KISS ME HERE PLEASE…KLM THINK OF IT ALL AT THEIR HOLLAND HUB!
Kiss me quickly but only here!
The check-area at this airport even has a sign for a special place for kissing…those people at KLM certainly think of everything!
The centre of the flying action in the Netherlands is certainly Schiphol, this bustling hub airport is a city in its own right and the airport boasts some amazing facts.
Never mind Heathrow trying to log up a third runway, this one has six!
But one key difference for this European airport is that it’s all ‘under one roof’, well that is the airport buildings itself of course. You can walk and it will take you up to half an hour to walk from one end to the other should your transfer gate by chance be at the far end. Here there is no getting on buses, trains or monorails to a separate terminal, it’s all in one, if rather sizable building.
This policy of ‘under one roof’ is helping airlines like KLM to offer really efficient transfers to fly the world from. This type of service is being emphasized to countries like the UK as they have flights from 17 regional airports in the UK bringing in passengers to their first class hub at Schiphol. Working together both the airport and airline are building a pretty successful business model, which last year it virtually flew the whole population of England 51,000,000 people to destinations around the world.
But of course being the Dutch they do tend to do things in a quirky way and I love that. Like putting in place facilities like a museum in the main concourse the first airport ever to do so, add to that a library again another first, a wonderful tranquil baby change and feeding room, a grand piano to play and of course that kissing place! The reason for that is that it is near to the check-in area and being so busy at times its a perfect place to kiss and say goodbye to loved ones that you are leaving behind and thus allowing other traveling passengers not to be held up by prolonged goodbye kissing couples!
The large boomerang shaped complex is very efficient for both the passengers and for aircraft movements, as the planes have plenty of space to maneuver to their gates and the very open aprons allow for easy access cutting down possible delays. A conversation with a current pilot for a major airline was in much praise of the airport from a pilots point of view and loves operating out of Schiphol. During my visit, the airport was dealing with the start of the school holidays and as a consequence it was fairly busy and they handled 81,000 KLM passengers and had 542 European flights on that day, but there were still plenty of free spaces for eating, sitting or even dozing in the many seating areas scattered around the extensive complex.
Signage is important in getting passengers to and from their transfer gates, so the electronic boards located at many points will tell you for instance exactly how long it will take you to walk from that particular sign board you are standing at to the gate you require. Something you do not see is the underground automated baggage transfer handling system which has miles and miles of conveyer belts zapping suitcases to their next destinations under your feet as you stroll around the terminal shopping or making your way to your next flight.
Looking at attracting passengers from many parts of Europe, KLM want to be able to get potential passengers in from every direction of the compass and then swiftly whisk them away again to 102 long haul destinations all over the world. A traveller within an hour or hour and a half of their countries regional airports could find it much more convient to make an out of country hop to Schiphol and then take a KLM flight rather than perhaps travel much longer to their own countrie’s major airport. It’s a different way perhaps of doing things but certainly one worth looking at and it can also enhance the travelling experience as Schiphol is well worth a look at in its own right.
From a passengers perspective this does offer some great possibilities easy and convenient access to their local regional airport and the chance to break the journey before embarking on a much longer onward leg. With a perfect opportunity to perhaps spend some time shopping and there are many, many shops, you could go to a casino, visit a spa and even if your lay-over is longer and you can arrange and even go on a canal tour of the city of Amsterdam and the tour company will get you back for your onward connection…pretty amazing, I thought?
From places in and around Europe the airport even has day trip opportunities being so close to Amsterdam, its 15 minutes into the heart of the city and the train station is right there underneath the airport too.
With some excellent open upper viewing terraces for the public it is certainly a perfect place for those interested in plane spotting for instance. An extensive open Panorama Terrace that has uninterrupted views of the terminal coming and goings. I am sure this fact is well known by the plane spotting fraternity, but I was pleased to see that this Dutch airport hospitality runs to such things. My impression is that it demonstrates that they are very proud of this airport and they appear to be very happy to show it off to both those that are travelling and those who are not!
With huge windows from floor to ceiling on both sides of the terminal building it has a very bright, open feel with large amounts of daylight streaming in and paired with the idiosyncratic styling it has an amusing lighthearted relaxed feel for such a huge building. Sitting in giant Delft styled cups at a café or a table with giant tulips tower over you as you sip a coffee it has to be…The Netherlands!
Where else could you find a grand piano being gently played by a passing passenger en-route to Beijing from New York or a Vermeer painting being viewed by a passenger who has just done her duty free shopping and is passing some reflective time in the quiet ambiance of some old Dutch masters…well it can only be one place and that has to be Schiphol!