Heathrow is having one of those days. The gusting winds mean there is more separation between the approaching aircraft, and as a result, everything seems to be running late – in some cases even as much as one hour or more.
In Terminal 4 KLM shares the Business Class lounge with some of its other SkyTeam partners, including China Southern, Korean Air and Aeroflot. I rather like the SkyTeam lounge in Heathrow. It’s got a modern and fresh feel to it, and the choice of hot and cold food is rather good.
This evening though, the lounge is full of unhappy Frenchmen. The Air France flight to Paris is running nearly ninety minutes late and passengers with connecting flights in Paris have already been informed that they’re likely not going to make their onward flights. Which of course is a merde.
My flight is running slightly late as well. Boarding is scheduled for 19h55, which passes without the ground crew announcing that there’s going to be a delay. Eventually, at 20h30 boarding for the flight begins.
Tonight’s flight is being operated by an Embraer 175 of KLM Cityhopper. The flight is more or less sold out, which is why the ground crew are offering passengers to check in their baggage free of charge. I’m guessing this is the reason why eventually it takes us until 21h10 to finally complete the boarding process.
There are two rows of Business Class seats on this flight, although on KLM Cityhopper it’s difficult to tell the difference, seeing as both seats on the row of two are sold, even in Business Class. Luckily, I’m on 1A, and by the time boarding is completed, the aisle seat next to me is still empty.
There are two young ladies working the flight today. They’re your usual KLM friendly cabin crew. What they lack in finesse, they certainly make up for with their genuine and unpretentious approach to dealing with passengers.
There is no service on the ground. The flight time to Amsterdam is forty-five minutes.
No sooner has the main landing gear left the ground, the aircraft starts shaking and swinging around as though it were a feather. Even so, before the fasten seatbelt sign is even turned off, the crew start their preparations for the service.
A while ago, KLM updated the boxes and the meals that are serve in Business Class on the Cityhopper flights. I’m mean, it’s still a box. But even so, I still think it’s an improvement in that the new box seems bigger and more spacious.
Inside the box there is a falafel and hummus salad, two pieces of bread and butter and a dessert.
The salad is good and very light. I soak up the hummus with one of the breads provided with the meal and that is still warm. I don’t try the dessert.
Very soon we start our descent into Amsterdam. The weather here is no better and we dip and roll violently on the approach. Eventually, after a flight time of only forty minutes, we touch down on the Polderbaan. From here it’s another ten minutes taxiing to the Cityhopper apron. By the time we come to a stop on our designated remote stand, it’s just gone 23h00 and we’re running thirty minutes late.
We enter the terminal, which is deserted at this time of night. At least that means it doesn’t take long for the bags to start arriving…