The airline with the best average rating is KLM with 7.4/10.
The average flight time is 2 hours and 25 minutes.More information
Following Transavia, in my quest to review flights between the Netherlands and BCN, today I fly with Vueling, another highly rated LCC. This airline uses the newer terminal T1, which has more facilities, shorter check in queues and overall better architecture. This is especially visible looking at the lighting, in contrast to the gloomier T2. Picture is after security, since I prefer to be cautious regarding photography near security checkpoints.
I send my cabin bag to the hold since Vueling allows this at no extra cost. The self-service kiosks are extremely efficient and there is a large number of them. It probably takes 5 minutes if there's a queue, and maybe half a minute otherwise. Security takes around 5 minutes too, which is a relief after a traumatic experience in EIN. It also helps that not many people want to travel on New Year's Day and that the terminal is quite spacious, though there is still a decent number of travelers. Lively but not crowded, overall a great terminal experience.
After refilling my water bottle, I head towards the B pier for some views of the apron. It's by far the best planespotting place airside, with views of 25L and 25R, at daytime arrivals and departures respectively. I managed to capture an American Airlines B777 leaving for JFK.
EC-NFJ has already arrived from Zürich, so things are looking well for the flight to Amsterdam. Even more curious, the first BCN-AMS of the day seems to have run into trouble as they're leaving later than us, with a 3 hour delay.
Vueling boards in 3 groups for more efficiency. I'm the first in line for group 1, so I could take a (rather blurry) shot of an empty A320. Today I'll stay in 27A, which has a well aligned window and no obstacles for my legs or small bags. The seat is comparable to Transavia, though it doesn't recline. It does have a storage pocket, and the legroom feels the most comfortable of the LCCs I've reviewed, though not by a big margin. The tray table is decently sized for small meals or work, though I wouldn't expect a full desk in short flights either. The seat also features USB charging ports, and advertisements for retirement homes in front of everyone.
Boarding is completed at the scheduled time, so we push back and taxi towards 25L. We take off at 12:55 and head facing Mare Nostrum, before turning towards the Peninsula. There are clouds covering most of the flight, so there aren't many nice views until approach starts.
The inflight facilities are better than the competitors in general. The USB ports are available in all seats, and WiFi service is offered at reasonable rates. Unfortunately, due to some trouble with my credit card I cannot review this service today. Their WiFi shop website does have other features, such as flight information and updated weather in destination.
I also intended to review the inflight services, but it turns out that STAVLA flight crew union is on strike and only take care of essential safety measures, so no catering or duty free services were provided. The flight is quite bumpy so the seatbelt lights stay on for most of the time. Our route takes us northwest through Andorra, and France, and then northeast through Belgium after Paris.
Descending through the clouds we approach Holland, and it's not long before I notice with horror that we're approaching the Polderbaan. The crew perform a surprisingly smooth landing despite a bumpy approach, and then start a way less exciting taxi to our gate.
On the bright side, I got to experience one of the highest taxi speeds in my life, near 30 kts according to Flightradar. I could also spot some interesting aircraft, such as these Emirates A380 and Kenya Airways Dreamliner.
AMS is still rather crowded, even in New Year's Day. Despite this, it's still an enjoyable airport, with plenty of services while being a single terminal building, which is exploited by many a connecting traveler. The terminal feels spacious and comfortable, with most services any passenger would need and features seating and work areas. I simply begin my hike towards baggage collection and take the train home, directly from Schiphol Plaza, one of my favourite features of the airport.
Train-Review: NS Intercity 761 Schiphol Airport - Groningen. Our ride today is an Intercity Materieel consisting of carriages 4075 and 4233, delivered in 1989 and 1993 respectively. Their characteristic hump is reminiscent of the B747.
The check-in process is quite fast, taking around 3 seconds. Shl doesn't have gates, since it's integrated in Schiphol Plaza. The train arrives to track 1 with a delay of one minute, but there are free seats in the silent carriages and plenty of room in the overhead luggage shelves.
The seats themselves aren't particularly comfortable, the padding isn't very soft and there's no recline whatsoever. On the other hand, they have excellent legroom and due to the 2-2 configuration they are also wide, and allow for a very walkable aisle. All window seats have a well aligned, large window; however it is too late into the evening to showcase the best views.
All seats feature a small storage pocket, a coat hanger and a king sized tray table; which comfortably fits a laptop and other amenities. There are no power outlets provided.
We arrive on time to track 7, which is a bit far from the station. Fortunately, check-out is as fast as check-in, since Gn also has no gates. There isn't really a terminal, but the station building is quite beautiful, so it deserves a daytime photo.
Another uneventful flight, though the amount of strikes going on is concerning. I am not educated enough to declare whether the airline or the workers are at fault, but in any case I believe striking workers should reflect in some way in the rating of a company. So far, Transavia has offered the best low cost experience.
BCN T1 is way ahead of T2 in all ways except access, as the local train only stops at the latter. AMS is one of the best choices for flights if you don't mind the walks.