KLM unveils Southampton to Schiphol evening flights

In a bid to offer greater flexibility to business and leisure travellers, KLM is set to introduce a new daily evening service between Southampton and Schiphol Airport starting from Sunday, 31st March.

This latest addition will complement KLM’s existing daily morning and evening services from Southampton.

The evening flights, operated by KLM’s modern Embraer aircraft fleet, are scheduled as follows:

  • Departure from Amsterdam (AMS): 19:00
  • Arrival at Southampton (SOU): 19:10
  • Departure from Southampton (SOU): 19:40
  • Arrival at Amsterdam (AMS): 21:50

This move aims to provide passengers with an extended range of options to connect with one of Europe’s busiest hub airports. Southampton Airport, having recently completed a £17-million runway extension, continues to grow and improve its connectivity.

Christopher Tibbett, Head of Airline Relations and Marketing for Southampton Airport, expressed enthusiasm about the addition of the evening service, stating,

The additional service will be welcomed not only by passengers traveling to the Dutch capital but also by those wishing to travel globally to one of 332 direct destinations in 97 countries served by one of Europe’s most popular hub airports.

This new service follows the successful completion of the runway extension program in August last year, with Glasgow and Belfast already enjoying new connections. Furthermore, exciting announcements for summer include flights to popular destinations such as Mallorca, Alicante and Faro.

For UK-based business travellers seeking increased options and seamless connectivity, this enhancement is a testament to KLM’s commitment to serving the needs of its passengers. As Southampton Airport continues to expand its offerings, this additional evening service further cements its position as a key player in the regional travel landscape.

To explore how this new service can benefit your business travel plans or for more information, reach out to your Global Travel Account Manager.

Schiphol Airport introduces time slot reservations for smoother security checks

Travelling for business can be a stressful experience, especially when you factor in the time it takes to get through security at the airport. However, Schiphol Airport is now offering a solution that UK-based business travellers could find makes some journeys a little smoother.

Game changer: Schiphol’s time slot reservation system can speed up journeys through the airport

Travellers flying to a destination within the Schengen Zone can now reserve time slots for the security check, free of charge.

By making use of these reserved time slots, travellers can go through the security check in a dedicated lane and at a time they selected. This means they know exactly when they are expected at the security check, and can avoid unnecessarily long queues caused by arriving too early at the airport.

It’s important to note that this service only applies to the security check. Travellers still need to factor in enough time for their check-in and to drop off any baggage they have in the departure hall.

But by offering this service, Schiphol Airport is contributing to improved passenger sign-in patterns, a smoother flow through the security process and a better passenger experience.

Paul Baker, Global Travel Management Sales Director said,

As a travel management company that serves many UK-based business travellers, we know how important it is to have a stress-free journey. Schiphol Airport’s new time slot reservation system for security checks is a game-changer for our clients who frequently travel to the Schengen Zone.

By reserving a time slot, our clients can avoid the uncertainty of long queues and arrive at the security check at a time that suits them.

This will not only reduce stress, but also help them to plan their journey more effectively. We welcome this new service and hope it will be extended to other destinations soon

So, how does it work? Time slots can be reserved up to three days before departure on the Schiphol website or app. After making a booking, travellers receive a confirmation email containing a QR code. This code is scanned by a member of staff at Schiphol, who then directs them to the right security check entrance.

Schiphol Airport is the fourth largest European airport to offer this service, and it’s likely that other destinations will follow shortly.

For UK-based business travellers who frequently travel to the Schengen Zone for work, this could be a game-changer. By knowing exactly when they need to be at the security check, they can plan their journey more effectively and reduce the stress of travelling for work.

Schiphol Airport’s new time slot reservation system for security checks can offer UK-based business travellers a more efficient and stress-free way to travel. By reserving a time slot, travellers can avoid long queues and arrive at the security check at a time that suits them.

This service is currently available for destinations within the Schengen Zone, but it’s likely that other destinations will follow shortly. 

KLM offers passengers more Thalys seats to and from Brussels

KLM has purchased additional seats on four Thalys trains for transfer passengers travelling between Amsterdam and Brussels this summer. The extra seats form part of KLM’s efforts to scale down its four daily flights still operated between Amsterdam and Brussels. The extended air/rail product will be available from 26 March.

This capacity expansion follows the KLM-Thalys pilot project (July to October 2022), when the airline replaced one of its daily flights between Amsterdam and Brussels with a rail service.

Starting 26 March, passengers transferring between Amsterdam and Brussels will enjoy more opportunities to travel by rail instead of air on this route, with the integrated air/rail product being offered on five different trains.

KLM is an advocate of the Dutch Action Plan for Rail and Air Services, aimed at improving international train travel as an alternative to flying at six priority destinations (Brussels, Paris, London, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Berlin).

The Action Plan was drawn up in late 2020 by Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Dutch rail network operator ProRail, KLM and NS Dutch Railways.

KLM’s approach to sustainability focuses on reducing emissions and noise impact, and the ongoing development of its air/rail product forms part of these efforts.

During the 2022 pilot, customer surveys showed that several improvements were needed such as easier transfers for air/rail passengers at Schiphol, assistance for rail customers with luggage, and communication with customers who are often unfamiliar with Thalys.

The airline claims “these obstacles must be removed before KLM can permanently replace flights to and from Brussels with rail capacity”.

Boet Kreiken, Executive Vice President Customer Experience KLM said,

We’re proud to be expanding this air/rail product.

We remain fully committed to ensuring a smooth customer journey, making the train an ever-better alternative to air on short‑haul routes in Europe.

We’re working closely with our partners to achieve the necessary improvements for our customers.

Netherlands: IATA claims airport prices hikes will damage recovery

The International Air Transport Association has warned that a proposed 37% increase in airport charges in the Netherlands risks significant damage to the recovery of air connectivity in the country.

Following a formal review in which IATA and several airlines participated, the regulator for airport charges at Schiphol, ACM, released a decision on 21 April which accepted the airport’s position that due to losses incurred during the Covid-19 shutdown, it must raise airport charges by a cumulative 37% over the next three years.

Air travel has still not recovered from Covid-19, the greatest shock in aviation history. The impacts in the Netherlands were acute: at its height, Covid-19 caused passenger numbers to fall by more than 70%, at a cost of around 200,000 aviation-supported jobs. A gradual recovery is underway, but the foundations are weak.

IATA represents
290 airlines comprising 83% of global air traffic.

IATA’s Connectivity Index shows the Netherlands is still 35% below its 2019 peak. At this crucial time, for the benefit of the Netherlands as a whole, air connectivity should be supported. Unfortunately, ACM’s decision puts the country’s position as one of the most competitive European air transport hubs at risk.

The Dutch regulator’s stance is in sharp contrast with the position taken by other independent regulators in the region, which are trying to fulfil their duties to protect the consumer.

In Spain, the regulator rejected the claims from the airport operator that it needed to recover its pandemic losses. The Spanish regulator calculated that the airport operator had sufficient cash reserves to cover the shortfall and that it would benefit from growing traffic in coming years – and it has frozen charges for the next three years.

Schiphol is in a similar situation, and the regulator should be similarly robust.  Pre-pandemic, Schiphol declared €742 million of dividends over the 2015-19 period, and it has several options to cover its losses. Schiphol can easily finance short-term losses without increasing costs to its customers.

Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s Regional VP for Europe said

Rafael Schvartzman: ‘Schiphol airport and its regulator have failed’.

Schiphol airport and its regulator have completely failed to consider the exceptional circumstances that were created by Covid-19. The cost recovery system was never expected to operate in circumstances where demand would totally collapse for an extended period due to government- imposed travel restrictions. It cannot be reasonable to dump a 37% increase on airlines and their passengers. Nor is it sensible to put such costs onto air transport in the Netherlands at a time when other cost pressures, including rising environmental taxes, are already damaging the competitive position of Dutch aviation.

IATA is considering an appeal of the decision.