The KLM Crew Centre – Home To a Travelling Folk

Posted by at 09:30

When you see me and my colleagues walk through the airport, you may well think we shake hands and walk straight to the gate. But this is far from true. By the time a KLM crew makes its way to the aircraft, we have several hours of preparation behind us. This takes place at KLM Crew Centre. It is here, in the space of a couple of hours, that I transform from a private individual into a steward, every flight again.

KLM Crew Centre serves two purposes. The first is work related – signing in and flight briefings. The other is more psychological. The crew centre is the only stable spot in my working life. I work irregular hours, have no fixed team of colleagues and I arrive at Schiphol only to leave again within a couple of hours. Crew Centre compensates, somewhat, for the lack of a “home”.

Bemanningscentrum

Queries, worries or a chat

I run into dozens of colleagues at Crew Centre and there’s always someone I know. There’s a coffee & snack corner, where I usually grab a seat to go through my email and post, and there are support services, such as HR and Flight Support. But the people who are primarily responsible for my relationship with the company are the cabin personnel managers. They take turns at a large table near the coffee corner to answer questions, listen to concerns or simply to have a chat.

Signing in

Even my irregular profession has a routine: signing in. When I enter the building I scan my passport and receive my flight plan and a number of announcements, warnings and reminders. Don’t forget to bring your mosquito repellent for dengue fever! Is your US visa up-to-date?! Credit-card fraud occurs in this hotel!

Bemanningscentrum

Next I hand in my suitcase and collect the daily allowance to spend on meals in the hotel. Then I go to the pre-briefing area, where one or two pursers prepare the briefing, and I introduce myself. This is where I get the first flight details.

Safety and service

KLM is renowned for its onboard safety and personal service. The foundations for us cabin crew are laid during the flight briefing. Here we spend most of the time discussing safety. Onboard service issues are communicated via our iPad. This allows more time for one of the most essential aspects of the briefing: team building.

Bemanningscentrum

Breaking the ice

It is important to realise that, with around 9,000 cabin crew personnel at KLM, it’s impossible to get to know them all. So, every flight begins with a new round of introductions. One of the reasons I am truly motivated every flight, is the excellent team building that takes place at the briefings. The pursers transform us from “civilians” into a team of professionals in the space of 20 minutes.

Bemanningscentrum

We are also given the opportunity to say something about ourselves, which helps to break the ice. Then professionalism takes over.

The magic moment

With the briefing over, preparation in Crew Centre is complete. There’s just enough time for one – as I would put it – final ‘ritual’. A magic moment. You may have seen us walking towards the gates chatting away enthusiastically? The subject of these chats is not earth-shattering, but swings between friendly curiosity – getting to know each other – and travel tips.

Bemanningscentrum

Yet it is during this seemingly inconsequential walk that we change from professionals into true colleagues. And this is vital. For the next eight to twelve hours, we will be extraordinarily reliant on each other

75 Responses to The KLM Crew Centre – Home To a Travelling Folk

  1. g.linterman

    goede morgen,
    ondergetekende had de eerste vlucht uit Atlanta op 19 april 2010 – KL622- na de dust cloud Ijsland
    die 6 dagen aan de grond had gestaan daar.
    Vergeet nimmer meer de ontvangst, begeleiding van deze captain/crew, zat wel inde business class maar men heeft iedereen gelijk behandeld.
    U kunt mijn belevenissen lezen in een aan Customer Care geschreven brief van 20 april.
    Ben nu met pensioen -76- dus de hoeveelheid vluchten zijn minder , voornamelijk naar mijn 2de vaderland
    de UK .
    Veel succes
    G.Linterman

    • Ingmar beldman

      Bedankt voor uw compliment!
      Ja, dat was een spannende tijd voor veel collega’s en klanten! Het is dan de taak van de airline om als een stut en steun voor de klanten op te treden! Ik heb zelf al veel van dit soort situaties meegemaakt. Voer voor een aparte blog:-)
      Fijn dat u weer in ‘uw’ UK bent!
      Gr ingmar

  2. Terje Hitsøy

    very nice and good info.Continue.

    • Ingmar beldman

      Thank you Terje! (Or should i say: tusen takk?)

  3. ebikeAsh

    Video would be so much richer than this presentation.

    I like your idea, just not the presentation. It’s 2016, get going!! New ideas, new tools, new competitors and new methods!!

    • Ingmar beldman

      Thanks for the input! Ideas are in development!

  4. Marilyn Goodings

    Thank you for giving an insight of what goes on behind the scenes of being in a flight crew. It’s amazing what goes on before we, the public, board our flight.
    On short haul flights do the cabin crew have to go through the same procedure for each flight?
    Love travelling with KLM.

    • Ingmar beldman

      More or less. I haven’t been doing short hauls (European cities) for about 14 years now, but i know that – with just one purser, instead of two – the procedures are pretty much the same. Briefings are shorter, though. Sometimes crewmembers meet up at the gate for a flight, coming from different flights just an hour before. So then, indeed, they meet at the gate for the first time:-)
      But when it comes to the emphasis on flight safety preparation, of course, there is no exeption to long haul and briefings will be held anyway.
      I do miss these short haul flights often. They have a certain ‘fast-paste’ energy, teaming up more flexible and running the ‘show’ in a shorter period of time. And of course the European cities….:-) i miss them:-)

  5. Rick Payne

    Thanks for the insight to your busy lifestyle Ingmar! Another question answered for me! When viewing the crews walking to the gate, I always wondered where and how “their flight” begins! Great looking crew, good service, and comfort….makes our haul from Atlanta to Schiphol a great experience. Thanks again, and Have a Great Day!

    • Ingmar beldman

      Thanks Rick. Keep checking us, more blogs are coming from me, when we go on board!

  6. Judith

    Always nice to read about the Blue Family. Never estranged from you, even after almost 9 years!

    • Ingmar beldman

      Nice to hear Judith. What is your most flown stretch?

  7. Frank Pfister

    Wow, how special is that. My dad of the same name had no such facility back in the 1950’s as a steward on the Connies. Love this website.

    • Ingmar beldman

      Your father’s name scthe same as mine? And he was steward? That’s funny!

      • Frank Pfister

        At the time, he was the only Pfister in Holland. Might we be related?

  8. Trees Wieman

    Leuk om te zien…onze zoon is piloot bij jullie op de embrair, weet wel een beetje hoe het in z’n werk gaat, maar zo’n tour en blog maakt het nog leuker en begrijpelijker……

    • Ingmar beldman

      Dank je! In volgende blogs gaan we de lucht in!

  9. Samera

    I have had great experience throughout the years traveling with KLM,the flight attendants and crew members are very helpful and nice unlike other airlines I have travelled with.

    • Ingmar beldman

      Thank you, Samera!

      • Samira Asadi

        Hi sir Good evening sir I’m want apple as cabin crew in the kLM Airlines I’m have 3 year experience as cabin crew In my country Afghanistan Kabul Safi Airways I’m was Fligth airbus 320/boing 373 I’m was training in Emirates I’m have a lot domplma can you help what should I’m do to send my to my cv Thsnk you

  10. Craig

    Excellent blog..very informative! There was a video published not long ago, still on YouTube, featuring eenbander Chanan Wijngaarden walking through these very steps. My very first long haul flight was on KLM out of Houston, and I have flown KLM many times since. KLM remains my favorite airline, and I will miss you in Dallas! Thanks again Ingmar!

    • Ingmar beldman

      Thanks Craig,
      …and i will miss Dallas too. Last time i was there was a couple of months ago, with two friends, driving up to Memphis to pay respect to The King :-)
      But you know, Dallas will be back as a destination for KLM! I guess.
      Gr ingmar

      • Craig

        Dank je Ingmar!
        I’m glad you were able to visit the king! :) and even if the blue A330 doesn’t return to DFW, I’ll fly KLM through IAH. :)

        • Ingmar beldman

          Well, you are more then welcome again on board!

  11. Robert Barron

    I was totally fascinated with this article WHY ????
    I was a steward with British European Airways over 60 years ago aLL is so different I was mostly on Mediterranean flights when I now fly in my mid 80.s I still get excited with each flight whether it was with bed to California or a local run Aer Lingus Dublin to Carrickfinn co Donegal. connecting from Manchester
    Proud of all cabin staff

    • Ingmar beldman

      Great story, mister Baron!
      You have reached the respected age were most people leave the world to others:-) but you still fly out,right?
      I guess, it must be like an addiction, when retiring from such jobs as ours?

  12. David Wilder

    Another great “behind the scenes” showing KLM’s world-class operation!

  13. LB

    This is so interesting. Thanks. KLM zips the best.

  14. Donald Mun

    If given a chance to visit our training centre were be interesting …. Thank you

  15. Jeff

    it’s nice to see and read what the crew does for every flight, as a past crew member 30years ago. Now I put those traveler on your flights everyday. Corporate Counselor at Carlson Wagonlit Travel. Always a pleasure booking KLM.

    • Ingmar beldman

      Thanks! What airline did you work for?

  16. Au Kah Kay

    Very nice blog post. I would like to hear more about KLM cabin crew training. British Airways had a documentary on their cabin crew training. Perhaps KLM can do likewise?

    • Ingmar

      I’m not sure if we have such video. I will look into it.
      Gr

  17. Olga Phillips

    I am a retired Flight Attendant from an airline in Canada called Westjet. Reading your preflight briefing rituals brought back many wonderful memories. Thank you for sharing. KLM is an awesome airline. I have had the privilege to fly to Holland on KLM several times. All my relatives live in a small village called Silvolde in Gederland. I faithfully follow your tidbits on Facebook with great pleasure. Proust, Olga

    • Ingmar beldman

      Thank you, olga!
      Well….those historical ties with between Canada and the Netherlands…they run deep:-) it’s good to see that our network involved more and more Canadian destinations. 5 now!
      Are you Dutch by birth yourself?
      I thinnk i know Silvolde. It must be close to the German border, right?

      • Ilana

        Yes! It is close to the German border! I live near Silvolde ^_^

        Loved the blog! I hope I can introduce you guys soon to my travelling bear called Martin the Bear! He has been flying a lot lately, in style (cockpit, first class and business class) while I am stuck in economy haha, but I never had the chance to introduce him to the great crew of KLM. Hopefully soon tho!

        Check him out at instagram: martin.thebear

        Hope to see you guys soon!

        • Ingmar

          GREAT:-))))))
          When, oh when can we expect Martin on board KLM?!?! I will do my best to let his royal presence not just pass unnoticed!!
          Martin rocks!!:-))))

          • Ilana

            Hopefully soon! He is looking forward to fly with our national airline! He would love to have a photo shoot onboard and give KLM some extra attention, I’m sure his followers would love it as well! He will be very pleased if he gets noticed. After all, he is a fancy bear that LOVES attention!

          • Ilana

            Hi Ingmar! it is been a while.. BUT Martin will have his very first flight with KLM soon (january)! We will be flying to the US! Martin would like to make this trip very special. I would like to ask you a question personally. Could you send me a message @ my email? (since i have to write it down here anyways ;) )
            Hope to hear from you! :D

  18. Jeroenw

    Always enjoy the KLM blog.

    Cabin crew is where KLM makes the difference. Unlike other airlines such as Air France bad experiences onboard KLM flights are rare.

    It’s the policies about luggage and paying extra for a good seat that make me wonder about my choice in airlines sometimes, not the cabin crews.

    • Ingmar

      Dear Jeroen,
      Thanks for your compliment. Sad to hear you are not satisfied with some of our policies. Would you consider them more troubling then other airlines? What can we learn from those airlines, accoording to you, to improve our service?
      Greets, ingmar

  19. Ed Seaver

    Professional and sharp!

  20. Maggy Baas

    My former Dutch Language Coach is now my friend and she works now with KLM as flight attendant. I enjoyed reading this blog since I always travel with KLM naar de Filipijne, my country. I am married to a loving and sweet Dutchman. Truly, your service in KLM is highly commendable.

    • Ingmar

      Kumusta Maggy!!
      Salamat for your nice words.
      How i know Tagalog? Wel, my fiancee is from Manila! I love the city and its people, visiting it now very frequently for over 5 years.
      Where are you from and do you live in the Netherlands already?

      Ingat
      Ingmar

  21. Marcelo A. Costa

    Adorei saber um pouco mais dos preparativos que antecedem os voos. Parabéns !
    Ótima e enriquecedora leitura para os amantes da aviação, como eu.
    Deus os abençoe.

  22. Raul (@ilivetotravel)

    I love flying KLM when I leave the U.S. The professionalism and camaraderie the ceew exhibits inspires confidence in me as a passanger plus a flight environment where the passenger does not feel like a necessary evil or a nuisance. Thanks for this post giving insights on the behind the scenes – and keep up the good work! Here’s to hoping I get to travel with you again soon!

    • Ingmar

      Raul, you could not describe it better then you did, especially how we feel in general about passengers. Very to the point. I always keep in mind that i work with ‘people’ and i never forget that behind every person there is a story. And that is not always a fun story, including a holiday….
      In my next blog i will write about life on board a bit
      Greets ingmar

  23. Jenny Spek

    Always the best service with KLM!

    • Ingmar

      Thank you Jenny! See you soon on board again!

  24. Rita Baars

    My dream is to fly as a flight attendant. And do what the work that I do all my life as a catering assistant on the ground. to give the service in the air..

    Yours sincerely
    Rita

  25. Tereza Canejo

    I love KLM and the way you care about us. It is important to me to see the company also cares about Its own team, otherwise it wouldnt make sense..
    I hope to have the change at least once to fly with KLM in a historical moment for the company
    Kind Regards

    • Ingmar

      I could make the cheap joke that everytime that I step on board is a historical moment for my company (:-)) but better is it to say that our company’s birthyear is 1919. Which means that jn 2019 we will be celebrating our 100th birthday!!
      I would say: be there and welcome on board!

  26. c campbell

    I wish that we could fly every where with KLM service is wonderful friendly and at the end of the journey you feel relaxed. Thank you

    • Ingmar

      Thanks! ‘Relax’ is the word that comes to my mind first, when i enter the plane. In my next blog you will read how i try to accomplish that important aspect of the service. Good to hear you feel like that after flying with us!

  27. James McGowan

    Simpley The Best

    • Ingmar

      Thanks James! We keep moving and improving!

  28. Mika van der Leden

    Wat leuk om de behind the scène story te weten! Ik zou jullie binnenkort met de andere ogen kijken in mijn volgende flight naar Tokyo! Ik vind jullie altijd aardig en behulpzaam on board. Top.

    • Ingmar

      Bedankt Mika van der Leden!
      Leuk km misschien te weten,cvoor u gaat, is dat onze Tokyo vluchten – net als een aantal andere Aziatische bestemmingen – net even anders zijn op het vlak van de briefing. Want op de vlucht naar Tokyo, zoals u zult zien, bestaat de crew ook uit z.g. ‘Local Cabin Attendants’, Japanse collega’s. Zij zorgen ervoor dat onze briefings in het engels worden gehouden.
      Verder lichten zij ons bij die gelegenheid in over culturele aspecten van onze Japanse klanten en geven informatie over de Japanse dranken, gerechten en snacks die aan boord zijn.

      Ik heb een grote voorliefde voor Japan en vind mede om bovenstaande reden, deze vluchten altijd erg leuk!
      Veel plezier in Tokyo!

  29. Kees van Os

    Leuk verhaal! Er is eigenlijk niet veel veranderd sinds 1970 (Hofmeester, pers. nr: 68417). Zelfde ritueel op toen Schiphol-Oost.

  30. Sybil watt

    I love traveling with K.L M looking forward to my flight from Edinburgh to Qatar in February you look after your passengers so well first class service all the time your crew are always so helpful thank you K L M.

    • Ingmar beldman

      Thank you!
      Have a safe journey with us!
      Gr ingmar

  31. Ingmar

    Haha…..leuk dat u mijn blogserie volgt!
    Wacht maar tot we aan boord gaan, dan zult u zien dat er veel veranderd is:-))))
    Groet,
    Ingmar

  32. Veronica m kahuni

    Good information i love klm my flight my choice my comfort

    • Ingmar beldman

      Thanks veronica!
      Sums it up pretty well:-))

  33. Athena

    I hope to have the change at least once to fly with KLM in a historical moment for the company.

    http://www.missydress.com.br

  34. Mary Ostermeier

    thanks for the inside in your professional life. It is very interesting to see the other side of the flights. We fly Vancouver-Amsterdam about every other year to see the family in Nederland. Always with KLM. Excellent service, competitive prices and direct flights. Keep up the good work.

  35. Wladimir Klein

    Totally loved this article! I was always wondering what the topic of your conversations would be during that “magic moment”. My dream job would be being a pilot. But I always admire the cabin crew, especially KLM’s. You’re all so elegant and that beautiful blue uniform though…… I wish I would be able to join the briefing and that magic moment just once in my life. Thanks for sharing, Ingmar.

  36. Melanie

    I really enjoyed the article! SO inspiring.
    I have a question though. I’m a 21 year old South African with a European passport. I speak English, German and Afrikaans (very similar to Dutch). I understand everything on the website written in Dutch, but cannot really speak the language.
    I’ve been an Au pair in Germany for one year, and have one year of hospitality skills. I only have a Highschool Certificate, and no higher degree. Would I be able to apply for a selection, or is it not worth it?
    Would be such a great help!
    Thank you.

  37. Miss Ama Safowah Sarkwah

    Please I want to join your cabin crew am 22years speak and read good English I would be willing to fly to African countries and other countries to serve the passengers with good customer care services

  38. johan

    werkt er een lorena als stewardess bij klm.

  39. Nur Atiqah

    hello,im atiqah from malaysia,just want to ask either still available job as cabin crew at KLM?really want be a part of your company.please inform me if still available.

  40. Heleen Sluimer

    Hoi Ingmar,

    Ik lees met dit alles met veel plezier en interesse. Ik heb altijd ook een droom gehad om te werken bij de KLM, die droom kwam uit in 2002. Ik werd grondstewardess met veel enthousiasme gewerkt maar het vliegen bleef kriebelen. Helaas kwam er in 2004 door bedrijfseconomische redenen een einde aan mijn werk. Nu zag ik dat er mensen gevraagd werden dus ik waag het er op. Allicht (en hopelijk voor mij) zitten we dan samen bij een briefing!!!

  41. Akshay

    Please give me a cabin crew job plz i beg u plz.

  42. Adinda dewi asmara

    How to join klm cabin crew???

    Please lead me to all requirements i must fill in

  43. Dennis A. Kwabeng

    I really like to join KLM cabin crew team. kindly tell me where to forward my cv to . king regard .

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