KLM Cityhopper, Economy Class – Fokker 70: curtain call



This post is not so much about the flight experience – after all, KLM has received its fair share of coverage here over the years. No, today marks the end of revenue service for the Fokker 70 with KLM Cityhopper.

I managed to take no less than 90 flights on this little aeroplane. I experienced one burst tyre and three rejected take-offs on the Fokker 70. And so I figured it might be nice to send this sturdy and reliable workhorse a last salute before the curtain call.

Today will be my 91st flight on the F70. It will probably also be my last.


The Skyview Lounge

Fortunately, the Swissport lounge in Basel has an open air terrace from which you have some good views of the runway and the approaching traffic. It’s quite breezy this afternoon. But hey, it’s not every day you have to say farewell to an old friend…


My flight arrives in Basel with a slight delay. As the aircraft turns off the runway it comes into earshot and I am greeted with the familiar whining sound of the Rolls Royce Tay engines. This is where it starts to dawn on me that I’m probably going to miss this noisy little bugger.



Most stands at Basel are open, which is of course good news for me. There is a buzz of excitement at the gate and most of the Dutch passengers on the flight today are aware of the fact that they are becoming a part of history by taking this flight. And so, rather than having to feel self-conscious about taking pictures, I actually find myself having to elbow my way in between the Dutch grannies to get a good spot.


The Crew

The crew are obviously in a good mood and this last flight is a special event for them too. During the turnaround they can be seen walking around the aircraft taking pictures and selfies as a souvenir.

Once we’re on board, the captain comes on the speaker to welcome us to ‘the last Fokker 70 flight out of Basel with KLM. Ever.’ Apparently, our particular flight will do another short hop to Hannover later on, and that will then be it. It’s quite sad actually.

The Cabin

The one thing I think I will always remember about the F70 is the noise of the ventilation system, which sounds as though it were directly linked to the engines. When ever the engine thrust is increased, the volume of air being pushed through the ventilation system increases too, producing roughly the same effect you might achieve by turning on your hair dryer to full volume and pointing it directly at your ear from a distance of about 1 cm…

Other than that though, the cabin is in good condition. KLM has taken good care of these aircraft and the facelift the cabin received just a few years back certainly gave the Fokker 70 a new lease on life. 



We land in Amsterdam with a slight delay and are then treated to the grand tour of Amsterdam, otherwise known as a Polderbaan arrival. As we turn the corner, the Fokker Farm comes into view, which is apparently the colloquial term for the ramp on which the KLM Cityhoppers are usually parked. The other seven remaining F70s are already here too. The crew of one of the aircraft is just disembarking, all of them taking pictures. And as we pass them, they all send us a cheery wave.

The usurper


And so comes to an end my farewell trip on the Fokker 70. The aircraft is being replaced in the fleet of KLM Cityhopper with the Embraer 175, which is definitely newer, quieter and probably more fuel-efficient than the old Fokkers. From a passenger’s point of view though, I think the Embraer 175 can hardly match the Fokker for comfort.

Later on the same day operations will come to an end with the arrival of the last Fokker 70 flight from London Heathrow. The British capital was deliberately chosen for the last flight because the very first international revenue service of a Fokker aircraft on behalf of KLM had also been to London, back in 1920. And then the Fokker 70 will be relegated to history.

Good bye Fokker 70. And thanks for all the memories!



KLM Cityhopper, Economy Class – Fokker 70: Billund to Amsterdam


Date: 17 July 2016
Departure: 14:40
Arrival: 15:40
Flight time: 1 hour
Seat: 5F, window on the starboard side



The city of Billund is best known as the location of Legoland. Apart from that though, Billund is definitely one of the stranger places I have ever visited. I am staying at the Refborg hotel, which is a nice hotel close to the bus stop for the bus to the airport – but otherwise stuck in the middle of nowhere. It is not until I make further investigations that what I thought originally was the middle of nowhere turns out to be the centre of downtown Billund…

And now it is Sunday morning. It really is peaceful here. Lying in bed I can hear the birds singing and the soft, gentle hush of drizzle against the windowpane.

Walking to the Airport

Journey time: 45 minutes
From: Refborg Hotel, central Billund
Arrives: Entrance to Departures
Cost: 240 calories
The distance from the Refborg Hotel to the airport terminal is only 3.84 kilometres, so I figure I might as well walk. The walk is pretty straightforward and takes you along country roads with very little traffic. I think this is the first time I have ever walked to the airport. The journey takes approximately 45 minutes for airplane geeks, walking at an average pace of 11:53 minutes per kilometre. Obviously this will be about five minutes or so shorter if you are not an airplane geek and hence do not stop to watch every time an aircraft takes off right above your head.

The walk from the city centre takes you around the grounds of Legoland and then in a straight line to the airport. On your way you will pass right under the threshold.



Location: Departures and arrivals are on the ground level. There is only one terminal.
Facilities: KLM web check-in, KLM app check-in, self-service check-in machines, dedicated counters.
Counters: Billund has common purpose self-service check-in machines and counters. Economy Class passengers check-in on the C row, while SkyPriority passengers may use counter D41.


There is a LEGO store once you are airside of the terminal. They have a special set of Billund airport made out of LEGO, which was produced as a limited special edition of 10’000 and can only be purchased at this shop. Because it is a limited edition, customers are advised that the price per set will go up if they purchase more than three boxes. What’s more, the guy who actually designed the set still works at the shop and if you ask nicely, he will even sign the box for you!


The King Amlet Lounge

Location: One floor up from the public transit area.
Type of Lounge:
Contractor lounge operated by Billund airport.
Toilets are available in the lounge but there are no shower, workstations.
Catering: The lounge has a decent selection of cold dishes and various breads. There is also a coffee available. Meals may be ordered for purchase in the lounge.
There is complimentary wifi in the entire terminal. However, the lounge has its own network.

The stairs leading up to the lounge are guarded by a man-sized king in medieval costume – made entirely of LEGO of course.



Is there like some secret sign I missed or what? One moment I am just standing in the holding pen for my flight to Amsterdam minding my own business, the next moment all the passengers stand up and start walking towards the exit for the plane.


The Cabin

The flight is only moderately full. Originally I am on seat 3C, which is the aisle seat on the port side of the aircraft. But once boarding is completed, I realise there is an entire row of three on the starboard side on row five, so I move to 5F before the fasten seatbelt sign comes on.

The Crew

There are two female cabin crew on the flight. They are friendly enough, but they seem a bit stressed, probably because the inbound flight was late and the turnaround had to be very quick.


The Meal

Type of meal: Afternoon snack

  1. Wrap with hummus, mint and lemon
  2. Still water
  3. Any other hot or cold drinks from the trolley

Much to my surprise, the food service on this short hop to Amsterdam is not the usual biscuits or crisps. Instead, we are each served a box containing a small wrap and a container with still water. Even so, the crew still pass through the cabin offering drinks from the trolley.


The weather in Amsterdam is certainly much better than it was in Billund, with only scattered clouds and a temperature of 22 degrees Celsius. We land on runway 18C, which means that we only have about 5 minutes to taxi from the runway to the infamous Fokker farm, where all the Cityhopper aircraft normally park.


There is a bus to bring us to the terminal. I arrive in the terminal building at 15h50. I now have ten minutes before boarding starts for my flight to Basel. As my friend the valiant M. would say, it’s as easy as cutting Swiss cheese.


KLM City Hopper, Economy Class – Fokker F 70: Basel to Amsterdam


Christmas is barely over. No more office parties, no more presents to pack and others unpack and the tree is already starting to look worse for wear. After spending the 24th and 25th in the company of dear family and friends it’s now high time for me to head for the airport and get on a plane again. Yes, it’s time for my Christmas vacation!

Initially I wasn’t even planning on writing a report about this flight, but then there were so many new things worth reporting – news about lounge access for KLM passengers in Basel and a new cabin – that I simply couldn’t resist.


Aircraft: Fokker F 70
Airline: KLM City Hopper
Cabin: Economy Class
Seat: 11A, window on the emergency exit
Date: 26 December 2013
Departure: 11:50
Arrival: 13:30
From: Basel-Mulhouse
To: Amsterdam

Getting to the Airport

My first stop this morning, once I finish packing, is the gym, five minutes down the road from where I live, to try and burn off some of yesterday’s Christmas dinner before I go away on holiday. I return home at around 10:00 in the morning, exchange my gym bag for my suitcase and then I leave again and head for the airport. The bus line 50 is surprisingly empty this morning.


I checked in online for my flight the previous evening using the fabulous KLM app, which immediately and very reliably drops my boarding pass in the Passbook app. So upon arrival at the airport I can bypass check-in and head straight for security.

Recently they introduced an automatic barrier at Basel airport for passengers wishing to use the fast track through security. The fast track is marked as the lane for ‘Business Class and Status holders’, the latter of which applies to me today. So I give the fast track a try, only for it to reject my advances and my boarding pass. Now why was I expecting this to happen?

The Skyview Lounge

Eventually I do manage to get through security, the queue moves swiftly. Just as I am about to settle down by the gate for my flight, I decide I need to heed the call of nature first. On the way to the gents I pass the Swissport lounge where I notice, much to my surprise, that KLM is now also on the list of airlines that use this facility. Oh happy day!


I enter cautiously, and indeed the receptionist welcomes me to the lounge, scans my boarding pass and wishes me a pleasant stay. Thank you very much!



Boarding for the flight starts on time, and by the time I reach the gate from the lounge most of the passengers have already boarded. The gate agent scans my boarding pass, tags my suitcase for collection at the aircraft on arrival and wishes me a pleasant journey.

The Cabin

Upon entering the aircraft I am pleasantly surprised to find that it has already undergone the refurbishment KLM had announced for the F 70 fleet a while back. And I must say, it’s a vast improvement! To be fair, I have always thought that KLM takes really excellent care of its aircraft, but these new seats have knocked years off the old lady.


The seats are much thinner than the previous ones, and the fabric covers have now been replaced with leather, which immediately gives the seat and cabin a much more modern feel and look. I comment about this to the flight attendant standing on the other side of the aisle and tell her how much nicer the new cabin looks – ‘and about time too’ she replies and smiles. Indeed, about time too!

The doors close on time and the captain comes on the blower to welcome us aboard. He sounds like a cheery, friendly chap. Our flight time today is announced as 65 minutes, taxi to the departing runway will be short, which is a good thing because the aircraft picked up some ice on the inbound leg and will need to be de-iced before we depart for Amsterdam.


Once that’s all taken care we take-off in a north westerly direction, with thick globules of orange de-icing fluid oozing past my window as we go thundering down the runway to accelerate.


The Crew

The cabin crew on today’s flight are two blonde Dutch females who are so similar to each other in looks that I’m having trouble keeping them apart. They’re also both equally friendly and both seem rather happy to be working this flight, which makes a change from the grumpy lot of crew you sometimes get on these short European flights.

The Meal

I always call this chapter ‘The Meal’ in al my trip reports, and I see no reasons to deviate from that now. Although in fact, strictly speaking I’m not entirely sure KLM’s provisions in this department technically count as a meal. But please don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining or anything after all the food a drink these last few days.

In any case, it consists of some savoury snack with a strong flavour of artificial onions and a cup of still water. Simply to beef up the trip report, I have taken the liberty of taking a few pictures of the motifs on the plastic cups KLM distribute on their flights. I think they’re rather nice.



Shortly after the rubbish has been removed, we begin our descent into Amsterdam.


Arrival today is on 18C, which means our taxi to the Fokker farm not quite as epic and long as when we’re assigned the Polderbaan for arrivals.


Shortly after the door opens, the cabin luggage is lined up in front of the aircraft for passengers to pick up as we board the bus to bring us to the terminal.



In Amsterdam I shall be staying at the Hotel Conservatorium for one night. It’s a very nice hotel in a historic building that’s conveniently located right next door to the Van Gough museum and in close proximity to the Rijksmuseum a bit further up the road. I leave you with a few pictures from the hotel.