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Welcome to my flight report of my trip back home.
After doing a massive favour to my work, they'd gave me an option to return to home for the weekend by either train or plane. Knowing the crowded ICE's and the time I finished my shift (6 am), the choice was pretty easy by letting them book me on a flight from Frankfurt to Amsterdam with KLM Cityhopper. The price in total was about 155 EUR for J class with a return to Frankfurt somewhere in November 2021. A one-way ticket would have costed me about 360 EUR instead and I never really understood nor know the reasoning for them to do as such.
The flight itself turned out to be rather eventful, but not really to KLM's fault.
While I finished my working shift at roughly 6 AM local, the taxi brought me and my colleague over to the railway station as my colleague was departing by train to Cologne and I simply chose to connect to terminal 2 by Monorail link as it would be more convenient for both of us and I would not make unneccessary expenses.
Frankfurt has these little monorail trains to connect you from T1 to T2 and possibly T3 in the future. They remind me of the DLR from London City to Stratford. They are not the most comfortable ones to ride on due to the fact that their acceleration is not as smooth as it could be.
It however gives you a few shots of the apron like the one below.
After a short ride on that monorail, I ended up in T2 at roughly 7.30 AM with a few hours to kill prior to check-in to open and decided to have some breakfast on the upper level of T2, which is a food plaza with only Ludwigs and McDonalds being open at this hour. By German law you do need to sign up with them to inform them that you've eaten with them. Not sure the usefulness of it as I would not imagine someone going through all contact cards to inform them all that they may have been in contact with someone with Covid-19.
About two hours prior to my departure, I decided to go to KLM's check-in counter to drop my bag as it did allow me already to check-in online about 30 hours prior to departure…. This was the first issue that was going to be raised by the total chaos of the handling partner of KLM (Their regular handling at Frankfurt at that time did not have enough manpower to support them and requested KLM to change it to a competitor on this flight for once so I heard by the captain later).
The issue was that the check-in counter was meant for 2 flights. 1 departing to Amsterdam with KLM which was obviously my flight and the other one departing to Paris with Air France which was fully booked. The biggest issue here is that there was a sole check-in counter open for roughly 300 people up to an hour for departure (with only a 2nd one being opened for the last 20 minutes before closure). Luckily enough I was in Sky Priority, but even this took more than 60 minutes to clear as we had some large groups with lots of luggage. And people trying to skip lanes did not help the cause either.
With about 50 minutes left to my departure, I was finally done dropping off my luggage and made my way to security control, which did take me about another 10 minutes to clear. It was pretty busy at security, but luckily enough Frankfurt does enforce a priority lane for J class and for flights. The airside terminal is absolutely awful with a few shops being near the security check and two long hallways with no vision of any aircraft not any other shops to entertain yourself and not sufficient seating.
Luckily enough by this time the AirFrance-KLM lounge was open already (even though their website did say that it was closed), so I managed to have a few relaxing minutes over there. The lounge itself is pretty comfortable with very limited offering.
Unfortunately the view is to the wrong side of the terminal and gave me a view of a security checkpoint for vehicles to cross airside to landside and the other way around.
The offerings you can find below with a few croissants, chocolate croissants, bread (and bread spread) and cookies.
The other side offered the drinks. Coffee/Tea was an option and otherwise it was water, beer or softdrinks like Fanta and Coke.
Decided to have a bottle of water with some fruits and a croissant. The seat in the lounge also came with a magazine of KLM, but was unfortunately not updated like it was within the aircraft itself.
I left around 11.35 AM to my gate which was not ready to board anytime soon and it took at least till 12:05 PM for a check-in lady to appear to check us in in a rather chaotic way. A single announcement was made by her that everyone who was going to Amsterdam with KLM should come immediately to the boarding gate and go to the bus with no delay.
It also gave me an opportunity to catch the first bird I could see. A Boeing 737-800 of TuiFly Germany who would be departing to Fuerteventura.
Given that our little bird was parked at a remote stand, we were shipped to our aircraft by a bus which was way too crowded to my liking and could not fit all passengers for our flight. It however gave me a beautiful view of the aircraft that would bring me over to Amsterdam today.
Today's flight would be performed by an Embraer E-175 with the registration PH-EXM. It is a 4.4 year old bird at time of writing and has solely served KLM Cityhopper in it's short lifespan. It is powered by 2 GE CF34-8E5 Engines and it can carry up to 88 people with a European business class.
As I was one of the latest of the first bus to join, I could take this neat shot of the fuselage. Also the 2nd bus took at least another twenty minutes to even arrive. Not sure what was going on there.
Legroom is nothing to complain about in J Class, though is nowhere near to impressive either.
An Airbus (D-AIZP) parked next to us who would depart later to Malaga.
KLM Cityhopper's logo written on their right wall as decoration.
At this moment it was clear the flight's handling didn't run as smoothly as it is supposed to be. The captain came to the Captain explaining to us what was going on and also telling us what he has experienced so far. He said to us that he waited more than 15 minutes on his parking position as there was no handling crew to handle the aircraft and to disembark it's passengers. He also announced that he is really trying his best to depart as soon as possible, but that communication is not going that well as ground staff was not able to contact staff in the terminal regarding check-in and boarding.
To make matters worse, when the 2nd bus arrived the ground handling requested the boarding card of a Ghanese lady as she was given a boarding card from another person who was also travelling to Accra….. The Captain was not happy with the situation and made clear to the ground handling that this is not okay and a breach of security and that he will write a report to his company. The issue of these boarding cards eventually took another 15 minutes for it to be resolved.
I also received my pre-flight drink which was just a glass of water from the flight attendant….
About an hour after our scheduled departure, the Captain announced himself again explaining that all matters are almost solved as they were loading the last 40 bags of luggage which the handling seemed to have lost prior to that too….
He received a loud applause from the cabin as he was really doing his best to solve the matter and took his time to answer any question from passengers. Everyone understood by now that the problem was not with KLM, but with the handling….
While checking out, he also informed his purser to provide anyone in the cabin with a drink to their choice.
With a delay of an hour and 15 minutes, we were finally pushing back for a speedy departure from Runway 25C to Amsterdam.
As this little Embraer 175 was fully loaded, it needed quite a long run to lift off with an early left turn out, which gave you an overview of the entire airport we just left behind.
A brunch was provided by KLM Cityhopper with a Tonic I opted for when we were on ground. A coffee I requested during the flight which has yet to be delivered. The meal in J Class from Frankfurt is definitely more impressive than the ones I received to Stuttgart in J class last september.
The meal was of good quality and more than sufficient for a flight that usually takes less than a hour. The 2nd photo shows you all contents of the meals in the menu that came with the box.
The branded plastic cutlery of KLM Cityhopper which is re-used plastic and is definitely stronger to use than the ones you were usually served.
By this time we were already in level cruise to Amsterdam.
The lavatory in front of the cabin was clean, but very tiny and it was somewhat a challenge for me to hit the entry point due to the fact that I was unable to stand up straight.
While I was back in the seat, I took a photo of the panel which shows you an individual airvent, reading light and a call button. Pretty standard, but am glad that KLM Cityhopper keeps these individual airvents as they are doing a better job at keeping you cool. Definitely when you are wearing masks.
Business class separated from economy by a blue curtain. Today's J class consisted only of 8 seats in total with 3 passengers including me, but economy was fully packed.
The literature of today's flight consisted out of the standard magazine, a safety card and a sickbag.
15 minutes prior to landing, the cabin crew received information about flight connections and it was apparent that due to this delay in Frankfurt, many would miss their onward connections. The purser went through the cabin to those with a missed connection to inform them about their situation and to meet their staff on the ground at the transfer desks to provide them with a new connection to get them to their destination in a timely manner.
Touchdown was on runway 06 at 14.10 giving us a total delay of an hour and ten minutes.
Parked next to an other E175 of KLM Cityhopper with a maintenance guy in the hold doing his job.
The last view of our aircraft. Those E175's are very nice and comfortable rides.
The bus took us to the terminal where a lot of people were rushing to catch their connecting flight. I went on a steady pace to my baggage carrousel. It took about 15 minutes for it to arrive and I was on my way home.
While KLM is the responsible provider for the entire flight and should be held accountable, I find it hard to judge them based on the mismanagement of their third party in Frankfurt, which wasn't their standard provider. They flight crew did their best to provide us with as much information as possible and did their utmost best to please anyone to make the flight somewhat pleasant.