Date: December 21, 2017
Flight No.: KL872
Route: Delhi Indira Gandhi International to Amsterdam Schiphol
Airline: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
Type: Boeing 777-300ER
The second flight on my way from Japan to Slovakia back in December took me from Delhi to Amsterdam in KLM’s economy class.
In a way, the flight was quite a big disappointment. It was initially scheduled to be operated by a Boeing 747-400 – the main reason I chose to fly via Delhi. In the end, though, it was switched to a 777-300ER.
Checking-in at Delhi Airport & Boarding KLM Flight 872
I got to the airport around 12:30AM for the 3:15AM departure, and after having my boarding pass (which was printed out for me in Tokyo) checked by the guard, I was let into the terminal.
There, I found the Sky Priority queue for KLM, and dropped off my luggage in no time. With a newly printed set of boarding passes – and a lounge invitation – I headed through the immigration and security which took about 20 minutes.
Once airside, I made my way to ITC Hotels Green Lounge which belongs to Priority Pass. Then, I continued to Allways Lounge by Plaza Premium which is used by KLM for its premium passengers and status holders.
I stayed in the latter until about 2:20AM when the lounge agent announced that the KLM flight started boarding.
When I got to gate 7, there was already a queue of passengers making their way onboard. However, thanks to my Delta Gold Medallion status, I was able to use the priority lane which was empty. And so, I could head down the jetway right away.
Onboard KLM Boeing 777-300ER’s Economy Class
Onboard, I made my way through a small one-row business class cabin and through four rows of Economy Comfort. And, I settled in seat 15D which was in the very first row of the regular economy class cabin.
Upon boarding, a blanket and a pillow were waiting on each of the economy class seats.
The legroom was more than sufficient, and there were shared power outlets between pairs of seats. On an unrelated note, I found the tray table to be interesting with its “KLM-blue” edges.
Exploring KLM’s In-Flight Entertainment System
Unlike some other airlines, KLM lets its passengers use the IFE even on the ground before departure. And so, given that the aircraft was still being refueled and the boarding was still in progress when I settled in my seat, I had plenty of time to explore the options the in-flight entertainment system offered.
While the selection of movies was not as extensive as the selection of airlines like Emirates or Turkish Airlines, there was still plenty of content to keep a passenger busy on an 8-hour flight. And, unlike on my recent JAL flight, the touchscreen was responsive.
As for TV shows, while there were plenty of shows to choose from, the problem lied with the fact that only one or two episodes of each show were offered. On the other hand, music was offered both in the form of “radio stations” and full albums.
Other than that, there was a selection of games, as well as a special menu for kids which featured some of the content from the main system.
Finally, there were two more interesting features.
The first one was a chat room where not only could people chat seat-to-seat, but also write into topical chat rooms (such as must visit, night life, etc.) to share their tips with fellow passengers. Now, of course, no one seemed to use it during the flight.
The second was a collection of cockpit videos that the airline sometimes shares on its social media channels as well.
Of course, there was also the airshow with moving maps and flight information, but I will talk about that further down.
Departing Delhi Bound for Amsterdam
Going back to the flight, shortly before 3AM, the captain let the cabin crew know that refueling was complete and the seatbelt sign went on. Then, an announcement was made that despite of the aircraft not being completely full, passengers should keep their originally assigned seats until we were in the air due to weight balance.
Around the same time, earphones were distributed.
And, my neighbor devised an interesting foot hammock out of two blankets. If you are not that creative but prefer something to rest your feet on (the seats didn’t feature footrests), consider getting a travel footrest. For more information on those, make sure to check my article here.
Ten minutes prior to the scheduled departure time, the captain greeted the passengers and mentioned the expected flight time of about 7 hours and 50 minutes.
The captain’s announcement was followed by the cabin crew offering Economy Comfort (extra legroom) seats for sale for 110 EUR. Given that the load was fairly light and many people had two seats for themselves, it was a tough sell. And, as expected, no passengers took up the offer.
At 3:16AM – just one minute behind schedule – the aircraft’s doors were closed and we were pushed back. During the push back, KLM’s excellent safety video that was made using more than 1,000 hand painted Delft Blue tiles was played.
I was very tired by the time we got into the air (I hadn’t slept much since leaving home to catch my JAL flight to Delhi), and so I fell asleep right away. Just before falling asleep, though, I noticed the crew started preparing for service. While I am not sure what they served, I assume it was just a light snack given that it was almost 4AM.
What I found nice, however, was that when I woke up about 2 and a half hours before landing, there was a beautifully designed “Goodnight GoodieZzzz” bag hanging in front of my seat.
The bag included a cookie, a small bottle of water, and a simple amenity kit.
After having a quick look at the bag, I fell asleep again.
Breakfast: “Egg Dish” or Indian Vegetarian
The next time I woke up was about 30 minutes later – about two hours before landing – when the cabin crew switched the lights on in preparation for breakfast service. Shortly after, hot wipes were distributed.
As the crew prepared for the meal service, I decided have a quick look into the seat pocket and to start watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory.
Then, at about 5:45AM Amsterdam time, I was handed my breakfast. There were two options – “egg dish” and Indian vegetarian – of which I opted for the former. The meal was decent and metal cutlery was offered.
However, just as with the safety video and Goodnight GoodieZzzzz bag, the thing that made it stand out was how nice everything (ranging from the bowl covers to the juice box) was designed.
About thirty minutes later, the cabin crew came around once again to collect the trays and also to distribute cupped water.
Landing at Schiphol Airport in the Dark
With the breakfast finished, I decided to take a look at the airshow. Besides the usual flight data and moving map view, it also offered a “cockpit view” mode and the ability to explore the map freely.
At 6:35AM, the captain greeted the passengers over the PA once again – announcing that we would start our descend in about a minute and land in about half an hour. He also mentioned the weather in Amsterdam – cloudy with a temperature of 8 degrees Celsius – as well as the fact that we would have to taxi for about ten minutes after landing to reach our arrival gate E24.
About fifteen minutes later, just as we crossed 10,000 feet, the seatbelt signs were turned back on, and another ten minutes later, the cabin crew was asked to take seats for landing.
The landing gear was lowered at exactly 7AM, and another two minutes later we touched down on Schiphol’s Polderbaan runway.
Sixteen minutes later – at 7:18AM or seven minutes ahead of schedule – we came to a full stop at our arrival gate.
Once in the terminal, I made my way through immigration and into KLM’s Crown Lounge, but more about that in the next instalment.
KLM 777-300ER Economy Class Delhi – Amsterdam Summary
Overall, the service KLM provided on the flight was perfectly fine for a sub-10-hour redeye flight in economy class. And, I found the seat to be quite comfortable as well (considering the limitations of the now-standard 3-4-3 configuration on the 777).
What made the flight stand out compared to many of the other similar flights I’ve taken, though, was the attention to detail when it came to design. From the safety video made out of Delft Blue tiles through the Goodnight GoodieZzzzz bag all the way to the orange juice box design, everything was beautiful.