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KLM - Amsterdam, Netherlands (AMS) to Dubai, UAE - (DBX) -Flight KL 429

Lackluster Service, Mediocre Cabin

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Flight Information: KLM - Amsterdam, Netherlands (AMS) to Dubai, UAE - (DBX) -Flight KL 429

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is the national airlines of the Netherlands and is the oldest airline in the world. Its main base is in Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. In 2004, KLM merged with Air France, creating Air France-KLM, incorporated under French law. Both Air France and KLM, however, still continue to fly under distinct names. Air-France-KLM is part of the Sky Team alliance with Northwest Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, and Northwest Airlines among others. (Click here to read our Amsterdam hotel and restaurant reviews and click here to read our Dubai resort and restaurant reviews.)

For this flight, we flew from Amsterdam to Dubai in business class. Flight time was almost six and a half hours.

Check-In: We were in transit from Prague so we had already received our boarding passes when we checked in the Prague Airport. With almost four hours to kill, we checked out the many shops in the Amsterdam Airport before heading up to the KLM Air France Business Class Lounge.

The Lounge: The Business Class lounge in Amsterdam is large but remarkably quite quiet. Small but comfortable seating areas were sparsely and neatly arranged. On one side was a small dining area serving meatballs, cheese, rice and soup, which you can hardly call as real food. Everything was cheap and tasteless. The food was meant for filling up an empty stomach and passing time, and was not meant for enjoying.

Nonetheless, with the free internet, soft drinks, beer and low shelf liquors, it wasn’t all that bad a place to kill a couple of hours.

First Impressions: Having flown KLM business class before we were prepared for the average business class cabin and so-so service.

The Cabin: The plane was a Boeing 777-200. The Business Class cabin had a seating configuration of 2x3x2 of six rows. With seats for 42 people it felt crowded and not much more spacious than economy. The seats were 170 degree angled lie-flat seats with a ten-inch TV monitor and Audio Video on Demand. Other features include laptop power ports, a massage function, and a privacy canopy.

The Flight (Service/Food/Drink): Shortly after we boarded, the flight attendants went around serving Billecart-Salmon Champagne and water. Shortly after, they went around offering magazines and newspapers to read.

The dinner menu is a creation of Chef Sergio Herman from Restaurant Oud Sluis, a three Michelin star restaurant in Sluis, The Netherlands.

For the appetizer, we were served smoked salmon with curry mayonnaise and lime jelly. For the main course, we had a choice of Slow-cooked breast of chicken with tarragon gravy, potatoes and puree of green peas; Shredded beef with truffle sauce, a basil and arugula risotto and green asparagus; or Miso glazed salmon with soya butter, fennel crème and cabbage. We tried the chicken and beef.

The chicken was surprisingly tender and juicy, and very satisfying. While I was aware that the food was the creation of a renowned chef, I was surprised that it was as scrumptious and flavorful as it was, especially since it was “airplane” food and was thus premade, stored and reheated. The shredded beef was also tasty but it paled in comparison to the delicious chicken.

The wine selection included two whites—a 2008 Kanu, Chenin Blanc from Stellenbosch, South Africa and a 2006 Bernardus Chardonnay from Monterey County, California; and two reds—a 2006 Peter Lehmann, Wildcard Shiraz from Australia and a 2007 Cuatro Pasos from Bierzo, Spain. The Port was a 2002 Taylor’s, Late Bottle Vintage Port and the Dessert wine a Nederburg Nobel Later Harvest 2007 from South Africa.

Since I had stayed at Bernardus Lodge in Carmel about nine months ago, I had to try the Chardonnay. It was clean and refreshing with nuances of pear and green apple with just a hint of spices. It went perfectly with my chicken!

After dinner, I skipped the dessert and opted for the impeccably presented cheese plate and a glass of the smooth and spicy, full of red fruit flavors, Taylor’s Port.

The food, wine and presentation on the flight were superb; service on the other hand was lacking. Trying to get a refill of water or wine was nearly impossible. It seemed as though all the energy of the flight attendants were poured onto giving a fabulous presentation to the detriment of forgetting how to provide good old warm service.

At one point I had to get up to use the lavatory. The emptied cheese plate, glasses and silverware were still on my tray so I took them up to the galley where two flight attendants were sitting and busy chatting with each other; both just looked at me as I balanced the dishes in one hand and glasses in the other, neither making any attempt to help. This is not what I call service; this is laziness at its extreme!

Once I had cleared my own tray, I relaxed in the semi-reclining seat and got a few hours of sleep prior to our arrival in Dubai.

Arrival: We arrived in Dubai on schedule and I was surprised to see how empty the airport was. It was apparent the global recession had hit Dubai. In no time, I was through immigration and on my way to the long, long walk to the baggage claim area. After about twenty five minutes of waiting, our last remaining piece of luggage made its way to the luggage carousal and we were on our way through customs for a short stay in Dubai.

Overall Impression Just like the KLM flight from Dubai to Amsterdam, and like most KLM flights I’ve ever been on, this one is no exception in terms of the lackluster service and mediocre aircraft cabins. While I thoroughly enjoyed the lovely dinner and wine, the inexcusably poor service that KLM consistently provides still gets this flight a rating of between bombastic and not.

Additional Information:
Flight Time: 6 Hours, 20 Minutes

Skyteam Member Airlines: Aeroflot, Aeromexico, Air France, Alitalia, China Southern, Continental, Czech Airlines, Delta, KLM, Korean Air, Northwest (NWA)
Skyteam Associates: Air Euorpa, Copa Airlines, Kenya Airways

Airport Codes:
Amsterdam - AMS
Dubai - DXB

Be sure to read our Amsterdam hotel and restaurant reviews and our Dubai resort and restaurant reviews.

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