I arrived at Hong Kong Airport at 1000 for my 1220 departure. I had already dropped off my checked baggage at the city check-in at Central station, so just had hand baggage and could walk through to security and immigration, both of which were completed without any delay. I then went to the Skyteam Lounge close to Gate 5.
I’ve been in this lounge on a couple of occasions, but never reviewed it, so since I had some time, I wrote a separate review.
I arrived at the gate at 1145 and boarding had already commenced. There was a priority queue so I was straight onto the aircraft, and with a separate airbridge for the front of the aircraft was quickly on board. I was greeted with a smile, and as soon as I got to my seat my jacket was taken and I was offered a choice of drinks: water, orange juice, champagne or lager.
This was a B777-200ER aircraft. KLM has 15 of the B777-200ER, almost all named after world heritage sites: Epidaurus, Chichen-Itza, Ferrara City, Mount Kilimanjaro, Galápagos Islands, Hadrian’s Wall, Nahanni National Park, Pont du Gard, Borobudur, Darjeeling Railway, Iguazú Falls, Litomyšl Castle, Machu Picchu, and Old Rauma. There is one exception, which is the 1st B777 that flew for KLM, that was named after the founder of KLM: Albert Plesman.
They are configured in three classes: economy (ABC-DEFG-HJK), economy comfort (same ten-across as in economy, but with more legroom) and business class, and seat 320 passengers.
Business class is in two cabins, with seats in pairs with no direct aisle access (unless you are on the aisle). The configuration of 2-2-2 is AC-DG-HK. The rows are slightly staggered, so in the front, main cabin of business class you have four rows of the HK seats but five rows of the AC and DG. There is also an odd extra row of business class on the other side of the galley and in front of economy comfort – row 6, so in total there are 34 business class seats. You can see the seat plan here on KLM’s website.
This aircraft was named Galapagos Islands, and to give away the ending of this review, she flew me home safely, in time, and in comfort. (You can stop reading now!). The flight time was 11 hours and 30 minutes.
Assuming you’re still here… on the previous flight I had been in the front row window seat 1K.
On this one I was one row behind in 2K. The seat is typical of the window seats and you can see from the picture below that there is a screen with some strange sort of ‘buckshot’ pattern between the seats, which looks a little odd, but is quite effective and meant that my neighbour and I were effectively separated.
I like the window seat and I like not being disturbed, but as you can see from the below, the room for your feet is quite small, and you certainly would need to take your shoes off to have enough room to move around when the seat if fully reclined.
That said, it is a comfortable seat, both for sitting at, relaxing when watching a film or sleeping, and there’s plenty of room. By no means is this a ‘best in class’ seat, it’s been around a little too long for that, but it’s a good one. There’s a reading light for when the bed is recline, and the IFE screen is 16 inches, so good for watching the inflight entertainment and there was a good choice – updated for me since the flight previously was at the end of June and this was into July.
The seat is a version of the Cirrus seat (see the link below for the different types of seats). The tray table comes out of the arm. There’s a lack of storage at the seat, though after take-off there is a space beneath the IFE screen and a space beneath the power socket which is good for storing a phone and perhaps a book, though there’s nowhere to keep a laptop or iPad.
I wrote a lot more on the seat on the review of the outward flight (there’s a link to it at the end of this piece, particularly what the seat is like for sleeping in. Since this was a day flight, I didn’t want to sleep much, since I would be arriving home to the UK in the evening, having transferred through Amsterdam Schiphol.
I think the front row window seat would be my choice, but of course you’d have to be prepared to step over the feet of the passenger in the aisle. I wouldn’t go for front row aisle because people keep going past you to the washroom. All window seats are good, but if you need aisle access or like stretching your legs, then somewhere mid-cabin is for you. There is a very small cabin of business class behind the galley and in front of the economy class section but I would avoid that.
We took off on time and then flew above the clouds, though there was one last chance to look down onto Hong Kong Island. Regular visitors will see the curving white roof of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai.
There was no rush to be served food and drink but the flight attendants didn’t waste any time in coming round and taking our orders. I went for an aperitif called The Flying Dutchman which was gin, liquer, sugar, syrup and lemon. The champagne was Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve.
The food menu was as follows:
- Appetiser: Prosciutto salad with figs and chive ricotta, citrus olive oil and balsamic pearls or carrot and ginger soup. (I had the prosciutto salad, which was very tasty.)
- Roasted chicken breast with Café de Paris butter crumb, mashed potatoes, roasted pumpkin and roasted cauliflower, or
- Blue cheese crusted beef fillet, apple and potato puree, roasted cherry tomatoes and haricots verts, or
- Selection of Chinese dishes: wok-fried chicken with black pepper sauce, dong po pork, braised Chinese cabbage with goji berries and steamed jasmine rice
This last was great – in fact, I wish there had been more of it, especially since I didn’t fancy the dessert option. Instead I had a glass of the dessert wine (see below).
- cheese plate: Edam and Danish Blue cheese with crackers and seasonal fruit, or
- sweet bites: fruit tartlet, orange cake and a macaroon.
The wines served were:
- white wines: Gruner Veltliner Loss 2017, Niedererosterreich, Austria and De Kleine Schorre Schouwen-Duivenland 2017, Zeeland, Netherlands
- red wines: Jean Loron Coteaux Bourguignons 2017, Burgundy, France; Condado de Haza 2016, Ribera del Duero, Spain; Finca Perdriel Merlot 2017, Mendoza, Argentina
- dessert Wine: Tschida Muskat Ottonel Auslese 2017, Austria
I normally fly back from Hong Kong overnight, so day flights like these are pretty boring, since I can’t pass the time asleep. I watched a film on the excellent Inflight Entertainment system, and did some work, and read, and I did doze for maybe 90 minutes in the middle of the flight, but really I just waited for the flight to end. This is no reflection on the flight or the crew, but when you fly long haul every week, it’s the overnight flights you look forward to since you use up that dead time by being asleep.
The amenity bag has ear plugs, socks, and toothbrush and toothpaste, as well as a stumpy little pen. They are very attractive and have a nice feel to them, so I’ve kept both of them (from the outwards flight as well).
Before landing we had another meal served.
- Appetiser: caprese salad with tomato, mozzarella cheese, coriander pesto and rocket leaves
- Hot snack: spinach and mushroom carbonara with penne pasta and tomato sauce or wok fried egg noodles with three cup style chicken
- Fresh seasonal fruit, Yuzu and hazelnut cake. (This last was great).
We were then offered the traditional Delft Houses.I had mine sealed in a plastic bag so it woudn’t cause problems on transferring at Schiphol. We landed on time and I had around two hours before my final connecting flight to London, so I went back to the Crown Lounge.
Another great flight. I found both the short haul and long haul experiences to be excellent, and while previously my preferred one-stop carrier to Asia was Finnair, I would now compare prices with KLM as well. I also have caught the bug of collecting those Delft houses. My one problem with it from a work point of view is that since it’s a day flight, I missed a whole day’s work in the Hong Kong office, when compared to better flight times (Cathay Pacific and British Airways being the best, obvioiusly, since they fly direct last thing at night, but also Finnair whcih flies overnight into Helsinki.
For all the flights the service was friendly and top notch – really impressive.
SEAT WIDTH 20in
SEAT PITCH 63in
SEAT RECLINE full lie flat bed