Featured image: Simone Chellini/airways

Trip Report: Flying KLM's E190 to Florence, Italy

DALLAS — Welcome to Amsterdam Schiphol! In this trip report, I am flying from KLM’s (KL) hub in Schiphol (AMS) to Florence, Italy (FLR). KLM flies its E-jets and E2-jets to the Tuscanian capital up to four times daily.

Due to its short runway, the largest airliner that KL can safely land in Florence is the E195-E2, carrying up to 128 passengers. Today, KL’s E190 will take us to Florence. 

D-AGMP, A German Airways E190. Photo: Simone Chellini
D-AGMP, A German Airways E190. Photo: Simone Chellini/Airways

Check-in, Security, Boarding

As always, I arrived at the airport via the efficient Dutch train system. From Rotterdam to Schiphol, it is a mere 35-minute train ride. KLM installed a new set of automatic check-in machines in Amsterdam.

Passengers can print their boarding passes, select their seats, and print the luggage tag. The luggage is then checked in automatically through self-service kiosks. While KLM staff are always available to help, I found this part scary. 

After checking my (light) suitcase, I headed directly through security. This area was a warzone a few years ago, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. With queues of up to 4 hours, Schiphol’s queues were documented by international media, causing colossal discomfort to travelers.

Thankfully, those days are long gone, as in recent months, Schiphol drastically improved its services, speeding up the passenger experience.

Despite the rush hour, clearing security took me around 10 minutes. Passengers are invited to keep all their belongings inside their carry-ons, aside from belts. I checked the new post-security shops, where you can find some of the most expensive souvenirs I have ever seen at an airport, as well as tech gadgets and products.

From here, it was a 10-minute walk to gate B24, where I waited for my E190 to arrive from Billund, Denmark. Due to a late aircraft arrival, I was informed through the KLM app that my flight was delayed by 25 minutes. 

I decided to sit at the end of terminal B, my favorite area in AMS, as you can get as close as possible to taxiways and runways. The views from here are great, and it feels like touching the many aircraft that taxi to the Polderbaan runway (36L).

The views made up for the rather uncomfortable seats and the lack of charging outlets.

PH-EXC, my ride to Florence. The Embraer E190 carries 100 passengers in a 2-2 layout. Photo: Simone Chellini
PH-EXC, my ride to Florence. The Embraer E190 carries 100 passengers in a 2-2 layout. Photo: Simone Chellini/Airways

As I saw PH-EXC, a 10.2-year-old Embraer E190STD, taxiing in front of me, I decided it was finally time to head to my gate and stop plane spotting. Usually, KLM parks its E-jets in a remote area of the airport, which requires passengers to board via bus.

This time, I was in luck as the aircraft stopped at a jetbridge gate. The cabin crew arrived just a few minutes later and boarded the plane. The flight was almost full today, so I boarded as late as possible to avoid some queues. Boarding was efficient, as Schiphol allows you to scan your boarding pass automatically at the gate. 

The jetbridges in this part of Schiphol are not directly connected to the aircraft. Instead, passengers must go down a set of stairs before reaching the tarmac and boarding the aircraft through another set of stairs.

It started raining as I left the jetbridge, so I was very happy to get on board. I selected seat 22F, a window seat free of charge, which is almost at the rear of the cabin. The E190 is arranged in a 2-2 configuration, meaning you will be assigned to either an aisle or a window seat.

The legroom was just fine on this flight. I was able to keep my large backpack with me, although this limited my space. Photo: Simone Chellini
The legroom was just fine on this flight. Although my large backpack limited my space, I was able to keep it with me. Photo: Simone Chellini/Airways

In Flight

We took off from the Polderbaan runway, which, as always, took about 15 minutes to reach. We headed north before turning 180 degrees and finally heading towards Florence. Unfortunately, I could not see the city center of Amsterdam as we climbed due to thick clouds covering the city. 

As we approached Germany, a complimentary service started for all economy class passengers, independently of booking class. In my opinion, this sets KLM apart from most of its competitors.

As European carriers cut costs by limiting the complimentary meal and drink options, KL still offers its signature cheese sandwich and a drink of your choice, including Dutch beer and South African wine. Considering that a glass of wine and a sandwich can retail for up to US$12 in Amsterdam Schiphol, this further improves your value for money. 

KLM provides the snack service. The food option included a vegetarian cheese sandwich, and passengers could request a complimentary drink. Photo: Simone Chellini/Airways

On the other hand, the cabin was quite dirty on this occasion. Multiple tray tables were left uncleaned, and the seats back and front were populated with crumbs and dust.

The same goes for the in-flight magazine, which was already torn apart despite being a few weeks old. I always enjoy reading KL’s Holland Herald, which this time featured an article about TU Delft’s Aerodelft. This student organization aims to develop the first-ever hydrogen-powered electric aircraft. 

Views of the Italian Alps. Photo: Simone Chellini
Views of the Italian Alps. Photo: Simone Chellini/Airways

The sky finally opened up a little as we approached the Italian Alps. We soon flew over Florence before turning 180 degrees and lining up with the airport’s single runway.

Florence Airport’s operations are heavily limited by its runway’s characteristics. Go-arounds are frequent here, and the airport’s operations are often disrupted, especially during summer.

Approaching the beautiful city of Florence at sunset. Photo: Simone Chellini
Approaching the beautiful city of Florence at sunset. Photo: Simone Chellini/Airways

I appreciated the captain's information about the upcoming strong braking performance. To slow our E190 down safely, the pilot had to apply full brakes to invert and vacate the runway safely, which always caught some passengers unprepared.

Florence skyline as seen during final approach. Photo: Simone Chellini
Florence skyline as seen during final approach. Photo: Simone Chellini/Airways

We landed just a few minutes after our scheduled time and deboarded through a bus that took us inside the airport’s only terminal. The wait for my checked luggage was just a few minutes, and I was soon boarding my efficient public transportation to the city center of Florence.

Sunset past the FLR ATC. Photo: Simone Chellini
Sunset past the FLR ATC. Photo: Simone Chellini/Airways

Conclusions

While flying KLM, especially on short-haul routes, may be cheaper than most—if not all —of its competitors, the airline still offers excellent value for money.

With multiple daily flights to most of its European destinations, you can rest assured that, should an issue arise, the airline will have your back. The same goes for the in-flight service; KLM is famous for its professional and experienced staff.

Thanks, KLM, for another comfortable and safe flight.

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