Trip Report: IAD-AMS-GOT in J on KLM 652/1155 (July 9-10)

Old Jul 12, 20, 3:55 pm
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Trip Report: IAD-AMS-GOT in J on KLM 652/1155 (July 9-10)

I flew from Washington DC to Sweden this past weekend, together with my wife and two kids. My last flight in March before the world went crazy was also on KLM (ZRH-AMS-IAD), so I was eager to compare the experiences. And given these strange times, I thought I would share a report of our trip along with some photos:

Sunny but very hot and humid day at Dulles airport. Parked in the lot next to the terminal, which is normally quite expensive, but now priced at only $10/day due to low demand and to avoid the need for shuttle buses.

This was the first KLM flight from Dulles since late March, so there was a healthy check-in line, but apparently the incoming flight that arrived the prior day only had 70 passengers. The line moved very slowly because they spent about 10-15 minutes checking in each group. The SkyPriority line was shorter but moved just as slowly. I thought they would ask us about our residence since we live in (and were departing from) the US, which is still under the EU travel ban, but they didn't ask any questions at all.

The rest of the airport check-in area was completely empty.

Exiting the pedestrian tunnel to the A and B terminals. It was completely deserted, not sure if there were any other flights using these terminals at the time.

Air France lounge was closed. KLM staff said they hoped it would re-open by the end of the year. Yikes...

KLM 652 was on an A330-300.

Business class cabin was only half full. Big bonus for us was getting a separate seat for our lap infant given that we only paid about $90 for her ticket. She slept great on the flat bed seat, and as a result, so did we. Standard amenity kits and the famous houses on each seat. The amenity kit now included a large bottle of hand sanitizer.

Business class meal was tortellini with a pesto sauce, salad, cheese and dessert. Not half bad but likely the same meal served in Y (albeit on tableware designed by Marcel W*nkers). I did like the fact that the service was completed very quickly so we had more time to sleep, about 5 hours on this flight (which is a miracle with little kids). I overheard several passengers request alcohol and hot towels, but the crew said these were all eliminated "for safety reasons during the pandemic". Fortunately serving hot tea and coffee was deemed safe however. They also said everyone would receive a bag containing snacks and sodas, but in reality that announcement was just for Y passengers.

Instead, here was our breakfast offering about 30 minutes before landing. There was also a sandwich on the tray they passed around, but I didn't take one.

Finally landed in AMS. Most uncomfortable part of the flight was actually not the sub-par catering but having to wear a mask for over 8 hours.

AMS's non-Schengen zone was much busier than Dulles and there was a decent queue at immigration. It took about 20 minutes to get through, as we couldn't use the e-gates with our two children (although they were open). There was a holding area to the right of our line (outside the immigration office) with about 5 or 6 individuals waiting. They were all holding US passports. A woman was escorted there as we passed by, again holding a US passport. Once we approached the agent he asked us where we were going. We said Sweden and he scanned the passports and handed them back to us. So, again, no question about whether we were coming from, or lived in, a banned country. The Dutch government recently amended their website to say EU nationals (and UK citizens) were only allowed in from banned countries if traveling for an "essential reason". They also didn't define what an "essential reason" would be. We did not have any documentation since the website language changed the morning of our flight, but thankfully it wasn't needed.



Breakfast in lounge 25. There was also a nice sandwich selection. Showers were open and there was no wait (first time ever!).

Some wines and Heineken were available. My wife and I each tried a glass of the Cava, which was surprisingly good, even jetlagged at 8am.

Boarding KLM 1155 to Gothenburg was uneventful.

We were on board a 737-700 on this flight. Normally there are 5 or 6 flights to GOT everyday, but now there's just one.

Breakfast on the flight was pretty much the same as in normal times. Coffee and tea available, but no alcohol. This flight was only about 1/4 full or less.

Landing in GOT we exited the jetway and then were swarmed by police officers checking everyone's passport. There were about 15 officers and although it wasn't a normal passport control, they were all over us like flies on sh*t.. An officer thumbed through each of our passports, made some small talk with us, and then let us go. I'd be very curious to know what this was all about, as this is never done in normal times. And my understanding of Sweden's travel ban is that it only prohibits certain arrivals to Sweden from outside the EU and not travel within the EU. Therefore it seemed odd they would care about our flight, when everyone had already entered the EU at some point in order to board. And even more odd that the officer never once asked where we lived or where we were coming from. Does anyone know what this was all about? Once through the police check point we found a very quiet baggage claim area.

After all the bags came out we were still missing a bag. At the bag claim area the agent knew exactly who I was when I approached, and she told me one of our bags had missed the flight. The bag contained a car seat for our 4 year old daughter. Thankfully it arrived today. It showed up in an airport taxi, and I would imagine that cost a fortune given that we're staying 2 hours from the airport. The claim process and delivery was all very easy, so we're thankful for that. Menzies even let us borrow a booster seat for us to use on the drive, and the taxi driver took it back to GOT for us.
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Billy Mumphrey is offline  
Old Jul 13, 20, 3:35 pm
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KLM management laughing their socks off at mugs accepting the BS excuse about no alcohol. I bet the accountants are all deferring the savings until they can pay themselves bonuses for the money saved. Truly awful product for business class in this day and ages as well.
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Old Jul 14, 20, 12:15 am
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Originally Posted by Billy Mumphrey View Post
We said Sweden and he scanned the passports and handed them back to us. So, again, no question about whether we were coming from, or lived in, a banned country. The Dutch government recently amended their website to say EU nationals (and UK citizens) were only allowed in from banned countries if traveling for an "essential reason". They also didn't define what an "essential reason" would be. We did not have any documentation since the website language changed the morning of our flight, but thankfully it wasn't needed.
They wouldn't really be able to ban EU citizens from entering the EU (or Schengen in this case), so need to ask where you're from.
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Old Jul 14, 20, 1:55 am
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Originally Posted by bradders239 View Post
KLM management laughing their socks off at mugs accepting the BS excuse about no alcohol. I bet the accountants are all deferring the savings until they can pay themselves bonuses for the money saved. Truly awful product for business class in this day and ages as well.
I agree, this is all about cost cutting and has nothing to do with safety. I'm surprised the flight attendants can keep a straight face when they parrot back this nonsense to passengers. I guess the masks help with that.

I used two Delta global upgrade certs for my wife and me, so the price we paid was a Y-fare, but I would have been upset with the experience if I paid full-time for J. Our older child's ticket was purchased with Flying Blue miles.
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Old Jul 14, 20, 5:54 am
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Thanks for sharing the report! We were originally booked on the incoming KL651 preceding your flight but ultimately cancelled. It's a shame to see the cost cutting on both the meal and alcohol service.
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Old Jul 14, 20, 2:02 pm
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Originally Posted by mfkne View Post
They wouldn't really be able to ban EU citizens from entering the EU (or Schengen in this case), so need to ask where you're from.
That's what we thought too, but then again they had language on the website that we'd only be allowed in for the purpose of returning to our "home country" for several months, and now the website says we need an "essential reason". I also put our information into Timatic and it said our documents weren't sufficient for the journey. But we were nervous for no reason.

Originally Posted by Beltway2A View Post
Thanks for sharing the report! We were originally booked on the incoming KL651 preceding your flight but ultimately cancelled. It's a shame to see the cost cutting on both the meal and alcohol service.
Why did you cancel? Hopefully not because of the lackluster catering. I also noticed the dates in the title are incorrect. We traveled July 10-11, so the first 651 arrived on July 9. I guess they give the crews 24 hours rest before coming back. I think alcohol is coming back on July 18, so hopefully we'll get that on our flight back.

Last edited by Billy Mumphrey; Jul 14, 20 at 2:07 pm
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Old Jul 30, 20, 4:53 pm
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Originally Posted by Billy Mumphrey View Post
Why did you cancel? Hopefully not because of the lackluster catering. I also noticed the dates in the title are incorrect. We traveled July 10-11, so the first 651 arrived on July 9. I guess they give the crews 24 hours rest before coming back. I think alcohol is coming back on July 18, so hopefully we'll get that on our flight back.
A documentation issue, unfortunately. While my wife would have been allowed in with a 14 day quarantine, I'm not allowed to go to Europe at this juncture.
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Old Jul 30, 20, 6:48 pm
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I had a similar experience going to AMS, although there was absolutely nobody to take in my filled health form. I tossed it when I arrived at my family’s home.
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Old Jul 31, 20, 1:35 pm
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Originally Posted by Dieuwer View Post
I had a similar experience going to AMS, although there was absolutely nobody to take in my filled health form. I tossed it when I arrived at my family’s home.
I never filled one out. Nobody mentioned it or asked for it transiting through AMS in either direction.
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Old Aug 4, 20, 1:53 pm
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Originally Posted by bradders239 View Post
KLM management laughing their socks off at mugs accepting the BS excuse about no alcohol. I bet the accountants are all deferring the savings until they can pay themselves bonuses for the money saved. Truly awful product for business class in this day and ages as well.
Alcohol is back on the menu on KLM flights. My flight last Thursday from AMS to EDI was offering wine and beer. Unfortunately I had my car at the airport for once (very cheap parking ~ 1/3 normal price) so couldn't partake. I did hear one of the FAs saying that alcohol was being served again from 26/7.
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