Experiencing the KLM Dutch Royal Airways lounge in Amsterdam- sort of.

Aug 31, 2022

How to get in airport lounges free

When I say it was close, I mean it was REALLY close. Paging you in the airport close. 

I love an airport lounge, but I completely bungled the opportunity to enjoy one (that I paid for in advance!) because I made a few silly mistakes before I even got to Amsterdam and then almost missed my flight.

Why do I love airport lounges? First, everyone does. Second, comfort and convenience. Hot meals, showers, wifi, dessert, lower noise levels, alcohol, and space to spread out make a huge difference when you’re getting ready to board a flight, waiting out a layover, or even landing at your home airport when you just need to take a beat before heading home. 

A few weeks ago I had a connecting flight through Amsterdam on my way to Rome. When I checked in for the flight, they had an option to add on lounge access with my airline, KLM Dutch Royal Airways. 

With a 2 and a half hour layover after an 8 hour overnight flight from DC to Amsterdam, I thought $40 was a reasonable price to pay for a quiet shower, hot breakfast buffet, and bottomless mimosas in a less crowded space, especially because the flight from Amsterdam to Rome is quick and I’d be landing there around 8AM. So the amenities in the lounge would let me clean up, wake up, and have an ever important feeding so I could hit the ground running for a full first day.

If I’d have to shower and eat when I got to the hotel anyway, it made sense to get that done while I’d otherwise be sitting in the airport. Sounds like a great time hack, right?

Wrong. I spent a grand total of about 3 minutes in the lounge before having to sprint to my gate. Getting the lounge access was a great idea in theory, but due to *unforeseen circumstances (my own stupidity) it didn’t exactly work out. 

After a lot of confusion and a long customs line, I was still determined (mostly because of the $40 and how hangry I was) to at least set foot in the lounge. I dashed inside, threw the first few buffet food items onto my plate, shoveled it into my mouth (watched by several people at tables uncomfortably close to mine), and sprinted out while still chewing eggs and English breakfast beans to make it to my gate in the nick of time.

Learn from my stupid mistakes, friends. Here’s what happened:

  1. My flight was delayed from DC–Amsterdam. 

I know what you’re thinking- a delayed flight isn’t on me. But it raises a “I should have known better” thought about the timing of my layover. My ticket showed a 2 hour and 35 minute layover, which sounds like the perfect amount of time to shower, eat, and relax. But even without a my flight being delayed flight 1 hour, the layover time displayed on your boarding pass is from the time of your plane landing to your next flight’s departure. It doesn’t include the plane’s taxi time after it lands, waiting to get off, going through international customs/passport control, and locating the lounge in an unfamiliar airport. And don’t forget, you have to leave the lounge ~45 minutes before your actual departure time to find your gate and begin boarding. This sounds like an idiotic mistake, but it made sense in my head when I did it so PSA! 

2. Not doing research on where the lounge was or the Amsterdam airport itself

Do your research. I’ve never flown through Amsterdam and had no idea it was such a huge airport! I bought the lounge access with the flight “add ons” (checking a bag, etc) when I checked in online 24 hours before my flight time, so it was a bit last minute. 

Unfortunately for me, there are 2 KLM lounges in the Amsterdam airport. Because I was connecting from DC-Amsterdam-Rome, I only had access to the European lounge, meaning I needed to go through customs in Amsterdam before heading to the lounge. Instead, when my flight from DC landed, I followed signs to the KLM lounge (which sounds like the right thing to do). It was a HIKE to get there and of course, when I finally arrived, the friendly employees had to tell me that I wasn’t at the right lounge. I backtracked to the complete opposite side of the airport after wasting a ton of time, where I joined a MASSIVE customs que. By the time I arrived at the European lounge, it was too late to enjoy it.

So was purchasing lounge access worth it? For this specific situation, obviously not. I arrived huffy, hangry, and admittedly drooling over the Dutch customs agents (IYKYK). But with more layover time and better planning, it absolutely would have been.

Have you used the KLM lounge in Amsterdam? If so, someone tell me if the showers and amenities were nice.

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