Posted by: Rebecca | December 23, 2019

Doris & Dora and a KLM adventure

So my first flight (17:45 from Amsterdam to London) took off about ten minutes late, but landed at T5 on time to make the connection for my second flight (18:55 London to Singapore), which took off a little late, but is hoping to make up the time in the air…

Meanwhile, I’m still at Schiphol.

To quote the text I’ve just received from Ross, “WHAT???? NO NO NO!”

I actually arrived at the airport over a hour before my flight; because one of the countries I’m visiting requires a Visa, apparently my passport needs to be checked at the airport before I set off. So I wander down to terminal 3, where Dutch Doris at the BA check in desk looks at my passport (asking nothing about a Visa), sees that I have only cabin luggage (so no bags to check in), and prints out my boarding passes (which I already have on my phone). A little confused as to why I’ve had to do this, I decide to make the effort worthwhile (stupid girl, Rebecca) and casually ask “is my flight on time?” knowing I have more than enough time to spare, and pondering whether to pop to the lounge for a cuppa before heading to the gate…

Handing me my paperwork, Doris checks her screen and starts to look nervous… “You only have about an hour’s connection time in London… “That’s right” I tell her, “my inbound flight will go into an A gate, so even if I have to clear security, I’ll have time to get out to the B or C gates…”

But Doris is already plotting with Dora on the next desk (in Dutch, so I’ve no idea what they’re up to) and suddenly I’m ushered across to Dora’s desk. Smugly wondering if I’m being upgraded, I sliiiiide to the left, before quickly suppressing any signs of excitement, as I realize my first flight is a short hop, I’m already flying business, so any further forward and I’ll be in the cockpit?! So what are they up to? They’re bumping me onto a new flight, with KLM, leaving at 21:05.

At this point, I agree with Ross – WHAT???? NO NO NO!

Doris and Dora presented this as a fait accompli – no choice. But me being me, I rarely take the easy option, right? Preferring to stick with BA (so I keep my tier points, avois, and rear-facing double-window seat with direct aisle access), I politely enquire whether there’s another flight that’ll get me into T5 sooner (I am early, after all)? Doris looks confused – apparently 1:15 minutes before your flight is not considered early… OK, so is there a later flight out of T5 that’ll get me to Singapore in time for my connection to Perth – I have a four-hour window on that connection, right? “I’ll have a look” replies Dora, “there is, but it’s a five hour delay at T5.” Clearly whilst I’d rather spend five hours in T5 than Schiphol, Doris looks horrified that I’ve even asked… She and Dora clearly think KLM is the best option, so rather than spend the next hour figuring out what questions I need to ask to get the answers I want, I just go with it. Fine. Put me on the KLM flight.

Now I know I’m a bit of a primadona when it comes to flying.. (apparently, when once asked if I considered turning right, I replied “isn’t that where they keep the hot towels?”) But last time I flew long haul in KLM business, they didn’t even have flat bed seats… (surely that’s what you pay for?) So it’s probably no surprise that I’ve gone from super excited to flat as a fart in minutes. I decide to go airside and check out the KLM Crown lounge – I’ve heard good things about this, so maybe it’ll perk me up?

Well they’ve made an effort, that’s for sure! The entrance is pretty smart, escalators up to the next floor, walls adorned with little Dutch houses, and boarding card scanners to let you in without queuing. Inside, it’s huge (bigger than the whole of terminal three, I reckon), with bars (selling three types of Heineken and one red wine, obviously) cheese (at least six varieties), liquorice, peppermints and toffee sweets. There’s a relaxation zone (a glass-walled room in which a child appears to be randomly draped over an exercise ball, one assumes sleeping?), a quiet area (full of business types tapping away on laptops, one on the phone), showers, massage chairs, and lots of ‘coffee table’ books (most of which look untouched). But then there’s the seating. There’s heaps of it. Clearly, much thought has gone into the design of this place, but it somehow still feels like IKEA? Each area is a different style, but none looks ‘inviting’ – it just looks ‘functional’. And they’re all on different levels, so there’s as many steps as there are seats, not ideal when pulling a wheelie case. Then there’s the pinnacle – the Mountain (which turns out to be an upstairs area, bringing together the best of both the seating, the steps and a Heineken pump).

I find a seat by the window, settle in with a glass of red, and get out my phone to check I now have the right boarding passes… According to my app, my first flight to London did leave late, but arrived on time, and my connecting flight was delayed half an hour. So if I’d never gone to the check in desk in the first place, I’d have been just fine!

Note to self: as you were Boxy…

ttfn /Bxx

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