While Europe has been in a lockdown for quite some time and making it almost impossible for us to travel within Europe or outside, I decided to book myself a flight as soon as possible when Europe announced that borders are opening within the Schengen countries to promote tourism as well.
While Portugal opened it's borders on the first of July for tourists and the Dutch authorities considered Portugal to be a ''yellow'' country (Yellow translates to caution, but generally safe) , I decided to book a short trip to Porto on the 4th of July to return to my country the day after. A few days ahead of my departure, the Dutch government without explanation changed the Lisbon and Porto districts to ''Orange'', which means that it is only advised to go there for essential travel and all insurances will not cover your expenses if needed.
After this change I investigated it a bit of myself and verified other information/advisory travel to Portugal with neighbouring countries like Germany and Belgium and decided that I'm willing to take a chance and go ahead with my travel, so the itinerary I booked is as followed.
KL1713 - Economy - Amsterdam - Porto → Embraer E-190You are here
I travelled by car to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol as I didn't fancy taking the public transport from my hometown, which could be quite a hassle sometimes and reserved a parking spot at P3 in Amsterdam for 50 EUR. I received a free upgrade from Amsterdam to park my car in P1 instead of P3 for the same price and took it as P1 is attached to the terminal.
On the day of my departure I left my home about 9.45 am to arrive a hour later at Amsterdam with a three to six minute walk to the terminal via the hallway in the picture below.
While I already checked in online, I decided to check in with one of these self check-in machines to obtain my boarding card on paper as a backup in case my mobile phone's battery dies. It's one of the regulation of KLM to practise social distancing as certain machines have been turned off. The airport itself made it mandatory to wear face masks in the check-in area and security control zone (while the Dutch law only says that masks are to be worn in Public transport).
Security control was done in a few minutes as there was literally no que and I ended up in quite a deserted terminal with many shops closed. It's hard to imagine that this is Amsterdam as it is usually packed with travellers.
I ordered myself a coffee at one of the starbucks in Amsterdam which was probably one of the busiest shops in the terminal as there was quite a wait. Once I received my coffee, I sat down on one of those chairs with an excellent view over one of Amsterdam's apron, though there was not a lot of activity. A sole 787 of Tuifly Netherlands and two Airbus A319s of Croatia Airlines and British Airways in the distance.
While most shops are open in the main terminal are mostly open, the impact of covid-19 is clearly visible in the piers of Amsterdam as literally everything, but one food kiosk is open as the photo shows below.
Our flight for today would departure from gate B18, which meant that we would have the be transported by bus to one of it's remote stands. Boarding was called right on time and was orderly organized by zones. From this moment it is mandatory to wear a face mask until you exit the aircraft with the exception when you consume your drinks and food.
Social distancing was almost completely ignored by our passengers upon boarding as you can see in the photo below, but our flight would be operated by PH-EZI, which is a 10.6 year old Embraer E190 who has solely been in service to KLM Cityhopper in a 2-2 configuration. The E190s are still among one of my favourite aircraft to fly on in terms of comfort.
Tow truck was already waiting for our departure.
Two papers were already placed on our seats before boarding containing a Portuguese locator form (in case a positive passenger was found positive, so they could locate other people in close contact) and a paper explaining the Portuguese guidelines for Covid-19. It also came with a cute little KLM pen, which I kept as a small souvenir. I also expected a package of food, but KLM did not inform us that it was the first day of normal service again.
Unfortunately the weather is not cooperating in the Netherlands today, but seat 17F gives you an excellent wing view.
Legroom is decent too, however the photo does not really do justice to the amount I had… though BA Cityflyer's E190s are more generous with legroom.
Pushback was done three minutes past our original departure time and it took only a few minutes for us to depart as runway 24 was the active runway for today.
Breaking through the clouds.
While the terminal was far from busy, the flight on the other hand was completely full with economy passengers. Only the first row of the cabin was business and that also was full.
Face masks are mandatory and it can become very muggy while wearing them so these air vents are an absolute lifesaver. Also the state (except the seats, which showed several signs of wore) the aircraft was top notch and very clean.
The literature available in your seat pocket. A safety card, a sick bag and KLM's magazine which has been covered in some sort of disinfected substant (written on the magazine itself). While the magazine is updated monthly, I wonder why nobody of KLM noticed that ''Adria Airways'' is still written in their magazine as non-alliance partner.
About fourty minutes into flight, the flight attendants started their complimentary food and drink service as It used to be before Covid-19, but the flight attendants completely forgot to provide 50% of the cabin with their food package and served us only drinks, so here is my sparkling water for a solid hour.
When the flight attendants returned back for a clean up service, I made a remark to one of the flight attendants that she had forgotten to provide the food service to 50% of the cabin (in a friendly matter). She quickly realised it, apologized and explained that it was the first day of normal service for them after Covid-19 and quickly returned to provide the other 50% with some food. The box contained a sandwich with beemster cheese and a spread of Amsterdam Onion, a cup of water and a ''stroopkoekje''.
Soon after the late food service, the descent was engaged and it meant that we would arrive in Porto ahead of time. The flight crew checked in with us to inform us about the latest arrival information, weather information and thanked us for flying with KLM. The landing of Porto is a very scenic one.
The landing was flawless and I spotted this Airbus A330neo of TAP.
Disembarking was done quickly after without any organization and was done like it usually is done before the pandemic with a decent walk to the baggage drop area.
Tourist bonus PORTO
Bonus : Click here display hide
I have never been in Porto or in Portugal before, but I would definitely recommend you all to visit it for three days. A very scenic city with lots of history and good food.
Igreja do Carmo
Torre dos Clérigos
The sculpture is Dom Pedro IV of Portugal or Pedro I of Brazil, which was the founder and first ruler of the Empire of Brazil
Chapel Almas de Santa Catarina
The train station is on the left with a castle in the background.
Palácio da Bolsa
And this is probably the highlight of Porto to have some food with this beautiful view!
And some food fetish.
Amsterdam - AMS
Porto - OPO
Despite the airport being somewhat deserted in terms for what it has seen, the flight was completely full and it also felt that there were little measures taken against covid-19 other than wearing a face mask. The flight though was still very enjoyable with excellent flight attendants who definitely loved their job despite that small mistake.
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