KLM 777-300ER Luxury to Manila?Luxury is in the details, but so, too, is basic service…

I was on a KLM flight from Amsterdam to Manila and, according to the Purser, I was lucky enough to be flying on the newest aircraft in their fleet. The Boeing 777-300ER (check it out on seat guru), proudly marked on its nose “National Park de Hoge Veluwe,” had a few nice features including a big screen personal video system. The personal “filing” and organization facilities of the seat were above average (if compared with the US national business class in any event). The seat lay back into a “flat seat” if still at quite a slope (meaning that I kept sliding down to the bottom). It was a rather hard seat as well (not easy on the ‘ole bones, especially if you turned on your side). But, the main reason I wanted to write about this flight was the absurdity of the headphone plug. The headphones, featuring a fancy noise reduction button, had to be plugged into a socket that was located deep left below seat level. In order to plug it in, one has to do a seriously awkward and somewhat painful contortionist manoeuvre. To make matters worse, the sound would only be work if I kept pressure on the little plug (with my arm bent backward as if I were a duck swimming). It turned out that a second headphone fixed the sound problem.

The question is: how on earth does one allow the engineer who “invented” this new seat to fail to consider such a practical matter as plugging in the headphones? KLM’s investment in the big screen and the large selection of films was all but lost on me in the titanic struggle to plug in the headphones.

Luxury is in the details, but at a certain level, basic service is too. Does anyone else have any other examples of such “luxury” mistakes?

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