Pre-flight: Honestly, premium economy was not all that on my mind throughout my trip, especially since I was having such a good time in Sweden. But as I was checking in the day before, the thought came to mind of possibly upgrading. For just about $60 (as opposed to $110 on my flight over), I could get a couple extra inches of legroom on my AMS-IAD flight, and for just $2 (!) extra on my GOT-AMS flight. While I know it didn’t really differ service-wise from regular economy, I’m 6’3”, and on my previous two flights my knees were touching the seat in front of me, so when I realized I had more than enough money to last for the rest of my trip, it was a no-brainer.
KL 1152 Depart: GOT, 6:00 AM (actual 6:11) Arrive: AMS, 7:35 AM (actual 7:15) Aircraft: Boeing 737-700 Flight time: 1:35 (actual 1:04)
At the Airport: Since it was such an early flight, that meant I had to wake up early, 3:00 to be exact. The relatives I was staying with in Kållered (a suburb just south of Gothenburg) ordered me a taxi the morning before, and it got to the house at around 3:30 (at that hour, the Flygbussarna doesn't run, nor does any other public transport from downtown). There was literally nobody else on the roads, and I arrived at GOT after about a 20-25-minute drive. Despite it being so early in the morning, there was a substantial amount of people there for several European departures, and one TUI charter flight to Phu Quoc (that wound up getting delayed for 5 hours). I was able to use the automated kiosk to check in just fine, but the line for bag drop was super long, and as I came to discover, AF and KL shared the same counters. I get why they do that, but it really slowed everything down. After about 20 minutes in line, I finally was able to drop my bags off and head through security pretty quickly (amazing how much more quickly it goes when you don’t have to take your shoes off or computer out of the case).
Once I got through, I was very pleasantly surprised by GOT’s new airside area. It used to be nothing special (just a single bar/restaurant/duty free shop), but now they have a couple bars and two Pressbyrån newsstands, just like you find at almost every train station in Sweden. Also, the airside area is now just one single terminal, as opposed to separate domestic and international areas like it used to be (and it’s expanding too; to my understanding they’re adding some more gates to the non-Schengen area). I grabbed one last kanelbulle and coffee from the Pressbyrån and sat in a barstool that was set up right at the window, and my 737 was already there. Boarding started right on time from gate 17, and while Zone 4 was printed on my boarding pass, it was pretty much a free-for-all (albeit a very orderly one) after business class and priority members got to board.
Landside at 4:00 AM
Departures board: notice how the first one of the day got delayed 5 hours
AF/KL counter; this could’ve been a lot more efficient
Walkway to security (in the old layout it used to be straight ahead of that escalator)
Post-security (GOT is one of the few European airports I've been to where you're not dumped right into the duty-free area after security)
My plane, PH-BGW
SK 736, which would later depart for ARN
Large duty-free area at GOT
Lineup in the jetbridge
Once onboard I made my way to 4F, the first row of premium economy, and I knew right from the get-go that this upgrade was a power play on my part. Even though I had my backpack with me at my seat, I had plenty of foot space, and my knees were an acceptable distance from the seat in front of me. Also, the middle seat was open on this flight, which is always a plus. Once everyone boarded, the captain announced that we’d be delayed for a couple minutes for de-icing due to frost overnight, and that was done right at the gate before pushback. The captain also described our routing in detail, which none of the other captains on my trip did. After a long taxi, we took off to the north at around 6:11, 10 minutes behind schedule.
Seat pitch; lots of daylight between my knees and the seat in front of me
Business class; I think I only counted three people up there
Winglet shot at the gate (what you see there is gate 18 of GOT; if you know gate 35X at DCA, gate 18 at GOT is the equivalent)
The tail there is of LN-NIJ, DY 738 ready to depart for ARN
Shot of the airport on takeoff
Once we hit cruising altitude, the crew sprung into action with the service. Breakfast this morning was an egg salad and cheese sandwich, and I had it with some apple juice. It wasn’t anything special, but way more than we would’ve gotten on a US domestic flight of the same (or even longer) duration. I passed the time after by reading and looking out the window, and before we knew it, we were beginning our descent.
Breakfast on this flight: KL’s sandwiches hit the spot once again
Unlike my previous flights in/out of AMS, we actually made our landing from the south (thus avoiding the Polderbaan), after taking a sharp right turn around Utrecht. After a quick taxi, we parked at the C gates 20 minutes ahead of schedule, next to a Transavia 738, and soon I was on the Sprinter train headed into downtown Amsterdam for a quick breakfast.
Inside Concourse C
Walkway to arrivals
Gothenburg - GOT
Amsterdam - AMS
KL's intra-European product brings home the goods once again. Timely performance, above-average on-board snacks, and a friendly crew are all strong points of their service, and while a short flight isn't the best gauge of premium economy, the extra legroom was very much appreciated. Only pet peeve about this flight were the inefficient check-in at GOT, and lack of public transport at that time of the morning.
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