KL1076 - Economy - Manchester to Amsterdam - Boeing 737-800You are here
Well its time to start my 26th journey around the sun. Its February 17th 2023 and I had two things in mind when booking a trip back to London (or the South of England anyway) from Manchester after my incredible Jet2 757 flight. One was that I wanted to do something nice for my birthday and the other was that I really needed to sort out a KLM or Air France flight to keep my Flying Blue miles active as it had been a good length of time since my last travels with them.
So instead of booking a £40 one way flight from Manchester to London with BA direct or £125 one way to Southampton with Eastern Airways or even a cracking £65 one-way deal with Ryanair from Manchester to London Gatwick via Dublin, I opted to spend £150 and fly Manchester to London via Amsterdam with two KLM Flights.
I wonder how many people reading this will be scratching their heads over my decision?
Either way, let's dive into the Flight Report on the Manchester to Amsterdam leg with a KLM Boeing 737-800!
Manchester Airport Terminal 2
I had to catch a train from Heald Green to Manchester Airport's train terminal. The journey was only about 15 minutes on the "Northern Line" and cost on the day I went £3.40 one way. My hotel was only a 2 minute walk from the station. I couldn't have asked for a more convenient transit.
The only down side is I was flying out of Terminal 2 at Manchester Airport which was the furthest walk from the Train Station, unlike Terminals 1 and 3. It took a good 10 minutes to get from one side of the Airport to the other, but I managed to get there.
I had just enough time spare to go grab a paper boarding pass for my two flights that day (they were on one booking) which was for two main reasons. ONE, makes a good back up if a phone problem comes up and TWO- its a good souvenir.
There was a bit of a que at security and I was held up by five minutes alone by the lack of plastic security trays. I packed light, so due to the growing ques I got away with doing my bag and personal effects in the same tray instead of separating like everyone else had to.
I was however, once airside, treated to the lovely view of a TUI Airways (UK) Boeing 787-9 pushing back with a good clear view of it!
I stayed by a window and gave one of my devices a charge up. I didn't have a lot of money on me, so I opted to avoid spending in Manchester Airport. But Terminal 2 did look quite nice. Its probably a bit more of a hassle when its busy at peak times of the day.
There was a flight information screen near by so I was able to easily keep track of when my Gate would be announced. Sure enough when the time came, the gate was one that was quite a hike away!
KLM Flight 1076 (MAN-AMS)
Finally marching over to my Gate, the Boeing 737-800(WL) was there to take us to Amsterdam Schiphol in all its "blue top" glory.
The plane operating this MAN-AMS service was the Boeing 737-806(WL) PH-BXY. This plane entered service with KLM brand new from Boeing in February 2008 making it just over 15 years old when I flew it. It will likely be phased out in the next few years as KLM takes on brand new Airbus A320-neo from late-2023. Oddly enough some of KLM's Boeing 737-800 are still pretty new as they took delivery of the last Boeing 737-800 commercial aircraft in late 2019.
Getting onto the Boeing 737, I was amazed to see that the plane had the brand new Boeing Sky Interior fitted in the cabin. I was expecting the older seating I had on all my prior Boeing 737-NG flights until then. So this was a nice surprise. I quite like this new cabin. My favourite addition being the cup holder in the top right of the seats.
Despite the huge A320-neo order, I think that KLM retro fitting their Boeing 737-NG fleet (or at least a number of them) indicates they'll be flying them for a good few years with the airline.
We had a long taxi as we went from Terminal 2 to the far side of Manchester Airport, lining up by the famous Airport Pub which serves as a popular plane spotting location (somewhere I am yet to visit). We left during a quiet spell, so we weren't holding back for long luckily.
We departed on Runway 23R, and rocketed out of Manchester Airport as we came to the start of Runway 23L, which on the other side of the plane looks over to the amazing Manchester Airport Visitor Park (AVP).
We climbed through the layer of cloud cover over Manchester and the North of England and came out into clear and lovely blue skies. The clouds began to scatter as we headed towards the North Sea giving glimpses of the North-North/East of England.
KLM, unlike many of their European counterparts, still offer a snack and bar service in Economy Class on their European network. I went for the savoury crisps on this flight alongside a Heineken beer (it would be rude not to) and a cup of water… You can see why I endorse the cup holder in the seat back so highly in the second photo.
The flight carried on uneventful and I opted to try out the free Wi-Fi offered by KLM. As with almost all EU Airlines that offer this service there are charges for more in-depth Wi-Fi services, but I was happy playing with the basics during this flight which offered a look at my Flight progress as well as some KLM related media.
USB ports were positioned in the seat backs too, so I made use of that on this flight without shame! I like the fact more airlines are introducing them given that the airlines don't like people using portable charging devices due to them being a fire hazard.
I noticed the North Sea wind-farm full of windmills in the sea as we flew over, a very common sight during the day on these UK-NL flights.
It wasn't long before the coastline of the Netherlands came into view and we entered the Dutch territories, the clear skies allowing for some nice scenic views.
Given I'm accustomed to the LON/SOU flight to Amsterdam, this flight from Manchester service felt a lot longer, even though the flight time wasn't hugely different in time or distance.
The crew started our decent into Amsterdam Schiphol, yet again taking us around for an arrival on the "Polderbaan" Runway- which couldn't be any further away from the Airport if the Dutch tried…
We landed and made the usual 15-20 minute taxi over from the Polderbaan Runway to the main Terminal facility. As per the usual with mainline KLM flights involving the UK and Ireland, we parked at the non-Schengen D-Pier.
During the taxi I noticed a single lone Aeroflot Airbus A320-ceo parked up in what I assume is "long term storage". I am not sure if its a confiscated aircraft brought back from Russia or an impounded aircraft which was parked at AMS when the ban on Russian airliners in the EU came into effect.
It appears the D-Gates are getting quite a bit of construction work done at the moment, but we arrived without hassle onto Gate D-44. The D-Gates are where all KLM, British Airways and Aer Lingus flights go when arriving or departing from the UK or Ireland, short haul destinations not in the Schengen Zone, some other countries which services often see the D-Gates pier include Romania, Turkey and Croatia.
I held back getting off to allow the crowd of people eager to leave the plane depart, which also allowed me to get some photos of the plane and its new Boeing Sky Interior. I have no idea how many flights I'll enjoy in this cabin, but its quite nice and I enjoyed it personally. As far as short haul European airlines go, I will go as far as saying its one of the best I've experienced.
Manchester - MAN
Amsterdam - AMS
KLM- A solid and good European economy product as always. I like flying KLM and given their exotic network across the UK linking Amsterdam, they are one of the best airlines you can fly with to/from the UK. The snack and bar service is a solid customer experience, all though I must stress its nothing fancy. Manchester Airport- I can't fault Manchester Airport on anything serious, there was a minor hick up at security but it didn't have too bad a knock on my experience. I look forward to making another trip out of Terminal 2 when I have a bit more time and money to experience it more, hopefully without a pro-longed route march to the furthest gate!
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This was a 15 years old aircraft (which KLM acquired in 2008 and not in 2018) and still it looks much better than many aircraft I flew in the past, even much younger A320/737.
The cabin looks new! I could easily think that this aircraft is 3-4 years old or even new, if I didn't know the registration.
Free wifi is pretty nice addition to the flight, except one flight (FRA-TLV with Elal), I always had to pay for the Wifi service onboard.
Skyteam airlines know how to maintain cabins on their planes. DL is just the same with much of its Boeing 767/757 fleet.
I just noticed (thanks to your comment) the mistake, I'll rectify it ASAP.
Looks like a good birthday flight!
Not I, Hah! As an AvGeek I don't find that even remotely odd, haha...Have done crazy routings many many times before for similar reasons. Though the older I get, especially since having kids, the more I try to do as direct as possible.
KLM seem to be taking a page out of the DL playbook--the new KL shorthaul cabins look fantastic and one would have no idea the aircraft was over 15 years old without looking it up since they replaced even the sidewalls and bins to new Boeing Sky Interior-esque style
It's funny because for the longest time, KLM were still taking 737NG deliveries with the old Signature interiors well after Sky Interiors were available, but now with the retrofits to the new cabins, they's going the other way and finally modernising. So honestly, I think, like DL, they'll be keeping around these older 737NG for a while yet, especially after committing to update the cabins.
Nothing fancy, but a heck of a lot better than most European carriers where you have to pay for everything.
Thanks for sharing!
Glad you enjoyed the read Kevin! I'm interested to see how the fleet redevelopment goes. I would have thought KLM would have been kept with the Boeing 737-MAX, given their all-Boeing long haul fleet (the A330s are going). I understand making Transavia all Airbus- maybe its a ploy to get a good B737-MAX deal?
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