Hello guys from the Indian subcontinent once again. I’m on my usual end of the year trip here for a bit of work and vacation at the same time. As I mentioned before I booked my flights to India on Delta/KLM using the AMEX Platinum International Airline Program (which saved me nearly $400).
Anyway I was quite excited to hear about the opening of the recently renovated KLM Crown Lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. So when I arrived at Amsterdam, I decided to rush over to maximize my time in the lounge and give you guys a first take on that lounge experience.
Finding the Lounge
The KLM Crown Lounge is termed “Lounge 52” at Schiphol Airport so follow the signs for that if you want to access this lounge. I mistakenly followed the signs for all airline lounges and ended up next to the Aspire Lounge and British Airways Lounge (Lounges 41 and 42) so don’t make the same mistake. Since the renovation is underway KLM has placed the entry away from the usual escalator entry from the main central shopping area so do follow the signs!
Anyway from the get go, this lounge was absolutely packed with passengers. There were hardly any seats! I have never experienced such a thing in Amsterdam where I find the lounge to be so big at times that you hardly see anyone there.
The Shower Situation
The lounge was an absolute fail for me from the beginning because there were no showers available. The number 1 purpose of any lounge visit for me is usually usage of a shower followed by some quick breakfast.
When I asked about showers, the lounge attendant explained that the lounge had a temporary arrangement with the Mercure Hotel for showers and wait time was around 3 hours. I don’t know if KLM is doing this to scare away people with shorter layovers (because they don’t want to spend the cash) or the wait is really that long. I don’t see how anyone would agree to it when they are told the waiting time.
You enter the lounge by scanning your boarding pass and entering. And you come upon this vast seating area lined with lounge chairs and tables. Which is absolutely packed with people.
There are two designated areas of the lounge with buffet style food offerings. Since it was just before lunch time, the food mainly consisted of make your own salad and sandwich station, but cereal was also available in case you wanted to have a late breakfast.
Sky Terrace and Bar
So the design of the lounge is absolutely stunning especially when you take a look at the third floor and the glass display with all the little Dutch model houses (you’ll see that in my vlog video). This is actually the highlight of the lounge and the least crowded area in my experience. There is an aircraft viewing deck with sofas, which seemed to be a nice place to hangout. Even this area started to fill up because of how crowded the lounge got.
So given the choice I would head to the Aspire Lounge (accessible via Priority Pass) because they have showers and perhaps a less crowded of lounge from what I could tell (I could be wrong). Otherwise this lounge is something to be avoided unless you just have to have free food in the lounge. If you can, head to the Schengen Zone Lounge for a less crowded of an experience. Otherwise, Amsterdam-Schiphol is one of the finest airports in the world so go to one of the many bakeries and restaurants found in the airport for the better food, less crowded areas, and a better experience.
How is KLM Dealing with Crowding?
I understand now that lounge crowding is a major issue that KLM is now trying to deal with by restricting times when Sky Priority (SkyTeam), guests of SkyTeam elites and Jet Airways passengers can access the lounge. When I arrived at the lounge, guests of several SkyTeam elites were turned away right at the door because of the peak rush hour at the lounge. This issue will continue into the foreseeable future until the lounge renovation is completed and the second half of the lounge is opened.