I’ve decided to make the best of the long weekend ahead of the 1. May, which is a public holiday in Switzerland. But where to go? For quite a while I’ve been entertaining the thought of taking the Korean Air flight from Madrid to Amsterdam. While still deliberating where to go for the long weekend it emerges that Korean Air will be ending its Madrid to Amsterdam service in favour of serving both destinations with separate direct flights from Seoul. Perhaps this is something they usually do for the summer season. In any case, the decision is taken from me it seems and I book myself to fly on 1 May 2012 with Korean Air, the last day of operation of the service.
And how do I get to Madrid? Feeling an urgent compulsion to try out a further new airline, I do a bit of exploring and experimenting on the net and eventually settle for a flight with KLM from Zürich to Amsterdam – nothing new there – and from there with Air Europa to Madrid. This trip review is about the first part of the trip and covers the journey from Zürich to Amsterdam.
Date: Friday, 27 April 2012
Aircraft: Boeing B 737-700
Class: Economy Class
Seat: 10B, middle seat – later move to 11A, window
Getting to the Airport
Things are quiet today in the office. It looks like others have the same idea and have already left for the long week-end. At 15:30 I call it a day, pack my things and leave the office for the airport. I catch the train at 15:55 and by 16:10 my train pulls into the station at Zürich Airport. My flight is not until 19:30 so I head for the observation deck, which I still have not visited since the new dock opened in December 2011. The entrance fee is ChF5.- and there are lockers to but your bags in.
It has turned warm and sunny again here, after three weeks solid of the most god awful weather. As soon as I step outside on to the terrace, I feel like I’ve just gone through a time warp and I realise just how much I have missed being out here. I think of the many hours I spent here as a kid, watching planes from around the world coming and going!
The new dock is very nice, I must say. There are these screens in front of every airbridge, providing information on the aircraft parked at that particular gate. There is also a huge playground, which is well frequented and evidently very popular with the kids. And there are the aircraft themselves of course, which you can get quite close to on the deck.
I spend quite some time outside. Then at around 18:00 I head inside to collect my things and pass through security. From there I head to the Skyteam lounge for a drink before my flight.
There really is not very much to say about the KLM flight. It’s another solid performance. Yes, I know I’m biased. I just really like KLM. Boarding starts right on time but the Swissport agent handling the flight makes a complete dog’s breakfast of the whole process.
but eventually we manage and I am on board.
I have the middle seat on the emergency exit. Once boarding is completed though, I notice that the row behind me only has a female subject sitting on the aisle reading a book, and evidently, and it is quite unimaginable for me, she is completely uninterested in looking out the window. So I collect my things and move one row back to claim the window seat. The middle seat stays empty, so I have just as much space as on the exit row.
For sure the Embraer I normally travel on with KLM is a nifty little plane, and the 2 + 2 configuration is quite convenient for the passenger in terms of comfort. But somehow, sitting here and glancing out at the wing of the B737 I must confess that I find the larger size of the Boeing far more appealing. The whole thing just seems more solid and, well…big.
As usual take-off is from runway 28.
The meal is the standard drink run you get on KLM with a choice of a sweet or savory snack. Coffee and tea are served at the same time due to the short duration of the flight.
All in all it really is a pleasantly uneventful flight and before long we’re already flying through the clouds again on our descent into Amsterdam.
We arrive in Amsterdam a few minutes ahead of schedule. I pass through customs and make a beeline for the CitizenM at the airport, where I will spend the night before my onward journey to Madrid on Air Europa the next day.