• KLM Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner PH-BHP (2)


    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

    Year Founded:


    Airline Group:
    Air France-KLM

    Marjan Rintel


  • KLM grounded coronavirus

    Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

    IATA/ICAO Code:


    Dick Benschop

    Passenger Count :
    20,887,144 (2020)

    Runways :
    18R/36L ‘Polderbaan’ – 3,800m (12,467ft) |06/24 ‘Kaagbaan’ – 3,500m (11,483ft) |09/27 ‘Buitenveldertbaan’ – 3,453m (11,329ft) |18L/36R ‘Aalsmeerbaan’ – 3,400m (11,155ft) |18C/36C ‘Zwanenburgbaan’ – 3,300m (10,827ft) |04/22 ‘Oostbaan’ – 2,014m (6,608ft)

Bremen (BRE) in northern Germany and Norwich (NWI) in the UK’s East Anglia region are two airports where passengers rely heavily on KLM Cityhopper services to Amsterdam (AMS) to enable longer onward connections. However, despite both having multiple flights a day to and from AMS, traffic between the two is limited.

Indeed, this connecting route saw less than 700 round-trip passengers in 2019 (per data sourced by our routes guru James Pearson). Following a weekend away, I cashed in on decent availability to fly between Bremen and Norwich yesterday evening for 4,000 Virgin Atlantic points plus around €50 in taxes.

Arriving at Bremen Airport

Bremen Airport is located just south of the main city, across the river Weser. I traveled to the airport from its main railway station, Bremen Hauptbahnhof, by tram, with the journey taking 16 minutes. The trams were operating every 20 minutes on Sunday, although this frequency increases to every 10 minutes during the week. The ticket, bought from a machine at the station, cost a reasonable €2.85.

Bremen Airport Tram

The number 6 tram route offers a convenient link to and from Bremen Airport. Photo: Jake Hardiman | Simple Flying

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The tram stops right outside the terminal building, where passengers merely have to make the short walk from the platform across the taxi rank to enter the facility. Bremen Airport, which was Germany’s 14th-busiest airport last year with just over 630,000 passengers, is named after former German politician Hans Koschnick.

Bremen Airport

I arrived at the airport under rainy skies. Photo: Jake Hardiman | Simple Flying

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The terminal building had a nice feel to it upon entering, stretching from one end to the other in a slight curve. Its design also meant that, when the rainy skies gave way to periods of sun, natural light flooded into the quiet facility.

A planespotter’s paradise

I timed my arrival at the airport early enough to allow me to visit its observation terrace, which is accessible up a set of landside stairs. This part of the airport also houses a museum known as Bremenhalle, although this was closed at the time of my visit. Nonetheless, with the sun out, it was a lovely afternoon for planespotting.

The short while that I spent on the terrace gave a good idea of Bremen’s day-to-day traffic. As well as Lufthansa‘s domestic offering, Lauda/Ryanair represented the low-cost sector, with Sundair showcasing the leisure charter market. As seen below, the sunny but wet conditions caused spectacular spray upon takeoff.

Lauda A320 Bremen

I timed my visit to the terrace well: the earlier rain had given way to sun, allowing for spectacular spray shots. Photo: Jake Hardiman | Simple Flying


A lull in the traffic around two-and-a-half hours before my departure prompted me to head inside and clear security. Unlike the queueing issues faced by larger European hubs at this part of the airport process in recent months, Bremen’s quieter nature meant that I cleared through this area in a matter of minutes.

The departure lounge isn’t the largest, but had an adequate selection of shops and eateries in which to pass the time. Football fans like myself will be pleased to find that, as pictured above, one of the waiting areas is based on the city’s football team, SV Werder Bremen, and its 42,100-seater Wohninvest Weserstadion arena.

Eurowings Bremen

The airport was doused in watery sunshine by the time the evening rolled around. Photo: Jake Hardiman | Simple Flying

The first flight

The first leg of my journey back to Norwich was KLM flight KL1758 from Bremen to Amsterdam, the third of the Dutch flag carrier’s flights on the route yesterday. Despite an advertised departure time of 18:10, we pushed back 23 minutes late at 18:33. This was because the staff shortages plaguing Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (more on those later!) had caused the inbound flight to arrive late.


Seat 5F on the E175 gave a lovely view of the starboard wing and engine. Photo: Jake Hardiman | Simple Flying

The aircraft operating the flight was a KLM Cityhopper Embraer E175 registered as PH-EXT. According to data from ch-aviation.com, this 88-seat twinjet is 4.64 years old, having joined the airline brand-new in January 2018. After a 10-minute taxi to Bremen’s 2,634-meter-long runway 27, we took to the skies at 18:43 local time.

Bremen Airport Runway Sunset

The sunset view as we turned onto runway 27 was nothing short of spectacular. Photo: Jake Hardiman | Simple Flying

Economy Comfort

Those familiar with KLM Cityhopper’s Embraer E175s will know that the first seven rows have additional legroom, to allow for a variety of business class loadings. In this instance, the first two rows housed business class passengers, with the next five being designated as ‘Economy Comfort’ seats.


Economy Comfort seats offer a 32-inch pitch, compared to 29 at the rear of the aircraft. Photo: Jake Hardiman | Simple Flying

Interested to sample one, I paid £12.20 to select a seat in advance of my flight. Standard seats are £8, or free if chosen when checking in. By all accounts, this seems not to be a decision that many passengers take. Indeed, I was the only traveler in row 5, with several other Economy Comfort passengers having similar amounts of space. The rear of the aircraft was more densely occupied.


There was just about time for a drink and a snack. Photo: Jake Hardiman | Simple Flying

A quick cruise

As seen above, all economy passengers were given a free bottle of water and a bag of crisps. This was ideal for the flight’s length, given that there may not have been time for anything more substantial. Indeed, FlightRadar24.com shows that we were at our maximum cruising altitude of 22,000 feet for just five minutes!

KLM Cityhopper Cruise

We flew level with the tops of some spectacular cloud formations over northern Europe. Photo: Jake Hardiman | Simple Flying

As enjoyable as the flight turned out to be, it was over in little more than half an hour. After a relatively straightforward approach from the northeast, our aircraft turned right between Almere and Amsterdam to line up for a landing on Schiphol’s 3,453-meter-long runway 27, also known as the Buitenveldertbaan.


Upon arrival, Amsterdam was doused in similarly watery sunshine to that seen in Bremen. Photo: Jake Hardiman | Simple Flying

We eventually touched down at 19:15 local time, after just 32 minutes of flight. A brisk taxi to the gate followed, and we arrived on stand at 19:21. Compared to a scheduled arrival time of 19:05, this represented a 16-minute delay.


We disembarked via stairs and were bussed from the remote stand to the terminal. Photo: Jake Hardiman | Simple Flying

The transfer experience

After being bussed to the terminal, I arrived at one of KLM’s self-transfer stations. Knowing that many of its passengers use its Schiphol hub to transit between flights, it has been proactive in placing these throughout the building. Each station consists of several machines on which passengers can print the boarding pass(es) for their next flight(s). This is where I was in for a pleasant surprise.

Indeed, I had intended to pick a standard economy class seat for my journey to Norwich on flight KL1527 at this point, in order to compare it to the first flight’s extra legroom. However, upon giving the machine my booking details, I found that I had been allocated an Economy Comfort seat anyway (5A, to be precise), with the rear of the aircraft being more or less full.

The screen did mention my Virgin Atlantic Flying Club silver status, leading me to wonder whether it had been this, or sheer luck, that had scored me such a seat. In any case, it was a pleasant surprise, and the space would come in handy.

KLM Cityhopper Embraers

We sat on the ground for over an hour as operational struggles reigned at Schiphol. Photo: Jake Hardiman | Simple Flying

Ground delays

The reason for this was the fact that we ended up departing more than one-and-a-half hours late. Boarding had already got off to a late start, due to a member of the crew’s arrival from another flight being delayed. However, the Captain was very open on the matter, informing the passengers at the gate on his way to the aircraft.

Boarding began shortly after the scheduled departure time of 22:00. The flight, which used a 10.54-year-old Embraer E190 registered as PH-EZU, was somewhat busier than the first, although the seat next to me remained empty. Interestingly, despite being busier, there were no business class passengers onboard. The KLM app was offering upgrades to this cabin for £43 on the day.

It was at this point that the Captain informed us that there would be an unspecified wait for a pushback from the gate, due to a lack of ground vehicle operators. While frustrating, it was well handled by the crew, who opted to serve the free crisps and water on the ground to fill the time and keep everyone relatively happy.

FlightRadar24.com“” data-img-url=”https://static1.simpleflyingimages.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/KL1527-Map.jpg” data-modal-container-id=”single-image-modal-container” data-modal-id=”single-image-modal”>

KL1527 Map

The second flight also lasted just 32 minutes. Image: FlightRadar24.com

A quick flight across the North Sea

After more than an hour of waiting, we eventually felt the nudge of a pushback truck. This gleefully took us away from the gate 92 minutes behind schedule, at 23:32 local time. Data from FlightAware shows that our flight was one of an alarming 460 delayed departures from Amsterdam yesterday, (48% of its flights).

Our delay was far from the worst, with the Cork-bound Aer Lingus jet that was parked to our right departing around three hours late. The widespread impacts of the staff shortages will surely need to be addressed by the airport soon if it is to remain a popular hub for connecting passengers on KLM’s extensive network.

A lengthy taxi ensued, as we were to depart from the distant Polderbaan runway. From here, we finally took to the skies 17 minutes after pushing back, at 23:49 local time, and headed out over the North Sea. Our maximum altitude was 26,000 feet, a height at which we remained, like in the first flight, for just five minutes.


We arrived on stand next to a Sunwing Boeing 737 that had landed from Tenerife half an hour before. Photo: Jake Hardiman | Simple Flying

Welcome home

The flight made a straightforward approach towards Norwich’s 1,841-meter-long runway 27, which allowed for some spectacular nighttime views of the fine city from my seat on the left of the aircraft. Following this, we landed at 23:21 local time, 32 minutes after lifting off from the Polderbaan. A much shorter taxi followed, resulting in an on-stand arrival just four minutes later, at 23:25.


By the time we reached Norwich, the takeoff from Bremen (pictured) felt like a very long time ago. Photo: Jake Hardiman | Simple Flying

All in all, this represented a total delay of 90 minutes. However, thanks to traveling with just hand luggage, the airport’s small size, and being one of the first off the plane and into the passport queue, I was in the facility’s arrivals area just seven minutes after our plane initially came to a stop. The beauty of smaller airports!

So, what’s the bottom line? While both of my flights were rather short, the extra space afforded by KLM Cityhopper’s Economy Comfort seats would certainly be worth the cost of an upgrade on some of the carrier’s longer services. That being said, I’m glad I didn’t pre-pay for it twice, knowing, as I do now, that there’s a chance of being assigned a seat there anyway.

It would be remiss to end this article without a special mention for KLM’s crew. While both flights had delays of varying degrees, the crews in each instance were superbly open about the reasons why. This was especially the case for the second flight, when, despite the frustrations, both the pilots and flight attendants kept spirits high under the circumstances, with their honesty going a very long way.

What do you make of KLM’s Economy Comfort seats? Have you been impacted by the staff shortages at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport in recent months? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

Source: simpleflying.com

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