In today’s travel world, its hard to ‘fly the friendly skies.’ Â Airlines are too busy cutting costs, increasing fees and merging to take careÂ of their customers.Â The bright fluffy cloud in the friendly skies for me is KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, now celebrating 90 years in the business making them the oldest airline in the world still working under its own name.
I’ve flown KLM often in the last 4 years mostly in coach and always lovely.Â The flight attendants are friendly and prettyÂ withlovelyÂ uniforms, they are still serving complimentary food on flights and you can always enjoy it with a complimentary wine or beer.
Special treat … I just came back from a business trip to Kuwait and had the pleasure of my first World Business Class experience on KLM with my good friend Matt. Â We had a great time and it only confirmed my love of the airline!
Here are a few more reasons why…
The Old Dutch Houses Collection!
How cute is this?Â In the early 1950’s, Royal Class passengers, as first class used to be called,Â on intercontinental flights would receive aÂ miniature KLM Delft Blue house.Â But strict international rules got in the way saying passenger gifts could only be given worth a 75Â centsÂ maximum so a competitor took KLM to court.Â KLM said “what gift? we’re just giving our passengers a last drink on the house and it happens to be in a minature house.” And so the tradition continues.Â There are 90 of them…all replica’s of Dutch houses with numbers and stories to tell.Â Every year 725,000 miniatures filled with original Dutch gin from the world’s oldest distilled brand Lucas Bols and 100,000 empty houses are loaded on board (you get empties when traveling to ‘dry’ countries like Kuwait).Â And this is serious collector business… when the flight attendants come out with trays at the end of the flights passengers whip out their tracking charts so they are sure not to get a replica.
They have a wine buyer!
Ger Bergkotte, is KLM’s wine buyer and leads an expert panel in blind tastings to chose every wine.Â Only wines with a majority vote by the panel make it on board.Â I tried a few great ones on board including their current Special Red Wine: Mas des Dames, La Dame 2008, Coteaux du Languedoc, France.Â Owned by a Dutch couple, Lidewij van Wildgen and Adrien Kuiper, since 2002 this 18th century domain restored all vine plots to their natural balance, uses no pesticides or insecticides, and sorts the hand picked grapes by hand.Â La Dame, a blend of Grenache, Carignan (from 60-year-old-vines, never tried that kind before!) and Syrah, is a nice deep red clor with full ripe black fruit taste.
If you’re looking for a friendly sky experience in coach or business, try KLM.Â You won’t be disappointed!
* Source: House No. 90 A tribute to the KLM Houses Collection and KLM on board Food & Wine menu