Our trip to Europe got off to a rocky start. Due to a record breaking snow storm in Seattle, it took us significantly longer than usual to make our flight. As a result, we arrived at check-in after check-in closed, and had to sprint to through the Airport. We thought we barely made our flight, but it turns out a last second delay was announced. This delay caused boarding to be over 30 minutes late. While our Delta flight from Seattle to Amsterdam was nothing short of fantastic we ended up arriving in Amsterdam late. It left us little time to make our flight on KLM Economy from Amsterdam to Basel.
Transferring at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
Our initial flight on Delta was actually a reschedule. We initially intended to fly on an Air France A380 to Paris and transfer in Paris. Air France Cancelled our flight literally the day after we booked. The Delta agent suggested the routing we ended up taking which involved at 80 minute layover in Amsterdam. When taking this option I knew that this would be an extremely tight connection. When traveling internationally, I prefer to give myself at least a 2 hour window to clear customs and any security. This takes into account the typical small delays you see on most flights.
Given that we had such a short connection, our late take off (which may have allowed us to actually make the flight) caused an extremely tight connection in Amsterdam. By the time we deplaned in amsterdam our flight left in 40 minutes. Again, I really didn’t think we would make it. Our Delta flight landed at the E concourse and our KLM connection was taking off from the B concourse. It was quite a walk. So we were off. We didn’t quite sprint through the airport but we definitely went on a good jog.
Luckily for us when transferring between these concourses we did not have to go back through security. We only had to make our way through customs. Once again fortune favored us and there was absolutely no line at customs. We made it to the gate just as boarding was about to end. We were the very last people to have their boarding passes scanned and get on to the bus to head to the remote stand.
As we were the last people through the boarding gate, we really didn’t see how KLM handled boarding. When our boarding passes were scanned the KLM gate agent let us know that our roll aboard bags would not be able to fit into the overhead bins on the Embraer 190. They tagged our bags and told us to leave them at the bottom of the stairs as they we board the plane and they would check them free of charge.
The remote stand was about a 5 minute drive from the boarding gate. As the E190 only seats about 100 people, boarding at the remote stands was extremely fast, and everyone was situated in less than 10 minutes.
KLM Cityhopper operates this route. As the name implies they operate KLM’s short haul flights. This particular flight was on an Embraer 190. The E-190 is a slightly larger version of the more popular Embraer regional jet E-175. This slightly larger version was made to competes with planes like the Boeing 717 and the Airbus A-220 on shorter routes. As mentioned above, the KLM E-190 seats right at 190 people.
The planes’ interior was extremely basic. No fancy finishes and no cool mood lighting. The plain also lacked any in flight entertainment or wifi, but given it is meant for extremely short flights I did not view this as a big deal.
The economy seats are in a 2-2 layout. They are 17 inches wide and have 30 inches of pitch. It is a pretty tight squeeze. At 5′ 8″ my knees were right at the back of the seat in front of me. I am honestly not sure how tall people handle it. Other than the lack of legroom the seat was comfortable. For a 1-hour flight I really couldn’t complain too much.
Service/KLM Economy Flight
As the flight itself was only 75 minutes gate to gate, I was not expecting much as far as service. I was pleasantly surprised however, when they offered a full drink service as well as a small snack of a traditional dutch cake. This was far better than the tiny bag of pretzels you get (if you are lucky) on a domestic flight of this length. Heck, my recent flight on United from San Francisco to Seattle didn’t even have a drink service unless you were in economy plus.
The flight itself was like clockwork. It took off exactly when it said it would and landed a few minutes early. There was no turbulence to speak of which allowed me to take a quick 30 minute power nap.
The short-haul KLM Economy from Amsterdam to Basel was an a solid flight. While it is hard to mess up such a short flight, the staff were all extremely friendly and they provided more service than expected. Unfortunately there is no wifi on KLM’s E-190 so if I were intending to work I would have been out of luck.