7.7.14

Flying Vintage with #RetroKlm

How do you feel about flying? I have to be honest I'm a bit of a wimp and despite numerous flights I still get a little nervous but when KLM invited me to join them to celebrate their 95th anniversary by being their guest on an original Dakota DC-3, nervousness gave way to excitement because what a unique opportunity! (95th anniversary! 95th! I had no idea this airline had such a long history)

Thanks to the events official photographers All-About-Image for this fab image

How many people get to even go on plane that was in service during WW2 never mind take a flight in it? Some opportunities are too priceless to miss and several days after the flight I'm still feeling thrilled about it and even as I type this I can feel my chest get that sensation when your heart feels like it might burst with excitement.
The first planning was what to wear for such an event and fortunately I had this vintage dress I'd picked up for less than £5 a few years ago. I call this my air hostess dress so it seemed suitably apt! 
My afternoon began as all days with a Y in should (if only my world was that decadent) and that's with champagne which was accompanied with some rather beautiful delicate cakes and the very fabulous Jonathan Wyatt Big Band. I've heard so much about this band but never caught them live so this was an unexpected and much enjoyed treat in itself. 
On lead vocals was Phil Watson who is a handsome silver fox who I once used to work with in what feels like another life. So, I'm currently drinking fizz, surrounded by cake and I have a handsome man singing rat pack music to me. Technically he was of course singing to everyone in the airport but let's not ruin the dream! 
Then it was through security followed by a short wait before we could get out on the tarmac and meet our plane who it turned out was a beautiful old girl named Prinses Amalia.


We met our captain who told us about the history  including the fact the plane took a German bullet and that after the war the plane was used by the Dutch Royal family. Unlike when you normally board a plane and you're ushered straight on we actually got to hang out on the tarmac and walk around the plane, under the wings etc. It was just astonishing to see all the details and the craftsmanship.

After climbing on board (literally!) the walk to my seat was interesting, it was like walking up a very steep hill, totally different from your average plane experience and it was spacious too. Once up in the air we were treated to more fizz and were free to roam around .

KLM were excellent at encouraging us to take selfies and it was indeed a mid air selfie frenzy!

My flight took me over Norfolk and as we were only flying at 12,000 feet the view was amazing, including a huge sandbank packed with seals, which just topped off the day really when I was already thinking it couldn't get any better.
A massive thanks to KLM for inviting me to be part of your anniversary and thanks also to the staff at Norwich airport whose enthusiasm for the event was positively infectious! 

So that was my day and I even have a certificate to prove it! 

If you pop over to Twitter and search #RetroKLM you'll see tweets from others who were part of the celebrations from all over the country, it's been lovely scrolling through and seeing the experience through other people's tweets.

*this link will very much make you want/need a weekend away in Amsterdam, I'm already checking my diary to see when I can fit a trip in! 



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3 comments

  1. I went on a DC-3 flight over Essex back in 2008 and I can still remember it vividly too. You're absolutely right about boarding - it's great fun climbing the ladder and through the double doors, isn't it? And the same thing happened to me too, I forgot it was a "tail-dragger" and was thrown for an instant by the incline!

    How lucky you were and what a great, well-organised event by KLM and Norwich Airport. My experience 6 years ago was part of the DC-3's farewell tour (because new UK flight regs were making it impossible for UK-based passenger carrying operations) so well done to KLM for bringing one in from Holland for their 95th anniversary. Looks like you had a wonderful time!

    P.S. How did you find the actual flying experience? I remember how struck I was with the modern feeling in the air - almost the equal to today's propellor-driven aircraft (and the one I flew in was used by RAF Coastal Command in WW2 to tow gliders, not just an airliner, too!).

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    1. Well Bruce, how lucky are we both to have flown this way?! It was much quieter than I expected I have to say, not being blasted by air conditioning was a bonus, but the smell of fuel was quite strong. The whole experience was brilliant, I'm glad you enjoyed yours too. I wonder if we'll get lucky enough to do it again?

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