TRIP REPORT: KLM, Amsterdam - Belgrade


Written by Chris Matteo

KLM has now launched a brand-new flight between Amsterdam and Belgrade, replacing Transavia’s seasonal service. I was fortunate enough to take the third flight since the airline launched the route on May 13, 2021. The inaugural flight was operated by KLM on a 737-700 but the route seems to have been given to KLM Cityhopper going forward.

Initially, the aircraft was slotted as an E-190 but on the day before departure downgraded to an E-175. In my view, the flights between Amsterdam and Belgrade, be it on Air Serbia or KLM, are often very full and this particular flight was no exception, with roughly 90% capacity. Additionally, Air Serbia continues to operate their daily scheduled departure between the two cities.

Despite the continued restrictions in Northern Europe, Schiphol Airport was rather busy, especially the Non-Schengen terminal which seemed to be full of many transfer passengers. As I had some time, I decided to utilize the KLM Non-Schengen Intercontinental Lounge which is fantastic in my view. KLM has made very few cuts to their lounge services and the lounge experience is quite similar to what one would have expected pre-March 2020. There is even a barista station where you can have a fresh-made espresso-based drink which I think is a great touch.

After about an hour and some breakfast, I made my way to gate E21. Unfortunately, this is a bus gate which is always a bit annoying. As I mentioned, the flight was probably 90% full, consisting of an interesting mix of Americans, Serbs, and businessmen. Since Serbia is relatively open compared to a number of other European countries, it seemed as if there was a nice mix of businessmen and tourists headed to the Serbian capital for various reasons.

After a 5-minute bus ride, we arrived at the remote stand and boarding was accomplished via air stairs. I took my aisle seat on the bulkhead, 1D. The aircraft was 5 years old and in decent condition. The leather seats were a bit worn but that’s not unexpected for a short-haul, workhorse aircraft. KLM Cityhopper does not seem to be blocking the adjacent seats in business class on the E175 and E190 aircrafts.

As this is a new route, one could tell that the crew was quite excited to have a new destination to fly to. KLM’s crews are always strikingly friendly and accommodating, and this trip was no exception; the purser Elisa was phenomenal and incredibly professional. This is also one of the longer routes for KLM Cityhopper with a blocked time of 2.5 hours. After boarding was completed, the engines were started, and we made a quick taxi to the runway for departure.

After takeoff, the purser provided business class passengers each with a menu and indicated that she could serve the breakfast at any time we desired since this was a two-hour flight. As I was still a bit full from the lounge, I decided to pass initially on the breakfast and just have a drink. Since it was the weekend, I decided to have a mimosa which was served in a real, KLM-branded glass. KLM, unlike many other airlines, has not scaled back to the extent other airlines have over the last year, which is greatly appreciated and differentiates them from the crowd. This flight offered a great selection of beverages and seemed more or less the same as compared to pre-March 2020.

After about an hour, I ordered breakfast from the lovely purser. The breakfast on KLM Cityhopper and many other short-haul European flights, is served in a Marcel Wanders-branded box. The cutlery along with the dishes are all plastic, and the bread is still served wrapped in plastic. The breakfast consisted of fresh salmon, cream cheese, butter, jam, egg, lemon, granola, fresh fruit, non-fat yogurt, and a small bread roll. The box appeared on the smaller side initially, but I must admit that after finishing, I felt very satisfied and full. To end, I had a cup of coffee which was served in a beautiful KLM mug. 

After about 1.5 hours, we began our descent into Belgrade and landed approximately 10 minutes ahead of schedule. We arrived at the older portion of Belgrade Airport and deplaned by jet stairs; luckily, we were not taken to a remote stand.

Overall, this was a fantastic flight. KLM continues to provide strong service and a nice business-class experience despite the continued circumstances and their present financial situation. Compared to their European competitors, I very much appreciate the emphasis they continue to put on the customer, and that they’ve made relatively few cuts to their on-board experience. If you have Delta SkyMiles, this was a great award redemption at 25,000 miles and 30 EUR tax one-way (Delta’s award redemptions often require tons of miles or are heavy in taxes). I expect this route to continue to perform well for KLM considering the transfer traffic was significant.

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  1. Anonymous09:20

    That business class meals is quite bad, at least JU doesn't have to worry about business class passengers switching to KL.

    That said, it's nice to have KL back in Belgrade as they offer a phenomenal alternative to LH especially to destinations like ORD.

    1. Anonymous18:32

      In my opinion business class passengers don’t switch because of meals. That said, KLM offers meals based on the time of the day. For a breakfast flight, to me this is a fine business class meal.

      As a business class passenger im more interested in the time of departure, connection times and service offered by the airline. My opinion is that KLM beats all ex-yu airlines on the three of these.

      I hope this connection will force to further decrease prices on the connections to North America and UK from ex-yu.

    2. Anonymous00:22

      Sorry but JU offers much better times since they have both morning and afternoon flights thus offering their passengers more flexibility.

    3. Anonymous07:27

      I would also add that A319 is more comfortable than the Jungle jet.

    4. Anonymous12:08

      I always wondered why you would find an a319 more comfortable than e190 on such a short distance? Pitch is similar 30-31, both have turbofan engines, and I personally prefer 2-2 seating above 3-3.

      I can imagine if you prefer a319 over atr, due to noise and much less speed.

    5. Anonymous18:16

      Lol how delusional is that? KLM is a favourite among business passengers and they offer a wide range of connections that Air Serbia doesn't offer. Absolutely no one is going to stick to Air Serbia just because of a meal.

  2. Anonymous09:27

    I wouldn't be surprised if they have double daily E90 next summer. KLM is rather aggressive.

    1. Anonymous17:49

      KLM will become stiff competition, not so much for JU but for Air France which seems to be in hibernation mode...

    2. Anonymous18:46

      Because KLM is run like a business unlike AF which is run by politicians/uhljebs.
      For uhljebs every moment is always too early !

  3. Anonymous10:45

    Nice report and great to have one just a few days after the route was launched :)

  4. Anonymous11:54

    Thank you for report.

    It would be nice to see what is offered (if anything) to economy class passengers.

    1. Anonymous12:15

      It's the same as before covid.

    2. Anonymous13:51

      There was no KLM flight to BEG before pandemic

    3. Anonymous14:34

      They used to serve the route with Transavia. Quite similar to KLM to be honest

    4. Anonymous14:52

      Ugh. The service they have now in economy class is the same as before covid.

  5. Anonymous15:13

    Interesting load factor and very detailed trip report. Thanks for sharing

  6. Anonymous16:18

    I absolutely love that business class meal .
    For a short flight that is more than OK.
    And if thats not enough i always ask for a extra bread and also get it.

    1. Anonymous16:19

      Flight is not that short, it's over two hours.

  7. Anonymous07:28

    Until KL doesn't introduce overnight flights to BEG, they can't be a serious player on the BEG-North America market. Knowing them I am certain those flights will happen sooner rather than later.


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