Airline: KLM Flight #: KL1431 Route: AMS-BHX Class: Economy Seat: 28A Date: Tuesday 3rd March 2020
After a great few days in and around the Dutch capital (read about those here, here and here!), we were back at the city’s Schiphol airport ready for our flight back to Birmingham with KLM. Having dropped our hand luggage off for check-in and spent a bit of time up at the viewing terrace, we headed through security and into the main departure lounge.
Schiphol is a huge airport; however all of the departure gates are connected, meaning whichever security area you use, you’ll be able to access your gate. Luckily, we had come through security into the area of departures closest to the lounge we had decided to visit, the Aspire Lounge (No. 41) which is upstairs in ‘Lounge 2’ of departures.
This lounge had amazing views of the ramp between concourses D and E and some of the taxiways, so after finding a window seat, I was well set for the wait until our flight. The lounge had the standard range of food and drink, with a couple of coffee stations dotted around and various types of seating for relaxing or doing work.
After spending a couple of hours relaxing and doing some more plane spotting it was time to head to the gate via a couple of shops to grab some stroopwaffles to take back to the UK. Our flight was leaving from gate D57 at the far end of concourse D which is about a 10-minute walk from the main departure lounge, however we had plenty of time as when we arrived, boarding had not yet begun and the ground staff were arranging people into boarding groups.
Boarding eventually started and was very efficient with the aircraft being fully boarded about 10 minutes after boarding began. Our aircraft for the flight back was one of KLM’s Boeing 737-800s, PH-BXC which joined the fleet in 1999. Although the flight was fairly busy, we lucked out and had a spare seat on our row, allowing us to spread out and use the middle seat to store our odds and ends.
We pushed back exactly on time at 1640 and were airborne from Schiphol’s runway 24 just 13 minutes later. After take off we headed towards the southwest and cross the Dutch coast over the Hook of Holland, the port you’d use if you get the ferry to/from Harwich. About 15 minutes after departure, our captain made the standard announcement updating us on how the flight was progressing and advising us that we were expected to arrive in Birmingham just 45-minutes later.
As the captain was making his announcement the cabin crew began the inflight service which, as with the flight out, consisted of a small snack box and a choice of hot and soft drinks. The snack box on this flight contained slightly less than the flight to Amsterdam with only a small egg and cheese salad wrap and a cup of water. Whilst it’s great that KLM still include a free snack and drink as part of short-haul economy flights and what was provided was find for an hour long hop to Birmingham, I hope that a slightly more substantial snack is provided for longer flights.
We crossed the coast of Great Britain over the Essex town of Sheerness with the resort town of Margate clearly visible across the Thames Estuary. Unfortunately, as we turned towards the Northwest, the clouds over England built up as we headed inland and my view of the ground was blocked until we descended below the clouds around the historic Oxfordshire market town of Banbury.
With us touching down on Birmingham’s runway 33 at 1644 local time, our total time in the air was just 51 minutes and we arrived on our stand less than five minutes later. Always taking the opportunity to do a small amount of plane spotting, I was pleased that we were able to exit the aircraft via the rear steps and walk across the apron between our 737 and an Airbus A319 on Lufthansa that had arrived just before us.
With our short adventure to The Netherlands over, I was pleased to have been able to try out the Dutch national carrier. The service provided by KLM was certainly sufficient for the short hops and the hospitality of the friendly crew was great. With Amsterdam being an easy enough airport to navigate and spend a few hours if needed, KLM are certainly high on the list for me to consider for future trips.
Lounge 0* Seat/Facilities 3* Food 3* Service 5* Punctuality 5* Overall Rating 13/25 (read about my rating system here!)