KLM Airbus A330 Economy Review: Amsterdam to Kuwait

I don’t think Kuwait is all that popular as a tourist destination. My reason for going was to visit some Canadian friends who now teach here. This was my fourth trip to the country in the last five years, although my second in the past nine months. My three other flights were with British Airways, Turkish Airlines, and FlyDubai. This trip would be on KLM’s Airbus A330, complete with their refurbished interior. This round-trip flight was a relative steal at €336 ($377 USD). You can check out a KLM Business Class review on a 777 here.

Schiphol KLM Planes
Walking through Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, surrounded by KLM widebody aircraft outside.

The trip started with a connecting flight from Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) to Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS). I dislike Paris with a passion. While it’s not impossible to get to the airport and transfer between terminals, it certainly feels a lot more confusing and chaotic than other airports. The Air France lounge was incredibly crowded; not all that surprising for a Monday morning.

With a late landing from CDG and lengthy lineups at Passport Control upon arrival, my time at AMS was shorter than planned. Nevertheless, I raced to the non-Schengen Crown Lounge to get a small meal and get some work done. A review of that lounge will come at a later date!

Boarding

In case you didn’t know, Gate E24 is really far from the middle of the airport. I got my exercise in for the day getting there, that’s for sure. Boarding was relatively painless. I showed up at the gate and was surprised to see that there were no massive queues to get onboard. The Sky Priority boarding was just about finished and as a Flying Blue Gold member I just made it in. My boarding pass refused to scan properly, probably because it was scrunched up in my pocket all morning. I was sent to the desk at the gate where the unfriendly gate agent handled ‘special cases’.

Gate E24 at Schiphol
Gate E24 at Schiphol
KLM A330 PH-AOA
My Airbus A330 to KWI. Registration PH-AOA.

Onboard the plane KLM flight attendants greeted us just inside the door. After entering, I was just a few steps to my “Preferred Seat” at 11J.

Boarding the aircraft
Boarding the aircraft
Seat 11J - KLM A330
Seat 11J on a KLM A330
The view from seat 11J
The view from seat 11J

Legroom issues

I probably have the largest backpack you can fit under the aircraft seat in front of you. As a single-bag-traveler, it’s a 30L backpack that I like to have with me at all times since all my tech is in there, which I need access to during the flight. This includes my laptop, external hard drive, charging cables, etc.

It’s the one redeeming factor of having a Ryanair middle-seat: lots of space for my backpack! And of course once we’re in the air I can put the bag under my knees and stretch out. However, every now and then my plan to have this bag with me is completely messed up because of the IFE electronics box housed under the seat.

I recall being on some old Air France A330s and have one-third of my legroom occupied by such a box. At seat 11J there was indeed one of these boxes fixed to the underside of the seat in front of me. This meant I couldn’t stow my backpack completely under the seat. Luckily no one was occupying the seat beside me so I stowed my bag in front of that one.

KLM under-seat
Under the seat in front of me was the electronics box for the IFE with life jacket attached beneath it. As a result my backpack couldn’t fit under.
Legroom
At 181cm – almost six feet tall – the legroom at this seat was totally fine.

After settling in and waiting for the plane doors to close I took a look around. The plane was about 20% full! Great news for me, not so good for the airline’s bottom line.

Empty KLM flight
Taken after the plane doors were closed. It was a very empty flight.
KLM Seat
I really appreciate the little things like these ‘coat hooks’ to hang jackets and sweaters on.

The inflight entertainment system (IFE)

I was thankful that KLM put some effort into upgrading their old Airbus A330 interiors and IFEs. I have flown on their old 747s numerous times and while I love the “Queen of the Skies”, it certainly isn’t the best experience with their worn and tired interiors.

The new IFEs are the same you would find on the airline’s newer 777s. The touchscreen responds quickly, you can plug in your own headphones without an adapter and there is a USB charging port. What more do you need, right?

Trip summary
The IFE showing a summary of the trip
Map
The 5.25 hour journey to the Middle East
Headphone jacks and USB charging at every seat
Headphone jacks and USB charging at every seat

Meal Service

The choice of meals in economy was “chicken or pasta”. It made me miss what Air France does in economy: distribute little menus with elegant descriptions of meal options. At least there’s less paper waste this way…

Below are photos of the lunchtime service. My pasta selection was a cream sauce with a mix of chopped olives and string beans. The fresh salad came with a small bottle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar mix. Warm bread came with the meal, as did cheese and crackers and a small muffin/cake dessert. It all tasted great – no complaints from me.

Inflight issues

The flight had a good start but in finishing my laptop work I got to see more flaws with their IFE systems…

KLM IFE
Things looked great at first with a wide selection of the latest movies…
KLM IFE
But as I went further through the options I realized a good 70% of the content was unavailable.
KLM IFE
TV, Music, Games – all not available on this flight.
The IFE for the seat beside me wouldn’t work at all!
Flight tracker
In the middle of the journey the flight tracking information stopped working as well

Other cabin photos during the flight

A330 Interior
The interior of the KLM Airbus A330. The flight was rather empty.
Lavatory
A very standard lavatory
Sink
A very standard lavatory sink

The rest of the flight

Being only a five hour flight I wasn’t too worried about the lack of entertainment available. I’ve been trying to reduce my screen time anyway! Cabin lights were dimmed shortly after meal service, post-meal coffee and tea service, and garbage collection. The flight was fairly uneventful the rest of the way to Kuwait.

Before landing we were served a small snack and had drinks again. In this case the snack was a hot mini-pizza. This wasn’t all that good. But to be fair, it’s hard to serve good pizza on a plane.

Dim cabin
Cabin lights were dimmed for the majority of the flight
Tasty pizza
The KLM pre-landing snack
Pizza
This “tasty pizza” wasn’t great. Standard for airplane food though.

Conclusion

I’m a low-maintenance and easy person to please. I never ask for much nor do I need too much. So from my perspective it was a decent flight. Despite a delayed departure we still managed to arrive on time. The crew were pleasant, friendly and easy to talk to.

AMS-KWI
The flight path for this journey Photo: FlightRadar24

The main issue was the IFE system, with so many entertainment options unavailable as well as IFE flight tracking malfunctioning. I probably should have let them know so that they could resolve the issue for future passengers but I couldn’t be bothered – it had been a long day.

I’ll conclude with some out-the-window photos, just because!

Schiphol Control Tower
Departing Schiphol
Kuwait City
Flying over Kuwait City

All photographs are by the author.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recommended: