Review: KLM Business Class 787 Amsterdam To New York

Filed Under: Airline Reviews, KLM

KLM 641
Amsterdam (AMS) – New York (JFK)
Saturday, February 2
Depart: 1:25PM
Arrive: 3:45PM
Duration: 8hr20min
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9
Seat: 7K (Business Class)

We boarded through the second set of doors and turned left into the business class cabin. KLM’s business class cabin takes up the entire space between the first and second set of doors on the 787-9, and consists of a total of 30 seats.

KLM 787 business class cabin

KLM has reverse herringbone seats on these planes, so there are four seats in each row — one along each side of the fuselage, and then two in the middle.

KLM 787 business class seats

KLM 787 business class seats

I had assigned myself seat 7K, the window seat on the right side in the second to last row. Ford was seated in front of me, in 6K.

KLM business class seats 787

I quite like KLM’s finishes, as the blue makes the cabin pretty distinctive.

KLM business class seats 787

As is the standard with these reverse herringbone seats, the TV flips out from the seat in front.

KLM business class seats 787

The footwell was a decent size. In general it’s a little less spacious on the 787 than on the 777 with these types of seats, since the cabin isn’t quite as wide, and therefore the seats aren’t as angled.

KLM business class seat footwell 787

To the side of my seat was a storage compartment that also had a mirror, as well as the entertainment controller, reading light, and headphone jack.

KLM business class seat storage 787

The tray table also extended from the right side of the seat, and could be folded over in half.

KLM business class seat tray table 787

The seat controls were to the right of the seat, and were really stupidly placed — they were right where you might rest your arm, so I must have accidentally changed the seat position at least a dozen times during the flight.

KLM business class seat controls 787

Then the USB and 110v outlets were located underneath the seat and to the right.

KLM business class seat outlets 787

On the opposite side of the aisle was an armrest that could be raised or lowered, depending on whether you prefer the support for your arm, or prefer a wider sleeping surface.

KLM business class seat armrest 787

KLM has air nozzles in the overhead console on the 787, which is something I value immensely, given how many airlines keep their cabins warm.

Waiting at my seat upon boarding were a decent pillow and blanket — KLM’s bedding is neither bad nor great.

KLM business class pillow & blanket

There was also a solid pair of noise canceling headphones.

KLM business class headphones

Every seat was taken in business class, so the crew was busy during boarding (and the entire flight, for that matter). About five minutes after boarding amenity kits were distributed. KLM has two styles of amenity kits.

KLM business class amenity kit

Since Ford got one style, I asked if I could have the other style. The flight attendant responded that they usually run out of the female kits, but she’d bring me one if she had enough.

I found this odd, because on the previous flight the flight attendant said I could pick whichever one I wanted.

She returned a few minutes later with a “female” kit for me. I was curious to compare the contents, since I didn’t think there were any differences. And as it turned out, there was no difference, just the color of the socks.

KLM business class amenity kit contents

KLM business class amenity kit contents

About five minutes after that, pre-departure drinks were served, with the choice of water, orange juice, champagne, or beer. I had a glass of champagne, which was Nicolas Feuillatte.

KLM business class pre-departure champagne

While all Dreamliners have mood lighting, KLM’s color choices were especially cool, in my opinion.

KLM 787 mood lighting

At 1:20PM the captain announced that they were just loading the last cargo, and that we should be departing shortly for our 7hr25min flight to New York. He explained that we’d be flying northwest towards Scotland, and that some turbulence was expected during the flight.

We pushed back at 1:35PM, at which point the safety video was screened, and five minutes later we started our taxi.

Pushing back Amsterdam Schipol Airport

Schipol Airport is huge, and we had quite a long taxi to the runway. We ended up taking off from runway 36L at 2PM.

Taxiing Amsterdam Schipol Airport

Taking off from Amsterdam

View after takeoff from Amsterdam

Our climb out was smooth, and the seatbelt sign was turned off just five minutes after takeoff.

KLM 787 entertainment selection

As we climbed out I played around with the entertainment system, which was every bit as good as on the previous flight. The system had a great selection, was extremely responsive, and had no ads.

KLM 787 entertainment selection

KLM 787 entertainment selection

KLM 787 entertainment selection

I also loved how customizable the moving map feature is, as you have so many settings you can choose from.

Moving map enroute to New York

Moving map enroute to New York

I ended up watching an episode of “Undercover Boss.”

KLM entertainment selection

KLM’s 787s also have Panasonic wifi, with the following pricing:

  • 5EUR for 20MB
  • 10EUR for 50MB
  • 30EUR for 200MB

It’s unfortunate that they charge based on data usage, as that’s some steep pricing. The good news is that KLM is changing up their wifi offering, and soon will be charging based on time rather than data used. So soon 30EUR will get you a wifi pass with no data caps, which is awesome.

KLM wifi pricing 787

KLM wifi pricing 787

Service began 20 minutes after takeoff, as the purser passed through the cabin to distribute warm towels. She took a moment to talk with each passenger, which was a trend with the service on this flight. Every flight attendant had a conversation with just about every passenger every time they did anything.

On one hand that’s awesome because it allows the crew to develop a relationship with passengers. On the other hand, it meant service took forever.

KLM business class warm towel

Flight attendants distributed the menu and wine list shortly after distributing warm towels.

KLM business class menu

Usually airlines just reuse the same menus for the entire month for a given route (or region), though it’s cute that KLM customizes the menus, and lists the route, flight number, and date on them.

KLM business class menu

The menu read as follows:

The drink list read as follows:

We were off to a good start, as the drink cart started to be rolled down the aisle just 25 minutes after takeoff , which is faster than usual. As mentioned above, the crew really took their time though, and it was 50 minutes after takeoff before they reached my seat.

To drink I ordered KLM’s signature cocktail, The Flying Dutchman. It had gin, blueberry liqueur, fresh lemon juice, and sugar syrup, and was way too sweet for my liking. With drinks I was also offered mixed nuts and/or cheese. I loved the presentation.

KLM business class lunch — drinks and snacks

As my drink was served, the flight attendant also took my meal order using an iPad, and asked “are there any special requests we need to know about?” I don’t think I’ve ever been asked such an open-ended question on a plane…

While I had selected fish for my main course, about 80 minutes after takeoff the flight attendant came by my seat and explained they were short on fish, and asked if I wouldn’t mind changing. She didn’t force it and made it clear I didn’t have to switch, but also explained “we have to work with what we have in the air.” So I volunteered to switch.

90 minutes after takeoff tablecloths were distributed, along with another round of drinks. This time I had champagne and still water.

KLM business class lunch — table setting

Then about two hours after takeoff the first course was served. There was the choice of either smoked trout or a sweet potato curry soup, and both were served with a simple salad. The soup was excellent.

KLM business class lunch — soup & salad

At this point we had about 5hr20min remaining to New York…

Moving map enroute to New York

Then it once again took quite a while until the main was served. Mains were brought out about 2hr30min after takeoff.

Since they were out of the fish, I selected the roasted chicken thigh Picadillo with avocado compote, mashed corn, and bell pepper. Personally I didn’t like the dish at all — it just tasted so saucy and oily, and that’s just not my preference.

KLM business class lunch — main course

Ford ordered the braised veal in mustard jus with sautéed potatoes, carrots, and pickled onions, which he said was okay.

KLM business class lunch — main course

Just over three hours after takeoff the crew came through the cabin with dessert. I ordered a coffee, as well as the calamansi citrus mousse with creme anglaise. The dessert was pretty good.

KLM business class lunch — dessert

Over 3hr20min after takeoff trays were cleared, and then several minutes after that the crew brought around bottled water and a cute box with chocolates that looked like Dutch houses.

KLM business class lunch — chocolates

By the time the meal was done we were just about at the halfway point of our flight, and had just over four hours remaining.

Moving map enroute to New York

The food was not great, in my opinion, while the service was incredibly friendly and personalized, to a fault. I can appreciate the crew putting so much effort into connecting with passengers, but a meal service shouldn’t take this long.

At the conclusion of the meal I checked out the lavatories. There are two at the front of the cabin, and they’re pretty typical for 787s, except for the cute Dutch house wallpaper they have.

KLM 787 lavatory

KLM 787 lavatory

Once back at my seat I reclined my seat and tried to get some rest. I found the bed to be quite comfortable.

KLM 787 business class bed

KLM 787 business class bed

I slept until about 1hr45min before landing, at which point the cabin lights were turned on for the pre-landing meal… just over two hours after the previous meal concluded!

Moving map enroute to New York

The pre-landing menu read as follows:

Neither option sounded great, though I selected the pizza with black pepper oil. For an airplane pizza it actually wasn’t too bad, even though it was definitely on the dry side. This was served with a side salad.

KLM business class pre-landing snack

Next up the crew brought out warm chocolate lava cake, which was ridiculously delicious, and the best thing I had on the flight. Yeah, just what I need, pizza and chocolate lava cake two hours after my previous meal…

KLM business class pre-landing snack

Then about 45 minutes before landing the crew distributed Dutch houses.

KLM business class Dutch houses

I made sure we selected two different ones than what we had on the previous flight.

KLM business class Dutch houses

As we approached New York I watched “The Hotel Inspector,” which I hadn’t seen before, but which I found oddly entertaining.

KLM entertainment selection

The views on approach to New York were beautiful. At 3PM New York time the captain announced that we’d be landing in 30 minutes, and that we just started our descent.

View approaching New York

View approaching New York

The seatbelt sign was turned on at 3:15PM, and at 3:25PM we touched down at JFK.

View approaching New York

Final approach to JFK

From there we had a 10 minute taxi to our arrival gate at Terminal 4.

Arrival gate at JFK

We bid farewell to the lovely crew, and cleared immigration. Since we we were connecting on Delta we didn’t even have to change terminals, which was at least convenient.

KLM 787 business class bottom line

I’m a bit conflicted on KLM’s 787 business class.

On the plus side, the seats and entertainment were great, and the crew was exceptionally warm and friendly. They really wanted to build a connection with each passenger. On top of that, I love KLM’s uniqueness, ranging from their Dutch houses you can take home, to their Dutch house chocolates, to their Dutch house wallpaper in the lavatories.

I’m pretty neutral about their bedding and amenities, and also about their wifi based on the pricing. As they switch to no longer having a data cap, I’m much more a fan of it.

But at the same time I was disappointed by the food — which was alright at best — and the pace of service. I’m in no rush, but having just over two hours between meals to rest really isn’t ideal, especially after coming off a redeye and then having a long layover.

If you’ve flown KLM’s 787 business class, what was your experience like?

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  1. “Business class is all about the seat.”

    On that basis, this is a big Yes.

    For me, comfy seat and comfort food are just fine. Air nozzles are a nice bonus.

  2. Just curious why KLM went with reverse herringbone only on the 787 and kept the 2-2-2 arrangement for the rest of their widebodies; even for the retrofit project. Anything to do with AirFranceKLM?

  3. Wow, had pretty much all the same food as you from my flight from AMS to YYZ back in January. Only thing different was the appetizer but everything else was exactly the same!

  4. Did you actually put the oil on the pizza? Assuming not, Mister “saucy and oily, and that’s just not my preference.” You can’t really complain about how dry it is if you don’t add the sauce that is intended for it…

  5. It’s all about the seat.

    I had great food on a British Airways 787-9 this week, but they squeezed 7 seats in the same row that KLM put 4. So I spent 7 hours wedged against the window flying backwards wondering where to put my left arm. I would take KLM and their less appealing food in a minute over a BA 787-9.

  6. No vegetarian option for main course. That’s pathetic: is KLM the last airline in the world to recognise that vegetarian is mainstream rather than a hipster special order?

  7. The “female” and “male” amenity kits have nothing to do with the contents. It’s about the style of the bag. The “female” kits can be reused as a clutch (small purse).

  8. “vegetarian is mainstream rather than a hipster special order?”

    But still a minority overall, no?

  9. Lucky,

    Curious why you guys selected the window seats instead of the two middle ones? I’ve always wondered when flying with a companion in 1:1:1 to go across the aisle or in front and behind. With 1-2-1, we always go the middle two. Albeit this is a good problem to have.

  10. Wow, finally a review from Lucky that I can actually relate to, and with great timing. I’m booked on this flight in August but it was hard finding good reviews about WBC on their 789 when I was booking this trip. I’ll keep my expectations low as far as food goes, but if I can get a comfortable seat to relax, have a few drinks, and watch a movie or two, I’ll be happy.

  11. It’s interesting that they asked you if you’d be willing to change your meal choice. Did they single you out for some reason?

    I just find it odd…

  12. @Aaron But still a minority overall, no?”

    Maybe in the US/Europe, but Globally, given the hundreds of millions of vegetarians, I’d say its a pretty relevant minority.

  13. Can you please please please just buy a battery operated or USB operated fan so you can stop talking about ‘cabin temperature’? You know those air nozzles are just blowing recycled cabin air at you, not actually changing the temperature, right? I really don’t see why you bring it up every review when there are steps you could be taking to keeping yourself cooler if it’s such a big deal to you.

  14. @ matt — That’s a good question. It would be tough to put reverse herringbone seats on the A330-200 given the limited space between the first and second set of doors. Furthermore, due to the lack of cabin width, some airlines skip out on those type of seats on the A330. It’s definitely possible, though, as some airlines do have reverse herringbone seats on the A330.

  15. @ Sam — I didn’t, I figured I was being unhealthy enough eating pizza and chocolate lava cake just over two hours after the previous meal. 😉 And maybe “dry” wasn’t the right word — it tasted like you’d expect a pizza to taste that isn’t freshly made. Maybe “slightly stale” would have been a better term.

  16. @ Matt — It’s a good question. Generally if I’m reviewing a plane for the first time I tend to go with a window seat as I find it’s easier to take pictures. We also both like looking out the window and probably spend enough time together as it is. Though I’m also not terribly consistent in that regard, because sometimes we choose seats together in the middle.

  17. @ Gregg — I think they asked a few other people as well, and they refused. I guess they may have gone by status, and maybe I was one of the few people to have ordered that without status?

  18. @ Paolo — Totally agree, don’t get why they don’t have a vegetarian option.

  19. I fly this route fairly regularly. I find the service to be okay, but the FAs certainly don’t display the level of hospitality that you encountered. Calling the food not great is an understatement. It is the worst J class food I have ever eaten. I tried the vegetarian option twice, and both times they gave me a vegan meal. It was the same meal for dinner and breakfast, with rock hard Falafel that will chip your teeth. I find all the main courses to be very oily, normally because their sauce is break so everything is just doused in fat. The last couple of flights I’ve just brought my own food on. Also, I’ll pay more attention to what koerner my socks are going forward…

  20. 3.5 hours to complete the meal service! I was on an AA flight in business class recently from London Heathrow to New York. Quite literally as soon as the fasten seatbelts sign went off, the crew were up and doing the lunch service. Flight attendants were literally running at some points while they served. My main course was plonked down on my table while I was still eating my starter (and I wasn’t being slow). Total disgrace.

  21. Sounds like a few AFKL Quality Observers need to be assigned on the AMS-JFK route. Speed of service has improved on other routes where QOs cited slowness in their reports.

  22. For me it’s also about the seat and privacy on long hauls, and this 1-2-1 configuration beats 2-2-2 on their other widebodies. It’s the only reason I’ve avoided KLM, since I prefer the window seat but dislike climbing over another passenger to get to the aisle. I’m not too fussed over the food; but the notion that it takes virtually half the flight to complete the meal is just bad. I mean, judging from the food shots, it didn’t exactly appear to be an extravagant feast of Arabian proportions, did it? Thanks for the review, Lucky.

  23. Dutch food (especially if catered out of Amsterdam) tends to be a bit stodgy, so no surprises there. On the other hand, Dutch desserts are reliably great!

  24. A few hundred million out of over 7 billion is…meh. I mean, a minority is still a minority, and if people want a vegetarian option that badly, they can always pre-order it, I suppose.

    I’ve usually found the food on KLM to be ok. Nothing wow, but definitely not the worst food I’ve had in business class. I’d put it at Lufthansa’s level overall, but better food can be found on Air France, SAS, and Swiss when it comes to European airlines.

    It would be nice if they had these seats on more planes besides the 787.

  25. The main dishes on this flight did not look appetising at all.
    In contrast the food on your flight from Abu Dhabi looked very appetising.
    It seems to me you cannot expect a vegetarian main on every flight.
    Therefore best to order a vegetarian meal.
    I can imagine Ben in his house with KLM Dutch houses in every room!!!

  26. I agree in that I love The KLM Quick’s and love getting one of the little houses, good on board service (one day the new lounge will be better than the current zoo) but the food is hands down really not good especially for biz class.

  27. @Lucky – you typically comment on the headset. Can you please expand on what criteria you use to evaluate the quality?

  28. On some longer flights KLM offers Anytime for you and on demand service , so you get to choose at what time you prefer to eat
    To be fair, a long meal service is quite normal in parts of Europe People like to take time.
    I always find the crew make up for the meal quality ,which can be a bit hit and miss as they are generally extremely good

  29. Dutch food is not known for being good. It’s usually cheap, and you can find some excellent restaurants. But the general rule is: don’t expect great food and don’t pay too much.

    Schiphol may be huge, but the Polderbaan (36L for departures, 18R arrivals) is in the next province over. You cross two freeways to get between the terminal and the runway. KL pilots will usually announce the Polderbaan in their departure or arrival briefing in Dutch. To be honest, all six runways have a name (and not just a number), but the word Polderbaan is the one you need to know, as it means “add 20 minutes”. Other flight crew will let you know you’ve been Polderbaaned by referring to a long taxi time.

  30. Im flying enough to be gold in star alliance, platinum in both skyteam and oneworld.
    So i’ve been around a bit.
    My # 1 worst flight in my life has been with KLM. My # 2 worst flight ever was also with KLM. Those two flights have been my only flights on that horrific airline. They were in 1999 and in 2013.
    I wowed to never fly them again. So far Ive kept my promise.

    But I fly in and out of Amsterdam, using the Schippol VIP service. Its great. But lower myself to fly KLM in or out of there. NEVER again!

  31. The food on KLM remains indeed a problem, regardless the class you fly in!
    Now the worrying part is: that menu has been put together by the chef of the only 3 Michelin stars restaurant the Netherlands has 🙁
    I understand better why you see so many people having a meal at Schiphol.

  32. @Mark
    Whats your point? Will you shares why the two worst flights of your life were so bad?
    Not a KLM fan, but even judging from Lucky’s review, these were ok-ish. Definitely not traumatising. I don’t remember anything particularly bad (or good) from my KLM experience.

  33. @Temp, it’s a very valid point. I too like (need?) to have blowing air to temper the generally warm cabins. I think the point is that it’s an “individually-adjustable” air nozzle – meaning you can control the air flow as you wish (or have it off in your case). Why should anyone have to bring their own fan? What’s next – bring your own seat because you don’t like the one the airline provides?

  34. Just love the presentation and detail on everything from the wallpaper in the toilet to the themed trays and plates!

  35. VGML or AVML is a special selection meal you make ahead of your flight. You typically mark your vegetarian preferences as a dietary requirement or restriction in your frequent flyer profile and then you just get served that every flight. The advantage of course is that you’re almost guaranteed to get what you want AND you are almost always served first, particularly important if you’re flying in Y. I was gluten free for ten years and when I wasn’t any more it was really hard to get it taken off whatever profile each airline had for me. I agree though, I typically choose meat free options now and it’s not a restriction, so it’s weird to not offer it.

  36. I work really long hours when abroad and when I travel long haul, I like to relax. I don’t agree with you about the time it takes for a meal to be served and to me it is a pleasure to linger over a long service. Flying west between Europe and NYC, I find it is much better, for reasons of jet lag, to take the latest flights offered and not to sleep on the flight. This makes me adjust quickly to the time difference. The long meal helps as well.

  37. @ AdrienH

    Please stick to facts. There are three Dutch Three Michelin starred restaurants. For ages it has been three or more restaurants to carry three stars, out of over 80 one to two Michelin starred restaurants in The Netherlands. The Librije’s Chef is indeed in charge, and his choice is far below of his 3 star predecessor Sergio Herman.

  38. It was nice to meet you and Ford after this flight and in the Delta Sky Club, Lucky. Also, you are so behind on your reviews, this was months ago! 😉

  39. Hello Man!

    What is the difference between these seats and those on AA 787s. they look quite similar.

    Thanks so much for your reports. I love them!


  40. I flew KLM’s 787 business class a while ago, soon after it was introduced.

    Compared to the Diamond seats on their other planes, I found the seats too narrow and rather uncomfortable. You got more privacy and the cabin pressure made the trip itself more comfortable but the seat was disappointing, especially compared to Air France’s version.

    The food, as always, was so-so. KLM’s catering has never been great unless you particularly like meatballs, but the service is one of the best on a European airline.

  41. The chicken thigh disaster I categorize as “Exxon Valdez via Delft Disaster”. It’s a good thing diplomatic relations between the US and The Netherlands are good, otherwise I would have taken issue and sued them, ending up in The Hague! (just joking)
    I think I would’ve had to send it back uneaten and requested nibbles from biz and economy class. It has got to be one of the most revolting things I’ve ever seen for humans to be expected to consume.

  42. “No vegetarian option for main course. That’s pathetic: is KLM the last airline in the world to recognise that vegetarian is mainstream rather than a hipster special order?”

    Since you can pre-order a special meal, i.e. veggie or gluten-free, I’m not sure why Paolo makes this point. Since there are a limited number of choices that any airline can offer even its premium passengers, why should one of those ‘slots’ be dedicated to vegetarian meals when they can be pre-ordered?

    Great review Lucky – My wife and I are taking this aircraft from SFO to AMS in November and we are looking forward to our first business class flight in years. But I might slip a Snickers in my carryon just in case of soggy chicken.

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