Fly KLM to Amsterdam – and around the world
For those of us living around the UK, one of the most convenient European airport hubs is Schiphol, Amsterdam. Fly KLM from 17 UK airports (including Edinburgh, London, Bristol, Cardiff, Manchester, Newcastle), to Schiphol from where you can jet onwards to 96 cities across Europe and 87 transcontinental destinations.
Schiphol was recently voted Top European Airport in the Skytrax World Airport Awards 2013, and also named the third most punctual airport in the world– despite welcoming 139,000 passengers travelling on 1,114 flights each day!. More fascinating facts and figures: 10 thousand suitcases are handled per hour using robot machinery, in the largest baggage system in the world.
KLM (Royal Dutch Airline) is the oldest in the world, founded in 1919 when Schiphol Airport became its home base. Unusually, the terminal is just a vast building which has been developed under one roof, allowing for easy access to and from all the Gates located around a series of wings.
Getting to and from the airport could not be easier, with regular trains arriving from and departing to Amsterdam to the station at Schiphol airport.
The practical design and range of facilities have been developed to ensure that all passengers experience a pleasurable, relaxing time at the airport, awaiting their departure. Windows rather than walls allow for natural light as much as possible. Check In desks are quick and efficient, to reduce queues, issuing self service boarding cards and baggage drops with modern ID security; the Medical centre deals with essential travel medication and injections; special assistance staff cater for wheelchair users and travelling pets.
Once passengers have checked in, and on Airside, the aim is for a time of care and relaxation within the Plaza complex: Shopping mall, culture and entertainment, choice of bistros and bars, Business class/ KLM Crown Lounges.
The range of facilities is seriously impressive. Families with young children will appreciate the free Baby Care nursery, Kids’ Forest playroom and supervised Junior Jet Lounge for unaccompanied minors.
Just off a long haul flight? Have a neck /back/foot massage or soothing facial at the Xpress Spa. Yotel and Mercure Airport hotels are located in the Plaza, so that you can book a room for a few hours or overnight to catch up on sleep.
With time to wait, enjoy the mini Rijksmuseum to view the changing exhibition of Dutch Masters from the city’s art gallery, visit the first ever airport library with selection of books in most languages or download an E book; you can also play the grand piano, open to all with (hopefully) musical talent. Instead of sitting for hours doing nothing, this is cultural heaven.
Somewhere to drink and eat for all tastes, such as the casual Brasserie, Sushi Bar or Bubbles Seafood Bar for classic champagne and oysters. Have a flutter at the Casino, or take some fresh air on the open Panorama deck. Here you can go on board a former KLM Fokker 100, a city hopper aircraft which flew between 1989-2010.
And of course retail therapy with shops selling everything from Burberry bags and Bols liquor, Diamonds to Dutch tulips.
Last week I flew KLM from Edinburgh to Schiphol, leaving at 6am and returning at 4.25pm, – both flights departed exactly on the minute. Excellent on board service, with an egg omelette sandwich and coffee for breakfast, and later selected a glass of wine from the full bar service, served with cheese nibbles for a late afternoon drink and snack.
The KLM Crown Lounge for Flying Blue/Executive club guests offers a spacious retreat between flights, with business facilities, Wifi, showers, and fine food and drink.
Next time you plan to fly from a regional UK airport to Budapest or Bangkok, Singapore or San Francisco, (or dozens of other destinations), fly KLM to Schiphol and do ensure you have a few hours stopover for a relaxing break before catching your onward flight.!