I N T R O D U C T I O N
Since 2002 I have been a member of KLM's frequent flyer programme. Until 2005, I earned Miles in KLM's Flying Dutchman programme. From 2005 onwards, I have been a member of Flying Blue.
I am not a very active member. Two return flights per year has been the maximum for me. I have however, collected a reasonable amount of Miles on three transatlantic return flights.
So when I received an e-mail from KLM saying that my Miles would soon expire I got a little worried. It is Flying Blue's policy that you must fly at least once every 20 months to keep you earned Miles. The last time I flew with KLM (or one of KLM's partners) was Christmas 2009. This meant that in order to keep my Miles I had to book a flight. I had to book a flight (and fly it) soon.
The Paris Air Show was the first thing that came to my mind. In that way I would both keep my Miles and have an enjoyable weekend. When looking at the dates I found out that this was not such a good idea after all. Just two days after that weekend, I would leave for my study trip to Bogota and I knew I needed just a little bit more preparation time for that big trip.
After some days of deep thinking I decided to join my parents who were going to visit my grandma in London. Definitely not my first choice but the best choice at that moment.
KLM flies to London Heathrow and London City from Amsterdam. I have never flown from or to the City before so I really wanted to fly from/to that airport. However, as my outbound flight was on Saturday, I could not fly to LCY. So my outbound flight had to go to Heathrow. I could choose between a flight operated by an 737-800 or a flight operated by a Fokker 70. Of course, I choose the Fokker 70 flight. Flying back from the City on Monday was possible and the flight was just €4 more expensive than the flight to Amsterdam from London Heathrow. I booked: AMS-LHR; LCY-AMS. Ticket price: €160. Not particulary cheap.
C H E C K – I N
I've got this real neat KLM application on my Android phone. You can book flights, manage your booking and check in online with it. I have always wondered how this would work. So why not give it a try.
The KLM App
Step 1: Go to "Inchecken" (check in)
Step 2: Insert e-ticket number and flight number
Step 3: Personal details
Step 4: Bagage and seat details
Step 5: Select seat. Of course I went for seat 16F: by far the best seat on the Fokker 70.
Step 6: Sent boarding card to your e-mail/cell phone.
All went well until I wanted to send my boarding card to my cell phone. I had to select which phone (brand and type) I wanted to send it to. I use an Sony Ericsson Xperia. Although I could see nearly all phone manufactures in the list, Sony Ericsson was absent. What a shame. Still I could just send my boarding pass to my e-mail and open my e-mail on my cell phone. So no big deal!
As I found this new KLM application very handy, I decided to test some of KLM's other new features. I used their Facebook site to ask two questions. First, I asked about why I could not select Sony Ericsson and secondly I asked which Fokker was scheduled to operate my flight.
KLM answered both questions very quickly saying that they were still working on the app and that Sony Ericsson would soon be available. No plane yet was scheduled to operate KL1025. I must say that this social media works very well with KLM! Keep up the good work!
As Schiphol does not only show the aircraft type for the flight but also shows the registration number of the aircraft on the day of departure, I checked the morning of departure. To my delighted surprise, the flight was not scheduled to be operated with a Fokker 70 but with a Fokker 100! PH-OFM was planned for our flight. One of the five remaining Fokker 100 in KLM Cityhopper's fleet. I think they are not scheduled for specific routes any longer so it has become very difficult to catch one. So when I found out, I immediately changed my seat. Seat 21F was my new seat.
P R E F L I G H T
By bus it only takes 10 minutes to get from my home town to the airport. However, we decided to go early because we had some things to do and see at Schiphol. First of all we wanted to see the Schiphol Park and we had to change my mother's Flying Blue account details. So we were at the airport nearly three hours prior to boarding time.
Arrival hall 2. Party shut off due to reconstruction work.
Flight information screen in hall 1.
The lady at the baggage drop off was uninterested and to be quite honest not friendly at all. What a shame, I thought. KLM should separate themselves from the low cost carriers (like Ryanair) with friendly staff.
We went thru security at departure hall 2 (so into the non-Schengen area) and asked an airport staff member for the Airport Park. "It's on the Schengen side", she said. Bad luck: no Airport Park adventure this time.
Tax Free shopping area.
A KLM Boeing 777-200ER leaving the gate.
Then we tried to go to the KLM lounge to change the account name of my mum's Flying Blue account. The person at the frontdesk refused to let us in because we were not gold members and we were not flying business class. She wasn't very willing to help us either. So now what? The only Flying Blue desk was in the lounge which we couldn’t get in to.
Gate D6 is on the ground floor underneath all other gates.
I wish KLM would fly these birds inside Europe.
KL1025 is now boarding (instappen).
Boarding would start at 15:30 so at 15:15 we headed towards gate D6. All KLM Cityhopper flights to non-Schengen countries depart from here. The gate has got several exits. Our flight departed from exit G.
Airline: KLM Cityhopper
Aircraft: Fokker 100
Registration number: PH-OFM
First flight: 13 December 1993
Delivery to KLM Cityhopper: 13 January 2006
Previously in service with: Midway Airlines and Pelita Air Service
Photo © Johannes Kreutzer
Photo © Jonas Herjeby - Ostersund Photography
Photo © Ruud Brinks - Aerospray
Photo © Thomas Posch - VAP
At 15:35, boarding was announced. First in English then in Dutch: "A bus will take you to the aircraft".
I queued the line and opened my boarding pass on my cell phone. When I got to the front of the queue, I had to scan the barcode of my boarding pass by putting my cell phone under a scan machine. It didn't work at first but after zooming in a little on the barcode it scanned it and I could board the bus.
Soon all passengers were on the bus and the bus started driving. We drove from the D-pier all the way to the B-platform, from where all KLM Cityhopper flights depart. On the platform were a lot of Embraer 190s and Fokker 70s and just one or two Fokker 100s. One of which was PH-OFM. Our bus stopped right next to this plane.
One of Arkefly's 737-800.
A KLM ERJ-190. Still need to get my first ride on one of them.
Choose your plane.
Hello Fokker 100!
Up the stairs we go.
That engine is quite a bit to the back.
Last step on Dutch ground.
I was one of the last to board the plane. I was welcomed by one of the flight attendants on this flight. She seemed friendly. The Fokker 100 was bigger than I expected it would be. It was quite a long walk to my seat: 21F. My seat was perfect. The view outside the window was just the view I wanted to have. And right next to the engine.
Walking down the aisle while boarding.
The female flight attendant welcomed us on board in both English and Dutch. The first officer informed us about our flight. We would depart from runway 24 and would probably land on runway 27 at London Heathrow, he said. Nice to get this information.
Together with the (male) flight attendant on board, the female flight attendant performed the safety demo while our captain turned on the left engine. We taxied to the Polderbaan with just one engine running.
This would be my view for the next 60 minutes. Not bad at all.
Leaving the parking stands.
Can you imagine the sound when the engine is so close?
Cabin while taxiing.
Crossing the Hoofdvaart.
The sound of the engines was as usual in Fokker jets very good in the back. The take off role was a little unstable, I could feel the plane going from the left to the right and back to the left again but soon we were in the air. I could still feel the crosswind. We made some left hand turns and after just a minute or so the engines were not blasting in my air any longer and we slowly climbed to our cruising altitude.
Turning onto the runway.
And lift off.
In the air.
Amsterdam in the distance.
Dutch lands below.
Turning left towards the UK.
After about ten more minutes the in flight service started. I was surprised to get a sandwich on this short flight. I just expected a snack on this short hop. Great! I got an orange juice with it. The flight attendants were really friendly. The female flight attendant's English was surprisingly good. I would say she was a native English.
Climbing to cruising altitude.
Cheese and chicken (?).
View from up front.
After I finished my sandwich I explored the cabin a little more. As mentioned earlier it was quite a bit longer than the Fokker 70. As always on this kind of planes, at the front of the plane it is very quiet. The further you go back the louder it gets.
The seats were comfortable and the leg room was enormous! Really a lot of space. Overall the cabin was a bit dated. Check out the pictures for yourself.
Overhead panel. Outdated I would say.
Legroom was better than on some transatlantic flights I've been on.
Safety is always important.
View from other side of plane.
View outside my window.
We descended into the London area after only 40 minutes. Our captain yet again gave us an update on our flight. We were put on hold for some time. We made some amazing turns thru the clouds before we made out final right hand turn above the city of London. The views were amazing. I also made some video's with my cell phone which I have uploaded to youtube.
Link to youtube movie 1
Link to youtube movie 1
Already descending into London area.
UK country side.
Can you detect any London landmarks?
Right over the center of London.
A close up view of London.
Lowering flaps with the London Eye outside my window.
Gliding into London Heathrow.
Many spotters will recognize this street.
And touch down!
Taxiing to the gate.
After landing, the male cabin crew member advised me to not take any more photos. Apparently the security measures at London Heathrow got even stricter recently. Anyway, so far this trip report. I hope you enjoyed reading it.
PS: I'm currently working on a flight review about an Aires flight which I took recently and I may also be doing a review about my Iberia experience to Bogotá. Stay tuned!
Former flight reviews:
Truly Irish: Aer Arann
My First Turboprop Flight With FlyBE
Blasting away to CPH on a SAS MD-82
Goodbye to KLM’s F50, or not?
Great flight with Baboo