery on KLM. Why? Who still does that? Just saying!

It was time to enjoy a movie before going to sleep. It was 10:10pm already. 10:26pm, Mrs. Chief of cabin comes back to me with a shy face and apologizes for all that has happened. She then admitted to have found the data on her iPad confirming my status. A glass of champagne she says? For me it was enough, she really meant it and tried to make it up to me in any possible way. Let's see how the next 10 hours went.

06:20am (Lima's time), cabin was lit after long hours of darkness for everyone to sleep, warm wet napkins to refresh before meal service. During the night, hostesses passed with water and juices. Visiting the toilets, I was happy to find them clean and properly managed.

Breakfast included a platter with three plates. Eggs omelette and a bed of grilled ham, pineapple and oranges cut in cubes, the third is strawberry yogurt. Good food, and I added the fruits on the yogurt and enjoyed. The eggs were served hot, a bit dry but it was good enough. With that we got butter and jam with a ball of bread.

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The main inconvenience:

I ate something without knowing its name, food I don't know the content off only because a menu wasn't distributed. Let's compare; MEAfor example distributes a beautifully designed menu, while Tarom mentions every single ingredient and all its details. I expected more from KLM.

My recommendation:

  • Don't take a window seat, you'll have the plane fuselage hit on your shoulder for 12 long hours. Seats are too close to the windows.
  • Don't take Seat 58. Armrests don't open for some reason. It was unpleasant!

I hoped for a better first impression after 12 years of waiting... Next time with Skyteam, I travel AirFrance.

Categories: Airlines Travel




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