The KLM and KLM Cityhopper service link a number of UK regional airports to the main KLM hub at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. With an actual flight time of less than an hour from most of these UK airports, getting to Amsterdam can be quick and easy.
Surprisingly, despite the very short flight they still have time to serve you a complimentary cup of coffee and a slice of cake!
Most passengers on the KLM / KLM Cityhopper service transfer at Schiphol onto long-haul flights. For most people, leaving from your local airport can be much easier than fighting the motorway traffic up to London Heathrow.
Check-In At Birmingham Airport
Checking-in can be a mixed experience with pros and cons. Firstly, most Cityhopper planes are relatively small, like the Embraer E-Jet. These carry less than 90 passengers so usually there are not many people queuing at the check-in desk. However, as the majority of passengers are transferring at Amsterdam, they can take longer at the desk to sort out the onward flight. Unusually, we were on the KLM Boeing 737 which is the largest plane they use on this route.
Apart from the size of the plane, there is not really any difference between KLM and the KLM Cityhopper service.
Getting through Birmingham airport was relatively painless and the food, shopping and lounge area was quite spacious. As frequent visitors to the USA, we must admit that the UK security staff are generally more polite and helpful than their American counterparts. Also, UK airports seem to have more security staff at peak periods as opposed to leaving New York’s JFK where they think 2 staff is adequate to process 6 departing 747’s, anyway, that’s another story.
Luckily all passengers made it to the gate on time, no one mysteriously disappeared between check-in and the plane. Also, there was an airbridge to the plane and not the dreaded airport bus and as a result, we all boarded quickly and the flight departed on time.
On Board KLM To Amsterdam
As mentioned, we were on the Boeing 737 with its usual 3:3 seating. We actually prefer the Cityhopper Embraer, although smaller, the 2:2 configuration does feel more spacious when seated.
As Birmingham is a relatively small airport, the taxi time to the runway was quite short. Once airborne the staff soon came around with the food trolley. Yes, a drink and a piece of cake even on a flight of this length.
There is no entertainment system onboard but if you can’t keep yourself occupied on a flight of 50 minutes than you’ve probably got a problem. Just relax and enjoy the complimentary tea and cake and read the in-flight magazine.
Arrival At Schiphol, Amsterdam
Just as soon as the plane reached its cruising altitude and as we approached the flat Dutch coastline, it was time to descend. We actually arrived earlier than scheduled and soon we were at the gate. However, we thought things were going too smoothly and just to spoil the perfect trip they couldn’t get the airbridge attached to the plane.
For health and safety reasons they didn’t want passengers to leap the 3-foot gap to the bridge so we had to wait about 15 minutes for a set of stairs, so not too long.
As mentioned, the majority of passengers headed towards the transfer gates and there were only a few of us actually collecting our bags.
Quick tip, the train connections to and from Schiphol airport are really good and the train station is actually in the airport. Try and get your train tickets from the machine in the baggage reclaim hall before leaving. These were very quiet compared to the queues at the machines in the station concourse itself.
So before you book your next budget-air flight to Amsterdam or if you want to avoid having to get to London before a long-haul flight then KLM to Amsterdam may be an option.
Do you use the KLM Cityhopper service or do you use some other hub airport that you can fly to from your local airport? Please let us know below.