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Entries about klm

Best of 2018 (1)

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View Vilnius 3 & Vilnius 2 & Toulouse & Lockerbie 2 & Barraigh & Bergen & Vilnius & IIHF & Aberdeen & Steòrnabhagh & Girne '18 & Eagles & Ouarzazate on IainT's travel map.

Wait in Lounge

Wait in Lounge

The first category in the annual awards is for airlines.

This year has brought a lot of variety and - like last year - a new experience.

Widerøe is the airline I used for the first time, on its Aberdeen-Bergen route. As I blogged at the time, it was very positive.

On Approach

On Approach

SAS is the airline I used most - 8 flights - but the reason really boils down to a couple of trips to Vilnius via Stockholm or Copenhagen. All those flights were good.

I had two trips with Loganair (Barra and Stornoway) and they are a lot of fun to travel with. It helps that small airports and small planes are so user friendly.

Loganair Saab 340 at Steòrnabhagh

Loganair Saab 340 at Steòrnabhagh

Turkish Airlines featured 4 times - to and from Ercan (in Northern Cyprus) via Istanbul. I was very happy about all of them and of course with a longer flight (4+ hours between Edinburgh and Istanbul) you have more chance of finding something to be unhappy about!

I flew 4 times with KLM too - not so positive, but most of the negative aspects relate to a missing suitcase. It arrived eventually, but the delay and absence of anything resembling customer service was appalling.

I renewed acquaintance with easyJet and Norwegian on my weekend away in Copenhagen. In a direct comparison of two of the better low cost, no frills operations, Norwegian is a clear winner.

Norwegian Air

Norwegian Air

Air France took me from Casablanca to Edinburgh via Paris on 1st January. It seems like so long ago… It was good.

I flew Finnair from Edinburgh to Helsinki at the end of December. It was another renewal of old acquaintance. My only other flight with Finnair would have been over 20 years ago. They had reindeer on their inflight menu.

Helsinki Airport

Helsinki Airport

My journey from Helsinki to Vilnius via Rīga on Air Baltic went so smoothly it was a pleasure - an excellent airline and three excellent airports.

Rīga Transit

Rīga Transit

My top three out of all these is not an easy selection, although conversely the winner is. My top three are Air Baltic, Turkish Airlines and Loganair.

Loganair Disembarking

Loganair Disembarking

This year my decision for a winner is really easy because flying in and out of Barra is a unique experience - the tiny airport, the beach as the runway, the weather… So, yes, this year’s award winner is Loganair to/from Barra.

Posted by IainT 02:45 Archived in Lithuania Tagged planes bergen helsinki france turkey istanbul finland transport morocco flights cyprus aberdeen denmark copenhagen sas vilnius lithuania klm airlines casablanca kibris barra stornoway islandlife steòrnabhagh barraigh Comments (0)

SAS

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SAS at ARN

SAS at ARN

I blogged recently about dreadful customer service inflicted on me by KLM in September.

I am happy to be able to blog now about excellent service from SAS - or maybe it was Stockholm Arlanda.

SAS at EDI

SAS at EDI

On last month’s journey from Edinburgh to Vilnius via Arlanda I had a tight transit time - 70 minutes. It was plenty time for me to get from one end of Terminal 5 to the other, but - perhaps due to that recent experience - I was a bit nervous about my suitcase doing the same.

T5 at ARN

T5 at ARN

The flight to Vilnius involved a bus trip from the gate to some long lost corner of the airport, and as I queued to board the plane after getting off the bus, I could see the baggage handlers were already loading suitcases into the hold. I hoped for the reassurance of seeing my bag being loaded, but it was not to be. They finished and closed the hold door.

My mild (non clinical) anxiety resumed, controlled quite well by my more usual sang-froid.

Then while my end of the queue inched closer to the Canadair RJ900, a baggage handler arrived on one of their wee electric trucks with one bag on it. Mine!

VNO Departures

VNO Departures

My trip home followed the same route in reverse, but with a 40 minute transit at ARN. The time was reduced to 30 minutes after the guidance system at the arrival gate for the flight from Vilnius refused to recognise a Canadair RJ900. A marshal had to be found.

As the flight to Edinburgh left from a passenger boarding bridge I was spared the tension of watching the baggage handlers. However, my expectations of meeting my suitcase at EDI were not high.

SAS at VNO

SAS at VNO

I need to be more positive - my suitcase was one of the first onto the carousel at EDI!

Thanks SAS. Thanks Arlanda.

Posted by IainT 00:22 Archived in Sweden Tagged stockholm edinburgh sweden flights sas vilnius klm airlines Comments (0)

Toulouse - Travel tips

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Apartment - Early Morning

Apartment - Early Morning

My week in Toulouse was wonderful.

The weather was fantastic, the apartment was perfect, and I loved having R’s company for a good part of the week.

Perfect Petit Déjeuner

Perfect Petit Déjeuner

Here are the tips I would pass on…

My flights were with KLM from Edinburgh via Amsterdam, and cost £225 return. This price included a checked in bag of up to 23kg and a normal size cabin bag. I booked about a month in advance.

I have blogged already about the three nightmare parts of my KLM experience. It really is a shame about those because the in-flight part of the travel was excellent.

My apartment was arranged through Airbnb. It cost £607 for the 7 nights. The owner did not charge for cleaning, so I had to spend 30 minutes cleaning it myself before checking out.

Apartment - Front

Apartment - Front

The location is ideal. It is 150m from a Tramway stop (Fer à Cheval) and the Tramway now has a branch to the airport, so getting there and back is quick (30 minutes) and cheap - €1.70 single.

We took a taxi when we arrived at the airport because we were tired and had suitcases. It cost about €20 and took about 20 minutes in early rush hour traffic.

The Metro (St Cyprien-Republique) is about 10 minutes walk from the apartment, so you can be at the railway station in less than 30 minutes - again for €1.70 single.

Metro/Tram

Metro/Tram

You can walk to the city centre in 20 minutes. The St Cyprien covered market is 10 minutes walk away. Butcher, fruit/veg and bakery shops are within 200m, as is a Casino mini market.

Boulangerie

Boulangerie

The St Cyprien area has a good number of places to eat well if you don’t want to walk into the city centre.

L'Apéro

L'Apéro

The building is in a quiet street and on the 5th floor, so traffic noise is almost zero - car horns in the distance during rush hour. The other occupants of the building were mostly very quiet too.

Apartment - Front Views

Apartment - Front Views

It is a 2 bedroom apartment and it is both spacious and well furnished. The communication with the owner’s concierge service was good (she speaks fluent English) and the check in/out arrangements were completely smooth.

Apartment - Living Room

Apartment - Living Room

My excursion by train to Albi cost €14.40 each way, plus the cost of the Metro journeys.

Posted by IainT 12:36 Archived in France Tagged france transport flights klm toulouse airlines albi Comments (0)

KLM

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Schiphol Transfer

Schiphol Transfer

Going back to the 90s when my business life involved a lot of travel around Europe, KLM was one of my favourite airlines.

No more.

I had three dreadful experiences with them just in this month’s trip to Toulouse.

On the outward leg, I queued an hour to drop off my bag at Edinburgh Airport having arrived 2 hours prior to departure and having checked in online. They had no separated check in and bag drop queues, so those who had not checked in online were mixed in with those who had.

Even then, the airline knows how many passengers will be on the flight and how many will have bags to check in. They know how many passengers will have to be dealt with at the check in desks.

It was an utter shambles.

Amsterdam Schiphol

Amsterdam Schiphol

On the return journey the flight from Amsterdam landed at Edinburgh, parked at the gate, and then we had to wait a full 20 minutes for steps to arrive to get us off the plane. I mean, was our arrival a surprise?

It gets worse.

My suitcase did not arrive at the baggage reclaim. I filed my PIR at KLM’s baggage handling about 16:00 and went home. At 18:00 I got a text advising my suitcase was in Edinburgh and would be delivered to me “soon”.

KLM Coms

KLM Coms

After some intervening lies and incredibly poor attempts at “service” from KLM, my suitcase was finally delivered at 11:00 two days after that - 41 hours after it reached Edinburgh Airport. My home is a 30 minute drive from the airport.

Suitcase History

Suitcase History

I judge service businesses by how they deal with things when they go wrong - accepting that even in the most efficient of operations things will go wrong from time to time. If an airline has misplaced a passenger’s bag, it then becomes a damage limitation exercise.

KLM failed badly.

As an aside, like most airlines these days KLM makes you pay extra if you want to take a checked in bag with you, so the passenger is entitled to expect better just from that perspective alone.

In the interest of fairness, all four flights were very pleasant, 3 out of 4 were on time (the other one was just a few minutes late) and check in at Toulouse for the return flights was perfect.

Toulouse Blagnac

Toulouse Blagnac

Sadly, KLM has joined British Airways and Ryanair in the “only as a last resort” category.

Posted by IainT 09:10 Archived in Scotland Tagged scotland edinburgh klm airlines Comments (0)

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