ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 566
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

KLM Fifth Freedom Short-Haul to Bali

Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:24 pm

Over the Good Friday long weekend holidays, I went on a rest and relax trip to nearby Bali, flying on one of the rare but long-surviving 5th freedom short-haul flights from Singapore, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines's SIN-DPS route. Some of the benefits of such 5th freedom routes is that you would be able to fly on a full-service airline at prices comparable to the local budget airlines. For the long weekend, KLM's prices were actually even cheaper than the likes of AirAsia, Tiger and Jetstar, while offering all the frills. Its Business Class fare was also lower than SQ Economy on the same dates!

Fast forward to departure day, boarding passes were DIY printed at the self-check-in machines and bags were dropped off at Terminal One.

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Through immigration for some plane spotting. Our aircraft had just arrived from Amsterdam and taxiing in.

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One of the rarer visitor into Changi, Air Mauritius A330.

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Boarding would be from D34. With the expectedly full flight on this 408-seater B777-300ER, there was a long queue at the gate security. However it moved fast.

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KLM's second newest B773ER aircraft would be flying us on the continuation flight to Bali. Expectedly, the flight was very full and it seemed that 75% of passengers were transiting from Amsterdam.

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13 April 2017
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
KL 835
Singapore (SIN) - Denpasar Bali (DPS)
B777-300ER
PH-BVR
Economy Class
Flight Time: 2H06M



Boarding was called and was conducted very orderly with at least 3 gate agents ensuring that boarding procedures were followed. Was welcomed at the aircraft door by very pleasant crew.

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World Business Class it was not to be on this flight.

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Into the massive economy cabin, which took up the majority of the aircraft. Seats were stylishly designed.

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Took my seat at the rear cabin. KLM has retroffited all their 777s and have the newer 777s delivered with this new 3-4-3 seating, which is now getting too common.

Seatback with separate magazine compartment and seat pocket to save on legroom. IFE is purely touchscreen with no remote. Seat is of a slimline design and offers less cushioning than the older generation seats. This is not my first flight on KLM and I felt that the older seats seemed more comfortable, though also in 3-4-3 configuration. Legroom however, is very good and felt much more than the stated 31" pitch. Guess the seats were designed with the tall Netherlanders in mind. USB port at the screen and power points under the seat were avilable. IFE could be accessed immediately, but earphones were only distributed after takeoff. No pillows or blankets were offered on this short flight, though not sure if they are available if requested.

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View out the window with luggage being loaded.

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Boarding in progress.

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Inflight magazine and duty free.

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Doors were closed on time and were we lucky to have an empty seat in between! One of the very few empty seats on this flight. It definitely make the flight more comfortable to be able to spread out.

Safety video was played.

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The entire safety video can be viewed here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGVlLZujgA4


Some of the latest movies in the IFE selection.

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Taxi to the runway. A storm was brewing overhead and apparently winds were very strong and gusty.

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As we neared the original departure runway Rwy20C, the aircraft held for a while, then proceeded past the runway entrance and taxied further ahead. Captain came on and advised that due to weather conditions, ATC has decided to swap the runway directions and now we were to depart towards the north from Rwy02C instead. Apparently the gusty winds has created some arrivals havoc as at least 3 aircraft had aborted landing during final approach due to wind conditions. Hence, it was a long taxi to the other end of the runway, which was made even longer with the ATC clearing all arrivals on the current runway direction before allowing departures on the new runway direction. There is also a long queue of aircraft ahead awaiting departure.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPbzLrDcZt8


Passing T4.

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After almost 45min of taxiing and holding (yes, I am not kidding), we were finally next in line for departure.

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Departing from Rwy02C, an hour behind schedule. Not the fault of KLM though.

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Video of the takeoff and flying into the bad and bumpy weather.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esURxElIqdA


Exploring the 3D flight map.

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Breaking through the bad weather.

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Service started with the distribution of disposable but thick scented hot towels.

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Followed by clip-on ear phones.

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Above the weather.

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Dinner was then served, first with the distribution of special meals, followed by the normal meal carts. The KLM crew were very efficient in serving the almost full load of passengers, yet remaining friendly and professional.

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There was no choice for meals, with the meal tray handed out followed by offering of drinks from the meal cart. The full selection of juices, soft drinks and wines were available. I had a red wine, and was handed a mini bottle. On the tray was a starter, main course and dessert. Cost-cutting struck, as KLM has removed the warm roll and butter from the meal tray.

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Cutlery, while plastic, still has attention to details. Spot the tulip and bicycle design on them.

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Starter was an Asian-style coleslaw salad and dessert was a coconut cake. Salad was refreshing with the tangy sauce.

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Yellow rice with spicy indonesian styled chicken. It needed a bit of salt for seasoning, but was still not bad, though portion on the small side.

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Dessert cake was simple but tasty!

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Red wine was of South African origin and was good for economy standards.

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Details on the plastic cup.

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Sunset.

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Post dinner liquors (Amarula and something else) and coffee/tea were then offered during tray collection, along with additional drinks if requested. I had a tea with milk (fresh milk was used), and was surprised that these cheapo looking polystyrene cups were used. Don't think KLM would ever use such cheap looking stuff. Guess is the SIN caterers running out of the KLM designed cups, as the normal KLM ones were used on the return. Also, I realised that KLM always made their teas rather weak, similar to my previous experiences. Is it a Dutch thing?

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Visit to the lavatory, which is rather basic.

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I continued with my movie for the rest of the flight. Duty free service was conducted and soon we started our descend into Bali, which surprisingy was so smooth that I had no idea we were descending until the pilot made the arrival announcement and I noticed on the bulkhead flight map screens that we were halfway through descent. Neither did my ears popped!

Cabin secured and crew were seated just a few minutes before touchdown on Rwy09. We caught up some time enroute and landed only half hour late even though with the hour-delayed departure from Singapore.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umwlWerOZDE

Parked at the gate.

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Disembarking, with crew along the aisles and pilots out of the cockpit bidding goodbyes.

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Overall a rather comfortable and pleasant flight on KLM on this short haul. It is always great to be able to experience a European airline without the need to travel far, especially with these 5th freedom flights being so few nowadays. In fact, KLM may be the only European airline still offering 5th freedom flights within South-east Asia (SIN-DPS and KUL-CGK), with the rest of the European airlines preferring code-shares rather than operting their own aircraft on continuing short sectors. Hopefully these KLM flights survives the cut-throat competition and remains in the future.

Immigration was fast but it was a very long wait for the bags. Apparently the SIN-checked bags were the last to be delivered. Lesson learnt, do not check in bags if travelling to Bali from Singapore on KLM.
My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
 
User avatar
riyadfilza
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:35 am

Re: KLM Fifth Freedom Short-Haul to Bali

Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:02 pm

Nice TR! Thanks for sharing us.

Hopefully these KLM flights survives the cut-throat competition and remains in the future.


Yes, we hope so.
Indonesian Spotters
 
AirAfreak
Posts: 713
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:20 am

Re: KLM Fifth Freedom Short-Haul to Bali

Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:25 am

Wonderful KLM service once again. As I read more and more of these KLM reports, I find they are pretty consistent overall, in a very positive way.

Also, regarding the 3-4-3 versus 3-3-3, what are the official differences in seat width?

I've only flown the 3-3-3 on the 77L with Delta, so not sure if there is a major difference in seat width. I've flown many 3-4-3 on the 747 and didn't find much discomfort on the AF, DL, PA, and KE flights in terms of seat width... and I'm a 6'2" tall (188cm) and broad-shouldered.

I've always been curious to see if this was simply drama-for-nothing news I keep reading on a.net!

Thanks again for sharing!
Premium Economy. It's like the prize in a box of Cracker Jacks.
 
ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 566
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

Re: KLM Fifth Freedom Short-Haul to Bali

Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:29 pm

For this trip, I was staying at a rather new boutique hotel, Vasanti Kuta, which is rather near the airport. Booked a Junior Suite at very good rates, and the room was well-designed and good-sized, with comfortable beds, good amenities and a gigantic bathtub.

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Popped over to a small eatery beside the hotel for supper, where we had lumpia, grilled snapper and nasi goreng.

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It was a sunny weekend in Bali, and the hotel rooftop pool was much used for some sun-tanning.

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Lunch at Made Warung, where we had gado gado, grilled tuna and nasi campur.

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Kuta beach

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Dinner at a popular, but seriously overpriced by Indonesia standards, eatery offering pressure fried chicken with salted egg sauce (chicken is fried so crispy till the bones can be eaten).

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Soyo ayam breakfast at a local eatery.

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Another Indonesian dish of beehoon with peanut sauce.

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Lunch at the hotel cafe, which is offering 50% off selected local dishes. The Nasi Goreng was of a very portion and very tasty as well, at a price comparable to local eateries.

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Sunset along Seminyak Beach.

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Dinner at one of my favourite restaurants in Bali, Kendi Kuning. Food tasty, prices reasonable, and service fantastic! We had seafood soup, grilled seafood and tuna.

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On the last day, lunch was again at the hotel cafe, this time having the Mee Goreng, which was equally tasty, along with an Indonesian dessert.

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My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
 
11725Flyer
Posts: 532
Joined: Mon May 30, 2016 4:51 pm

Re: KLM Fifth Freedom Short-Haul to Bali

Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:11 pm

Phenomenal trip report. Loved the Holland Herald and the food options looked great. Well done!
 
ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 566
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

Re: KLM Fifth Freedom Short-Haul to Bali

Sat Apr 22, 2017 4:24 pm

The flight back to Singapore is scheduled at 2040hrs. We departed for the airport slightly after 6pm, and even with the short distance, the bad traffic to the airport made it an almost 20min ride.

Through the obligatory security checks and into the check-in hall. The KLM desks were busy, expectedly so with the full flight this evening.

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Proper passes issued, but similar to SQ, KLM is now using colourless ones as well...

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Went to the T/G Lounge (not the Thai Airways TG, but Taurus Gemilang) to await my flight while getting some bites, compliments to one of my lounge passes. The lounge was also used by some airlines, though most other airlines uses the more crowded Premier Lounge beside.

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Lounge was pretty empty and quite comfortable and peaceful. Buffet selection was pretty average, though there is a 'live' station serving Mee Goreng.

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What I had for my 'light' dinner.

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Service was very good in the lounge, with the lounge attendants even coming over to notify of the boarding of our KLM flight. It was a short walk to the departure gate.

Tonight, KLM's newest and less than 2 months old B777-300ER PH-BVS would be operating the flight.

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Clearly the gates are not designed to handle a full load of more than 400 pax, as can be seen with the rather messy queues. Luckily, everyone was orderly and the gate agents enforced boarding by groups and hence it was not that a chaotic situation.

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16 April 2017
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
KL 836
Denpasar Bali (DPS) - Singapore (SIN)
B777-300ER
PH-BVS
Economy Class
Flight Time: 2H02M



Boarding the aircraft. Seated just behind Economy Comfort, we were in the last boarding group.

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The pseudo divider seperates economy from economy comfort.

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Seated just beside the magnificent GE engines.

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Very good legroom as usual. However with this flight being fully packed with no empty middle seat, the 3-4-3 layout definitely felt more squeezy.

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Boarding completed very efficiently, doors closed and safety video played. It was a slightly more than 2hrs flight to Singapore.

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Takeoff from Rwy27.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v12pYz0UfMs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v12pYz0UfMs


Flight info.

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Similar to the previous flight, earphones and hot towels were distributed after takeoff.

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This was immediately followed by the dinner service.

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Meal tray with no choice. As it was Easter, KLM has also provided a chocolate easter egg on the meal tray!

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Noodle salad, Black pepper chicken with rice and a jackfruit cake. Had an apple juice with the meal.

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The black pepper chicken tasted average. Not as tasty as the main on the way up, but portion was decent.

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Easter chocolate egg and apple juice.

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Jackfruit cake was as simple dessert.

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Sweet ending with the chocolate egg.

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Rounding up the meal with a cup of tea.

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Spent the rest of the flight watching the latest version of Ghostbusters.

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Very soon, we were approaching Singapore.

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Landing on Rwy02L, almost 15min ahead of schedule.

[url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCcus5r7veI"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCcus5r7veI[/url]


Parked beside a Finnair A350.

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So this conclude the KLM 5th freedom SIN-DPS flight experience, which is of rather high standards compared to flights of equal flight times in Europe. With the full frills offered, KLM is definitely a reasonable and value choice for our travels from Singapore to Bali.

While disembarking, I got hold of a World Business Class menu. Apparently KLM prints its Business Class menu daily (see the printed dates on the menu) and do not reuse them. Lets see what is offered in the front cabin.

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Thanks for reading!
My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
 
cobalt
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:34 am

Re: KLM Fifth Freedom Short-Haul to Bali

Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:41 am

A great trip report, brings back memories of when I took these same flights nearly 2 years ago. Back then it was a B77W on the outbound to DPS and B77E the next day back to SIN. Both aircraft had the older cabin though; the new one in your aircraft looks very clean and nice, but a bit tight. Not sure if I'd want to be doing the AMS-SIN sector on it...

One thing I noticed when I flew was that the economy comfort section was quite empty, even though the upgrade price was so low, but economy was absolutely packed. Perhaps for a flight so short people don't bother with economy comfort, especially as it's still 3-4-3? It appears the same was mostly true for your flights too.

Fantastic trip report!
 
Milesdependent
Posts: 595
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2001 5:27 pm

Re: KLM Fifth Freedom Short-Haul to Bali

Sun Apr 23, 2017 7:12 am

What a great report. KLM looks a good way to get to Bali.

Brings back memories of my trip to Bali.
 
User avatar
CollegeAviator
Posts: 142
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2016 2:55 am

Re: KLM Fifth Freedom Short-Haul to Bali

Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:40 pm

Very nice report, and cool pictures to go along!

I have experienced KLM myself - ORD to DEL via AMS and they were a lovely airline.

The food does seem to be quite tiny in quantity...

KLM also has a pretty neat new cabin - good to see :D

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