2023.04 Amsterdam and Berlin (Part 1)

Our next trip was another family trip.  Originally, the idea was we’d accompany my mom to Paris in the fall of 2023.  That plan and destination disappeared once she found out that there was a once-in-a-lifetime exhibit of Vermeer’s works at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, during the spring of 2023.  After a bit of juggling, the plan turned into celebrating Easter with relatives in Germany, a bunch of days in Berlin, and then Vermeer.  We would then return home, and she’d continue onward to England to visit a family friend before she’d return home.

Airport & Check-in

First up, time to introduce my mom’s avatar.  With our online check-in completed shortly after the window opened.

My mom lives in the city, so we took separate taxis to meet at Toronto’s terminal 3.  The timing worked very well because we arrived just moments after she did.  With us together, we proceeded to check-in counters to drop off our luggage and then go through security.  At the time of our trip the check-in counter for KLM & Air France is at the far end of the international section, and in a corner beside a secondary security line.

We joined her in flying KLM’s business class, they call World Business Class.  Our seating selection for the flight had Little Miss with the window, I was beside her in the aisle, and my mom was across the aisle from me.  The plane had the same seat layout as from our 2018 trip, so it would be easy for me to be able to talk to her across the aisle if needed.

Check-in was quick as only one individual was in front of us.  We then breezed through security without any delay or issue.  On our way to the lounge we past a pop-up store that caught my interest.

It was cute that there was a Lego shop, however no location specific sets were to be found.

Next up was the lounge.  This was the first time in many years (December 2021 doesn’t count as it was the only option available) where we selected the earlier transatlantic flight option where we’d depart Toronto around 5pm, that would then land in Europe in time for breakfast.  Not surprising to me was that being my mom’s second time flying business class she had not visited the lounge prior to departure. 

Air France – KLM Crown Lounge

The lounge is located at the end of the international pier, above the gates that KLM and Air France use.  The entrance is accessed by stairs or an elevator.

Once we were granted entrance to the lounge and found seats for us, we headed to the buffet.  For the two of us, it was time for a late lunch, whereas my mom already had had lunch and only needed some tea.  The buffet selection was fine.  The lounge had the same layout as our 2018 visit with lots of seating options, and both a selection of hot and cold food from the buffet. Here’s a slideshow of the buffet:

When I walked by the windows I saw our plane.

Cheers to the start of a trip!

With our drinks finished, it was soon time for us to return downstairs and board for our flight.


KLM692, Boeing 777
Scheduled Departure: 17:00
Scheduled Arrival: 06:05+1
Seats: 1A & 1C

We arrived and were the first in line for our zone:

Before any announcements were made, the gate agents ushered those in wheelchairs onto the plane.  Once they were on board then pre-boarding began with families with small children, followed by general boarding, starting with us in Zone 1.

I snapped the above picture as we walked down to the jetway to board.

Upon boarding and turning left we made our way to the front for our seats.

The seats are good when you’re travelling with friends or family, however stepping over a stranger would still be a little odd (at the time of this being published in mid 2024, KLM is refreshing its interiors with new business class seats in their 777 fleet that will eliminate the need to step over your seatmate to access the aisle).  A pillow, and blanket were already at our seats, along with a bottle of water and KLM’s noise cancelling headphones that were in the area beside your shoulder.

The upside of being in the aisle seat is that occasionally the door to the flight deck is open during boarding. I never get tired of getting a quick view into the flight deck.

The flight attendants welcomed us on board handed out the menu for the flight.  I find the flight attendants on KLM to be a proper mix of professional service, along with Dutch frankness and their quick wit.  Our meal orders were taken before pushback.

Here’s a slideshow of the menu:

Eventually passengers and all cargo were on board.  After messages from the flight deck and purser, pushback from the gate was on time, and 20 minutes later we were at the northern side east/west runway.  Departure and climb out was pretty smooth.

The smoothness didn’t last though as the first two hours of the flight, including almost all of the meal service, was some turbulence.  This was the result of a Colorado low that had passed through the area the prior day, and remained in Toronto with some rain.  Once the plane passed it, the flight was smooth for the rest of the flight.

A slideshow of the main meal:

Overall the meal service was fine.  Little Miss enjoyed her dish of samples, however I didn’t find any of the main courses interesting, so I stuck to the appetizers and dessert.  Once meal service concluded I tried to get some sleep.  This was a challenge, as even though I typically get up early to walk our dog before work, trying to sleep before 8pm Toronto time was a stretch.

Both of us did manage to get a couple hours of sleep.  Lights were turned around about 90 minutes before arrival in Amsterdam with breakfast being served.

During Breakfast was when Little Miss and I realized something impressive.  The gentleman who was seated beside my mom had been gracious to engage her in conversation from take-off through all of the meal service, and then resumed when breakfast was served only ending when we disembarked the plane.  My mom didn’t let his greying dreadlock hair impede her ability to talk with somebody.  She was rewarded with a fellow with a Scottish accent that felt like we were listening to Sean Connery.  We thanked him for being courteous and talking with my mom for most of the flight.  Ever modest receiving the praise, he claimed it was his pleasure.

I enjoyed my tea, and soon enough after flying over Ireland and England, approach to Amsterdam Schiphol airport began.  We landed just before 6am.  Once at the gate, we patiently waited for her gate checked rollator to arrive and we then went through the usual items, of passport control and then collecting our luggage.

Once out of the secure area and into Schiphol plaza we headed to the trains as we were off to Rotterdam.

Explore other parts of this trip:

Part 1 – KLM Lounge and Flight Toronto to Amsterdam (this post!)

Part 2 – Rotterdam Hilton

Part 3 – Easter Weekend

Part 4 – Hilton Berlin

Part 5 – Pergamon Museum

Part 6 – Berlin, not sightseeing

Part 7 – Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Part 8 – Vermeer at Rijksmuseum

Part 9 – KLM Crown Lounge and Flight Amsterdam to Toronto

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.