KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flies the Airbus A330-200 aircraft as flight KL681 between Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) and Vancouver International Airport (YVR). The aircraft offers a passenger capacity of 268 in a three-class configuration.
There are 18 flat-bed seats in World Business (C) in a 2-2-2 configuration. The World Business seats have a width of 25.5 inches (65 cm) and a pitch of 60 inches (152 cm). There are 36 seats in Economy Comfort (W) in a 2-4-2 configuration with a seat width of 17.5 inches (cm) and a pitch of 35 inches. In the Economy (Y) cabin, there are 214 standard seats in a 2-4-2 configuration with a width of 17.5 inches (cm) and a pitch of 31 inches (cm).
KLM Flight 681 departs AMS at 15:00 hours and arrives at YVR the same afternoon at 15:55 hours, with a block time of 9 hours and 55 minutes. This article reviews the Main Economy (Y) cabin onboard the Airbus A330-203 (registration PH-AOC).
I was transferring from Berlin (BER) on a short intra-Schengen flight with KLM. The departure lounge at AMS was small and overcrowded with passengers. Speaking to a boarding agent, there were only a handful of empty seats on the flight. The boarding began right on time, 40 minutes before the departure time.
With six agents and multiple open lanes, the boarding was quick. Despite a cold and windy day in Amsterdam, the cabin was toasty. It felt like the air conditioner had not been turned on. Did they even have a functioning APU? Perhaps not.
The economy cabin
The economy cabin on KLM’s A330 fleet recently went through extensive refurbishment. The seat features a bluish-grey breathable fabric with a KLM-blue leather headrest. Each seat features an HD touchscreen display with a brand-new inflight entertainment system.
I was seated in seat 22G, an aisle seat in the middle section. The cushioning on the seat was comfortable, with a sturdy handrest. Along with the IFE screen, the seat featured a USB port and two earphone points. The tray compartment holds flight safety cards and an in-flight magazine.
The cabin interior shows subtle use of the KLM blue color, which complements the bluish-grey seats. Each economy seat also has a soft KLM-blue blanket and flexible wired earphones. The economy cabin also featured in-flight WiFi access. The instant-messaging access was free, with paid top-ups available depending on need.
The refurbished economy cabin has a pass-through alley in the middle economy section. That means the area in the middle section, which is generally used for bassinet/extra legroom, has been blocked by a wall. That provides an alley for the cabin crew to pass through the aisle and passengers to easily access the lavatory on both sides without hopping over first-row passengers. The alley also serves as an excellent stretching space on long flights.
A brief delay
Fifteen minutes before the scheduled departure time, the pilots introduced themselves and announced that the doors had been closed and that we would push back ten minutes before the scheduled time. Fifteen minutes later, the pilot announced they could not start the engines with the external power source. It would be a brief delay until they found a different power source.
Twenty minutes later, the two GE CF6-80E engines powered up, and the air conditioner kicked in. Shortly after, the aircraft pushed back and began the takeoff roll 35 minutes after the scheduled departure time.
Two meals and a snack is offered on the flight to Vancouver. The main meal (dinner) was served over an hour after takeoff. I had requested a special (Halal) meal served a little before the cabin service began. There were three entrée options, which was somewhat surprising for me. Passengers could select from a choice of Chicken Biryani, Meatballs and Rice, and Vegetarian Pasta.
The family of three passengers next to me took some time to decide (among themselves) which meal option to choose. The only other airlines that I have experienced offering three entrée choices in the economy were Emirates (DXB–JFK and DXB–LAX) and Etihad Airways (AUH–LHR).
Having a specialized meal, I was handed a Pulled Jackfruit Biryani. Alongside, there was fresh green salad, French dressing, and a piece of vegan apple cake. The entrée was hot, playful, and bland. I had to request some seasoning to bring out flavors. The apple cake was moist and flavorful.
The dinner was served with various juices, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages. Shortly after dinner, a choice of tea or coffee and a decadent chocolate tartlet was offered.
The cabin lights were dimmed after the main meal cleanup. The cabin crew offered to assist passengers with blankets and any additional needs before it was time to rest. With several young children in the cabin, the crew was seen helping families long after the meal service.
I was able to take a quick one-hour nap in between the TV shows. The adjustable leather headrest came in handy during napping on a packed economy cabin. It was well-cushioned and super comfortable. If you sit up straight, the headrest can adjust down to the neck height, removing the need for a neck pillow.
Snack and lunch
About six hours into the flight, passengers were served a cold sandwich and a water bottle. The choices include an egg salad sandwich and a vegan sandwich. I was served a vegan sandwich with hummus, vegetables, and pomegranate seeds. While the sandwich was a little too cold for my taste, it was fresh and flavorful.
Exactly 90 minutes to the destination, cabin lights were back on, and the lunch service began. Passengers were served a hot burrito wrap (chicken or vegetarian), a pack of chickpea salad, and a side of fresh fruits. My vegetarian wrap has spiced potatoes, green peas, and some greens.
The wrap was served piping hot and was the most flavorful meal out of the three. The chickpea salad was fresh and aromatic. Once again, various juices, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages were served. Shortly after lunch, a choice of tea or coffee was also offered.
Following a delayed departure from Amsterdam, the flight arrived in Vancouver about ten minutes behind schedule. The de-boarding process was surprisingly quick as the doors opened even before many passengers were ready to walk out.
Have you flown on a long-haul flight with KLM? How was your experience? Tell us in the comments section.
KLMIATA/ICAO Code: KL/KLMAirline Type: Full Service CarrierHub(s): Amsterdam Schiphol AirportYear Founded: 1919Alliance: SkyTeamAirline Group: Air France-KLMCEO: Marjan RintelCountry: Netherlands