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Delta/KLM JFK-CPH-AMS-LHR-JFK

Delta/KLM JFK-CPH-AMS-LHR-JFK

Old Aug 31, 11, 6:35 am
  #1  
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Thumbs up Delta/KLM JFK-CPH-AMS-LHR-JFK

Please enjoy!


Introduction
This flight was purchased for my family of 4 entirely with SkyMiles, as we do every two years for our biannual trip to Denmark, with a Europe stopover on the way back. We paid 60,000 miles per person, so we used a total of 240,000 miles. On August 10th (to 11th), we would fly DL118 to CPH from JFK. For our stopover in London, we would take KLM from CPH-AMS-LHR, on August 25th.

This review/trip report will feature information and critique for Delta’s transatlantic product, with a little bit about the KLM hops as well.



Delta 118: JFK-CPH (10:10 PM to 12:15PM, August 10, 2011, scheduled), 757-2Q8, 25A

This flight was originally scheduled to leave from Gate 26, but after the previously occupying flight to San Diego was delayed, our flight was moved to Gate 10. Gate 10, and the surrounding area, is horrible. It’s dark, cavernous, and downright dreadful. As a matter of fact, the entire T2-3 complex is horrible. Gates aren’t laid out in a logical way, and getting from 26 to 10 was frustrating. We went from a warm, crowded, open area to a “ghost town” gate area.

Boarding, scheduled for 9:15 PM, was right on time. Boarding was amazingly fast, with everyone onboard in 20 minutes. The flight was completely full in both classes (no free middle seat...), and about a third of the plane was Japanese tourists - surprisingly, very few Danes. Let me tell you, the gate lice were out tonight! The gate agent was very quick, maybe a little gruff, not bothering with the automated system, but rather opting for announcements like, “Come on, guys. Zone 2, now”.

Crew was a diverse bunch. All were very friendly - an Eastern European man, around 40, a very tall, young woman, and an older Southern woman. There was also a Danish flight attendant in BusinessElite. They were “mixed base”, and I’m guessing the Southern woman was working an ATL-JFK-CPH-ATL triangle. Service was quick, and friendly. However, announcements made by the Southern woman were absolutely horrible - jumbled, with large pauses. Most passengers noticed this. The captain was incredibly enthusiastic, very friendly and informative.

The flight left a little late, with pushback around 10:20 PM, and after a 6-aircraft wait in line, a powerful takeoff a little later. Flight time tonight was going to be 7 hours, 7 minutes. Delta on Demand was turned on right before takeoff, so passengers were already watching movies as we were airborne.


Thankfully, dinner was served very promptly, only about 25 minutes after takeoff, which allowed passengers to sleep if they wished. Choices this evening was a chicken breast in barbecue sauce, with sweet potato puree and green beans, or penne in tomato sauce. I had the chicken, while other members of my family enjoyed the pasta. The chicken was perfectly decent, and it came with a salad, ranch dressing, crackers, colby cheese, triple chocolate brownie, and a multi-grain roll.

Delta on Demand was great, but I was surprised to find only a portion of the selections listed online to be loaded. About 25 movies, 20 TV episodes, and lots of music. Everything worked, and the system was relatively responsive.

I was in 25A, while the rest of my family was in 25B, 25C, and 25D. Seats were not particularly comfortable - these “slimline” seats seemed to sacrifice comfort for space. There was not enough padding, making the bottoms very hard. The window was aligned.... Each seat had a pillow and large blanket, along with the typical seat pocket goodies.

The entire cabin was very clean, still with a “new plane smell”, and lavatories were spotless.

Approximately 45 minutes before landing, a continental breakfast was served, consisting of a muffin, apple, and juice. Surprising, because I was expecting the “enhanced hot breakfast” that Delta promised in a press release - plus, pics of meals from this flight before suggested that a breakfast sandwich was served. Anyway, the muffin was fine, nothing to write home about.

Landing at around 12 PM local time was smooth, and within 15 minutes, we were walking off the aircraft.

Copenhagen Airport is always a pleasure to use - just so airy and modern. I noticed some of the Japanese tourists commenting on how much better CPH is than JFK. Luggage came out without incident, however, one suitcase was mildly damaged on the corner - I’ll be emailing Delta for compensation.

Overall, this flight was very nice. Delta’s transatlantic Economy product is in line with competitors, and service was pretty nice overall. Big kudos to the crew, who stayed energetic throughout the flight, despite the late departure time. Flying on a 757, rather than a larger aircraft, was fine - I felt no difference. I actually liked that service was quicker, and felt more exclusive.

KLM 1126/1017: CPH-AMS and AMS-LHR, August 25, 2011, 737-700 and 737-800

Very quick overview of this flight: Both flights were clean, crew was friendly, and had the choice of tortilla chips or orange chocolate-chip cookies for snacks. Both were on-time. Amsterdam Airport is fine, but it beginning to show it’s age. Overhead screens on 737-700, moving map was shown.

Delta 149: LHR-JFK (12:30 PM to 3:39 PM, August 29, 2011, scheduled), 767-400ER, 33A
This flight caused some worry for us all, due to the threat of JFK’s closure due to Hurricane Irene cancelling the flight. BBC News said at one point that JFK won’t open until Tuesday morning at the earliest. However, a quick check before leaving our hotel on the last day revealed that the flight was indeed on-time, and JFK would be accepting arrivals starting at 6AM Monday. But thank God we didn’t book a flight on Sunday!

We took the tube from our hotel in Earls Court (Premier Inn Earls Court - absolutely perfect - highly recommended) to Heathrow Terminal 4, which was about 30 minutes, and very convenient. It was much cheaper than the Heathrow Express, which would of required over an hour.

Heathrow’s Terminal 4, the new SkyTeam terminal, is perfectly fine, but not amazing. It was relatively clean, but it certainly is showing it’s age. Check-in, including kiosk and baggage drop, took 40 minutes, and security another 20.

By 11:40 AM, the flight was ready to board.

Delta’s signature boarding music was loud and noticeable, in a good way. Boarding was very early and quick (surprising, since plenty of people from cancelled flights the day before were onboard, making this flight 100% full), and we had to sit at the gate until the tug was ready to push our aircraft.

There was about a 10 minute wait to take off, but we departed only a little late, at around 12:45 PM.

The seatbelt sign was kept on for most of the flight, even though there were only a couple choppy parts. Despite this, passengers happily went to the bathroom, etc., even though the sign was on. Flight attendants noticed this, and didn’t object - I think the captain simply forgot to turn it off.

The cabin looks nice overall, with the 777-style interior. Seats were relatively clean, and everything functioned. However, DL118’s ex-TWA 757 seemed to look newer on the inside. Delta on Demand was once again great, with August’s movie selections, but a slightly different combination of them - I’m guessing that Delta changes them slightly around the middle of the month, so there is some variety for frequent fliers.

A beverage and snack service (peanuts or pretzels, no Biscoff at all on this trip), was served 45 minutes after takeoff. After that, our meal selections were announced (Cajun chicken with yellow rice, or Vegetable lasagna). I had the lasagna, which was absolutely delicious - one of the first times I wished that there was more of it - with a olive-laden, garlicky sauce, but no real chunks of veggies. The rest of my family got the chicken, which they reported to be excellent as well. I guess LHR’s catering is better than JFK’s! Each meal also came with a roll, butter, crackers, Cheddar, Salad, balsamic vinaigrette, and vanilla-chocolate chip biscuits. A second drink service was also performed.

Flight attendants came around every 45 minutes after that with water and cups. All people closed their window shades - even without asking by the flight attendants, however, I didn’t see very many people sleeping - most playing with Delta on Demand. The headphone jacks were one-pronged, by the way.

Approximately one hour prior to landing, an afternoon snack was served, as well as a third full drink service. The snack today was a four-cheese pizza, as well as a small cup of vanilla gelato. Pizza was average - tasted microwaved, but the gelato was exceptional.

After a slight holding pattern for JFK, we landed smoothly at about 2:55 PM. Unfortunately, our gate was still occupied, due to our early arrival, so we didn’t pull into the gate until about 3:30 PM. Once we pulled in, an energetic announcement by a JFK ground employee was made: “Welcooommme to Newww York!”, and proceeded to instruct us to remember to take all personal belongings, and went on to remind us of passport control procedures, etc.

The line for passport control looked huge, but it went very fast - only about 20 minutes.


Conclusion
This was a great trip! We had a great time in both Denmark and London, and the great service by both Delta and KLM enhanced the trip further.

Any questions, comments?
nytraveller53 is offline  
Old Aug 31, 11, 7:16 am
  #2  
TPJ
 
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Originally Posted by nytraveller53 View Post
and about a third of the plane was Japanese tourists - surprisingly, very few Danes.
Nice report. Thank you for sharing...

Denmark is definitely a Star Alliance territory and non-*A legacy airlines are struggling there... I think even DL will cease CPH flights soon..
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Old Aug 31, 11, 12:28 pm
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Join Date: Dec 2001
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1. I have tried for years to get a seat on DELTA to Europe in peak summer for 60,000 miles. It has been impossible. Only on CO / AA / UA have I gotten seats at 60,000. DELTA usually wants 120,000 miles.

Also they don't offer one way awards. But at least miles do not expire.

Good to know you lucked out. May try next year again.

2. I find the cookies all US airlines serve as a desert "pathetic." Why can't US airlines serve a decent desert. Clearly they want to save.

The salads / starters which consists of huge portions of lettuce are also "pathetic."

Thanks for the report.
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Old Aug 31, 11, 1:43 pm
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Originally Posted by Bretteee View Post
1. I have tried for years to get a seat on DELTA to Europe in peak summer for 60,000 miles. It has been impossible. Only on CO / AA / UA have I gotten seats at 60,000. DELTA usually wants 120,000 miles.

Also they don't offer one way awards. But at least miles do not expire.

Good to know you lucked out. May try next year again.

2. I find the cookies all US airlines serve as a desert "pathetic." Why can't US airlines serve a decent desert. Clearly they want to save.

The salads / starters which consists of huge portions of lettuce are also "pathetic."

Thanks for the report.
The past 3 times we've gone to Europe, we got the 60,000 mile award tickets, with a stopover. We book approximately 10 months out, and are quite flexible with dates and airports. Just keep trying different combos on Delta.com - you'll get it eventually!
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Old Aug 31, 11, 2:28 pm
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Thanks for the report! In economy I myself prefer transferring in AMS/CDG rather than fly DL-operated TATL..
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Old Aug 31, 11, 3:52 pm
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Originally Posted by Gnopps View Post
Thanks for the report! In economy I myself prefer transferring in AMS/CDG rather than fly DL-operated TATL..
Add at least 3 more hours and a connection in the middle of the night, my time, rather than a direct flight? No thanks!
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Old Sep 1, 11, 2:55 pm
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I tend to prefer the AF / KL product across the pond too, but great report!
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Old Sep 2, 11, 2:48 am
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Originally Posted by nytraveller53 View Post
Please enjoy!
I did, thanks.

Originally Posted by nytraveller53 View Post
Delta on Demand was great, but I was surprised to find only a portion of the selections listed online to be loaded. About 25 movies, 20 TV episodes, and lots of music. Everything worked, and the system was relatively responsive.
Was this possibly because you were on 757s? I know CO have a much larger AVOD selection on their 777s than their 757s in any given month. NB = less space to fit the hard drives with the content?
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Old Sep 2, 11, 6:21 am
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Originally Posted by Weean View Post
I did, thanks.



Was this possibly because you were on 757s? I know CO have a much larger AVOD selection on their 777s than their 757s in any given month. NB = less space to fit the hard drives with the content?
It was the same case on the 767 on the way home, not just the 757.
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Old Sep 2, 11, 7:35 am
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Smile

Great (award) trip Report!!
I just came back from Greece with my wife from an award trip as well! We redeemed 60K skymiles each! The only drawback was that we had to make 2 stops on the way back, which resulted on loosing our baggage and be delivered with some stuff missing
I just wanted to say that if you are flexible you have chances (i dont want to say many though) to find a low tier award ticket for Europe especially if you book it with partner airlines like we did (AF,KL).
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