Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Stress free travel. Or not.

I've been meaning to add a couple snippets about the flight back to the Netherlands.
First of all, we had some issues trying to get seats together on the way over, (to Canada) and were becoming less and less enchanted with the whole process, especially after having been directed upstairs to the First Class lounge, only to be told that there was nothing that could be done.
Of course, this was after having previously unsuccessfully tried to go online and book seats like we had always done.
For my part, I have to say I was surprisingly calm, even after a rather long and fruitless hike, since I try to put myself into a bit of a trance for any visit to an airport anyway, to more or less deaden the effect of the whole unpleasant experience.
My travelling companion was however, a little more vocal.

That's fine, I'm willing to pass that particular torch.

I can't quite put my finger on it, but I think it has something to do with KLM no longer being associated with One-Pass, since normally it's a breeze to go to their website and put yourself in a couple adjoining seats. Usually in a fairly decent location on the plane as well.

Couldn't do it.

So I ended up in row 30, and Gabe was back in row 38.

Swell.

After getting myself situated in my little hell hole (I fail to see the point of a window seat when first of all, over the Atlantic Ocean and secondly at a bulkhead) and coming to terms with the notion of being pretty much stuck there for eight hours, I realised that there was a lot of movement on the plane. Everyone seemed to be changing seats. Were we suddenly on Ryanair?
It was taking a quite a few minutes for everything to get sorted out, and I thought we were pretty much done, when one of the flight attendants got my attention and asked something about wanting to sit with my wife?

Whu? Well, sure!

That was a bit of a pleasant surprise especially since I was quite willing to accept my fate, with the realisation that the good times are over, and we'd no longer be flying with KLM all that much anyway, since we'd be moving to Vienna.
Somehow the word must have made it's way through the rank and file. Not sure how these things work.

One thing for sure, you won't ever see that sort of thing on Air Canada.
I'm just saying.

So that more or less put KLM back in our good books.

Now, you have to understand, you're still in "steerage", it's still pretty much eight hours of hell (note previous blog entry referring to screaming children) and for my part, I have to be really pretty careful with the diuretics, otherwise I have to get two people to move out of their seats so I can visit the loo.

At least by sitting together, we could commiserate.


For this reason, once back home, my travelling companion felt it was worth all the time she spent on the phone with the One-Pass service centre in Houston so we could get ourselves into first class for the trip back to Kikkerland. I mean, we have these points, and after the end of October, we wouldn't be able to use them on KLM anyway, so there was no point hanging on to them for dear life.
Admittedly, we can still use them on Continental, but that always involves doing a stop-over in the United States. Don't get me wrong, Newark is a perfectly fine airport, but getting into and out of the US by air is not something I recommend.

That's all I'll say.




Well, I think a few photos might shed some light on the experience.


Here's something we both did for about half the trip....

...which meant not feeling like a complete zombie when we finally got to the house here in the afternoon of the next day.

Here's me trying with all my might to even reach the seat in front of me.....Had to really stretch!!


And here we are, on the decent into Schiphol, feeling pretty danged happy....
Holy Moly, what a difference from "steerage"! Now, I've been in First Class before, on the aforementioned Continental, and I have to say, KLM has it figured out.

Really cool power seats.
Your own little video thingy.
Gobs of room. (the byproduct of which mean diuretics be damned!)
No screaming children....

Oh, I could just go on and on.....

Probably will never happen again in my life, so it's worth while hanging on to every moment.

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Well, I've been getting too many spam comments showing up. Just a drag, so we'll go another route and hope that helps. So, we won't be hearing anything more from Mr. Nony Moose.
I guess I'll just have to do without that Gucci purse.