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The second transcontinental flight that was part of my mistake fare ticket was with KLM from Prague to Amsterdam and towards to Osaka and Okinawa with ANA.
After so many business and first class long-haul flights, I felt it was time to test economy again 🙂
The flight from Prague to Amsterdam was unexciting – a little Embraer aircraft that took off perfectly on time into the cold and grey Prague skies, paired with an on-time arrival in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam Airport has grown leaps and bounds and is now on par with London airports. It's well-organized but due to ongoing construction the walkways are crowded and space and seats are in short supply.
If you have ever seen KLM planes at an airport, they are usually the oldest long-haul planes around. Not too long ago San Francisco was served by a DC-9!
The departure gate F-8 hasn't seen any renovation in a long time and is straight out of the early 70s when planes would hold 150 people max. It's a dump and passengers are pooled when they go through security at the gate.
There is a separate little seating area for business and first class passengers, but it is like 10 hard-shell seats. Not what you accept as a business class treatment.
Luckily, boarding was on-time and very orderly (this was a flight to Japan after all and passengers were mostly Japanese).
The 777 feels a bit like a flying museum from the inside and outside – it must have been one of the first planes Boeing ever delivered to anyone.
Economy is 3-3-3 abreast and the seat pitch feels rather generous. It seemed at least 2-3 inches longer than on my recent Air France flight from Los Angeles to Paris.
Every economy seat comes with a personal TV, but these were installed when screens were expensive, had terrible LCDs and were half the size of an iPad screen.
But I have to say, given this old equipment, the crew really tried to make up for it.
The crew were very friendly and welcoming. Drinks and dinner service rolled around in less than 2 hours, I wasn't really hungry since departure was at 2.40PM.
I opted for the Japanese meal, which was a decent source of calories. Some items, like the salmon, seemed downright good.
I initially asked for a wine and changed my mind a minute later and also asked for a beer. The flight attendant would not give me that without surrendering my (unopened) bottle of wine. I have never heard of that before.
We caught a bit of a delay due to late connecting passengers and took off 15 minutes late. However, the winds were favorable and the flight would take 'just' 10 hours from gate to gate.
I'm not so sure what to make of this flight overall.
The equipment was old but the space was roomy. The whole setup seemed incredibly antiquated, but on the other hand there was more leg space (it felt more like Economy Plus) and there was a lot of entertainment on those tiny screens.
This flight was painful because of the total hours spent in airports before it even got underway. But once it got going, it wasn't a bad flight at all.
Book your flights on KLM here.
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About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]
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