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My opinion of KLM

I've flown with KLM many times over the years and never been disappointed....until now.
I'm just back from a lovely trip to Italy and flew KLM both ways.
Having never travelled in Business Class, and being offered an upgrade...at a $$$, of course....I did take advantage of that for my 9+ hours flight to Amsterdam from Canada, and it was very comfortable and bliss to lie flat!
The other 3 flights were Basic Economy.

Coming home for my 9+ hours in Economy, it seems that KLM is really paring down quite a few little things that would have made the flight much more comfortable.
Starting with the fact that pillows are no longer handed out!
They just don't have them on board to offer anymore.
There was a small blanket.
I had a crick in my neck for a few days post flight.
There was pretty good leg room however, and I am 5'7", so that was a nice surprise.

Next, at the dinner service, and that meal was very good: Chicken Curry, very tasty....they handed out bread rolls.
I asked for butter as it seemed to have not made it onto my tray, and was told that butter is no longer served either!
Neither is salt and pepper!
Nothing like a dry roll...
They did not tell the flight attendants...they only realised when passengers started asking en masse for these things a few weeks ago.
The cutlery is now basically balsa wood, stamped into flat shapes of knife , fork and spoon.
No curves, so hard to manoeuvre your food.
Kind of like eating a meal with hospital tongue-depressors.
Dessert was separate, later on, and was a plastic wrapped custard tart thing, no other choice.

The next meal was completely inedible, being a strange dish of what was , I guess, a cold pasta salad drowning in beige mayo, and a very flat boiling hot bread /panini "sandwich" with no discernable filling.

I'm just stating all this things so that people will know to bring a pillow, bring your own travel cutlery, and bring your own seasonings on board.
Heck, bring your own food!
I know that nowadays, expectations are low as far as air travel goes, but such little details that make a difference.
KLM cabin crew were delightful, as always.
I probably will go back to our own Air Canada next time.

Happy travels.

Posted by
3384 posts

Look for cheap wood cutlery more and more... it's one of nearly all airlines' sustainable initiatives. I can live with it.

Hopefully KLM is still handing out the porcelain houses in business class. Those are pretty cool!

Posted by
2202 posts

Yes, I got given a little china house!
I didn’t realize until days later that they are full of what I assume to be Dutch gin!

Posted by
22282 posts

I think you described pretty much the standard treatment for all flights. We have not seen a pillow or blanket (unless you ask for it) in years on any flight. Other than first or business class all the food is marginal. We tend to ignore those meals unless we are in business class. It is not that our expectations are low it is what we demand. When you want the lowest fare possible something has to give and it is not jet fuel. We have adjusted and plan accordingly.

Posted by
3528 posts

Virgin always passes out blankets and pillows in premium economy on flights between London and NY. The food's not bad either-I love the afternoon tea.

Posted by
3469 posts

We got skimpy “blankets” and pillows on all 4 of our United flights this summer but there wasn’t a set on each seat as we boarded. I discovered that they had huge stashes of them above the seats to the rear of the plane where we were sitting. It made finding overhead space for our carryons a little tricky but when they pulled out a few bags of the bulky pillows it freed up some space.

Food is always meh.

Posted by
14475 posts

1/ Even economy on Turkish Air gives out pillows and the little kit with the slipper/socks and tooth brush, etc.
2/ I toss the insides out but the zipper pouches 3/ I have collected over the years now are part of my packing (meds in on First Aid in one, etc....).
3/ And the food is very good and for the main meal you get metal cutlery.

Posted by
8675 posts

We just flew 11 hrs to Paris on Air France and 10 hrs back on Virgin.
Both airlines had pillows and blankets on every seat.
AF food was inedible.
Virgin food was meh.
They both served butter, salt, pepper.
AF had the balsa wood utensils (awful).
Virgin had plastic.

There was no Afternoon Tea on our 10 hr Virgin flight in Premium Delight.

We bring our own pillow and blanket (a two-in-one for travel) and an amazing neck pillow we discovered last year. We never use the pillows & blankets they provide, they’re so thin they’re useless and i have no faith that they're really clean. We put them in the overhead bin to get them out of our way and use our own.

Posted by
1838 posts

Hi sj, sorry to learn that KLM’s food wasn’t up to par. I usually fly Delta (or KLM depending on the destination). The food on Delta is terrible. The last few years we’ve travelled Comfort Plus but that’s apparently not enough of an upgrade to get a decent meal. I can’t figure out why or how they decide to pair certain foods together. The result is always something weird and mostly inedible. A basic ham and cheese sandwich would suit me just fine.

Susan, what’s the brand of the amazing neck pillow?

Posted by
142 posts

I purchased a Blue Hills Premium Blanket , a Eyeshade and Neck Pillow(Nap Fun) on Amazon for my upcoming Amtrak trip in Coach and for my long flights to and from Phuket . $65 totally worth it. Plus I can wash my blanket and it comes in a case as does the pillow. You don't have to blow to inflate the pillow. It rolls up into its own case!

Posted by
142 posts

You may want to fly via Singapore Air JFK FRA or via Qatar Air or Emirates Air if they go via LHR or fly via Dubai or Singapore.

Posted by
1231 posts

I flew KLM from Prague to Amsterdam as part of a longer journey on Delta. I was impressed with the leg room on my economy seat. The flight was too short for meals. I agree with whoever said that the food on Delta is terrible, it doesn't matter which class you fly, it is all terrible. Except they usually have Ben & Jerry's ice cream for dessert.

I also agree with Frank that the market determines what the extras will be on flights. I fly comfort plus on short flights and higher classes for longer flights. I am willing to pay for the higher services. Although it still doesn't get me decent food on Delta. I don't bother to eat the late night dinner on the way to Europe as I am trying to sleep instead and I have just had 2 weeks of terrific meals in Europe on the way home, so it doesn't bother me much. I have been buying some snacks at the airport for the flights back.

Posted by
4865 posts

United still puts blankets and pillows out on Transatlantic flights (at least they did out of Dulles and Heathrow this fall). The food is still bad, but they do have butter, salt, and pepper, free beer and wine. They serve ice cream or sorbet for dessert which helps you forget the terrible meal.

Posted by
8175 posts

Starting with the fact that pillows are no longer handed out!
They just don't have them on board to offer anymore.
There was a small blanket.

It's so funny that you mention this, as I have been thinking about this since my return to France on Friday.

On Delta, they still give you the packet of blanket and pillow. I was just thinking that I wish they wouldn’t. I don’t want to use them, and I end up just having to hold the stupid plastic bag on my lap or at my feet the whole damn flight. We spend so much time thinking about how to pack, what to have under the seat in front of us — and then I get saddled with this stupid extra thing.

Plus on this flight someone left THEIR pillow on my seat while I went to the restroom, so then I had to decide what to do with it for the rest of the flight.

I would be SO happy if I didn’t have to get a blanket and pillow !!

Posted by
14475 posts

Look for cheap wood cutlery more and more... it's one of nearly all
airlines' sustainable initiatives. I can live with it.

I guess cutting down trees is a better idea than wasting precious water to wash.
Did those come in little single use plastic bags or wood and chemical produced paper?
The only sustainable solution is virtual tours from the comfort of your living room (of course the materials in the electronics in your computer come from some pretty destructive and inhumane mining operations).

They switched to wood to save money.

Posted by
2277 posts

You’re on an airplane, the food was cooked a couple of days ago.

Have yet to fly out of an airport that didn’t offer at least one option that was better than the reheated day-old food. . Eat before you board or bring food with you. There’s no need to eat the garbage the airlines serve . You wouldn’t eat this if they served it to you at any restaurant in the world but on an airplane it is gourmet dining 😂😂😂

My last business class flight was on Air France earlier this year. The Frenchman across the aislr from me actually stood up and apologized to the entire business class cabin on behalf of France, because he could not believe a Frenchman actually produced food that bad. We were all just howling with laughter. The incredibly rude flight attendants were not impressed, but they had already shown us their true colors, so it was OK.

Posted by
177 posts

Air Canada seems to have lousy service also; there is no guarantee. The healthy approach to airline food service is simply to eat before or bring your own or to fast. I miss Norwegian Air as they encouraged this and that kept their airfare low. People just eat that crap airline food to pass time. No one that can afford a flight out of the country is that desperate.

Posted by
22282 posts

Welcome to the new world of economy flying. If you want cheap tickets, this is what we are going to get. It will only get worse.

Posted by
6389 posts

Regarding the wood utensils...rather than that being some cost saving or other measure by the airlines, it is a bit more widespread. You can expect throughout the EU (So KLM, Air France, Lufthansa...) in the air, and on the ground an effort to eliminate single use plastics and even other single use products...similar to the elimination of straws for the last several years.

Posted by
8175 posts

Oh god I can't stand the airline food..I had brought cheese, crackers, and grapes with me for my evening snack on the plane -- it ended up being my dinner after I checked into my hotel after midnight.

The next day before boarding my rebooked, now afternoon flight, I ate lunch in the terminal and then bought a simple Boar's Head sandwich. I didn't have to eat dinner on the plane, and when they brought out the morning "breakfast," I was so happy to have my nice sandwich instead of the crap they were serving.

Carol I would have loved to have witnessed the Frenchman's declamation !!! That is awesome.

Posted by
2202 posts

Now Kim: we need to know what is in a Boars’ Head sandwich !

Posted by
11117 posts

"Now Kim: we need to know what is in a Boars’ Head sandwich"

SJ, not Kim, but Boars Head is a brand of deli meats/cheeses/etc and has deli counters in several US airports. There is at least one in Atlanta airport where Kim transited thru and I have also seen one in the SLC airport. Their products are also sold in grocery stores.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boar%27s_Head_Provision_Company

Carol! That must have been hilarious! I will say that the food on Delta One has been delicious the times I've bought up to that level. Regular food....bleech.

If anyone is transiting thru Seattle, Floret by Cafe Flora is excellent for some carry out food especially their coconut cake which is unbelievably awesome.

Posted by
3907 posts

Pam, thanks for the Floret recommendation at SeaTac. We are familiar with Cafe Flora in Seattle’s Madison Park! Great food. We will definitely try Floret. Nice to have a Good alternative to take on the plane!

Posted by
8675 posts

Laura, that complaint letter was brilliant!

Posted by
2202 posts

That letter was hilarious!
I suggest we all hone our writing skills and start writing similar letters to airlines when our "food" served on board is unidentifiable.
I did write to KLM about my experience, but got the usual "We hope to see you fly with us again soon" response.
Not a hope.

Posted by
332 posts

The free airplane food definitely seems to be going downhill. I thought the food on Virgin Atlantic a few years back was okay. On Lufthansa last summer it was pretty bad--especially the "breakfast" before landing. I will say that when I have ordered kids meals for my kids, the food is marginally better and at least edible. I've flown Icelandair quite a few times, and either bring my own or buy something. I'd rather pay $10 for something I will actually eat, even if it's a less than exciting sandwich.

That's hilarious about the French person apologizing for the terrible food!

Posted by
1480 posts

I've had pillow/blanket on every overseas flight with United/Lufthansa, American and FinnAir, Iceland air, and Delta (I might have missed some.) I have not made up my mind on whether I should use these items anyway, too many horror stories.

I've had hit or miss with all airline food. I thought the food on the way to Rome last January (they said new menu!) was very good on Delta. Other flights, notsomuch. I don't mind the wood utensils.

These were also very basic economy tickets at gasp pricing.

Posted by
1567 posts

I've found when flying economy that ordering special vegetarian meals is the best policy. Most of my meals are actually tasty, I fly BA usually and in business I usually get whatever they serve since one is usually meatless. I don't expect meals to be tasty but if they are edible it's even better.

Japan has vending machines that sell airline food from JAL airlines. It's weird watching Youtube videos of people actually paying money to get them but apparently it's pretty popular. Can't see that catching on in the US.

Posted by
2202 posts

Heather:
I too have ordered vegetarian meals for years on flights.
Mainly to get served first so that I can nip to the still-clean bathroom afterward, before the hordes get there to mess it up.
Usually, they are very tasty.
However, on this last KLM trip, I ordered Indian vegetarian as usual, because it's always been so tasty, colourful and spicy; but what I was served was a dish of beigey/grey slop with some chickpeas bobbing around in it.
On the return flight, it was the regular meal, and it was a chicken curry which was much tastier.