First of all, sorry for the very bad quality of the photos. It was getting dark when I departed and I found it very hard to take any decent pictures. Hopefully you will still enjoy reading/viewing my review.
Basically what happened was that I came home from my work and my parents said “we will be going to visit your grandma in London” and they booked a flight for the three of us. Totally out of the blue. A nice surprise though. My dad found some “cheap” flights and wanted me to have another check. The flights my dad had found (with KLM) were the cheapest I could find.
Booking the flight
My mum and dad would depart a day earlier than I would so when I could choose my flight my eye caught a flight to London Heathrow which was operated with a Fokker 50. I bagged my dad if I could take it (it was €30 more expensive) and he gave in. Funny enough I have been looking to fly in one of KLM’s Fokker 50s, before they all get retired spring 2010 but couldn’t find any reasonable deals.
Since I had an exam for my university when online check in started, my dad was kind enough to check me in. I asked him to select a window seat on the right hand side for this short hop. When I came home from university my boarding pass was next to my passport ready for me to take with me. My seat would be 6F. A window seat right underneath the wing. I thought that this seat would be awesome.
To the airport
When I awoke on the 19th of December I was really excited that I was going to fly in a Fokker 50 later that day. I requested the aircraft which was scheduled on my flight on the forum of Scramble (a Dutch aviation site) and it looked like my flight was going to be operated with PH-KVG.
1. The Zuidtangent bus stop at Graan voor Visch. Buses run aprox every 5 minutes
As the weather had been quite bad (some snow and very low temperatures) and it was the first weekend of the Christmas holiday, I decided to get to the airport as early as possible. At around 11:30AM I was ready to leave for the airport so I walked to the bus stop and got onto the Zuidtangent bus to Schiphol. I take this bus every day when I go to my work or to university and this bus ride only takes about ten minutes.
2. From the end of November there is a huge Christmas tree in front of the terminal building.
3. Overview over KLM’s check in area. Photo taken from restaurant called Balcony Cafe
When I arrived at the airport I walked around on landside for some while. I had a short chat with my colleagues and after I got myself some pounds from the bank I went thru security. The queue wasn’t long at all. It did not even take me five minutes to get to airside. Once at airside I noticed how busy it was that day! I haven’t seen it that busy in a long while (I go there quite often as I work there). I had a look in some shops, got some Dutch Krakelingen (biscuits) for a friend I was also going to visit in the UK, flower bulbs for my grandmother and a chicken sensation and a milkshake for myself.
4. McDonald’s in Lounge 3
I have been to KLM’s old lounge a while ago but never visited the new one at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Since I had nothing to do I went into the lounge and took a Fanta and some biscuits. The lounge didn’t impress me very much. However I liked the views from there over the tarmac. It’s also nice that you can use a computer or watch TV in the lounge.
5. KLM Crown Lounge
Since all KLM Cityhopper flights depart from the B-platform which is near the Schenger area, all Cityhopper flights to the UK depart from gate D6 where passengers board a bus which will take them to the platform. Boarding for my flight would start at 14:50 at this gate.
Gate D6 is located on the ground floor, just below gate D7 and D8. There was only one ground crew member at the gate and quite a few passengers in the queue.
After she scanned my boarding pass she handed me a new boarding pass with a new seat as well. “Your new seat will be 1C.” This shocked me because this is an aisle seat! I asked her if this could be changed but she unfriendly told me I should contact one of crew members at the exit (gate D6 has got 6 exits). Then she said “enjoy your flight”. Not that she really wished me a nice flight but this just meant “conversation ended, stop bothering me and please walk on”.
Now all disappointments started. First of all, when I looked on the monitor, I saw my flight had been delayed for 45 minutes. A forty five minute delay isn’t a nightmare but I disliked being stuck at this gate without any shops/restaurants or views of airplanes for the next three quarters of an hour.
6. Our bus would depart from exit F
There were no KLM crew members at my exit so I went to one of the other exits to ask if they could reseat me. Even though it was quite obvious I wanted to ask something they did not take notice of me until I said “Excuse me, I currently have got an aisle seat and I was wondering if this could be changed to a window seat”. First of all she didn’t think that was possible since the flight was full (overbooked in fact). Then she looked in the system and said: “o, there has been an aircraft change. The flight is now operated with a Fokker 70 instead.” At that point I nearly started crying…. The only other seat she could give me was seat 1F. In my opinion this is the worse seat in a Fokker 70. I’ve flown the Fokker 70 before and I like to be right in the back of the plane. I was very disappointed!!
I took a seat and started to read a magazine I had with me. At this point they announced that the flight was delayed because of late arrival. For an overbooked flight the terminal was quiet in my opinion.
About 15 minutes before boarding, one of the two crew members which I asked to change my seat arrived at our exit. I noticed when three passengers queued before her desk to ask something she was rude to them. “Five minutes”, she snatched and didn’t even look up to them.
Then, finally at 16:00 a bus arrived and the announcement was made that KL1025 was now ready for boarding. She apologized for the delay which was caused by a mistake/misunderstanding in the crew schedule. The announcement was only made in English. Although I think about 90% of all Dutch can speak English (very) well, I would have expected that the announcement was made in both English and Dutch.
Anyway, after my boarding pass/ pass port was checked I boarded the bus. After a 5 minute drive we arrived at our aircraft.
Airline: KLM Cityhopper
Aircraft: Fokker 70
Registration number: PH-KZU
First flight: 22/06/1995
Delivery to KLM: 03/04/2009
Previously in service with: Air France Regional, Air Littoral
Photo © Tommy Desmet
Photo © Pierre Knoblauch
Photo © Bostjan Henigaman
Photo © Remi Dallot
After some criss crossing over the platform the bus stopped at PH-KZU. At least that was a new Fokker 70 for me. I got off the bus last and was one of the last to board the plane. One of the two cabin crew members (both female btw) welcomed us onboard. I got myself a news paper and was just able to see that the cabin was still like half empty before I seated myself on 1F. Before long, boarding had completed and I looked backwards to see if seat 16F was occupied. I was more than pleasantly surprised to see that it was available. Only about 75% of the seats were actually occupied. The last two rows were completely empty. I asked one of the crew members if it was alright for me to change seats and luckily that was fine with her. Row 16 is the one but last row in the Fokker 70. It offers great views of the engine/wing and the noise is fantastic in my opinion! If it would have been occupied I would have asked (and suggested actually) that person to change seats with me because the seats in the front of the Fokker 70 are very quiet and most passengers want to have their flight without the bothersome noise of the engine right next to them.
7. Boarding PH-KZU
Soon the captain introduced himself and he apologized for the delay. “This flight was scheduled to be operated with a Fokker 50 but because of it having broke down, this flight is now operated with a Fokker 70”. So this delay was caused by a late arrival, shortage of crew and a broken down Fokker 50??. What I am sure of however is that the flight partly got delayed because the flight plan was not yet in the aircraft (captain informed us about this). This announcement was only made in English since the captain on our flight was English. All other KLM staff were Dutch on this flight.
8. View from seat 16F
After about five minutes the engines were finally started and we began rolling to the runway. This afternoon they used runway 24 for takeoff which meant a very short taxi. Cabin crew was still able to demonstrate safety procedures in both Dutch and English.
9. Note the duck tape around the arm rest.
Fokker 70s do not lower their flaps on takeoff but since the flight was in the evening and it was getting dark outside the cabin lights were turned off completely. After we turned onto the runway I could hear and feel the engines blasting right next to me. We were in air shortly and the announcement was made that we soon were allowed to leave our seat. After some right hand turns we were headed towards the west and the lights fasten seat belt were turned off and the cabin lights were turned back on again.
10. Shortly after takeoff we flew into the clouds. It was already dark outside.
Since I couldn’t really see much outside the window I had a better look at the cabin. The first thing I noticed is that it didn’t have the normal KLM Cityhopper seats. When I saw the French titles on the tray table in front of me I realized that this must be an ex-Regional plane. It wasn’t bad but I prefer Cityhopper’s own cabin to this one. I had absolutely nothing to complain about the legroom. It was more than enough for me. However I am not very tall at all.
11. The Fokker 70 is a quite comfortable aircraft. Leg room was sufficient.
Shortly service on today’s flight started. I got a sandwich with ham and cheese and the stewardess offered me two (or more if I wanted to) drinks. They didn’t have any Sprite or Fanta so I had an Orange juice and a glass of water. The sandwich tasted ok, nothing to get excited about but still very nice to get.
When I finished my sandwich I used the toilet in the back of the plane. Unfortunately there was no water to wash my hands. I took some photos of the cabin before I returned back to my seat. One of the flight attendants probably saw me taking some photos and came to me and kindly requested not to take any photos of the crew. I told her I hadn’t and she replied it was fine for me to take photos of the aircraft.
13. That’s me. Right in front of the Rolls-Royce Tay Mk.620. Can you only imagine the noise?
After about 20 minutes of flying the captain announced that we had started our descent into the London area. “We will not stay in hold for long so we will probably arrive in about 25 minutes”. At this point it had completely turned dark outside. Unfortunately I was not able to take any good photos anymore since my camera didn’t focus anymore. We turned over central London and made our way into runway 27R.
14. Descending above London.
Touchdown was very smooth but the plane put on the brakes very VERY hard. When we nearly stood still on the runway the engines began blasting again and for one second I thought we had to take off again. However, I think there was another aircraft closely behind us which made us have to clear the runway as quickly as possible.
Since KLM uses terminal 4 at Heathrow we had to taxi all the way to the other side of the airport. About 10 minutes later we arrived at our parking location and the engines were shut down and the door was opened shortly afterwards.
Before I deboarded the plane, I off course asked if I was able to have a quick look around on the flight deck. That was no problem and I spend about 2 minutes in the cockpit talking to the captain. Then I walked down the plane stairs and entered the terminal building.
15. Thanks to the captain who made this photo possible
Thank you very much for reading this flight review. I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any comments/suggestions please let me know.
Former flight reviews:
Great Flight With Baboo
Planned flight reviews:
Blasting Away To CPH With SAS (subject to change; expected 2 January 2010)