The airline with the best average rating is KLM Cityhopper with 6.8/10.
The average flight time is 1 hours and 56 minutes.More information
While my girlfriend came over from Thailand about a week prior to this flight for her very first time, we both really wanted to visit Auschwitz one day. I took this opportunity to book us a return flight to Kraków, which is the closest city to Auschwitz and probably one of Poland's most beautiful cities.
Kraków is not really the cheapest option to fly to from Amsterdam as only KLM offers you four daily flights or to use any other legacy carrier (+ DY) with a stopover. Transavia could be a choice too if you fly to Katowice from Amsterdam and take a bus from there to Kraków (if you fancy a 2 hour busride). Though Ryanair and Transavia give you an option for direct flights too from Eindhoven at very early or late timings, which were very inconvenient to me and quite expensive too.
So I came to the conclusion to use my air miles (which I barely touch anyways), which reduced my ticket by about 150 euros to a price I was willing to pay to head over to Kraków. Please do not confuse air miles with flying blue miles as it's something entirely different. The itinerary was completed as listed in the routing map directly below this column.
While I have an option to go to Schiphol by either car or public transport from my home, I chose the latter option as it would save me some money and I was not willing to pay about 75 euros to park my car for a mere three days.
I arrived at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol around two hours prior to our departure time by train, which drops you in the main plaza of the airport, which was rather quiet. From here I went up a level to departures to grab my boarding card as I like to have it on paper too in case my mobile runs out of battery, which seems to be more common nowadays for me.
The designated check-in area of KLM is orderly organized with some nice touches that refer to the company. I received my boarding card and went directly to security as I had no luggage with me to drop off.
Security was no hassle and I was through within a few minutes. Unfortunately the quiet lines at security were quickly changed into a very busy transit zone in which you carefully had to navigate as many passengers were not paying attention at all as to where they were heading to.
Another point in the terminal in which it is clear how busy it was. It was definitely a peak period of many travellers about to depart. My flight would depart from B20, which is a common pier to depart from if you are familiar with KLM Cityhopper and travelling within the schengen area.
A bad thing I have noticed of Amsterdam Airport nowadays is that their moving sidewalks always seem to be broken and the hygiene of their toilets is slowly detoriating. Those issues were never really issues years ago as toilets were regularly and properly cleaned and sidewalks were repaired instantly.
A few tails of a variety of airlines. (1. Lufthansa, 2. Level, 3. TAP Portugal, 4. Austrian Airlines, 5. Transavia Holland).
With about an hour to spare, my gate was still occupied by another Embraer E-190 (PH-EZB) of KLM Cityhopper, who was currently boarding for it's flight to Trondheim (TRD, Norway) as KL 1175. Also it was my very first time seeing the construction of the new pier for Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, which could make walking distances even longer for some of you travellers if you have a connecting flight.
About fourty minutes prior to departure, our aircraft parked at our stand after arriving from Milan Malpensa (MXP, Italy). Our flight to Kraków would be operated by PH-EXB, an 5.5 year old Embraer E-190 who has solely flown for KLM Cityhopper.
Boarding was called on-time and it was done within ten minutes after it's original call in a very busy cabin today (Both J and Y class were fully booked). A few minutes later, the female captain checked in with us and brought us some bad information as Amsterdam Airport Schiphol gave us a slot of twenty minutes past our departure time to start our engines.
While I gave my original window seat to my girlfriend on 10F, I gladly sat down next to her on seat 10D, which is an aisle seat as the Embraer E190 is in a 2-2 configuration. The seats shown in the picture below definitely show some wear and the legroom wasn't really great too to be honest and I'm only 1.83m (6'') tall. While service tends to be better with KLM in my opinion, BA Cityflyer definitely wins on the legroom offered on their E-Jets. Also be notified that you do not have an option to recline your seat due to the emergency row being a row behind you, so if you'd like to recline your seat, you better move a row ahead or aft.
The seat also comes with a reading light, a button to call any of the cabin crews and a personal air vent to cool down in case you need to cool down which I definitely prefer.
Twenty minutes past our departure time, we were finally pushed back after this Embraer E175 (PH-EXW), who arrived from Billund (BLL, Denmark) as KL1346. I seriously hope that KLM is going to do something great for their 100th birthday instead of adding just the number of 100 with a pennant that looks similar to Aquafresh toothpaste to any aircraft.
Soon we were on our way to Runway 18L for a south-easterly departure, but this took another 15 minutes to clear as we were number six in line after some widebodies like this Airbus A330-200 (PH-AON), who was departing to Montreal (YUL, Canada) as KL671.
After 8 minutes or so, we were second in line while this Boeing 777-200ER (PH-BQO) of KLM was about to depart to Accra (ACC, Ghana) as KL589
And the last departure ahead of us which meant that we had another wait of approximately three or four minutes due to it's wake turbulence as this A380 (A6-EDF) of Emirates is about to depart to Dubai as EK148.
and we're finally airborne eight minutes past four, which meant that we departed late by about 33 minutes.
A smaller look of the content you can find in the seat pocket below. The magazine was up to date with a very interesting article about with one of the- or probably the most important figure in Dutch aviation, Anthony Fokker.
A quick look at the cabin, which again was in the usual 2-2 configuration.
The toilet was in a good and clean state, although the location of the paper to dry your hands was at an odd location making it impossible for you to not spoil any water on the ground or towards the toilet itself. It also does not offer any amenities but handsoap, which of course is sufficient for short haul flights.
The aft galley of the Embraer jet which was not too large and I think is sufficient for a return flight and a shot from the small window at it's door in the galley which obviously needed some cleaning too.
By the time I returned back to my seat, the cabin crew was busy serving us our complimentary snack and drink. I opted for a beer and the snackbox contained of a small wrap and a cup of water.
Even though it was rather small, the wrap was quite delicious with a filling of Beemster cheese, spinach and tomato. It did taste better than it looked.
Enjoying my snack with a beautiful view over Germany.
30 minutes past our first snack service, the cabin crew appeared to clean our waste. The cabin crew itself did a good job, but they were not engaged as much with it's passengers like KLM's cabin attendants are. They however did do a second round of drinks shortly after the clean up and I opted for a coffee, which is served in a personalised cup with famous things of the Netherlands like a windmill, wooden clogs, tullip et cetera.
A short look of the flight path we took from Amsterdam to Kraków.
Shortly after the 2nd rounds of drinks, the first officer checked in with us to give us the latest weather information, apologizing for the late arrival (10 minutes late eventually), informed us that we are currently descending and thanked us for flying with KLM. This was also the call for cabin crew to prepare for landing and soon all garbish was cleaned.
Seconds to touchdown with a good landing.
After landing, we taxied to our parking stand with some nice eastern European helicopters/planes like this beautiful Mil Mi-17.
Probably an aircraft quite rare to spot outside of Poland are those Polish PZL M28 Skytruck
and a few Spanish EADS CASA C-295.
A few carriers among the parking stands including a Dash 8 of Eurolot, an A319 of Eurowings and a Dash 8 of Austrian.
Parked at a remote stand, which meant that we'll be shipped by bus to terminal when a B737-800 of Ryanair is about to depart and an A320 of Wizzair was parked next to us.
As we drove to Kraków's terminal by bus, we had one last look of the plane that brought us over from Amsterdam.
in which we were dropped off in front of the baggage belts, but we didn't need to wait as we didn't have any luggage in KLM's hold.
Another thing that might be confusing for many travellers that will head their way to Kraków is that there is actually a train station connected to this airport, even though it does not appear in google maps. Within the terminal it is not really displayed either, but once you follow the signs of autobus/bus and exit the terminal, a sign will appear that directs you towards the train station. The train ride itself is about 9 PLN (Polish zloty) one way, which is about 2,05 euro or 2.30 USD, takes about 20 minutes and departs once per hour. Buses are available too.
If you'd like to see some photos of Kraków and it's surroundings, please check the tourism bonus below.
After checking into our hotel, we walked to the old square of Kraków to have some food and it definitely gave us some good views having some food at one of the many restaurants available with some amazing views.
The next day we departed early (around 6.45 am) to Auschwitz. I booked my trip via getyourguide.com, but there are many tour companies available in Kraków itself.
A few shots of Auschwitz you will find below like this famous entrance ''Arbeit Macht Frei'', which literally translates to Work sets you free.
A guarding tower behind two fences of barbed wire and a sign which says Halt! Stoj!
Another two fences of barbed wire with the prisoners of Auschwitz (Right side) and the German quarters (left side).
After a few hours, it was time for us to move to the second camp of Auschwitz which is very very massive and mostly destroyed, but the most famous building of Auschwitz is probably shown here with the train entrance to Camp II.
There is also a single train wagon to display in what type of wagon prisoners of Auschwitz were transported to those camps. Those wagons are probably still in use to transport cattle as I've seen some of those wagons still being used on active Polish railways.
When finished with Auschwitz, which was a very impressive and sad sight, we were dropped off in front of Wawel Royal Castle at our request to explore this area for a bit, which also gives you a nice view over the Wisla River.
And a church in the old town of Kraków.
The next day we visited the Wieliczka Salt Mine in which we received an excellent tour from one of the guides who'se named Gabriela. A very young and cheerful female who thoroughly enjoyed her job guiding us and explained us a lot. It is also definitely worth a visit if you're around here.
An impressive royal chapel about 70 meters below ground.
A face of King Casimir III the Great
And an underground lake, which is much saltier than the Dead Sea in Israel.
And the last day when we made our way to Kraków Główny (Main Station) to catch our train to the airport.
KLM Cityhopper offered a pretty good flight, however the original prices they would've charged me would have been too steep in terms of what they offered if I didn't use my airmiles. The cabin crew did a solid job, but was not outstanding and wasn't really as engaged as cabin crew would be if you had a flight with KLM itself. Also the legroom of KLM Cityhopper's Embraers are more limited to what I'm used to with competitors of them.