The airline with the best average rating is KLM with 7.4/10.
The average flight time is 1 hours and 20 minutes.More information
My family just about never celebrates Thanksgiving, so this year I decide to take a trip out of the country and visit a friend in Copenhagen. I ended up adding a few days in Stockholm as well an overnight layover in Lisbon on the way back.
It was easy enough walking through Schipol Airport. I think it is reputed to be one the smoothest transit experiences in Europe and lived up to that reputation. The security lines for entering the Schengen Zone was nonexistent and I was quickly welcomed into Europe. The Schengen Crown Lounge (25) was found shortly after entering the Schengen part of the airport.
The Crown Lounge 25 can be found upstairs right after entering the Schengen area of the airport.
Check-in was via various electronic readers so you can just scan your boarding pass and go.
This is easily one of the larger "domestic" lounges I've been in. There were seats everywhere in all kinds of configurations, from individual business desks, to counters, to small dining tables, etc . . . As you can see by the picture, even though it was not even 8am, the lounge was already packed, though it was easy enough to find a seat. The business desks were all occupied unfortunately.
At the far left was a completely enclosed smoking area.
Here's a layout of the lounge from my phone (it was from a link that was sent to me for service). Later, when looking for this report, I was not able to find this picture on the Internet.
There was fairly decent breakfast buffet spread. It was mostly cold options, but there were some hot options like soup, bacon, scrambled eggs, etc . . .
The beverage selection was decent for a non-international lounge. The main attraction of the bar was a massive array of Heineken glasses.
Given that it was still dark outside and I was short on sleep, I opted for no alcohol. Instead, I grabbed a chocolate croissant and some hot options.
As soon as I arrived at the lounge, I went to the service desk to ask for a shower room. I was 9th in the waitlist (not sure how many showers there were). Luckily, I had well over an hour before I was supposed to board. Once you put yourself on the waitlist at the kiosk, you can enter your phone number. KLM will text you a link (mentioned above) to indicate where you are sitting in the lounge. When the shower room is ready, a lounge attendant will come get you. The only issue with this is that if you change where you are sitting (as I did), the link did not work to update my location. About 1:15 after I reserved the shower, I received a text and a call from KLM telling me to come to the service desk, where I was given the keys to the shower room.
The shower room itself was fairly basic, with stool for changing, a hairdryer, and some basic amenities. The water pressure was quite good.
Tons of flights were showing as cancelled or delayed on the screens in the lounge, but strangely enough, not mine. So I made my way over to Gate C10 a few minutes before boarding. The gate area was a mess, with hordes of people already lined up and crowding around. Shortly after I arrive, an announcement is made for a 30-minute delay. The scheduled boarding time was 9:34 CET, now pushed back to 10:00AM. However, 10 comes and passes without any boarding announcements. At 10:05, the captain came out and made an announcement explaining the situation: the fog at Schipol had delayed many other flights and he was waiting on the rest of his crew. They arrived about 10 minutes after the announcement and we began boarding at 10:20AM.
Boarding was an absolute madhouse. It made places like EWR or ORD look civilized by comparison. Either everyone on the plane was SkyPriority or priority boarding was not enforced whatsoever. I was pushed and squeezed constantly as I made my way in.
Here is the plane: PH-BXE, a nineteen years-old 737-800.
KLM has the standard intra-European business class: economy seats with a blocked middle seat.
In the U.S., I try to avoid the bulkhead seat when flying in domestic first because I find the lack of floor storage inconvenient on shorter flights. In the E.U., I try to get the bulkhead seat because that's the only seat with additional leg space. It's not bad here.
The seat was fairly standard. The power outlets could be found underneath each seat. The overhead panel had individual air nozzles. The tray table folded out from the side and there was a hook in front to hang your coat.
Boarding was complete at 10:45 with the 3-row business cabin full 12/12. We pushed back at around 10:59.
I saw two planes ahead of us waiting to take off, one of which was a Delta 767-300.
We took off at 11:09. Service began about 10-15 minutes into the flight.
Breakfast was served all at once on a tray. I opted for just coffee to go along with my breakfast. Normally I do not drink coffee, but I had an uphill battle to stay awake all day to fight the jetlag. Bread was offered and I opted for a croissant.
The smoked salmon was decent, as was the yoghurt. Everything else was a bit bland though. Trays were collected very quickly after it was apparent I was not going to eat anymore.
Oddly enough, the menus were on the trays after they were served - kind of defeats the purpose doesn't it? Here's what the options for intra-Europe flights were that day:
I checked out the lavatory after meal service. It was basic, with the same Rituals Tulip & Yuzu hand foam as on the long-haul flight.
The purser was a very welcoming lady. She had a long conversation with the two gentlemen sitting in the aisle seats in the first row. They kept asking to see various bottles of wines, but did not drink any. Apparently, they worked for a company that had lost out on a bid to cater KLM's wines.
The purser announced the descent at 11:55am and we touched down 11 minutes later. We arrived at the gate at 12:11pm, about 50 minutes behind schedule.
One last shot of the plane:
Lounge: The Crown Lounge (25) was decent for a regional lounge. It had all the necessary options: clean showers, a hot and cold breakfast spread, and a decent beverage selection. It was very crowded. However, it serves as a nice place to freshen up when connecting from a redeye.
Cabin & Seat: Intra-European business class seats just economy seats with the middle seat blocked. At least the bulkhead gives plenty of legroom.
Service: Again KLM provided warm and welcoming service. It was also very efficient given the short duration of the flight.
Meal & Catering: I don't fly intra-European all that much, but it still feels like this was one of KLM's weaknesses. Is it better than a U.S. domestic first? Probably, but that's too low of a bar.
Bottom Line: I wouldn't ever pay for intra-European business on its own, but so long as it comes as part of an award ticket, I'll enjoy sitting up front.