Today begins an extended period of travel for me. Some trips I will be taking by plane, whereas for others I will be taking the train. By the time I am permanently back home in Switzerland it will be the middle of February. This first leg to Amsterdam also marks my first flight on the KLM E 195-E2, and I have been geeking out about it all day with excitement!
Gettin to the Airport
The first part of my journey from Basel to Zürich is on one of the more recent acqusitions of the Swiss Federal Railways. The Dosto was built by Bombardier and is intended as a double decked composition with high speed tilting capabilities to accommodate the mountainous Swiss terrain. Too bad the technology is a complete and utter fail. The staff complain that their joints ache after working on the train for a whole day. And I know from experience that working on your laptop on this train can be treacherous. The constant jolts mean that you are very likely to accidentally open the wrong file or application…
But at least they look nice inside…
At Zürich HB I transfer to one of the many trains running to the airport. Zürich airport is still looking very festive.
The airport is surprisingly busy. There are two security lanes open for premium passengers, but the process is taking some time, mainly because there are families with kids ahead of me in both lanes.
I do not bother with the lounge a) because I do not have much longer to wait until boarding starts, and b) because KLM recently changed lounges in Zürich, and the new one is really nothing to write home about. Unless, of course, you enjoy sitting in a broom cupboard.
Boarding starts on time, and I am delighted that the DNATA staff strictly enforce boarding by zones.
When I step on board, the cabin lights are dimmed and set to a funky mood lighting in shades of pink and blue. It looks rather cool, I must say. Other than that though, I think some more brightness would be great, as passengers are struggling to find the seat numbers in the near-darkness of the cabin. The lights remain like this for the entire flight, except during take-off and landing, when they are turned off completely.
I am seated on row 3, which is one of the rows with extra legroom. The seat is very comfortable, and obviously a lot of thought has gone into maxing out the available space.
There are two power sockets for every pair of seats. There is an adjustable head rest with ears for support, and there is also a holder for iPhones and iPads for passengers to watch their own movies.
We push back from the gate at 17:31, on schedule. The flight time is announced as one hour and 25 minutes.
There are three crew on this flight. All three of them are quite young. None of them are overly friendly. However they are perfectly polite and efficient in their interaction with passengers.
The crew swiftly prepare the cabin for departure and turn off the funky disco lights as we mae our way to runway 28 for take-off.
The meal service consists of a cheese sandwich with Beemster and some spicy mayo. As I previously mentioned in another post, I think KLM’s European Economy Class sandwiches are really quite tasty, and I honestly prefer them to the content of those Business Class cardboard boxes any day!
To drink I have a cup of sparkling water.
Arrival in Schiphol
Somewhere along the way we must have taken a few short cuts, because we eventually land in Amsterdam after a flight time of only one hour and 15 minutes, bringing us into Amsterdam 10 minutes ahead of schedule.
We park on a remote stand and are then bussed to the terminal building. It is cold and windy here in Amsterdam.
This was another enjoyable flight with KLM, which is now one of only a few airlines left in Europe with complimentary catering in Economy Class. The E2 is nice, and in the KLM configuration it offers a lot of comfort and space. The mood lighting gives the cabin a very modern and funky appearance, and the crew obviously enjoyed trying out different settings. However, I wonder if perhaps it would speed up boarding and deboarding to have brighter lights on during the process…