2019 seems to be the year that a lot of companies and brands are celebrating their 100th birthday. KLM is one such brand who has just kicked off their 100-day countdown to their 100th birthday.
When we heard that, our first thought was: in 100 years, you’ve likely seen and experienced some amazing, entertaining and downright outrageous things. So, who better to chat to and gain insight about some of those things us every day people might never know about that happen on board an aircraft, than someone from the cabin crew! We managed to pin down Dave Koeman who has shared in 14 years of those 100 with KLM.
That one time on board a flight (with Dave Koeman):
- Hosting people who are going to adopt
As an everyday traveller, you might not know about these kinds of trips on board a flight. A lot of people that apply to adopt a child (starting a whole new kind of journey somewhere in the world) start their journey on board a flight. “I often request to be on board these flights because it is truly one of the most amazing moments to be a part of. You can see the emotion in the eyes of the adoptive parents during this incredibly special time in their lives, which is often when their journey with their new family begins. The entire crew makes a big fuss during these trips – we do champagne, provide handwritten cards and all the bells and whistles!”
- When South African choirs are on board
Some of the most memorable moments have been when the South African orchestra and choirs have been on board. “What is amazing when we have a South African choir on board is that during day flights, they more often than not start singing aloud, in unison – which creates the most incredible vibe on board! We’ve experienced the magic from the SA Orchestra, the Soweto Gospel Choir, the Drakensburg choir and more!”
- Having a chat with the grandson of a South African icon
During one flight, Dave was sitting in Business Class by himself and started chatting to a lovely gentleman. “We sat chatting for a while about anything and everything. It eventually emerged that the man was none other than the grandson of the late Nelson Mandela.”
- When the Dutch King pilots planes
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They don’t call KLM “Royal Dutch Airlines” for nothing. It is widely known that King Willem-Alexander, reigning monarch of the Netherlands, co-pilots KLM flights often (he’s a pilot and so has to get his flying hours in regularly). “King Willem-Alexander has been co-piloting KLM flights for over 20 years, which is something really cool.”
- Being on board with familiar faces from around the world
Dave has been lucky enough to be on flights with many familiar faces from around the world. Locally, he’s been on board flights with Nataniël and Kurt Darren; and globally, The Dutch Royals, the Prince of Nigeria, and many Dutch soapie stars.
- When proposals happen in the air
You see this kind of thing happen in the movies, but does it happen in real life? According to Dave, it does. And it apparently happens more often than you think!
One particular proposal (which didn’t go as smoothly as it does in the movies) that stands out for Dave is one between a US couple who were travelling to South Africa to go on safari. “During the flight, a gentleman came up to me and handed me a note about him wanting to propose to his girlfriend on board the flight. I immediately went to my purser to pull a few strings to make it happen and to make the moment as memorable as possible. We put the gentleman onto the PA system and he began the most beautiful poem, dedicated to his girlfriend. At the end of the poem, he asked her to marry him. There was just one problem– his girlfriend was so engrossed in her movie, she didn’t realise that it was her boyfriend on the PA system and that the proposal was for her! Of course she eventually realised and was absolutely over the moon.
- Finding love on a layover – in South Africa!
Dave has experienced many incredible things during layovers in cities around the world, but what is one thing which stands head and shoulders above them all for him?
“I’m from the Netherlands and during a layover in Johannesburg, 10 years ago, I found love! It was during that layover that I met my partner, Chris (who is a South African). We’re still together and live happily in South Africa.”