Having spent a 10 hour wait in Schipholl Airport we were so pleased to actually get on the huge KLM plane that was going to fly my husband and I to Shanghai. The stay in the airport hadn't been too bad and we coped very well but we were both looking forward to settling down and having a long sleep. Unfortunately this ‘long sleep’ wasn’t about to happen as we had only been sat in our seats a few minutes when the dreaded announcement came through the plane saying that there was a delay. As soon as the captain had finished speaking there was a silence and then a huge sigh from the rest of the passengers. The delay was going to be 2 or 3 hours due to the part of the plane that holds cargo being damaged. In the end the delay was only 1 hour 30 minutes. In that time we were given orange juice and chocolate biscuits while the 400 Chinese passengers phoned Shanghai to say they would be late.
Quite a few people I know complain about economy seats on long haul flights but after spending 10 hours on the top deck of our 747/400 Combi I didn’t find it too difficult. The leg room was good enough although half way through the flight I started to twitch a little. It is quite difficult to get a decent night’s sleep especially if you are sat in the middle as my husband was. He struggled to make his head comfortable even though we were given a free pillow and blanket. I was able to prop my head up with my hand underneath the pillow leaning on the window so I wasn’t too bad. I didn’t feel the need to use the blanket as I was warm enough with a T shirt and light jacket. I noticed that many Chinese passengers were wrapped in blankets.
Before climbing aboard the plane I had made my mind up not to watch the on flight entertainment but when we were delayed I changed my mind. I previewed a couple of the latest movies but wasn’t that interested. In the end Clint Eastwood’s movie about J. Edgar Hoover captured my interest and I snuggled in my seat to watch Leonardo DiCaprio do his thing. I enjoyed the movie but was pretty fed up altering the remote control which had a mind of its own and kept switching over to the main menu or turning itself off. At one stage I found myself looking at the flight food menu and what we were going to be eating that evening. It all looked pretty good and I was looking forward to my chick pea salad followed by chicken and rice and strawberry mousse for dessert. I was rather disappointed when only a soggy green salad turned up as a starter and they had run out of rice so I had to have pasta. Not a raspberry mousse in sight but the chocolate profiteroles and cream were delicious so I will let the catering services off on this occasion.
Talking of food I also thought it was wacky to receive a tub of toffee ice cream and a small glass of water at midnight. It is KLM’s policy to keep passengers hydrated throughout long flights and I think it is a very good policy to have. It gets pretty dry on the top deck of the plane. Overall, the quality of the food was good and seemed to be a large quantity. If you think in 10 hours we had 2 main meals followed by snacks in between. I certainly don’t eat this amount of food in a normal day when I am at home.
I do remember having some sleep. My husband said he thought I had a lot of sleep and he hadn’t been able to have much due to the fact that he had a bad throat virus and was unable to rest. I remember at one time thinking that the plane seemed to be racing through the air with the wind on its tail. The highest speed showing on the computerised flight details was 678 miles per hour. I find it incomprehensible to think of a great big lump of metal with 450 passengers on board floating through the clouds at this speed. I am always amazed when the plane actually gets in the air. Another statistic I spotted was the coldest air temperature at -78. It’s hard to believe. I think -28 is enough to bear when we are having a bad winter in Warsaw.
It was good to see that the temperature had risen to 28 degrees centigrade when we landed in Shanghai.
The question I have asked myself since returning from Shanghai is this: After 10 hours on this plane would I fly again with KLM to Shanghai? My answer is yes. The journey wasn’t bad at all and you certainly get the chance to observe other passengers which I always find entertaining. I have no complaints about the staff; all were helpful and pleasant. I thought the captain dealt with the delay well and kept us informed of the progress every twenty minutes or so.I will definitely be booking another flight for September and am looking forward to stepping aboard my favourite KLM 747 Combi.