Flight check: Amsterdam to Calgary on KLM

By Andrew Potter

Andrew Potter catches KLM flight DL9397 from Amsterdam in the Netherlands to Calgary in Canada.

A KLM Airbus A330-200. Photo / Creative Commons image from Wikimedia user Brian
A KLM Airbus A330-200. Photo / Creative Commons image from Wikimedia user Brian

The plane: Airbus A330-200. It has two engines and two wings like an A320, only much bigger.

Class: World Business Class, where I am.

Price: A client paid, and with this much leg room it can't have been cheap.

On time: Nope, we are delayed while a "soiled seat" is replaced. Then there's a medical emergency. So wheels up 45 minutes later than scheduled.

My seat: 7A, an impressive piece of flying furniture which adjusts in every direction and includes a massage button. Even with my legs and toes stretched out, I can't reach the seat ahead. It transforms into a bed for overnight flights. Also power points for laptops and other gadgets.

Fellow passengers: My young colleague, Dan, is beside me. He's being sent mixed messages by a girl he's dating in London. I tell him to play it cool as "the hungry dog never gets fed". Otherwise, mostly Dutch and Canadians.

How full: So packed they needed to replace that seat rather than moving the passenger to another spot. Up here in World Business there's acres of room even when full.

Entertainment: Business gets a larger telly, otherwise it's the normal on-demand video set-up.

The service: Flight attendants are even more attendant in Business and have perfected professional curiosity and active listening. I've never met anyone so interested in my hum-drum travel story. With lots of questions about me and a constantly topped-up glass, I feel I could talk about myself all day and this lady would still be smiling.

Food and drink: Glass of Champagne before the door is closed, slice of cheese and sausage with a Dutch flag sticking out the top as we taxi, then a delicious chicken main, all on proper plates, cutlery and linen. I go for a Marlborough pinot noir, as suggested by my new best friend, the flight attendant. The salt and pepper shaker is a miniature set of clogs. Brilliant.

The toilets: No queue for the business class lavs. They're right outside the cockpit door so I'm going where the captain does. Rotate!

Luggage: Forty-six kilos in the hold, plus a big carry-on case and a bulging laptop bag. I'm pushing the limit but the check-in clerk doesn't bat an eyelid.

The airport experience: A KLM World Business Class boarding pass is like a wand which makes queues evaporate at security and at the gate. It also makes almost everyone call me "Mr Potter, Sir" and opens the doors to the cavernous KLM lounge at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. Inside, every business traveller's needs are met. They have a self-service tap pouring endless glasses of the best Dutch export, Heineken.

Would I fly this again? Absolutely. The service and travelling experience was exceptional. It's going to be hard returning to cattle.

- NZ Herald

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