I spend the day exploring the town of Utrecht, which is located south of Amsterdam and is directly accessible by train from Schiphol airport. A return first class ticket will cost you EUR33. Utrecht is a lovely town, and I certainly want to return here, but preferably not in winter, not when it’s raining and not when it’s cold.
At 13:21 I catch the intercity back to the airport. The Dutch have these rather funky looking trains…
I still have some time to kill, so I figure I might as well make a stop at Amsterdam South to visit Wagamama before returning to the airport.
By the time I get to Schiphol airport it’s 15:30. I have another three hours to kill before my flight. But given my last experience here at security on my way back from Bogotà, I figure I better plan ahead.
Lufthansa checks in at Departures 3. From there it is quite a schlepp to the access gates for the security screening for the Schengen gates.
Apparently, there is a dedicated row for security for Business Class passengers – which is closed today. Still, it doesn’t really make a difference: the queue is moving quickly and the new scanners at Amsterdam mean you don’t have to remove anything from your bag.
The Amsterdam Star Alliance Lounge
The Star Alliance has its own lounge in the Schengen area at Amsterdam, lounge 27. Access is via stairs or lift. The lounge is located one floor up from the public airside area.
I must say, the lounge is rather nice. Of course it also helps that it’s not very busy when I visit.
The lounge has a large selection of hot and cold dishes from a buffet.
There are plenty of seating options in the lounge, including office desks if you’re trying to get some work done.
Of course, my favourite seat is by the window…
The toilets in the lounge are nice and clean. There are no showers, though.
Boarding is expected to begin at 18:05 from gate B23. However, at some point there is a gate change and a delay for our flight. As a result, eventually boarding starts at 18:30, which is the departure time, from gate B17. There is a further hold up because the check-in system is not working properly, and the lone gate agent is having to board passenger in the system manually.
There are six rows of Business Class on the flight this evening. In total there are six passengers in the forward cabin.
I am seated on row two, which is the bulkhead row on the starboard side of the cabin. The leg space is good, and with so few passengers the cabin feels roomy.
There are two cabin crew working this flight. Both of them are middle aged females. They are friendly and laid back, but without being sloppy. What I always find interesting about the Germans, compared to the Swiss, is that they put a sinking intonation when they make an utterance, even if it is intended as a question. The immediate effect of that is that makes them sound as though they just really have so little of a s**t to give, when really it is just the way they talk.
While we are still on the ground, bottles of still water are handed out. Meanwhile I am growing increasingly concerned about my connection in Frankfurt, which would already have been just an hour even if we were on time.
Eventually, we take off at 19:05. With an expected flight time of 45 minutes that should bring me into Frankfurt with 15 minutes to spare before the next flight starts boarding.
This is my first experience with the Lufthansa Taste of Heimat catering, and I am not sure what to make of it. The tray is definitely an improvement over the KLM cardboard boxes. But what is it with the Germans and their obsessive compulsion for meat?
The meal consists of a plate of some mushroom terrine, an egg and cream cheese paste and two slices of meat in an onion dressing. The meal is served with a selection of breads.
For dessert there is a piece of chocolate cake in some sort of coulis.
And to end the meal there is a small piece of chocolate, which I am guessing is SWISS rubbing off on Lufthansa.
Transfer in Frankfurt
Of course, the flight takes a little longer than 45 minutes, of course we have to land on the northern most (and remote) runway, and of course we have been assigned the remotest stand to park on. By the time the bus taking us to the terminal gets moving, it is already 20:15. My connecting flight has just started boarding, while I am stuck on a bus getting the grand tour of what must be the ugliest airport in Europe…