Recently I wanted to take a trip to Budapest but was outraged that it was going to cost about €400 to fly from Schiphol with KLM. I checked Eindhoven Airport and there the prices were much better and I could buy a round trip for around €60. But still, Eindhoven Airport is not exactly close and by the time you have to travel there, pay for public transport or gas and parking, it’s not really worth it. Not to mention the fact that once you get “home” from your trip, you still have quite a journey to get back to Haarlem.. and then I thought… hey wait a minute… Rotterdam has an airport, I wonder if they fly to Budapest.
Cost Savings and Getting there
The answer was yes(!) and for much cheaper than KLM. From Rotterdam The Hague Airport, I was able to buy a return ticket on transavia.com for €97! That’s a quarter of the KLM price. Okay, that’s great but, how easy is it to get to this airport anyway? Turns out really easy. Take the train to Rotterdam Centraal and transfer to the RET bus 33. The ride takes a little over an hour and costs €8.69 if you have an NS discount card (€13.29 if not). There are 2 direct trains per hour from Haarlem to Rotterdam Centraal and bus 33 comes every 10 minutes during peek times and every 12 during non-peek times.
Destinations and Airlines
Rotterdam The Hague Airport offers destinations all over Europe to places like Budapest, Rome, London, The Canary Islands, Nice, Prague and many others. While the main carrier is transavia.com, there are also some full service carriers here as well such as British Airways and Turkish Airlines. For a full listing of all destinations and airlines, check out the airport’s website.
Upon arriving at the airport, the bus drops you off right at the terminal. Walk in, print your boarding card at a kiosk if needed and proceed to security. One thing I hardly ever do is check bags, for those of you that do, it looked like there was a relatively long line to do so.
At security, I was the only person in line and walked right up and put my bag on the belt and walked through the metal detector. I then picked up my bag and wow! I was already at the gates. There were eight in total numbered 1-8, no letters necessary. There is a duty free shop, a restaurant, coffee and magazine store, as well as a rooftop terrace to watch the planes come and go. There were plenty of seats for everyone including table and chairs, normal airport style waiting chairs and comfy coffee shop type chairs upstairs. It was also quite easy to find a plug to charge my iPad and the no fuss free WiFi was easy to use and decently fast.
You can literally be anywhere in the airport up until the time they call your plane, it is that small. When your plane is called, everyone lines up, walks into the plane and that’s it. The plane door closes, taxis to the runway right next to the terminal and takes off. There is not waiting for other planes or taxing for 20 minutes to the polderbaan that almost always happens to me at Schiphol.
When I returned to the airport, even though the plane was parked about 50 meters from the terminal, we all had to go into a bus to be bussed from the plane to the terminal! This took an extra 20 minutes! While this does not happen to everyone, I saw some planes park just a bit closer, be prepared that it might. Once in the terminal, I literally walked through the building in under one minute and was on the bus back to Rotterdam Centraal in less than five.
Give this airport a shot! I know for sure that I am always going to check this airport along with Schiphol for my future flights. While flying from Schiphol will still be my number one choice since it is closer, Rotterdam The Hague Airport will for sure be my number two. For me it was a no brainer to save €300 by flying from Rotterdam instead of Amsterdam and I am glad that I gave it a try.