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KLM Comfort Economy?

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Any recent experience with the airline in Comfort Class? I'm booked from Chicago to Amsterdam in this section, on the two seat side of the aisle, bulkhead window and praying it won't as horrible an experience as my recent r/t to Spain brought Munich on UA Economy Plus. I'm done with changing planes, only want direct from now on.

I have until midnight tonight to cancel without a change fee, so HELP!
Thanks. :)

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    I'm curious as to why your recent trip on UA EP through Munich was horrible? I'm considering this route in EP with the hope of upgrading to Business with miles. Sorry, I've not flown Comfort Class on KLM.

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    I, too, had been wait listed for six months prior to travel to Spain through Munich on UA. The upgrades did not come through, since the 777 aircraft have a limited number (44) of BC seats, which are assigned to the upper levels of frequent flyers. Same with AA. Likelihood of the upgrade is nil unless the aircraft has a larger BC capacity, in my experience.

    Charges of $1313 for the basic airfare, then 40,000 miles plus $1,025, also reserving r/t seats in EP to the tune of $275, total outlay approximately $2,600, plus $25 for speaking to a real person. Puleeze!, UA refunds both miles and dollars immediately after the flight if the upgrade is not available. But, holding on to $1,025 for six months, just in case, does not sit well with me.

    UA is now charging for alcoholic beverages on their international flights, adding insult to injury, when the foreign carriers are not. The nickel and diming is getting so tiresome. I was on Lufthansa from Munich to Barcelona and Madrid to Muncih on the return. The difference in the treatment, quality of meals served, wide range of alcoholic drinks offered is amazing. I have maybe one or two,drinks on the plane, no more. It's the idea of being treated in such a penurious manner that is so offensive.

    Don't get me started on the off hand, barely civil treatment of flight attendants. When the good old gals are in charge it's great, as they are pleasant and accommodating. Sadly, they seem to be retiring one by one. But, heaven forbid the new breed are doing their thing. Just sit diown, shut up and don't ask for anything. They can't be bothered.

    Been a loyal to UA for over 40 years, flying both business and leisure. Guess now that I'm retired and only flying for pleasure I am no longer a valued customer, along with the rest of us in the back of the bus. I'm resigned at this point - gritting my teeth and getting from here to there so I can enjoy the travel that comes after I get off the plane, when once upon a time the plane ride itself was part of the joy. No more, alas.

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    Sorry you're experience was so unpleasant, but hope you really enjoyed your vacation.

    I need to figure out if Air Canada or Lufthansa will be offering their new premium economy product on my desired routing. That would probably be a better option. I'd prefer to accrue MP miles for this trip, but don't really care about the metal as long as it's Star Alliance.

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    My Tauck tour - A Week in Spain - was stupendous, absolutely amazing. We covered a lot of Spain in a very short time. It was a great overview which included stays at luxury hotels with wonderful meals, a fabulous tour director and a truly inspiring group of fellow travelers.

    If only the getting there and back could gave been easier. Having had my rant, I'm ready to go again right now in spite of trying to get through a serious case of jet lag. :)

    My Lufthansa experience was terrific, so hope you can find a route on that airline that works for you. I'm scheduled on a KLM r/t to Amsterdam in their Comfort Economy class this April for a Holland/Belgium river cruise. Keeping my fingers crossed that it will be a better flying experience.

    What a shame our US airlines offer such a dismal product.

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    You do have to understand the "Economy Comfort" seating is NOT "Business Class" seating. So lower your expectations and you'll be fine. The seats are a little bit wider than standard coach and have a tiny bit more leg room. That's all. The food is the same, the drinks are the same, the service is the same, the cabin is the same, you use the same loos as everyone else in COACH. The good news is that they don't cost nearly what UA charges, you do get free drinks, and the flight attendants are a bit more personable. I think United has some of the most unpleasant people in the world working for them!

    BTW: Those BC seats aren't "assigned" to the upper tier of FF. No one earns them for free. You gotta pay...either with cash or with miles to sit up front. Its almost always a better deal to pay the full fare in miles for BC seats rather than play the upgrade game. Mileage upgrades are the last in line.

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    Now that you are retired (as I am)travelchat, you have time to consider a few things.

    First, flying has never been cheaper than it is today. Read this article.

    What many see as the down side is the 'nickel and diming' that airlines now have to do. As the article says however, you can change your outlook about that.

    My personal attitude is that if it is something I can't control or change, then letting it bother me is not in my interest. Better that I change my attitude about it.

    Second, as a retiree, another thing you might want to think about is time. You have plenty of it now, you don't have to be back to work next week. When I read, "My Tauck tour - A Week in Spain - was stupendous, absolutely amazing. We covered a lot of Spain in a very short time.", I think, 'oh, what a shame.'

    We are all conditioned to a fast paced life and whatever we do, we bring that conditioning with us. UNLESS we decide to change it. It is after all only a habit and habits can be changed.

    I would never go to Spain for just a week and I would never think that I could 'cover a lot in a very short time'. That thinking is all about quantity and not about quality. If you have to be back at work next week there may be some justification for thinking that way but not when you are retired and have all the time in the world. As the saying goes, 'take time to smell the roses'.

    The common phrase people use is that they want to 'see as much as possible' but they mix up the world 'much' with the word 'many'. Quantity vs. quality. A week is perhaps a reasonable minimum amount of time to see say Barcelona. It's nowhere near enough time to 'see' Spain.

    Consider looking at LCCs (Low Cost Carriers), not just the major airlines. Consider stops as stops, not just flight connections. For example, let's say you find a flight from Chicago to Toronto for $450 return and a flight on the LCC, Air Transat to Amsterdam for $700 return from/to Toronto. You spend a couple of days in Toronto seeing the city and then go on to Amsterdam. Or you might find a cheap flight to London from Chicago and then add a Ryanair flight to Amsterdam for $100. Visit London or somewhere else in the UK for a few days and then move on.

    Travel in retirement when you have time, allows you a whole different way of looking at travel if you want to. Forget your old habits.

    Perhaps it is time to start thinking differently about travel now that you are retired travelchat. Flying is cheaper than ever (in your over 40 years past experience)and you no longer need to book tours to save yourself time and have someone else do things for you that you don't have time to do for yourself.

    If you spent say $5k on your one week tour, you could have flown and spent 2 or 3 weeks for that same money by doing things yourself. Travelling independently is always a lot cheaper than booking a tour. Spend your money on YOU, not give it to the tour company.

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    Thanks for your input, but I am traveling exactly the way I prefer at this point in my life. Short jaunts that coincide with my grand sons school breaks (i help out my daughter three days a week) with plenty of action are what I prefer. And, after ten years in the meeting planning field traveling all around the globe, I am more than happy to have someone else do all the logistical work so I can sit back and enjoy the ride. I prefer upscale hotels, excellent travel directors and good food, which I know a company such as Tauck will provide.

    Although I am very independent in that I travel solo, I very much prefer to depend on a well planned and executed tour with the few days before or after on my own being sufficient.

    As for the air, I am planning on using accumulated miles I have with AA and UA in exchange for Business or First Class and then going EP on international carriers which offer a better ride than the US carriers do - in my experience - namely AF, KLM and Lufthansa.

    Matter of fact, I am booked on KLM to Amsterdam in EP this Spring to join an Avalon river cruise through Holland and Belgium, arriving a few days prior for some exploring and museum going on my own.

    Each of us have an MO that works travel-wise and although I appreciate your thoughts, will continue to carry on in my own merry fashion.

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    I agree with you about UA flight attendants. On the return from Munich to Chicago there were two of the snippiest I've met up with in quite a while. Neither of the young men could be bothered being polite or the least bit attentive. One bit my head off for asking for the can of club soda after he handed me a glass and scolded me for not stipulating can at the onset. He and his co-worker were too busy adjusting their jackets and smoothing back their hair to be distracted by passengers. And, I was not informed about wheel chair assistance I needed until I managed to intercept one of the FA's as we were descending and he begrudgingly admitted that yes, one would be waiting for me. Usually, at some point during the flight this is confirmed.

    I have a friend who happens to be a 30 year UA flight attendant who informs me that they are on the plane simply to ensure safety, not to wait hand and foot on passengers. So that seems to be the philosophy for most, although not all. The flight over was staffed by a much more hospitable group of FA's who actually seemed to be happy to be there.

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    Travelchat, You are headed to one of my favorite cities - Amsterdam. Hubby has clients there, so we usually get over 2 or 3 times a year. We almost always stay at the Crowne Plaza near the central station. Very good location for easy access to everything via tram or canal or train. Over the years we have eaten in a lot of places, but the ones we return to time and time again are:

    Lucius - for fish. Amazing! - Spuistraat 247

    Balthazar's Keuken - for the intimate experience and delicious menu of the day. Don't miss the house special cocktail - Elandsgracht 108

    Vlaming Eten and Drinken - for the delicious food and wonderful hospitality. We usually squeeze up to the tiny bar so we can chat with the owner or his wife or daughter while we dine. Just a great family run place. Lindengracht 95 | Jordaan

    Ristorante Savini - Italian just across the street from the Crowne Plaza. This is always our "go to" place on rainy nights and they never disappoint. The food is wonderful and the staff are genuine. The lemoncello after dinner is delightful. Spuistraat 1d

    I highly recommend doing one of the canal tours by boat. Its a wonderful way to see the architecture of this beautiful city. Just do the hop on hop off boat. I think its rather inexpensive. You can stay on for the full cycle and see a lot or use it as your museum transport.

    If you happen to arrive on the correct timing for spring to see tulips, do take the train to Keukenhof Gardens. Its a lovely train ride and a beautiful day. Much more worthwhile than going to the flower market in Amsterdam or the flower auction house near the airport.


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    Thanks for the great suggestions! I will definitely plan on the hop on hop off canal boat for sightseeing as well as getting to Museum Platz. I have taken note of the restaurants which sound divine and I'll try to fit in what I can.

    I'll be staying at the Movenpick Hotel Amsterdam, the meeting spot for the river cruise. I understand it is quite close to Central Station for access to the canal boats? The hotel offers shuttle service to the station.

    Rijsttfal is something I want to try for lunch. Any recommendations for that?

    All info is much appreciated. :)

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    What suits you is of course your decision to make travelchat. I would not argue that point at all. I was really just trying to indicate that I have met many travellers who when they retire don't re-think how they travel based on the differences having more time available gives them. I can understand preferring to have someone do all the work for you. I won't even change a light fixture in my home anymore, I call my local electrician to do it. Takes him 10 minutes, costs me $60. But for travel, I've always preferred going independent. Can't stand the idea of being stuck with a group of people.

    Regarding the actual air travel and the negatives it brings, I agree that attitudes of airline staff have changed for the worse in general. I also have to admit that as I get older, I am less inclined to put up with connecting flights to save some money over a non-stop direct flight. What I actually find the most annoying is time spent in airports. All the new rules re liquids in your carry-on, taking off your shoes and belt to go through the scanner etc. are a real pain in the butt. I used to show up for an international flight 2 hours ahead of flight time. That now pretty much guarantees you would miss your flight. Now I allow 3 hours.

    Can't comment on Amsterdam, haven't been there since my 20s when I was attracted to the legal canabis factor.

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    In full agreement re: the light bulb routine, as well as direct flights. After this last experience of 20 travel hours door to door, I'm so done. From now on, if here's no direct flight, I ain't going.

    I've been more than happy with the last two tours I've taken, both happen to have been with Tauck. Each group was comprised of amazingly eclectic but surprisingly "like minded" individuals that it was a pleasure to get to know and spend time with.

    I hope my upcoming Avalon river cruise does not disappoint, having chosen this company over Tauck, based on their itinerary. Only time will tell.

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