KLM 747 Business Class Amsterdam To Chicago

Filed Under: KLM, Other Airlines

Note: In light of Thursday’s events, all of this doesn’t really matter. That being said, I wrote the post on Thursday while still on the plane, so will publish it as is. Again, my thoughts with the families and friends of those on MH17….

Hello from Chicago! on Wednesday I shared my conundrum of whether (and how) to book KLM business class from Amsterdam to Chicago. I ended up redeeming 62,500 Alaska Mileage Plan miles for the one-way ticket. Yes, it hurt to think how many bottles of Krug and tins of caviar I was giving up by redeeming Mileage Plan miles that way, but it was well worth it to be able to review a new product.


While I’ll have a full trip report soon, I figured I’d share my initial thoughts of the experience:

KLM 747 Combi

KLM new business class seat

My flight was operated by one of KLM’s “Combi” 747s, whereby the back third of the plane is a cargo hold. This plane featured the new business class product, which I was excited to try.

KLM 747 upper deck business class

I assigned myself seat 73J, and the window seat next to me stayed open. KLM’s hard product is basically the same as Air China’s new 777 product, and the product United has on their ex-Continental planes.

KLM new business class

It’s basically a fully flat product with seats angled slightly away from the aisle. The seats do have “foot cubbies,” and the ones at the window are more spacious. That’s because they’re only “enclosed” on one side, so you have some extra room for your feet by the window.

KLM new business class

This isn’t the best hard product in the world – I still prefer reverse herringbone and Solstys style staggered seats – but it’s really solid, especially with an empty seat next to me.

KLM new business class

I absolutely love being on the upper deck, so that’s a big plus. KLM’s business class cabin on the 747s is quite small, as there’s just business class on the upper deck and in the nose, and between the two I’ll choose the upper deck every time.

So it’s not the best hard product in the world, but it’s very solid, in my opinion.

KLM business class food

I was really impressed – KLM’s food has both style and substance. The meal was top notch quality and I loved the way it was presented.

To start was smoked salmon tartare and a Thai papaya salad. The presentation was just gorgeous, and I loved the small touches, like that they sprinkled cashews on the salad at your seat.

KLM business class appetizer and salad

Each tray had a “box,” which contained  an hourglass salt and pepper shaker.

KLM business class hourglass salt & pepper shaker

For the main course I selected the braised beef, which was perfect.

KLM business class main course

Then for dessert I had some cheese (that could have been spruced up a bit) and a chocolate raspberry tart.

KLM business class dessert

Even the pre-arrival meal was great, which consisted of an Indian vegetarian pie and a chocolate pecan cake with whipped cream (whipped at your seat).

KLM business class pre-arrival meal

So in my opinion the presentation was really unique, and the food quality was top notch.

KLM business class service

The crew was just an absolute delight, from the senior purser to the two flight attendants working the upper deck. They were extremely friendly, engaging, and efficient. If only service in business class were always this good.

KLM business class amenities

There was a problem with the entertainment system, whereby it had to be reset four times, which lasted the first two hours of the flight. My system was working just fine, but it seems it wasn’t working at other seats. I couldn’t care less, since I had shows loaded on my iPad anyway.

The senior purser came around and was extremely apologetic, and explained that the Chicago ground crew would be handing out compensation on arrival. I received a $100 Delta voucher.

The amenity kit was simple but functional.

KLM business class amenity kit

And hands down the coolest thing about KLM business class are the porcelain houses they give you before landing. They have over 90 different types of houses, so if you’re a frequent KLM flyer you can eventually collect them all. They’re filled with gin, though I’ll keep them more as a collectors item.

KLM business class house collection

KLM business class bottom line

All things considered, I was really impressed. The seat was above average, and the food, service, and amenities were top notch, in my opinion. Big kudos to KLM, I was never expecting them to have so much style based on their painfully blue uniforms.

I’ll have a full trip report next week, once I finish the current US Airways 90K trip report.

Have you flown KLM business class? If so, what was your experience?

  1. Lucky keep the trip reports coming. We all need to escape sometimes in light of what’s happened.

  2. Lucky,

    Flown them several times. How was the dinner service regarding time for you? I have found it to be painfully slow in the past. Literally 2+ hours which is not a big deal on the way back but is awful when you are on the red eye from west to east.

  3. @M

    All B747’s have the full flat bed. They will shortly start with the B777, A330 thereafter.

  4. Hi Ben,

    Greetings from Chicago also!! I love KLM and everything about them. They know how to nail everything perfectly! Glad to see that you had an awesome flight. Hopefully you will fly them again soon!


  5. Which tool should I use to search for KLM award flight availability? Expertflyer shows the following classes but it’s not clear how many miles required for each class.

    Business – Flex Award for Elites C 9
    Economy – Classic Europe Award T 9
    Economy – Flex Award B 9

  6. Lucky, did you notice that the cutlery is the same as at the Andaz AMS as both cutlery and flatware are designed by Marcel Wanders 😉

  7. I recently flew IAH to AMS and found the seats a bit too narrow, though not quite as bad as the cramped 2-4-2 configuration on United.

  8. > How to check if a KLM flight has new or old business class?

    All B747’s have been converted to the new business class. The 777’s are up next but will only start in september. For updates check flyertalk: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/klm-flying-dutchman/1595155-b772-refit-new-wbc.html

    > Which tool should I use to search for KLM award flight availability?
    It depends which miles youre planning to use. Anything other than flying blue members will not be able to use any of the “elite” or flex space, so youre stuck to classic and perhaps promo. There should be a classic for each type: Classic Europe Y, C, and long-haul Y, C.

  9. Hello Ben,
    Can you help me with one info..
    I will fly in First Class with Qatar Airways Paris-Doha.
    I observed in Flightradar24 that on some days the Airbus A346 was replaced by B777 or A330 where only have Business Class available. In this case, if it occurs to me, what do I do? I redeemed miles through Qatar partner.
    Have something similar happened to you? A cabin downgrade?
    Tks man!
    Fly safe!

  10. To get two award seats from LHR to ATL in February we went LHR-AMS-ATL. The long leg was the ubiquitous B777 with the old business seating but even with the late afternoon departure I wasn’t going to sleep so the seats were fine, two window/aisle seats, not the dreaded three across in the center.

    The food was better than any transatlantic meal I can recall, the booze include Highland Park Scotch (terrific), the little ceramic houses were neat. But, the cabin temp was WAY too hot. The guy in front of me took off his flannel shirt and spent the trip in his t-shirt.

  11. Lucky, you might want to rethink your preference for the upper deck on KLM’s 747 fleet. There are two solo seats in the nose (1A and 4A) that offer travelers a 0% chance of having a seat mate and, in effect, offering nearly the same level of privacy and aisle access that you get on the reverse herringbone style J class seat. I sat in 4A on a recent AMS-JFK flight and it was a great seat.

  12. I figured if you called they would set one up after you throw BA’s stats around……the only ones I have seen are for either EU or Canadian citizens………

  13. Lucky, did you already notice that FB-miles can now be used on both Transavia.com France & Netherlands? I saw prices of up to 6250 miles one way, starting at 5000 one way. Seems interesting!

  14. Lucky, can you comment on the retractable armrests. I believe they drop down into the seat, right? It seems on the aisle seat that wouldn’t be very useful as you might kinda flop off the seat. But for the window seat, does it actually result in more usable sleep surface? I’m flying this seat on CA in December.

  15. @ turgutbey — Yep, in theory it does. So I do generally prefer the window seats on the upper deck, I think.

  16. I flew this last week from JFK to AMS and it was amazing. I was in seat 4h, which was an isolated seat in the middle with aisles on both sides – almost like being in F. I snagged this seat with a paid ticket plus 20k delta miles. We were boarding at JFK when someone came on saying, “we have one business class seat left if someone wants to upgrade with miles.” I have been trying to dump my delta miles, so for 20k and $0, I thought it was a great deal. Do you guys agree it was a good deal? Is this common?

  17. Lucky when are you posting the trip report on this flight? It has been a long time since you uploaded this post saying you would upload a trip report soon…
    Thank you

  18. Lucky, I think you put too many zeros at the top. Did you mean 62,500 instead of 62,5000?

    Also, could you please follow my aviation account on Instagram, @theaviationguru? Thanks!!

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