Pleasure flights

KLM started organising excursions by plane soon after it had been founded. Flights left from Schiphol and Waalhaven airports, offering many people their first bird's-eye view of Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

The number of aviation enthusiasts was growing steadily and this had two consequences: people became more familiar with aeroplanes, which were still a novel phenomenon at the time, and the 'pleasure flights' became an important source of income for the company.

The excursions were usually organised on Sundays and public holidays, when there was a lull in business traffic. Having completed a round trip, passengers received a 'flight certificate' to show off to family and friends.

During the mid 1920s the KLM also started organising excursions at smaller airfields, in Eelde, Eindhoven, Gilze-Rijen, Twente and Heemstede:

'The round trips, including those which depart from the flower-exhibition in Heemstede, are developing favourably. Almost without exception, we draw more than 100 aviation enthusiasts on any Sunday.

There seems to be a general tendency amongst the public to familiarise themselves with air transport. The propaganda we have made for flights to the East Indies will undoubtedly have played some part in this.'

Unfortunaltely, when smaller aircraft were used many enthusiasts went home disappointed: 'On each occasion only 4 or 5 people take to the air, which means that other enthusiasts often have to wait a long time.

Consequently, on more than one occasion we were unable to take everyone up, and many people, who had grown tired of waiting, left the airfield."

Very early in the morning of september 12 1929, KLM opened the 14 day trialservice to Batavia. Second from the left Iwan Smirnoff, most right Albert Plesman1929, refeulling in the early days, all by handFokker FVIIb-3M

1929, Anthony Fokker arrives at Schiphol airport accompanied by his wife


New series of tests

The success of the 1928 trial flights encouraged KLM to commence regular but experimental scheduled services every fortnight between The Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies.

The first flight left on September 12th, 1929. A lot of people came to Schiphol this early morning to say goodbye to the crew, Smirnoff, Beekman and flight engineer Veenendaal.

The journey took 12 days and was completed without any major problems.

The last of this series of testflights started december 12th 1929 with the PH-AEO, piloted by Tepas and Pellens.


Very early in the morning of september 12 1929, KLM opened the 14 day trialservice to Batavia

Letter send in 1929 by airmail to the Dutch East Indies

Copyright ©   Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid

With this flight pioneering of the India service was closed: it was now sure that regular services could start in 1930!


This cover pictured a route map, "Luchtroute Amsterdam - London", showing a very detailed flying route down the coast and across the Channel to London.

The inside of the cover shows the overall route as seen below. The route map was sponsored by Shell as is obvious.

As the passenger flew from Shiphol, he could follow the progress of the airplane in detail along the coast and then from Calais across the "Kanaal" to Folkestone , across Kent to Croydon Airfield.

The map folds out to 60 inches. The very bottom of the map is also pictured showing the area around Croydon; note the airfields which are destined to become famous ten years later, Biggin Hill and Kenley.

The airfields are shown along the route in solid red. Good landing terrain spots are shown in lined squares; emergency landing areas which fit the "precautions" mentioned above.


Routemap for KLM passengers for te service to LondonRoutemap for KLM passengers for te service to London

Croydon was the London airport in 1929 and it was London's first airport. Passengers checked in under an impressive glass dome in the art deco style departure hall.

In 1929, KLM was flying the twin-engine Fokker F.VIII and the three-engine Fokker F.VIIb/3m equipped with Wright Whirlwind J-5 engined Fokkers F.VII were also used on this service.

General KLM hints

As you boarded the Fokker at Shiphol, each passenger was given an information leaflet.

This hand-out is covers the use of lifebelts, how to operate the "air tube" ventilation, emergency exits, communication with the pilot ("...through the door behind the pilot seat."), and general notes.

Here are some of the "General Notes":

"Don't be concerned if the machine on starting taxies slowly towards a corner of the aerodrome. The machine always starts and lands against the wind.

"After running about 120 yards the machine almost imperceptibly rises from the ground.

"The so-called 'bumping' movement sometimes experienced is occasioned by the irregular temperatures of the air or strong winds, and it is in no way dangerous. It corresponds to the motion of a ship at sea.


General information leaflet 1929

The machines are so stable that passengers can have every confidence and with such get quickly accustomed to the motion. It may interest passengers to know that the machines of the K.L.M. have proved their air worthiness and stability by flights across the Channel when the regular cross Channel steamers have been prevented from sailing owing to stormy weather.

"When flying in a curve machines heel slightly to one side but passengers remain sitting upright in their seats.

"There is no discomfort in looking downwards while flying; dizziness is unknown in aeroplanes as there is no connection with the earth.

"Do not throw these receptacles out of the machine...

KLM airguide

This 1929 airguide was divided into tabbed sections, covering not only the schedules and fares, but also sections on the aircraft, baggage, route maps (including one to India and Batavia) with photos and general passenger information.

It had nicely drawn pen-and-ink sketches head several of the sections; all of the booklet was in Dutch with the exception of some English in advertisements.


KLM Airguide

KLM airguide with Fokker advertising, 1929