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What is it like to fly a KLM Cityhopper?

November 1, 2015
Above the clouds on the Fokker 70
Passengers deplaning in Bordeaux

Passengers deplaning the Cityhopper in Bordeaux

If you are flying between Amsterdam and other cities in Europe, you may find yourself taking a KLM Cityhopper.

A regional subsidiary of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, the Cityhoppers are a workhorse fleet of Embraer and Fokker jet planes that make some 285 flights daily.

Traveling to and from Bordeaux, we were able to experience both the Fokker 70 and Embraer 190 for the 1-hour, 25-minute flights. We sat in seats 6A and 6C on both flight segments.

Living room (as its called in the trade)

The Fokker 70 is a functional, fairly comfortable plane with five-across seating, two seats on one side of the aisle and three on the other. Our seats (6A and 6C) didn’t recline and had only minimal padding but were sufficiently comfortable for the short “hops” these planes make to destinations in Europe including France, Germany, Spain and Norway. Overhead bins offer sufficient space for carryon luggage. Three rows in front of the curtain house first-class passengers.

Our flight attendant told us that the Fokker 70s, the smallest planes in the fleet (which seat a maximum of 80 passengers) are gradually being phased out and will be retired by 2017, when they will be “adopted” by airlines in South America.

Inside the Fokker 70

Inside the Fokker 70

The Embraer 190 (which has a maximum capacity of 100 passengers) is newer, with two seats on each side of the aisle. The seats are better padded and recline.

Inside the Embraer 190

Inside the Embraer 190

2x2 Configuration of the Embraer 190

2×2 Configuration of the Embraer 190

Warning: The overhead bins are roomy but don’t allow much headroom so I found myself among a group of passengers who inadvertently hit our heads when standing up to exit our seats.

Entertainment and dining

There is no entertainment offered on these flights (which have no monitors) except for the Holland Herald, the inflight magazine that offers a mix of inspirational travel features, and a choice of newspapers. The stories in the magazine showcase some of the most popular destinations among the 179 countries to which KLM and its SkyTeam partners fly.

However, the complimentary (and quite ample) food service on both flights kept passengers occupied given the short flight time. The beverage service included a choice of juices, soft drinks, beer or wine (even in flights before noontime) as well as a light meal that reflected Dutch products.

On our first flight, a chicken thyme sandwich with lemon mayo on an organic wheat bread was served as a mid-morning snack. It was attractively packaged in a characteristic Delft blue design cardboard sleeve with printed information explaining that the farm producing the chicken had been recognized the Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals. It was accompanied by a Punseli Stroopkoekje, a crispy biscuit with a sweet caramel filling that tasted much like the iconic Stroopwafles of the Netherlands.

Beverage service on the KLM Cityhopper

Beverage service on the KLM Cityhopper

Chicken thyme sandwich with lemon mayo dressing

Chicken thyme sandwich with lemon mayo dressing

Punseli Stroopkoekje

Punseli Stroopkoekje

On the return flight, we had a quite simple but delicious sandwich of Beemster cheese (a cheese produced by a cooperative of small artisanal farmers who manually stir the cheese curds) on buttered whole wheat bread. This time, the blue and white sleeve noted that the cheese was made in a polder (low-lying land reclaimed from the sea) that was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1999.

Delft blue packaging

Delft blue packaging

Beemster cheese sandwich

Beemster cheese sandwich

The flight attendants were friendly, gracious, and extremely attentive, even offering salt and pepper when my husband ordered a glass of tomato juice. They returned a third time offering beverages and hot drinks after the snack.

The Bottom Line

We paid about $11 extra per seat for additional legroom (available in rows 3-6) , which was well worth the price. Our on-time experience with KLM Cityhopper was better than expected. You know a flight isn’t too bad when our major complaint was the uniformly dirty windows. Air France has a similar short-haul product called Hop.

Above the clouds

Above the clouds

One more warning for the over-50 traveler: The planes we flew used steps rather than jetways for disembarking which can be tricky to maneuver with a carryon bag.

*Additional information about KLM Cityhopper.


This is one of a series of posts about my experiences on new-to-me airlines. Surely, each flight is different but it’s always helpful to get general impressions of what to expect before you fly. If you fly KLM Cityhopper and have a very different experience, please feel free to comment below. 


Also on More Time To Travel:

  • Reply
    Anita @ No Particular Place To Go
    November 2, 2015 at 8:27 am

    Very interesting. And a real change to read about airline food that’s edible! Now that we’ll be residing in Portugal we can’t wait to try some of the budget airlines like KLM Cityhopper to explore Europe at our leisure. Thanks for the info!

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      November 2, 2015 at 9:32 pm

      You will have a terrific launch pad for visiting other cities and countries! Short hops are great~

  • Reply
    Janice Chung
    November 2, 2015 at 9:15 am

    This was really interesting because I may be flying more within Europe (especially to/from France) and I’ve always wondered what some of the budget airllines were like. The food didn’t look bad and I was surprised you even got food as it is a budget airline.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      November 2, 2015 at 9:33 pm

      The big surprise was being so well fed for such a short trip!

  • Reply
    Billie Frank
    November 2, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    Food on a short- haul flight and organic and local? KLM Cityhopper got my attention. $11 for leg-room is a pretty good deal.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      November 2, 2015 at 9:33 pm

      The cost of extra leg room has gone wild! Yes, this was quite reasonable~

  • Reply
    Sue Reddel
    November 2, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    I love those little sandwiches in the boxes. I had them years ago and haven’t forgotten them. I just admire the care that goes into it all. The domestic airlines here in the US just never have cared that much about customer service. I love the deal on the extra leg room. After just flying Spirit I was a little envious. 😉

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      November 2, 2015 at 9:34 pm

      The food service was matched by the attentiveness of the cabin crew.

  • Reply
    Paula McInerney
    November 2, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    I like budget airlines for quick short flights and have only the expectations that they leave on time and arrive on time. Anything else is a bonus.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      November 3, 2015 at 7:28 am

      Safety, of course, and on-time arrival trump other amenities but they really do make a flight more pleasant and comfortable!

  • Reply
    Betsy Wuebker | PassingThru
    November 2, 2015 at 11:58 pm

    This sounds like flying in days of yore when it was actually enjoyable! How do the prices compare with the budget airlines?

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      November 3, 2015 at 7:26 am

      Since this was a connecting flight while we were enroute from New York to Bordeaux, I actually don’t know what the cost of the separate segment would have been, Betsy.

  • Reply
    Jackie Smith
    November 3, 2015 at 1:01 am

    Looks like more leg room than on a larger plane which we’ve flown between cities in Europe – great info.

  • Reply
    Michele Peterson
    November 6, 2015 at 11:02 am

    The KLM CityHopper sounds like quite a comfortable ride. I wasn’t to thrilled with my KLM long haul flight from Toronto recently – I got one of those seats with a video console in the seat ahead so there was no room at all for my legs. But it was on time so that was appreciated. In comparison my Air Canada Rouge flight which is supposed to be a budget/leisure product was surprisingly roomy.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      November 6, 2015 at 11:05 am

      So many times, the experience just depends on the particular plane you are flying (as well as the crew) as opposed to the carrier.

  • Reply
    Lois Alter Mark
    November 6, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    This actually sounds pretty great compared to many other flights. And it’s amazing to get food like that on a short flight when you don’t even get peanuts on most cross-country flights in the US!

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      November 6, 2015 at 9:20 pm

      Yes, just flew to San Francisco on United and had nada!

  • Reply
    Lizette
    November 6, 2018 at 3:29 am

    If we are offered a KLM Cityhopper flight as part of flights from South Africa to Dublin in Ireland, will the luggage capacity also be 23kg on the Ciityhoppler?

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      November 7, 2018 at 8:11 pm

      Your best bet would be to call the airline directly and ask.
      Best, Irene

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