As the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a new aircraft in KLM’s fleet, the company has established “ambassadors” to show cabin crew members the ropes. I’m a steward in World Business Class, and an ambassador. I made 10 sequential flights and I became a fan. Let me tell you why.
It’s always exciting to fly on a new aircraft and I didn’t hesitate for a moment when I had the chance to put in my name as an ambassador. It meant taking extra training and flying more in the first few months so I could help out my co-crew members.
I was also curious to see if the increased cabin air pressure, the improved humidity, and the quieter engines would make the flight experience more pleasant.
Flight #1 — Looking for all the right things
There’s a first time for everything. The same is true for me on the Boeing 787. The first thing my colleagues and I do after boarding is to try out the business class seats.
We’re all having a grand time until one of the catering crew comes out of the galley and says, “You can have your fun, but I’m going crazy looking for all the positions!” She’s referring to the location of the trolleys and containers.
We know what she means. We also start searching wildly through trolleys and containers for the things we’ll need for the service round. With the printed manual in hand, I try to get the steam ovens and espresso machine to work.
Flight #2 — A full-fledged barista
I’ve got a new team of crew members, all of whom are new to the 787. During this—my second flight—I’m now the “old timer” in World Business Class and am churning out the espressos like a full-fledged barista. The steam ovens hold no more secrets for me and I direct my co-workers flawlessly to the right trolley or container whenever they need something.
Flight #3 — Trying out the sleeping cabin
During my third consecutive flight on the Dreamliner, I start to notice the effects of the improved air pressure and humidity in the cabin. My nose isn’t so dry and my belly isn’t so distended after the flight.
During the flight, I get to try out some of the nicer extras that this aircraft has to offer, the Overhead Crew Rest (OCR) area, for instance, the space where the crew can have a rest during longer flights. In most cases that’s an hour or two.
Yet another flight — Special lighting
After a number of flights, you get to know all of an aircraft’s ins and outs. The aircraft offers an extensive programme to light the cabin. I’ve tried out all the settings and have now come to the conclusion that the warm, dimmed setting, called Eclipse, is my favourite.
There is one thing I really do have to get used to. The aircraft is so quiet that the crew in the galley have to be very careful not to make any noise so that we don’t disturb the passengers.
Because I—in my position as an ambassador—take the same flight to the same destination, I start to recognise some of the passengers. And they recognise me. My rookie colleague receives a couple in a cheery voice by saying, “Welcome aboard our beautiful, new Dreamliner.” To which the woman responds, “Thanks. I was on this plane a week ago.” She then turns to me and says: “But I remember you from that flight.”
During my tenth and final flight as a 787 ambassador, the captain and senior purser call attention to a passenger on the tenth anniversary of his Flying Blue Platinum status. He receives Platinum status for life, a KLM Delft Blue house, a glass of champagne, a certificate, and a coupon. It’s a special moment.
Senior purser Marianne Rooth-Pieters and captain Mark van Veen.
In conclusion, I can say after 10 flights that the climate control in the cabin and the quieter engines have a significant effect on the travel experience. I arrive at the destination more refreshed, even though I’ve had to answer a ton of questions. ;)
I’ve really enjoyed revealing the Boeing 787’s secrets to my colleagues. I can say, without reservation, mission accomplished!