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Thursday 15 September 2011

Flying My 30th Airline With KLM (Part 1: SIN-DPS)

Welcome to my 30th airline trip report!

For my return flight Click here. Big credit goes to the respective photographers on airliners.net. I managed to find my photos for this trip, thank goodness!

When KLM started the 5th freedom flight from Singapore to Denpasar, flying on this airline was definitely a must especially on the Boeing 777-300ER. So when the time came to make plans on my next trip, KLM came into mind and visiting Bali was an easy decision. The last time I was there, I was a teenager and couldn't remember much of the city. Once that was decided, I did a 2-way booking on Economy class. Later, I called up the KLM office to check whether I could upgrade my return flight to Business class and I was given the green light! In total, I paid about S$370 for both ways! What a bargain if you ask me.

            My ride = PH-BVF (Yakushima)

Flight route: SIN-DPS

Miles: 1037

My 30th airline
Carrier: KLM
Flight number: 835
Date: 12th Sept 2011
Routing: SIN-DPS
Seat number: 12K (Economy comfort)
Aircraft Type: Boeing 777-306ER
My 5th ride on this aircraft type and 4th airline to be flying the 777-300ER.
1st time on PH-BVF.
Engines: GE90-115B
Date delivered: 7th Feb 2011
Configuration: C35 Y393
Line number: 915
Registration: PH-BVF (Yakushima)
Flight Duration: 2 hrs 10 mins
Schedule departure time: 1640
Actual departure time: 1700
Schedule arrival time: 1920
Actual arrival time: 1930
FL: 370
Load factor for Y class: 90%
Departure gate: C1 (Terminal 1)
Arrival gate: 7
Departure runway used: 20C
Arrival runway used: 09


I have always wanted to fly with KLM, and when they started the 5th freedom flight from SIN to DPS, I was so excited about it especially its the Boeing 777-300ER! I told myself this year that I had to fly with them, so I went through the dates and found that September would be the best time to go. Initially, I wanted my buddy to go with me, but he wasn’t in Singapore by then so this would mean another solo trip for me. Since KLM didn’t have daily flights there, I decided to go on Monday and back on Wednesday, so the dates were quickly decided and then the hotel. I used Zuji to book my hotel, didn’t take long to choose though, I chose J boutique hotel and it turned out ok, the only thing bad was the heater which took a long time to heat up the water.

Online booking

It was as easy as ABC, the price was very attractive at $221 for economy class and $561 for business class (in Sing dollars). Initially I booked with economy class, just to try out their 3-4-3 configuration, but later on, I decided to change to one-way business and another way to Economy comfort instead and it was the best decision ever. Anyway, the website and the iPhone application are easy to use, no problem browsing through, choosing the seats and changing it whenever I feel like. 

                                          This is PH-BVD

The day had arrived, I checked which aircraft was I flying on, I wanted the SkyTeam PH-BVD, but I got the newest 77W at this time, PH-BVF, so It wasn't that bad. Anyway, got to the airport at about 1.45pm, the check-in was already opened. My only regret was not to check in directly with the counter as I could have gotten the proper boarding pass! Anyway, I checked in with the self-check-in machine, it had a problem reading my passport, and I ended up keying in my booking code number, no problems with that. After that went to check in my luggage, the lady was friendly and gave me instructions where my gate was, appreciated that even though I knew all this already. I went to grab some chicken curry and Milo while waiting for my flight. After that I walked to the cactus area and found a spot where I can take some plane photos, caught my BVD landing, I made my way to the gate, C1. I was stunned when I saw the queue, it was like a snake, looking at the load factor, I think Economy could be almost full, and most of them were probably on transit from Amsterdam.

Here are some photos of my trip 

I did my check-in over here.

After that, I headed for the Cactus Garden to spot my aircraft coming in. 

There she is, PH-BVF parked at C1 gate.

I was hungry so I went to grab Curry Chicken.

After that, I made my way to the departure gate, C1. 

Most of the passengers came from Amsterdam. 

Y class cabin

These are my photos (below)

The 3-4-3 configuration is a nightmare! 

Some photos of my seat 

The IFE system - average 

The earpiece was provided and you can bring it home

In-flight meal 

J Class Cabin (2-3-2)

By the time I got into the aircraft, it was almost departure time, which meant that the plane would definitely depart late. I got to my economy comfort seat, 12K and I was lucky, no one sat beside me which means more legroom space for me.

About the seats, they are narrow due to the configuration, the remote control was at the seat which I preferred, but I didn't like the plughole to be over there as well, as the wires to your earpiece can be a nuisance while eating your meal. After take-off which was very noisy, I walked around and the aisle, especially near the rear, was very narrow, I was very glad to have paid S$50 for the comfort seats as the legroom was very much needed for a 6 foot 4, like myself. 

Now, exploring the PTVs, its quite a simple system, AVOD, but I was puzzled to see why were there so many repeated movies in the list, (different languages perhaps?) Anyway, the movies were dated, as they were released quite some time ago. Since I didn't have my choice, I watched the Beaver which was quite nice. I found the navigation easier to use than SQ’s even though its not touch screen which I would very much prefer. Not the most advanced IFE system out there, that's for sure.

Food was served just after 40 minutes after take
off. I chose the chicken biryani (Indian dish) which tasted ok, nothing special about it. Not long after, the plane started its descent, the weather was fine, hence no turbulence and the landing was one of the smoothest I had at least for this year. We had a great touch down, then our plane taxied to our gate 7, where we disembarked.

Turbulence: Only went we passed through a cloud during climbing, we had a good drop when a lot of us gave out a "woohoo" sound, but after than that, it was smooth for the rest of the flight.

Here are some window shot photos

My rating

On ground service (SIN): 7/10
Changi Airport experience: 10/10
In-flight service: 6/10
In-flight meal: 6/10
IFE system: 6/10
Aircraft: 10/10
Cleanliness: 10/10
Punctuality: 6/10
Seat comfort: 6/10
Overall rating: 67/90


I find the cabin in Y class to cramp for my liking, the aisle especially the rear is very hard to pass through. I had to walk sideways to get to the back, not pleasant at all, especially for full flights. Cabin colour contains too much blue, guess this depends on the individual. For the price, I paid, it is definitely worth the money. Even the price of the J class is definitely cheaper than some of the local airlines are charging and mind you that price they are charging is for Y class. The only drawback is the timing of the flight, which may not be ideal for some.

Thank you for reading this trip report.

For part 2, click here.


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