Review of KLM Cityhopper flight Birmingham Amsterdam in Economy

Airline KLM Cityhopper
Flight KL1432
Class Economy
Seat 24F
Aircraft Embraer E-190
Flight time 01:15
Take-off 17 Sep 21, 17:40
Arrival at 17 Sep 21, 19:55
WA   #33 out of 75 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 385 reviews
ThomasDutch
By SILVER 215
Published on 19th September 2021

Hello,

Given that I am a cargo pilot for a small cargo airline and we did a shift the day before that brought us over to Birmingham, both me and my colleague expected to fly back to our maintenance hub later today as the aircraft was suppose to go to maintenance for a regular check. However given that the aircraft had more hours left than they suspected it had by today, they decided to bring us home by a regular flight. My colleague went on from London Heathrow to Madrid and I was booked on a flight from BHX to Amsterdam with a price tag of 440 EUR due to the fact it was booked only four hours in advance and the cabin was fully booked.

While I am fully vaccinated, I had yet to clear another obstacle as the UK is considered a very high risk country by the Netherlands and therefore you should have a PCR test and a mandatory quarantine for 10 days (until 22nd september when a vaccination is sufficient). Luckily flight crew is exempted from both regulation, but it always brings somewhat of a hassle with ground personel in the departing airport as they're often not as up to date as they should be. Pretty understandable due to the fact that it changes constantly. 

But just to be sure, I decided to do a quick Covid-19 Antigen Lateral Flow test with ExpressTest by Cignpost for 35GBP to have something on standby when it causes some issues. Results are in your email within 40 minutes after test. Staff was however excellent and very friendly.  


photo 20210917_135045

Unfortunately I also needed to check out early from the Ibis at the airport like any other hotel which is currently fully booked up to the end of the year due to a fact that all delayed events of 2021 are happening in the last few months of the year. I decided to grab a coffee and a toast with Costa Coffee, which is pretty much the starbucks of the UK with better coffee to wait about an hour to check-in.


photo img-20210917-wa0015

Eventually made my way to the other side of the terminal where KLM checks in and enjoyed the beautiful weather in the UK for a few more minutes.


photo img-20210917-wa0013

Check-in was done from the D gates number 66 to 69 with a few people waiting for the check-in counters to open, which took about five more minutes for someone to appear to proceed with us. I was one of the first to check in due to my status with KLM with the lady behind the counter asking directly though in a friendly manner to my PCR test. I explained her my situation and given my Job that I am exempt for that rule and received my boarding pass with seat 24F.


photo 20210917_145052

I probably set a new record given that it took a total of 15 seconds for me to clear security with no single soul in line and after me. Security was as quiet as it could be just like the photo listed below.


photo 20210917_152542

While signage isn't the best in Birmingham Airport, you are definitely stuck in a maze of duty free shops before you are airside. The weird thing about Birmingham is that even though you are departing to mainland Europe or Dubai, border police is not required and is pretty much non-existent for departing traffic. They probably have an agreement with the airlines to provide the passenger lists to border control.


photo 20210917_152620

While most of the shops were closed, the restaurants and pubs were definitely open and of course the most crowded parts of the airside terminal. I decided to join the herd and do a pub crawl through the many bars that were open.


photo 20210917_152708

Started to have somewhat of an early dinner with a nice amber ale of the London Pride with The Giraffe. Probably the most comfortable restaurant of all.


photo 20210917_153216photo 20210917_153405

Eventually finished my round with a nice pint of Birra Moretti at The Factory.


photo 20210917_161916

About 40 minutes prior to departure, they finally announced the gate and I slowly moved my way towards the gate with a few spotting possibility along as my gate was one of the last ones. 

A few aircraft, mostly holiday charters, were being prepared for some better destinations in South Europe



Our gate for today would be 46. Given the lay out of the terminals, it is understandable for the airport to only inform passengers about their gates like 45 minutes prior to departure as seating is very limited and to prevent people to be waiting in front of the gates to crowd such places.


photo 20210917_1706180

The terminal even allows me to spot that old lady from us (my job) on the other side of the runway resting for the weekend till my colleague will take over. :)


photo 15

The sheep's herd was already established way before boarding was initiated, but went rather smoothly with respect to zones and status.


photo 20210917_171655

I checked in as one of the lasts with the lady asking to my mandatory quarantine declaration of the Netherlands, which I showed to her (Saying I was exempt) before I was able to spot our bird for today's flight. The flight was going to be performed by PH-EZA, which is a 12,9 year old bird (Date of Flight) who has solely seen service for KLM Cityhopper and can carry up to 100 passengers  and is equipped with two  GE CF34 engines.


photo 20210917_173307photo 20210917_173311

Welcomed by the flight attendant in a polite way, yet not so cordially as I am used to I proceeded to my seat in the aft part of the cabin. It took no more than a single minute after my boarding that we were already pushing back for an on-time departure to Amsterdam. Cabin was full with no single seat free. 4/4 in J & 96/96 in Y.


photo 20210917_174228

It took no more than five minutes after pushback for us to be departing from Runway 33 towards Amsterdam during a beautiful sunset which gave us some beautiful views of the English countryside.


photo 20210917_175232photo 20210917_175236

Sunset disappeared a few seconds later when we passed through the clouds.


photo 20210917_175415

Legroom isn't the best on the older E-jets of KLM, yet I would say is survivable for a flight of 1 hour. The seat however is ok in terms of width and has a large table to store your items or read a magazine like the Holland Herald, which is KLM's magazine and still publishes it unlike many other airlines. Not the most entertaining stories for this month's edition as it seems to only focus on environmental issues and art.


photo 20210917_174235photo 20210917_175657

Cabin crew came around to hand us some snacks. Snacks were already finished by most people before they came back to serve us a drink. Still think it was better to provide them when the drinks were served, but they've probably had their reasons.


photo 20210917_180058-90478

Eventually I asked the cabin crew for a bottle of wine, which seems to be updated comparing it to my last time when I drank wine with them. It's a Shiraz of Cape by Julien Schaal (Same company tho) with the year unknown. I found this one to be better in taste than the previous.


photo 20210917_180959

View of the cabin in-flight.


photo 20210917_181748

After a few sips of the wine, cabin crew came already around to clean up the cabin as the cockpit informed cabin crew that they were already in descent to Amsterdam and to prepare the cabin for approach, but I decided to enjoy my wine with the sunset who'se decided to return.


photo 20210917_182542photo 20210917_182549photo 20210917_182836

We seemed to be making a longer approach than usual at a much lower altitude than I am used to, but it was probably quite busy in approach as KLM is one of the only airlines that somehow provides a intercontinental network by morning and even shifts in pandemic times unlike LH and BA who canceled a lot of intercontinental connections.

Amsterdam decided that we should land on 18R, which of course is the most furthest runway from terminal and would require us to have a long taxi ride to our parking bay. 


photo 20210917_183416photo 20210917_183421photo 20210917_183429

The old Fokker bay which eventually turned in the Embraer bay.


photo 20210917_194901

Instead of overcrowding us in two busses like my previous flight on their E190jet, they decided to add an additional bus to this aircraft which definitely improved room and disembarking went at speedy pace. I took one final shot of the aircraft that brought us over. The E-Jet is still one of my preferred aircraft for regional routes. Comfortable, quiet and a 2-2 config.


photo 20210917_195632

Compared to Birmingham, Amsterdam was very lively with lots of travellers, though admitting that most of them were connecting to other flights resulting in a quiet passport control.


photo 20210917_200726

Belt 8 was being used for our flight and it took a single minute for my luggage to appear and to be on my way to home.


photo 20210917_201057

Thanks for stopping by!

See more

Verdict

KLM Cityhopper

7.0/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew7.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering6.0

Birmingham - BHX

7.6/10
Efficiency8.5
Access8.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness7.0

Amsterdam - AMS

7.9/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.5
Services8.0
Cleanliness7.0

Conclusion

A short hop over the pond to mainland Europe with KLM. Cabin crew was polite and friendly, tho not as cordial as I'm used to with KLM, the complimentary snack and drink service is appreciated and it was a comfortable ride. Flight was full, so it's a good sign of recovery.

Related

5 Comments

  • Comment 581105 by
    ChrisB GOLD 302 Comments

    Thanks for the FR! I didn't you work as a pilot for a cargo airline... Is that Martinair?
    What do you think of posting one of your cargo flights too?

    • Comment 581154 by
      ThomasDutch SILVER AUTHOR 542 Comments

      Hi Chris,
      I'm working as a cargo pilot for an adhoc airline named BinAir operating Metroliners. Given that we do not have any scheduled lines, I don't think it is appropriate to report her according to guidelines. Also there is not much glamour to it either as we got nothing at all on board but our own thermos and empty bottles for our lavatory needs haha :).
      Thanks for stopping by though!

  • Comment 581517 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5521 Comments

    Hi Thomas, thanks for a super interesting report that gives a lot of insight to the complex rules of flying in/out of the UK to the EU is the post-Brexit pandemic-era!

    I was booked on a flight from BHX to Amsterdam with a price tag of 440 EUR due to the fact it was booked only four hours in advance and the cabin was fully booked.

    Damn! and I take it J was sold-out...that's a painful walk-up fare for Y! Some airlines I've worked for in the past had discounted walk-up fares for Cargo pilots ho couldn't sit jumpseat (or didn't want to). I hope a wasn't the discounted fare amount!

    the UK is considered a very high risk country by the Netherlands and therefore you should have a PCR test and a mandatory quarantine for 10 days (until 22nd september when a vaccination is sufficient).

    I keep a close eye on Covid-specific entry requirements and the Netherlands, along with Belgium, have had the most changes of any EU country. It's one thing to base rules on epidemiological situation in the country of origin--which is the EU standard--but the Netherlands keep changing the rules. The mandatory quarantine from high risk countries was only announced the day before it took effect a few weeks ago causing mass confusion for airlines, and then as of today (22-Sep) as you mentioned, it no longer applies to fully vaccinated passengers. Messy!

    A few aircraft, mostly holiday charters, were being prepared for some better destinations in South Europe

    UK Green or Amber list destinations I suppose. The UK wins over the Netherlands in confusing and ever-changing Covid-era travel rules! Thank goodness as of Oct 4, the rules will get simplified for all countries except red list! It's been near impossible for anyone to plan trips--I've just cut the UK out of any itineraries altogether until Summer 2022 to be safe!

    Legroom isn't the best on the older E-jets of KLM, yet I would say is survivable for a flight of 1 hour.

    Airlines should block a few seats towards the front where there's better pitch for last minute walk-up fares. It sucks to pay an exorbitant price and end up way in the back.

    Eventually I asked the cabin crew for a bottle of wine

    This is where AF-KL do a better job on intra-Europe than other carriers...free alcohol and snacks in Y! Though I wouldn't mind the introduction of a BOB programme in addition to complimentary offering for those who may need something more substantial to eat--pax often don't have time to grab food at the airport when coming from work/meetings.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 581533 by
      ThomasDutch SILVER AUTHOR 542 Comments

      I was suppose to have a free week, but however was called in to fly last monday and booked on another flight towards Birmingham this time. I will report that one too, however most of these flights to Southern destinations were to Spain and Greece which I believe are amber too. Yep, The Netherlands been tricky in the first few months of the 2nd wave to enter, however was eased a lot in early August by making all European Schengen countries Yellow or Green, which means that mandatory quarantine was not mandatory as long as you were vaccinated or had a negative test..... The system for foreigners from non-schengen is a bit tricky, but laws had to be adjusted to fix a mandatory quarantine.... That was one of the issues with the many change of regulations indeed.

Login to post a comment.