As with any big trip, to say that we were excited to embark on this trip clear to the other side of the world would be an understatement of epic proportions.
It was Friday, June 8, 2018. I went to work that day and left two hours early at 3:00pm so that I could get home and help the family pack the rest of the way, so we could leave at 5:00pm and get to the Salt Lake City Airport (SLC) no later than 6pm, which was exactly 3 hours before our international departure.
The first leg of our flight was from Salt Lake City, Utah to Amsterdam Netherlands. The second leg of our flight was from Amsterdam to Saint Petersburg, Russia.
We made it through ticketing and security pretty quickly and ate a nice dinner at Cafe Rio restaurant in the Delta Airlines Terminal. Shortly after eating we headed over to the small international terminal and headed to our airplane.
The 9-Hour Flight
Both of our flights were on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Our first flight was on a Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner. This would be my first time flying on a 787 as well as the first time for be my wife and kids. I have heard a lot of talk and discussion about flying on the Boeing 787, both positive and negative. So let me give you our experience:
The time to board the plane arrived. We waited in a long line as the plane was completely full, and the 787-900 is a good size plane. We finally got to the front and the gate agent checked our passports and let us on.
As we stepped across the threshold onto the plane, we were greeted be my very friendly Dutch flight attendants who checked our boarding pass and guided us to the other side of the plane to arrive to our seats. We were seated in the back section of the plane so we made our way back.
I noticed the Economy seating was a 3x3x3 seating arrangement much like you see on the smaller version of the Boeing 777, but for some reason the cabin seemed a bit more crammed and tight on the 787. Once we arrived at our seats, I could see why. The leg room was decent, but the width of the seat was noticeably narrower than other planes I had flown. Thankfully the guy sitting next to me in our row was thin, so we made it work.
After getting settled in, I wanted to play around with the passenger window that darkens electronically rather than with a pull down shade. My daughter Ariana and I got a kick out of it.
After sitting on the at the gate for a while, we pushed back and headed toward the runway. When we went to take off, I was surprised at how quickly we rotated and lifted. Normally big planes such as the Boeing 777 or 747 take up most of the runway to lift off, but the 787 was smooth and very quick.
From there we were served dinner and then we pretty much all went to sleep. As what normally happens on a plane, we woke up often and were served another meal, and a snack. Flying toward Europe, you notice that the night is extremely short and it’s already morning.
After flying for about 9 hours, the plane powered its engines down, and we descended toward Amsterdam. We undimmed our window and it was early in the afternoon Saturday, June 9. It was so nice to see the water ways and many green fields below as we descended. We touched down in Amsterdam and taxied to the gate for a while. Once we parked, it took quite a while to empty the plane of people since we were in the back section. Once it was our turn to exit, we felt exhausted, dizzy, and a little disoriented, all typical symptoms of jet lag, but at the same time we were super excited to have a 7-hour layover and to be able to leave the airport to visit Amsterdam. More of our stay in Amsterdam on Flight to Russia – Layover in Amsterdam.
The level of service and the level of friendliness from the flight attendants was superior. They always had smiles on their faces, they were very helpful if you had questions. They were sharply dressed, well groomed, and carried a confident demeanor about themselves.
In be my opinion, this is the way services should always be on all flights. It used to be that way in the states, but unfortunately service on American Airliners has declined since the early days.
The food on the airplane was okay. We were not sitting in First Class so we got the typical instant dinner that’s heated and served on a plastic tray. Airplane food has improved overall since the earlier days of flying, but instant meals can only taste so good.
Overall Flight Experience
KLM is an amazing airline and I would highly recommend them on your next trip to Europe. Amsterdam is a major layover hub, so you can likely find a flight to your final destination of KLM.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner overall was kind of a disappointment. The width of the seat is just as important or more important than leg room. I loved the new technology, the smoothness of the flight, and the quiet cabin, but it did not make up for the lack of comfort in the tightly fitted seating arrangement. I think a 2-4-2 seating arrangement would make more sense on this plane. I will avoid flying on the 787 unless I am flying first class.