KLM Business Class Review (Boeing 777, 787-9, and 787-10) “This is not Emirates”

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I recently had the pleasure of flying KLM business class on three long haul flights: Vancouver to Amsterdam aboard a Boeing 777; Kuala Lumpur to Amsterdam aboard a Boeing 787-9; and Amsterdam to Chicago aboard a Boeing 787-10. For details about how I booked these flights with airline miles, see this post.

KLM gives each business class passenger a Delft Blue house filled with Dutch gin as a gift. Unfortunately one of the three Delft Houses (the one shown on the left) was damaged in transit. You can read more about these houses here.

KLM Business Class Bottom Line Review

Overall, I enjoyed all three flights. KLM doesn’t offer anywhere near the best business class in the sky, but I found the seats comfortable, the service was good, the food was edible, and the in-flight entertainment was decent.

Seats

On all three flights, seats were in a reverse herringbone configuration with direct aisle access for every seat. In every case I found the seats to be very comfortable with plenty of legroom and elbowroom. Near seat storage was minimal, but I loved how it was possible to shove my backpack under the footrest so that I always had it nearby to grab items as needed (when I laid the seat completely flat, I moved the backpack out next to my seat for easy access).

Service

Service was uniformly very good across all three flights. No, it was nowhere near the level I experienced recently flying Qatar business class, but KLM checked all the necessary boxes: flight attendants were friendly, they brought food out quickly, they cleared dishes and picked up trash quickly, etc.

One funny moment came on the nearly 13 hours long flight from Kuala Lumpur to Amsterdam. Many airlines, including AA, Delta, and United, offer mattress pads in business class on long distance flights. In some cases, though, you need to ask for them. So, I asked a flight attendant if KLM had them. She replied “No, this isn’t Emirates.” Then as she was walking away she went on to mutter to herself “Which airline is it again that does that…? Is it Emirates…?” I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it’s nearly everyone else these days.

Food

None of the food was great, but none of it was particularly bad either. It was all good enough.

777 Vancouver to Amsterdam

This flight stood out from the others mainly because it was the only one with a privacy door and a wireless charging pad. In only took a few photos on this flight because I fell deep asleep right after dinner and didn’t wake up until they announced the descent into Amsterdam. This was the best sleep I’ve ever had on a flight, bar none.

Image courtesy of KLM. I was too busy sleeping to take photos of the seat or cabin!

I enjoyed the “Very High Fashioned” drink I ordered.

787-9 Kuala Lumpur to Amsterdam

At nearly 13 hours, this was the longest of my three KLM flights (the others were around 9 hours). On this flight, the only thing I didn’t like was that there was a gap between the side table and the wall of the plane. I was constantly wary about setting down anything valuable there lest it fall into the void.

With this top down shot, you can see the gap between the side table and the wall of the plane.

I really liked how the tray table worked on this flight. It has a unique and very easy to manipulate pivoting design.

787-10 Amsterdam to Chicago

This was my one daytime flight and so I didn’t sleep as much on this one. Like the other flights, I found it comfortable with decent service and adequate food. Fortunately, this one didn’t have the dreaded gap of doom between the side table and the wall as was found on the 787-9.

My window seat
Center seat. I took this photo to show that there is a privacy divider that can be opened if traveling with someone else.

KLM Crown Lounge 52 Amsterdam

KLM’s international lounge in Amsterdam must be one of the most beautifully designed lounges in the world. The entire thing is like a work of art. Unfortunately, it can get very, very crowded. And the food isn’t great. But they do have a dedicated barista, so that makes up for everything. If you want to get away from the crowds, you can optionally go upstairs to their blue bar or restaurant where you’ll have to pay for food and drink.

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Jeigh

While the sidewall gap is larger on the 777 than the 787, both versions actually have a seal just a few inches below what you can see in the photo to prevent items from falling into the void

NK3

I know many of the US based & Asian carriers offer mattress pads, but do many of the European ones do that? I haven’t received them on Air France, Iberia, etc. I think Virgin Atlantic had (a very thin) one. Btw, I think AA might be removing theirs. In the updated bedding announcement in April, the mattress pad and pajamas were only mentioned for Flagship First, not for the very long business routes (like Australia) where they are currently offered.

LarryInNYC

Not to mention — decent redemptions were available at the last minute for every flight you took that passed close to Amsterdam.

Lantean

It all looks like premium economy with a bigger seat.

Christian

I like your assessment of the lounge, kind of like saying the food is bad and the portions are so small.

dee

We have never had enough time between flights to get to that lounge in AMS!

Grant

I have an upcoming trip through AMS on KLM and only have about a 90 minute connection, so probably won’t have any time to visit the lounge on this trip. Maybe next time!

DT123

I recently flew KLM from NBO-AMS-LIN. I agree with Greg, everything was OK. Not really memorable. I had booked this using 58.5k Virgin Atlantic miles which was transferred in during a bonus which is pretty good. What was not good was the 2x2x2 business class with no direct aisle access. Making things worse was choosing a seat cost extra and the carrie impose surcharge.

Does anyone know if the seat charge is the norm? What if I used Air France/KLM miles?

Pierre

yes, paying to choose seats before check-in is standard for Flying Blue. Free once check-in starts

Megan

There is a great line in Ted Lasso, season 2. “He’s not being rude, he’s just being Dutch”

Last edited 26 days ago by Megan
FNT Delta Diamond

KLM business-class and lounge products are probably the worst of the major European airlines. It’s actually hard to believe that Air France and KLM are under the same company because Air France is significantly better.

While KLM does some things right (like operations, English fluency, and somewhat more streamlined with Delta than Air France), the in-flight food is mediocre, the in-flight wine is bad, the food in the lounges is worse than public school and hospital cafeteria food, and the wine in the lounges is awful.

Moreover, connecting in Amsterdam has been a disaster since the pandemic. Before the pandemic, a quick connection of 1 hour or 1 1/2 hours was no big deal. Now, you need at least 2 hours to make a connection; maybe three hours in mid-morning with all the arriving U.S. flights.

tda1986

What? It took my family 45 minutes to do a Schengen to non-Schengen transfer at AMS earlier this month. Would’ve been faster, but families with minor children can’t use the automated passport control.