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Review: KLM Boeing 737-800 Economy (AMS-BGO)

Updated: 2 days ago

After arriving in Amsterdam on our KLM Cityhopper flight from Prague, we headed off to catch our onward KLM flight to Bergen.


Booking

This flight was the second of three legs between from Prague and Tromsø. When working on this itinerary I turned to the always reliable Google Flights and found that there weren't any good options whatsoever. The cheapest flights had multiple stops and the one stop routings were astronomically expensive, especially for Intra-Europe Economy (think $700 per person on Norwegian one way).


After pouring over all of the equally terrible options, I ended up booking the lesser of all evils which was PRG-AMS-BGO-TOS in a combination of KLM and Widerøe Economy. I ended up paying $350 per person for our tickets. This included our seat selections towards the front of the aircraft.


Pre-Flight

Our flight from Prague landed a few minutes behind schedule and, by the time we took a bus to the terminal we had 45 minutes before our scheduled boarding time. Since we had checked our bags in Prague and didn't need the overhead bin space, we decided to head for the lounge instead of the gate.




Lounge

We had no lounge access on our Economy ticket, though KLM Business Class passengers on intra-Schengen flights can use the Crown Lounge 25. Instead, we used the Priority Pass membership that comes with our American Express Platinum cards to access the Aspire Lounge 26. I did a full writeup of this lounge a couple years ago which you can find here.



Boarding

Our flight to Bergen was scheduled to board at 11:30a and we left the lounge 10 minutes beforehand to make the short walk over to the C Gates.



Our Boeing 737-800 "Ivory Gull" was waiting for us at Gate C5. KLM names all of their aircraft with the 737s named after birds. This plane previously wore the 100th Anniversary decal but has since been restored to its standard livery.


KLM Boeing 737-800 "Ivory Gull" (PH-BCG) at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
KLM Boeing 737-800 "Ivory Gull" (PH-BCG)

We arrived at the gate and Group 1 boarding was already underway. Group 2 was called and before we could reach the podium they called Group 3 through another lane. After a mad rush at the gate they paused Group 3 boarding until Groups 1 and 2 could finish. We scanned our boarding passes and headed down the jet bridge to our waiting aircraft.


KLM

KL 1185

AMS-BGO (Amsterdam Schiphol - Bergen Flesland)

Seat: 3D (Economy)

B737-800 (PH-BCG)

Scheduled: 11:55a-1:35p

Actual: 11:53a-1:23p




Seat

KLM's Boeing 737s are arranged in a 3-3 layout. Business Class consists of Economy seats with a blocked middle, which is the standard in Europe. The Business Class cabin on today's flight was only 2 rows so I assigned us Seats 3C and 3D, the two aisle seats in the first row of Economy.


Typically Mrs. ATX and I like to sit in the window and aisle seat with the hope that nobody would willingly select the middle between us. KLM is on to this and won't allow a couple to select these seats on the same side of the aisle. To avoid one of us in a middle seat, we booked across from one another.



Since the size of the Business Class cabin changes from flight to flight, there is no bulkhead wall. Instead, a small curtain and the seatback in front are the only things separating the two cabins. Legroom was good and I didn't have to worry about my knees hitting the seat in front of me.


KLM Boeing 737-800 Economy Class Legroom
KLM 737-800 Economy Class Legroom

The seatback featured a tray table as well as a device holder that also doubled as a cup-holder. USB-A power outlets were also located in the seatback.



The tray table had just enough room for my Surface Pro tablet and, if I slid it slightly to the left, there was room for a drink.


KLM Boeing 737-800 Tray Table
KLM 737-800 Tray Table

Headrests could be adjusted up and down as needed. Wings could also be folded out to cradle the head/neck if sleeping. Individual reading lights and air nozzles were located overhead.




Departure

As boarding was wrapping up the cabin crew announced that they expected a completely full flight today. Mrs. ATX ended up with an empty seat next to her but otherwise the plane seemed to be at capacity.


We pushed back a couple of minutes ahead of schedule and started our taxi to the runway. Since I was seated in the aisle I don't have any pictures from departure though I was able to tell where we were out the window. With nobody ahead of us, we had a quick taxi and take-off from the Kaagbaan Runway and a smooth climb out to head for Bergen.


In-Flight

Once we reached our cruising altitude the cabin crew began the snack service. Bumps also appeared at this point in the flight so the Captain left the seatbelt sign on. Just like our earlier flight, complimentary non-alcoholic beverages were offered. I had a coffee and sparkling water which was accompanied by a small sandwich.


KLM Intra-Europe Economy Snack and Beverage Service
KLM Economy Snack and Beverage Service

The sandwich was cheese with some sort of spread that wasn't very good. The cheese had also started to dry out around the edges. I had one bite and left the rest.


KLM Intra-Europe Economy Class Sandwich
KLM Economy Class Sandwich

After the snack service was complete we had roughly 35 minutes remaining in flight. The Captain had switched off the seatbelt sign and I headed for the restroom. The cart was still in the aisle blocking the rear lavatories so the Business Class flight attendant invited me to use the forward lav which was pretty low frills.


KLM Boeing 737-800 Business Class Lavatory
KLM Boeing 737-800 Lavatory

One minor annoyance was the fact that the panel underneath the sink wouldn't latch and kept falling open. I tried to shut it a couple of times and it didn't want to stay closed.



Shortly after returning to my seat we began our descent into Bergen.



Arrival

We touched down in Bergen at 1:20p local time and had a 5 minute taxi to our arrival gate. Since we were seated in the 3rd row we were off the plane quickly and headed down the jetway. Passengers seated at the rear of the plane were able to deplane using airstairs.


Deplaning a KLM Boeing 737-800 at Bergen Airport
Deplaning a KLM 737 at Bergen Airport

Though we had a domestic connection, and had arrived from another Schengen Zone country, we still had to pass through the duty free shop, collect our baggage, and exit the secured area. The walk from the gate to baggage claim felt like an hour, even though it was only 10 minutes through a maze of hallways.



The airport authority even seemed to be having some fun with it as one hallway overlooked the hillside with a sign that read "BERGEN?".


Bergen Airport Signage
Is this actually Bergen?

Finally, we reached the end of the maze and located baggage claim outside of the duty free shop. Even after our long walk, it took an additional 20 minutes before our bags arrived on the belt and we headed back upstairs to check in for our onward flight to Tromsø.



Summary

With a short haul fleet of Embraer E-Jets and Boeing 737s, KLM offers a remarkably consistent product within Europe. Their complimentary offerings are more than you'd get on other legacy carriers though the sandwich can be hit or miss. Aside from the quirky arrivals procedures at Bergen, which are out of the airline's control, this was a smooth, easy flight and I'll continue to book intra-Europe flights with KLM.



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