August 15, 2022
Trip Report: Skyteam Alliance from Europe to the US
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Trip Report: Skyteam Alliance from Europe to the US

DALLAS – Flying with KLM (KL) and Delta Air Lines (DL) from Europe to the United States in Economy class is now possible as the airline industry recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

When you fly from a secondary European airport to the US, there are usually no direct routes, which means you have to make a connection at a major European hub. Flying from Basel-Mulhouse (BSL) in France and Switzerland to Boston (BOS), I had the choice between Lufthansa (LH) and United Airlines (UA) stopping in Frankfurt (FRA), British Airways (BA), and American Airlines (AA) with a connection in London Heathrow (LHR), or KL and DL through Amsterdam (AMS).

The last option is the one I chose because of the price and the schedule. Thus, I booked flights KL1986 from BSL to AMS, operated by an Embraer 190, and flight DL257 from AMS to BOS, featuring an Airbus A330-300. If you buy the tickets well in advance, you can easily get pretty good deals for those transatlantic trips.

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Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg EuroAirport

The journey started from BSL, the Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg airport, also known as the EuroAirport. It is very special as it is the only airport in the world that serves three cities located in three different countries. The airport is indeed situated in France, near the Swiss and German borders. The terminal is even divided into a French and a Swiss part, and there is a border inside the departure hall.

Despite the current staff shortages in European airports, I managed to get through security very quickly, as I arrived at the airport pretty early. The EuroAirport is comfortable, it is operational and efficient. Moreover, the airport features wide windows, enabling aviation enthusiasts to enjoy the view.

This E190 is unique thanks to its Skyteam special livery. Photo; Alberto Cucini/Airways

Flight KL1986 to AMS

The first flight to AMS was delayed, as the aircraft was not at BSL yet when I arrived at the gate. We were finally able to board the Embraer 190 about 20 minutes late. The aircraft, registered PH-EZX, featured the Skyteam special livery. Indeed, every airline that is part of a worldwide alliance paints a few of its aircraft in the alliance’s livery. The Skyteam one is pretty nice, with a grey aircraft and blue logos on it.

Once the boarding was completed, we were able to take off pretty fast from runway 33. The pilots told us they expected to arrive on time in the Netherlands. Indeed, the flight only lasted 55 minutes, which means the cruising altitude was 24,000 feet.

The service was nice, as we had drinks and a cheese sandwich for free, which is extremely rare in Economy on European flights. However, the descent started very fast over Belgium, and during the approach, we had a nice view of the Dutch coastline.

The landing on runway 06 was pretty firm, and the braking was very hard. The pilots indeed wanted to get to the parking directly, and they managed to take the first taxiway. The taxiing was therefore very short, and we arrived at the gate less than two minutes after landing.

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

Once the aircraft was parked at AMS, we had to take a bus to the Terminal. The ride was pretty cool, especially for planespotters who enjoy watching airplanes. Then, I still had more than two hours before my next flight to BOS, so I had lunch and visited the airport.

Amsterdam Schiphol has been in the news these last few months for its staff shortages and flight cancellations, but I did not have any problems, as my flight was on time. The airport was pretty crowded, but it was not very surprising as it was the beginning of the summer holidays.

After enjoying the views for two hours, it was time to board the flight to BOS. I was seated at the rear of the aircraft, which means I was in the last boarding zone. A few agents checked the travel documents before boarding. The COVID entry restrictions are much lighter now, as fully vaccinated travelers do not need any additional testing to fly to the US.

Flight DL257 to BOS

After boarding the aircraft and pushing back, we still had to taxi for a very long distance before taking off. Indeed, we had to depart from runway 36L, also known as the Polderbaan. This runway is very far from the terminal and the taxi distance can sometimes reach 6 miles.

Twenty minutes after having left the gate, we took off from AMS and left the Netherlands a few minutes later. We then flew over the United Kingdom and Ireland, with a nice view of Manchester, and the flight continued over the Atlantic Ocean.

Delta Meal Service, IFE

The meal was then served to the passengers. I chose the three-cheese tortellini, but there was also chicken curry with rice. The entry was a tomato and mozzarella salad, and there was ice cream for dessert. I was really surprised by this meal, as I really enjoyed it.

While airplane food in Economy class is not very good, this one was nice. The snack at the end of the flight, a cheddar sandwich, was not as good, but it was nice to have something to eat just before arriving in Boston.

For In-Flight Entertainment (IFE), there were decently sized screens on every seat with music, games, and movies. However, I thought the movie selection was not very good. Moreover, my screen was not very responsive and I had trouble making it work.

Landing at BOS

After seven hours over the Atlantic Ocean and Canada, we started our descent towards BOS. It was very sunny, which allowed us to enjoy the view during the approach. A few minutes later, we were on final for runway 4R, with a nice view over the city. We landed in Massachusetts 20 minutes in advance, but the ground staff was not ready yet, so we had to wait on the taxiway.

The border controls were very fast and efficient, and BOS is well connected to the city, with many free bus lines.

This trip from BSL to BOS with the Skyteam was very efficient and agreeable. The seats were comfortable, the flights were on time, and the meals were good.

The only downside is the movie selection on the transatlantic flight, but I will have the opportunity to see on the way back next month if KL’s offer is better.

Featured image: N801NW, the A330-300 which operated the route from AMS to BOS. Photo: John Leivaditis/Airways. Trip report photos: Author

Aviation enthusiast and private pilot student, I am fascinated by the aviation industry.

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