This trip is planned to spend a day on the observation deck at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. I have been there before, but flew there with Easyjet and ended up in the low cost terminal. It was a long walk to the deck, so I won’t make that mistake again.

Saturday 22 August 2009
MAN-AMS
KLM
KL1074
Fokker 70 PH-KZO
Seat 6A

Again another early start. Taxi dropped us off at the airport and the check in queue was not too bad.
Always a queue going through security as there is always a skeleton staff working so it all takes time.

A couple of aircraft I saw while waiting.

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Once we got to the gate it was not long before boarding started. However, I got bit of a shock when I was told I could not take my carry on bag on. They said it was too big for the luggage bins on the Fokker 70. The thought of my camera bag going out of my sight into the hands of potentially dodgy baggage handlers horrified me, but thankfully all I had to do was leave it at the bottom of the steps and it was loaded in then and there. When we arrived in Amsterdam it was unloaded and there on the tarmac for me to collect, so was not as bad as I thought.


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Boarding took ages as people came out in dribs and drabs and some did try and stuff large bags into the overhead bins. As I boarded said to the F/A at the door that this was my first flight on the Fokker 70, she said it would most likely be my last as they will be retired soon. I also noticed that the cabin crew had English accents, while the flight crew were Dutch.


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Takeoff was different in this aircraft compared to others as this one really did sound like a jet and not the electric motor like whine of modern aircraft.


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Flight was uneventful and a snack was served, either a chocolate bar or a biscuit and a drink. Flight appeared to be full. Thankfully this was only a short flight as the Fokker 70 is a bit squeezy inside.


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Descent into Amsterdam was a little rough and the Fokker 70 felt like it descended quicker than a larger 737 or A320.

Landing was quite rough as once we landing the captain stomped on the brakes hard, that took me and many passengers by surprise. Then it was a good 15 minutes or so taxiing to a remote park and being bussed into the terminal.


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After that we went through immigration etc and made our way to the observation deck for the time we were there. Saw quite a bit, but lack of shade on the deck meant it was hot up there and I had to sit in the cafe for a while to cool down. Once I felt better, left the bags with dad and headed out again.


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Saturday 22 August 2009
AMS-MAN
KLM
KL1097
Boeing 737-8K2 PH-BXE
Seat 29F

After an afternoon out on the deck, made our way through immigration etc and made our way to the gate, and this is where I was not impressed with the setup of the airport. Once we got to the gate which was a long walk (thank goodness for those travelators) we find there are absolutely no seats to sit on since the gate is not open. For someone like me who has trouble walking long distances this setup of keeping people in the shopping area and then sending them to the gate at the last minute is not very good at all. At a nearby gate it appeared that a man in a wheelchair had been brought upto the gate area early and then dumped there until the gate opened. I was forced to sit on the floor and many others did the same. You expect to see this sort of thing in Nigeria, not The Netherlands.

Finally the gate opened and that is also where the security check is done, so there is a massive queue to go through.
Once through that boarding started pretty much straight away, but we were seated in the second row from the back, so we had to wait a while. However while waiting I did see the 737 that is painted in the retro KLM colours.


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It was also a tight fit on this aircraft too. Again the flight was full.
We finally got going and it was another long taxi to the runway.


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Again the snack was either the chocolate bar or the biscuit and a drink. There was a little turbulence during the flight. The woman sat next to us in 29D looked like she was going to chunder a couple of times during the flight.


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It also seemed that the descent and landing had ill effects on others as when we landed, the landing was very rough, so rough dad got a blood nose from it. Once the plane came to a stop at the gate many were glad to get off.


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Again there was a million people queueing for immigration, but only a skeleton staff operating so that meant a long wait.

We got through all that and go out the front to await the taxi which will take us back to the hotel for a well earned sleep.

Conclusion
As an airline KLM are nothing special. They get you there.
The reason we flew with KLM and not a Low Cost airline like last time was to avoid the survival of the fittest scramble for the best seats and for a daytrip also getting the boarding passes for the return flight when we left meant we did not have to go through the checkin process again on the way back.

However, the setup of the gate area as I mentioned above left me disappointed with Amsterdam airport. I doubt I will be going back for a while.