While my original plan was to travel to Aruba to attach myself to my friend's group to head over to Venezuela as my best friend was going to marry his Venezuelan girlfriend, this plan was soon changed when all borders to Venezuela were closed due to the on-going coup in Venezuela and he had to postpone his marriage. Instead it simply became an enjoyable holiday for all of us at my friend's house in Aruba.
As Aruba is part of the kingdom of the Netherlands, it is therefore easily reachable by both KLM and Tuifly Netherlands or via the USA, however it is usually not worth the time to do that. I decided to book a multi city initiary with KLM to fly to Aruba from Amsterdam and to return to Amsterdam via Curaçao as it was significantly cheaper and would result in the same points for my status. To travel from Aruba to Curaçao, I simply booked a flight with a local carrier named EZ Air for about 120 USD, which pendles between Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire with a fleet of two Beechcraft 1900D, an aircraft I've never flown on.
The full initiary for my short trip you could find below.
KL769 - Economy - Amsterdam → Oranjestad - Airbus A330-200You are here
As I planned to travel to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol by public transport, I was once again very lucky as the Dutch public transport decided to strike on the specific day I was going to travel with only a running train from Amsterdam city centre every 15 minutes, which I obviously could not grab as I live south of the airport and basically forcing me to pay 85 euros to park my car as I had nobody available to bring me. Thanks public transport!
I parked my car at Parking P3 at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in one of their newest parking garage which was still in good condition in a very organized row system to find your car asap when you return. From here a bus will bring you to the terminal every ten minutes and the ride itself just takes over seven minutes.
While the drop usually drops you off at departures, it now dropped us off in front of the plaza itself as the drop off zone for departures was very congested once again due to the ongoing strike. A good move I would say as this part is only accesible for busses and taxis.
Schiphol's plaza was rather crowded with a large number of tourists who were not aware of the on-going strike and we're forced to take a train to Amsterdam or a taxi to any other destination within the Netherlands, though taxi's at Amsterdam can become very expensive.
Received my boarding card via a self-service kiosk which is self-explanatory and were now off to drop off my luggage at one of those stations. The stations are very easy to deal with and it definitely reduces the time you spend on checking in if you just take your time to read through your instructions like some people are unable to do. Though it only took about five minutes to clear including the line of waiting.
Security took even less than that as it was very quiet, but I was kind of disappointed with the current personel as they were very uninterested and rude towards the passengers. Immigration had only a very few people, so that didn't take more than a minute too via those self-serve stations.
After spending about thirty minutes at one of my benches, it was time for me to explore a bit further and check if I could spot an unfamiliar plane, which I did not. It was rather quiet to be fair in terms of traffic for Amsterdam, which was much better in my point of view.
PH-BQE, a Boeing 777-200ER of KLM who would fly to New York as KL 641 about an hour after our departure with an A330 of Air Europa pushing back for a flight to Madrid in the back.
And probably the weirdest catch on the pier my flight would depart from is this Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner (PH-TFL) of TUI Fly Netherlands who would depart to Varadero (Cuba) as OR 337. Not really weird as in type and airline, but TUI often board their passengers by bus from remote stands.
And here is my ride. PH-AOF, a 12,6 year old Airbus A330-200 who has solely been in service to KLM and is named after the Federation Square in Melbourne.
Boarding was called a few minutes ahead of time and was done via groups. My seat was 17J, which was pretty decent and slightly past economy comfort. KLM's A330-200 is in a 2-4-2 configuration with recaro seats with a headrest you can fully adjust in height and fold the sides to rest your head on. It also comes with a blanket and a pillow. Though the pillow is too soft to my liking to be honest.
The seat itself offers a decent amount of legroom. It's not the best as I've seen better, but it's nothing really to complain about if I compare it to the A330 of Aeroflot which I flew on about a year ago.
The seat also comes with a good-sized IFE Screen which offers a good variety of movies, series and games and a usb plug to charge your device in case you need to do so. Note that there is no power socket available.
And the view from my window seat.
The literature provided to you was a magazine called ''Holland Herald'', which is KLM's magazine. A safety card, sick bag and a tax-free shopping magazine which would soon disappear as KLM will stop with tax-free shopping on board their flights.
While boarding went in a good pace, we pushed back late by about ten minutes as one handicapped person was late. This was not the fault of the lady in question herself, but KLM's ground staff was late by bringing her to our plane.
Pushback was initially initiated about 10 minutes later like I said earlier and the safety video was shown. I actually quite enjoy their safety video which is shown by using delft blue tiles. I will attach their safety video below.
It took about another 15 minutes for our departure as we had to taxi to the Polderbaan which is Amsterdam's furthest runway and probably most hated one too? Upon reaching our runway, we were waiting 2nd in line behind this little Embraer 190 of KLM Cityhopper which would be departing shortly to Gothenburg as KL1157.
It is time to leave the sad skies of the Netherlands for a sunny Aruba!
A few minutes later when we break through the clouds which gave us a splendid view.
About thirty minutes past our departure, the flight attendants came around to serve us a cold sturdy refreshing towel and a bottle of water prior to the first meal service.
About an hour later, the flight attendant came around to serve us our food. I can't recall the other option, but I opted for the chicken meal. The main meal was Chicken thights in BBQ Sauce with some Jasmin rice and green beans. A salad as starter and a lemon cake as dessert. It also came with a warm bread roll and the small box below the bun contained some salad seasoning, Beemster cheese, crackers and butter. The meal itself was very decent and ok in terms of quantity, but the BBQ sauce was a bit too sweet for me.
While the very friendly flight attendants were very engaged with us as passenger, their service was a tad slow and it took them a solid hour to return to clean our tables before offering us some coffee, tea or liquor. I took a glass of baileys and a cup of coffee with a shot of milk.
The lavatory was still in a proper condition about three hours into flight., but you will find no amenities in any lavatory of KLM except some hand soap.
A shot of the cabin.
While I have not seen any drink round for the entire flight (except around meal service), there was only one round about midway through our flight in which they gave us a small icecream and some water. At least provide more drinking rounds thoughout the flight instead of having to ask for a drink every time.
A small look at the flight path we would take to Aruba.
About an hour and 45 minutes, the second round was served which was some sort of a tiny pizza (margherita), a mango-curry apple salad, water and a coconut lime juice, which was absolutely delicious. The salad itself was ok, but I found the combination a bit weird in tasting and can a pizza slice ever be wrong?
Cleaning was done about thirty minutes to landing and not much later we were already in approach to the ''one happy island'' Aruba.
While we landing late by about thirty minutes, the actual landing was quite smooth and we were parked next to this Airbus bird of Aruba Airlines, an airline I still want to try out.
Deboarding was done rather quickly via jetbridge, but caused a lot of confusion. The flight we had was pretty much full and the majority of passengers would continue with KLM to Bonaire. Though the cause of the confusion was that a lot of ground staff in Aruba gave weird and confusing instructions to a variety of passengers and most of them simply did not follow the signs they should have done.
HC-CSF, an Airbus A320 of Avianca Ecuador who was prepping for a flight back to Bogota, Colombia.
C-FXLH, an Aruba Airlines Bombardier CR-200 who was taxiing to Runway 11 for a departure towards Curaçao as AG503.
Most passengers like I said would continue towards Bonaire, so about 10 to 20% of the passengers remained in Aruba which resulted in a quiet passport control at immigration and by the time I was through, my luggage was already on belt no. 1 to pick up and enjoy my one week of holidays in Aruba.
Aruba, One happy island
In case if you are interested, see some photos of the beautiful Aruba below, which was an absolutely blast.
Bonus : Click here display hide
Ayo Rock Formation
New Small Natural Pool, a small section within the rough coast here where you could swim in crystal clear waters. Mind you that it could be hard to exit due to slippery rocks, but it is definitely worth it. Just be careful!
Eagle beach. One of the top highest ranking beachs in the worlds. Note that those fences in the third picture are prohibited to walk over as turtles have layed their eggs over there.
Jolly Pirates, a 3 hour snorkling/sailing tour with free alcoholic drinks like Rum, Vodka and some shots.
And who can't love empanadas?
Amsterdam - AMS
Oranjestad - AUA
The KLM flight to Aruba was pretty enjoyable with friendly staff, however service was a tad slow and no wifi/power sockets available on the A330s which is a bit of a downer.
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