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Review: KLM’s Crown Lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

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This is our review of KLM’s non-Schengen Crown Lounge at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.

Over the last six months, new Italian airline ITA Airways – which rose from the ashes of Alitalia – has run two status matches. You could have matched your British Airways Executive Club status to ITA’s Volare programme. Both Silver and Gold members of BA Executive Club were given status levels which got them top tier ‘Elite Plus’ status across the entire SkyTeam airline alliance.

ITA’s SkyTeam alignment has not gone well, with many airlines having not yet made the IT adjustments required to recognise ITA status.

One airline which has sorted it out is KLM, which means that you can use your ITA status to enter the new Crown Lounge in Amsterdam if heading to the UK. There is even an ITA logo by the entrance.

Review non-Schengen KLM Crown Lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

You can also use a Virgin Flying Club Gold card to enter the lounge if you are flying on KLM. This is something you might have forgotten, given that the launch of the Virgin / Air France / KLM partnership was just a couple of weeks before the first covid lockdown.

Above is a PR picture which allows me to get some faces into the article!

You can find out more on KLM’s website here.

A quick word about Schengen

Even when the UK was in the European Union, it was not part of the Schengen area. This meant that you always needed to go through passport control when entering and leaving mainland Europe.

One upside of this arrangement, to make up for the queuing, is that flyers to the UK from Schengen countries generally end up in airport lounges aimed at long-haul travellers. Long-haul lounges are, in the main, superior to those used for Schengen flights because premium passengers pay far more for their tickets.

One example of this is Helsinki. The gap between the Schengen lounge (used for flights to, say, France) and the non-Schengen lounge (used for flights to the UK and all long-haul departures) is huge.

I’ve not been to KLM’s Schengen lounge in Amsterdam so I can’t compare the two. You won’t be using the lounge I am reviewing here if you are flying from Amsterdam to a Schengen member.

Introduction

When I was in Amsterdam recently I decided to fly back to London City with KLM in order to take a look at the non-Schengen Crown Lounge. This was very fortunate since it was one of the afternoons when the BA operation at Heathrow went into meltdown.

The Crown Lounge is huge, set over two levels. I could have written a detailed review of what’s in every corner, but there’s no point – it’s not as if you’re going to use it as a guide when you’re there.

Instead, I thought I’d put up a selection of images with some commentary. The lounge is tucked away between Concourses E and F and is called Lounge 52 on the terminal signage.

Inside the non-Schengen KLM Crown Lounge in Amsterdam Schiphol

The lounge is divided into four zones:

  • Sea – ‘recharge, refresh, sleep’
  • Polder – ‘eat and drink, work’
  • Dutch Mountain – ‘entertainment’
  • Sky (upstairs) – ‘blue bar, blue restaurant, terrace’

Here is part of the ‘Sea’ corner:

Review non-Schengen KLM Crown Lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

…. and the view from ‘Sky’ down towards the entrance, which itself is in the middle of the lounge and gives you an idea of the scale:

Review non-Schengen KLM Crown Lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

Stepping down into ‘Polder’, you get what appears to be a Heineken-sponsored bar:

Review non-Schengen KLM Crown Lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

…. and the main buffet area. When I was there, late afternoon, this was the only food available although there were various other closed food counters dotted around.

Review non-Schengen KLM Crown Lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

and

Review non-Schengen KLM Crown Lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

There is this very formal looking work area if you feel the need to look professional to passers-by:

Review non-Schengen KLM Crown Lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

Heading into the ‘Dutch Mountain’ zone, you get another sense of the sheer scale of this place:

Review non-Schengen KLM Crown Lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

and

Review non-Schengen KLM Crown Lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

If booths are more your thing, there are some by the back wall at the far end:

Review non-Schengen KLM Crown Lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

Let’s head upstairs to ‘Sky’. If you turn around as you head up the stairs you can see both levels at once:

Review non-Schengen KLM Crown Lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

and

Review non-Schengen KLM Crown Lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

The upstairs area was closed when I was there. This bar is open from 7am to 1pm. The KLM website implies that standard drinks are free but you need to pay for premium brands.

Review non-Schengen KLM Crown Lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

This second bar area at the back of the ‘Sky’ area is totally closed for now:

Review non-Schengen KLM Crown Lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

Here is the outdoor terrace on the upper level:

Review non-Schengen KLM Crown Lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

Looking down:

Review non-Schengen KLM Crown Lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

There is a general sense of fun in the design here. The British Airways Galleries lounges have an element of fun but they don’t go this far:

Review non-Schengen KLM Crown Lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

On a more practical level, there are a lot of lockers available if needed:

Review non-Schengen KLM Crown Lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

This is a great touch. If you fly KLM in business class long-haul, you will receive a little ceramic Delft house filled with Jenever. This tradition has been going on since 1952, incredibly, and the houses even have their own website at klmhouses.com.

A friend of mine has a decent sized collection in her house after years of business trips to Curacao but nothing on the scale of this – the photo below is only a tiny fraction:

Review non-Schengen KLM Crown Lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

According to the KLM website, there are also sleep pods and showers in the Crown Lounge. It was so huge that I failed to find them!

Conclusion

This wasn’t meant to be a detailed guide to KLM’s Crown Lounge in Amsterdam. I simply wanted to show you that it is a very attractive, and frankly enormous, facility.

If you did the ITA status match – or have Virgin Atlantic Gold status – you might want to swap your next Amsterdam trip to KLM to give it a try.

The Crown Lounge is open from 4.45am to 10pm.

You can find out more on the KLM website here.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (May 2022)

As a reminder, here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER) and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here

You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta and Eurostar lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios, if you apply by 1st June 2022.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with two free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here

Additional lounge visits are charged at £20.  You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.  

There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and you get a 20,000 points sign-up bonus.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network.  Guests are charged at £20 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.

The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer.  Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.

PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.

Comments (46)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Vasco says:

    There are never any showers available in the morning. The hot food selection pales in comparison to pre-pandemic LHR FLounge at least (have only been once since, as I’ve defected to Flying Blue 🙂 ).
    No self-pour booze. Only beer is Heineken. It’s very nicely designed, but it’s a shame that that seems to have taken precedence over things to actually make the customer have an enjoyable time.

  • ColinThames says:

    Loved the space, the colour scheme and the light when I went there two weeks ago. It was quiet on a late Monday afternoon. Much nicer than BA lounge. Used my ITA digital card with no problem.
    The food, as others have said, is disappointing. And the tea and coffee also (no milk, only a weird creamer). BA lounges food and drink much better in Heathrow and Gatwick.
    The worst thing was the gate for our KLM flight to Edinburgh was 16 minutes walk away and the info boards in the lounge didn’t give any warning until they started boarding. It’s a 10 minute sweaty run/walk if you’re in that position!
    Next time I’d try the PP lounge as it’s more central.

  • rj24 says:

    Another lounge that does seemingly accept ITA status is the Cedar Lounge in Beirut.

    A few weeks back, it was not obvious that I could use the lounge when I asked at check-in (using the MEA business desks), and nothing obvious on the boarding pass, but the lounge scanned me and welcomed me in.

    Beirut may be a bit niche for most, but I was surprised that there was no issue with my ITA elite plus (from a BA silver match).

  • Jp says:

    Rob, you and your travel companion must be very good looking to get past security fast enough to be able to enjoy the lounge.
    Was flying BA club to LCY a few weeks back and the immigrations person manning who goes “normal” and who goes e-gates made and effort to check all the young attractive female passports and letting them through via the e-gates whilst letting others with the same type of passport just line up.
    A few people questioned and his response was “they have an urgent flight…”

    • Rob says:

      At 3pm on a Wednesday there was no queue at all. I’ve heard some bad stories recently, however, I admit.

  • Jan de W says:

    I did the BA Status Silver match to Volare and my ITA account shows a blue card stating “PREMIUM” and mentions 60,000 “Status Match Points”. Will this get me into the KLM Lounge on Thursday?

    • Rob says:

      Does it say ‘Elite Plus’ under the SkyTeam logo?

      • Jan de W says:

        Yes, it does.

        • Rob says:

          You can get into SkyTeam lounges then (if they are set up to acknowledge that ITA exists!).

          • JandeW says:

            Safely in the lounge and you were right Rob – it’s enormous! Does the Elite Plus card admit a guest too?

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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