Review: KLM World Business Class 747 Los Angeles to Amsterdam

Filed Under: KLM

KLM 602
Los Angeles (LAX) to Amsterdam (AMS)
Tuesday, April 7
Depart: 1:45PM
Arrive: 9:05AM (+1 day)
Duration: 10hr20min
Aircraft: Boeing 747 Combi
Seat: 1A (World Business Class)

Ben’s flown in KLM’s new business class from Amsterdam to Chicago before, but KLM’s business class was a new product for me and one I was very excited to try.  KLM World Business Class passengers flying from LAX have access to the Korean Air Lounge at the spectacular Tom Bradley International Terminal.  Ben’s reviewed the lounge before, and there’s nothing really worth recapping, except to say that while it’s rather beautifully designed and outfitted, the catering at the KAL Lounge (basic snacks, tiny finger sandwiches, poorly stocked self-serve bar, Woodbridge-branded wines and, to Ben’s horror, no champagne) seems straight out of an Alaska Airlines Board Room in Spokane.  I’d suggest if you get to LAX early, you explore the shops and restaurants in the terminal rather than waste your time at the middling lounge.

Boarding started about 25 minutes late for an unspecified reason, but once boarding began, we were directed into the nose of the 747.  KLM’s World Business Class occupies four rows on the lower deck, at the nose, and six additional rows comprising the entirety of the upper deck.  However, the lower deck offers a few seats which are by themselves rather than two-by-two (1A, 4A, and 4E), which are the seats to select if you’re able to choose them.

KLM 747 Combi
KLM 747 Combi

It’s worth pointing out that the lower-deck business class has an incredibly spacious feel due to the staggering of the seats.  There was ample space to get up and move around, and an almost lobby-sized area between the lavatories and the emergency exit that provided a pleasant place to stop, chat with flight attendants in the (again, very spacious) galley and look out the windows.

My seat, 1A, was a solo seat at the very nose of the plane, and offered a great deal of privacy and a convenient location next to the large coat closet at the front, where I could store bags, hang up clothes, etc., in addition to using my overhead and under-footwell storage space. This was especially useful since the overhead bin was a very tight squeeze.

KLM coat closet
KLM coat closet

The seat offered space for electronics, drinks, passports, and other documents to the right and left of the headrest but didn’t utilize the space between the seat itself and the window, which would have been ideal for additional storage or as a place to put books and magazines (which, oddly, the seat was lacking).  Instead, that crevice ended up being a place where, if you looked, you could find trash from previous flights which no one had bothered to clean up.  Though the seat was quite new, KLM did not offer any USB ports, which is strange (and inconvenient) in an updated business class product.  I did appreciate that the headphone jack was directly behind your head, so that the headphone wires never got in the way of movement.

Seat 1A
Seat 1A
Storage nook
Storage nook
Outlet and additional storage nook
Outlet and additional storage nook
Seat controls
Seat controls

As I boarded and took my seat, there was a comfortable white pillow and dark blue cotton blanket on my seat.  Soon enough, the flight attendant came by with a tray of water, champagne, and, in an adorably Dutch touch, mini-cans of Heineken beer.  I chose a glass of champagne, which was Nicolas Feuillatte.  Service was initially polite and efficient, but not especially warm.  A few minutes later, while I was finishing up a phone call, the flight attendant returned and plopped a Viktor and Rolf amenity kit on my armrest in a relatively brusque manner.

Welcome glass of Nicolas Feuillatte champagne
Welcome glass of Nicolas Feuillatte champagne
Viktor and Rolf amenity kit
Viktor and Rolf amenity kit

The amenity kit was nothing particularly special, though it contained a pen, which I always find useful on international flights (particularly traveling to a country where you’re asked to fill out a declaration onboard).  The kit contained socks, an eye mask, a toothbrush with a small unbranded toothpaste tube, a comb, lip balm, and ear plugs, but disappointingly, no hand cream.  However, the lavatories had a nice selection of Zenology brand hand cream, soap, face wash, face lotion and, interestingly, hair product, which I thought was a rather ingenious addition to the usual roster and an especially helpful tool to combat “airplane hair.”

Zenology-branded lavatory amenities
Zenology-branded lavatory amenities

I soon enough felt comfortable with our flight attendant when I recognized her gruffness was really just her Dutchness.  I adore Holland and do love the Dutch, and KLM embodies the Dutch mentality almost to a tee.  And while the Dutch quite enjoy humor and relish cracking a smile, they are by and large a very practical nation.  And that’s sort of the feel of the service on KLM — efficient, practical, polite and occasionally charming, but not warm, and not over-the-top by any means.  And you have to love a flight attendant who addresses you as “mister.”  As in, Mister, will you please stow this for takeoff thank you.  (Note this was not a question but a polite and firm declaration.)

Anyway, the attendant came by shortly after takeoff with a menu and a duty-free brochure. KLM really pushed the duty-free items hard throughout the flight, at takeoff and at landing, in a way I’d never seen any other airline do before.  I would say it felt a bit chintzy, but then again, the passenger in the row across from me ended up buying so much from the onboard duty-free shop that when she left she looked like Julia Roberts walking down Rodeo Drive in Pretty Woman (after the makeover, natch) — so KLM obviously knows what they’re doing.

I was shocked at the menu, which was printed on a color copier on regular-stock printer paper and stapled together as if it were an elementary school newsletter.  It felt incredibly cheap, and while I understand that KLM was advertising its printed material as “environmentally friendly,” I should point out that they sure as heck printed their duty-free booklet on some expensive-looking glossy stock.  How many trees died so that you could sell that Chinese woman a Montblanc pen, KLM?

KLM service menu and duty-free booklet
KLM service menu and duty-free booklet

The content of the menu was a bit underwhelming, as well.  As Ben’s pointed out before, they do print a service timeline, which is sort of an interesting touch. However, none of the menu items sounded especially enticing at the outset (and I think for optics purposes they might want to consider calling cheese fagottini by a different name).

Food options
Food options
Wine list
Wine list
Drink menu
Drink menu
Why is "tasteful" in quotes??!
Why is “tasteful” in quotes??!

About twenty minutes after takeoff, the flight attendant came by with a hot towel service, and roughly 40 minutes after takeoff she swung by to offer a bowl of room-temperature mixed nuts and an aperitif.  Though I’d had a glass on the ground, I’m not a particular fan of Nicolas Fueillatte, so I asked for a Campari and soda, and she gladly obliged.

Aperitif and mixed nuts
Aperitif and mixed nuts

In the meantime, I was enjoying the benefits of the seat, which were fantastic.  The footwell space is hugely spacious (at least in 1A) and never felt remotely restrictive, and the IFE screens are large (although the resolution is not particularly high).  The IFE works from the outset, and KLM has a decent selection of films (though its selection of TV shows is poor) so I’d been trying to watch The Imitation Game, which I had really been looking forward to, but which instead just reminded me of a really weird time-traveling episode of The Big Bang Theory with Benedict Cumberbatch playing Sheldon Cooper and Keira Knightley as Penny.

IFE system
IFE system

A short while later, the flight attendant team stopped by with an appetizer selection.  I chose the hot smoked salmon with lotus root, which was presented with a roll of bread and olive oil and a little green salad.  The bread was delicious.  As for the hot salmon, while it wasn’t especially appetizing to look at (and who serves hot smoked salmon?), it was fairly tasty, although incredibly salty.

Appetizer service
Appetizer service

For my main course, I selected the beef stew, which seemed the far preferable option to the chicken teriyaki (not a dish the Dutch are especially known for).  I know that Ben raved about his KLM beef stew, but I found mine just fine.  Not bad, not even middling, but just decent airplane food.  I wasn’t wowed.  I chose a glass of Pays d’Oc red wine to accompany the course after the flight attendant let me do a tasting of the two red offerings.  (Apologies for the photo quality of the main course, which happened to coincide with a bout of turbulence and a shaky camera.)

Beef stew
Beef stew

My friend had the chicken teriyaki and his assessment was more or less the same — good for airplane food, but nothing he’d rave about (or order) at a restaurant.

Following the main course, we were offered a selection of Dutch apple pie, apricot tartlet, fresh fruit or a cheese plate for dessert.  I asked if I could have both the pie and the cheese plate, and the attendant obliged.  However, while I thought the request might make me sound like a bit of a glutton, I’m glad I did ask because the “Dutch apple pie” was miniature.  I had really been looking forward to the Dutch apple pie Ben was served with whipped cream on his trip, but apparently they’ve cut the size of the pie down, and dismissed the whipped cream entirely.  What a disappointment!

My apple pie and cheese plate.
My apple pie and cheese plate.
Ben's much more delicious-looking apple pie
Ben’s much more delicious-looking apple pie

Immediately thereafter, she came by again with coffee and an assortment of chocolate truffles.

Coffee (truffle already eaten)

Shortly after dessert I made the decision to cut my losses on The Imitation Game, popped a Xani and Advil PM (my preferred airplane sleep combo), and slept like a baby.

I got about four and a half hours of sleep and was gently woken by the flight attendant to ask if I wanted to be served breakfast, about 90 minutes prior to arrival.  I didn’t have the option of eating breakfast at a later time, and I do wish more airlines on eastbound transatlantic flights offered the option of an “express breakfast” closer to landing.  In any event, breakfast was a choice of “egg strata” or danish, along with a selection of any other breakfast items from the tray (which was almost presented tapas-style).  I chose the egg strata, a hard boiled egg, fruit, cheese and yogurt, along with a cup of coffee.  The breakfast was nothing to write home about.


After breakfast, I changed clothes and freshened up in the lavatory and returned to my seat, bored by the rather limited selection of short-term IFE choices (they had maybe 10 episodes of television shows, in total).  So instead I just watched the onboard map.

Breakfast and flight map
Breakfast and flight map

The flight attendant came by one more time with a tray of Dutch delft blue houses filled with gin.  There were three types of houses on the tray, so, like an episode of House Hunters, I chose the one I thought was “Dutchiest” and she bagged it up for me in a duty-free bag I could carry on through my connecting flight, since there was liquid inside.

Delft house filled with gin
Delft house filled with gin

Even though we took off about a half hour late, we ended up arriving early at 8:49am. It felt like a quick flight and despite a small bout of turbulence during dinner service, was a smooth ride.

KLM Business Class Bottom Line

Overall, the whole flight experience did feel very Dutch.  There was a certain design and style to every element of the flight, but it was infused with practicality and purpose instead of blinginess and excess you might find on Middle Eastern carriers.  Service was never over-the-top and oftentimes reserved, but efficient and friendly:  I’d call it pleasant, which is good enough.

What set this KLM flight apart to me was the seat, which was extremely comfortable and provided me with one of the best sleeps I’ve ever had on a plane (until it was truncated by breakfast service).  When transformed to a fully flat bed, it was long and very wide.  I appreciated that the cabin felt spacious and airy, and overall I’d say that with a few minor exceptions (middling IFE selection, lack of USB port) KLM’s new World Business Class hard product is exceptional.

In my experience, the catering and service on KLM did not especially stand out and are probably best classified as functional, unmemorable and efficient — which is all you can really ask for on a transatlantic flight in business class.

  1. hmmm… so quite a different experience from Ben… i guess it all comes down to the crew again.

  2. What’s weird with hot smoked salmon? Nor is it a rarity really.

    I guess you were expecting hot as in “served warm”? Hot smoked salmon entails salmon smoked with the heat on – thus the salmon being “cooked”. Alternatively you can get (cold) smoked salmon where the fish appears more cured / gravlax. Hot smoked salmon makes a nice, tasty and hearty salad – and it would all be served cold.

  3. I was actually served smoked salmon hot (temperature wise) in a restaurant recently and I also thought it was odd. It was NOT what I was expecting when I ordered it!

  4. It’s nice to see I’m not the only person out there who enjoys a Campari and soda (although I prefer mine with a bit of lime).

    I really like the utensils and dishes they used for the breakfast service. Those are the kinds of things that might accidentally fall into my cabin bag.

  5. We are big fans of KLM’s new business product. Flyers should note there is a lot of competition to get the seats you mention… I have even seen people at JFK offered $ for 1A. It’s very unique and very comfortable. The glassware, plates and flatware in business class are stylish. They have a few secret gems on their wine list (one port, in particular, but there are others). Having sat upstairs and down, downstairs is absolutely the way to go… roomier cabin and even a superior lavatory. KLM Crown Lounge AMS is comfortable and well-stocked. Also, one final note, we find the catering outbound from AMS superior to that heading inbound. Our bottom line: one of the best business class values and experiences out there, especially if you can get 1A, 4A or 4E (no window with 4E).

  6. I’ve taken this flight (same seat 1A in the new business…used to be 77A upstairs I think–exit row) in both directions many times in the past few years. Having suffered through their old product (and their MD-11’s), the first time I boarded “Mexico City” and saw the new cabin I almost cried out of joy. I agree with the service–it’s certainly never been bad, but it’s not warm. Funny enough, I’ve felt that I’ve consistently gotten better service in KLM’s long-haul economy comfort.

    The last time I flew in economy comfort, one of the FA’s (he was…just…so handsome in that way that those 6’2″+ Dutch guys always are with their wavy hair and…blah) came by, got down on one knee, and thanked me by name for being Flying Blue Platinum (I’m Delta Platinum, but they make that mistake a lot–even prints on boarding passes that way). He then asked if there was anything he could do to make my flight more pleasant. I jokingly asked if there were any seats left up front or upstairs, to which he replied “as much as I would love to, every seat is taken this time–does not hurt to ask though *wink*.” The last couple of times before that in economy I’ve had similar encounters.

    All of that is to just say I think KLM excels in the way they treat their economy passengers. The service provided to those around me was just as pleasant and friendly as the service I received–I just got addressed by name. Pair that with transfers at Schiphol being a breeze and a decent lounge (on either side of Schengen…wall?)…I’m happy to fly KLM. Plus you get to fly on a 747, which just makes you feel like you’re really traveling…

  7. I flew KLM’s 747 in seat 2A five years ago. But it was in their old business class. I was quite happy nevertheless because I got an unexpected upgrade at the gate! For a flight from HKG to AMS, I will take an old business class seat instead of an economy seat any day! Well, I would take an old business class seat over an economy seat even for a YUL-YYZ flight, but you understand the point…!

    Thanks for the report! The hard product looks really nice!

  8. Nick are you racist?

    “How many trees died so that you could sell that Chinese woman a Montblanc pen, KLM?”

    Why single out Chinese or Asian people?

  9. @Wee: sigh, because the woman who bought the Montblanc pen was Chinese. Do you want me to censor myself so that we’re all “global citizens” now, bla bla bla? It’s a descriptor.

  10. @Andrew — I’d say KLM’s seats are better than or equal to Delta’s, United’s and American’s fully lie-flat business class seats, though Delta, and some of American’s new business class products, offer all-aisle-access seating, which KLM does not. I’d say service is probably superior to UA & AA and on par with DL, and catering is undoubtedly better than UA & AA as well.

    I’d probably choose to fly them over DL on the same route, though, for the little extra dash of Dutch style, as evidenced by, say, the little Delft houses. Certainly, if you’re flying in/out of Amsterdam from North America, I think KLM is your best bet.

  11. @Wee

    take a chill pill, will you?

    why didn’t you also point out Nick being sexist for saying it was a woman? would it be PC to say “a passenger” instead? do you think he’s not only a racist but also a misogynist? (facepalm)

  12. Excellent flight report! You should soon have your own blog. 😉 Now, where did you get that nice piece of leather in the photo with the champagne?

  13. Nick are you racist?

    “How many trees died so that you could sell that Chinese woman a Montblanc pen, KLM?”

    Why single out German made products? WW2 was a long time ago you know. 🙂

  14. I fly KLM a fair bit within Europe. Not a fan, though. Unfortunately, I have found them to offer poor customer service. Indeed, a really poor attitude to customers (except one check-in person who did an amazing job). (And I live in France! Yeah, that’s right: I’ve found KLM customer service worse than Parisian customer service. What an indictment.)

  15. Like you said, the service is an example of Dutch culture, we don’t do things “over-the-top”, so I guess it comes down to personal preference. On a recent United flight, the crew was so “friendly” that it made me feel very uncomfortable. I’d fly KLM Business Class any day over any other Western carrier’s Business Class 😉

  16. “and I think for optics purposes they might want to consider calling cheese fagottini by a different name”

    You made me spit my tea over this. lol
    Never seen the fagottini from this POV. It is an Italian kind of pasta, think about ravioli, with ricotta or cheese filling.
    Hopefully KLM won’t insert in their duty free magazine any musical instrument, since the fagotto is just around the corner.

  17. Why specify Chinese you racist? That’s mean and even if you were just being absent minded you can hurt some people’s feelings

  18. @Matthew: ha, looks nicer than it is! It’s a gift, but I think from Nordstrom Rack, Marshall’s or one of those type stores.

  19. @Jim: I’m so sorry your feelings are hurt that I insinuated that a woman of Chinese descent bought a Montblanc pen. When I observed that a woman who is a resident of China bought a Montblanc pen from Duty Free, I really should have thought to myself, “am I going to hurt Jim’s feelings by writing about that?” I will keep this in mind in the future.

  20. @Nick: How dare you use the term “she” without first ascertaining the person’s preferred gender/gerder-less/gender-fluid pronouns! Naturally a member of the patriarchy like yourself would refer to that person as a woMAN! And how dare you use the term “passenger”, enforcing your artificial elitist class distinctions between those riding in the plane and those serving them! Misogynist schwein!

    Seriously though, Asians loooooove them some duty free, so I’m not at all surprised she was Chinese. Doesn’t Korean have an entire duty free boutique on their A380?

  21. Well NICK because you should think about other people when writing about things. Your stupid sarcastic comment is making me feel even more agitated now. How do you even know she was Chinese and not Japanese, Korean or Taiwanese? Why don’t you just remove Chinese and just say “woman”? Are you trying to show that Chinese people buy a lot of duty free? Or are you just a racist?

  22. I am half Chinese. Not in the least offended. It’s funny. Life is too short to be so sensitive! Chill people! (and don’t tell me that being a half Chinese doesn’t count!)

  23. Hi Nick, great read as always, hopefully you’ll have your own blog for me to also read soon.

    Bit of a shameless plug, but I saw you mention the KLM amenity kit. I have started my own blog where I review amenity kits. Please come and take a look, any feedback is welcome.

    Many thanks, and keep up the good reports!

  24. Great review… Thanks for sharing! Fascinating about the hair product in the lav… What a good idea.

  25. @ nick – it’s all about the context: “how many trees died so that you could sell that Chinese woman a pen, KLM?…” means that you feel that the trees were wasted on her.
    I don’t see you writing: “how many trees died so that you could sell that Englishman a pen, KLM?”
    Think about it!

  26. @Julie: Sigh, my point was that KLM went out of its way to print the menu on cheap recycled paper that looked chintzy and low-quality in a highly advertised effort to “save the planet,” yet by the same stroke printed out and distributed to each passenger a magazine-quality, glossy duty free booklet intended to drive up sales.

    So the real focus of that barb was KLM for pretending to care about the environment except when it can sell Montblanc pens at $500 a pop.

  27. @Nick, don’t sweat these people giving you grief. I think they are just trolling you at this point.

    My wife and I flew KLM 747 upper deck business class JFK-AMS last year. It was great for sleeping and I’m 6’5″. We did the upper deck and it couldn’t have been better. It was one of those flights where you wish it were longer so you could enjoy the full meal and get a lot of sleep too.

  28. @Tom @Nick No I am not trolling Nick, I am just EXTREMELY disappointed and angry for Nick’s absent-minded choice to say single out the Chinese woman buying the pen. I really don’t know why Nick is being so defensive when I politely requested him to not discriminate against the woman due to her race. It is very clear here that not only have I been hurt, but many people as well. So no, we are not trolling Nick, we are just telling him to do what’s right.

  29. @Jim

    Can you please go away? How is referring to her Chinese ethnicity racist?! You’re the one that’s turning it into an insult! Since when is being Chinese bad? And when did Nick point out that being Chinese was bad? He just said she was Chinese… get over it…

    Like you’ve never referred to anyone by their ethnicity? Go irritate some other people because this is a blog about AIRLINES. Not a discussion forum on whether it’s okay to refer to people by their ethnicity.

    Good day.

  30. Great report, Nick. I really enjoyed it (dare I say, perhaps even more than Ben’s report 😉 ).

    Also, as someone who is Asian, I did not find your comment offensive in the least. Notwithstanding the fact that it seems the woman was actually Asian, I understood the point and intent of your statement, and quite frankly, at least in my view, there are a lot of Asians (not all but many) who are overly conscious about brands and material possessions–just as, so you say, the Dutch are well known for their practicality, however gruff it may be. I find it interesting no one has commented on your generalization of the entire Dutch population but have taken you to task over an observation of something specific that actually happened.

    Anyways, this is a roundabout way of saying I enjoyed your entire report and am looking forward to reading more.

  31. Very amusing and desciptive review. I flew the old KLM business class from Dubai to Amsterdam 2 months ago and was not impressed so good to know about the new product. The Dutch flight attendants are not renowned for above average service snd attitude as opposed to Asians so your comments seem spot on and they may still be miffed to be owned by Air France.

    Oops, I may have upset a Dutch man or woman but I do know they are thankfully renowned to have a caustic and better sense of humor than some of your other readers commenting on this review.

  32. Hey guys!!! it seems there is lot of tension on the sentence nick wrote about the Chinese lady and so i want nick to clarify…. did you actually see the lady have a chinese passport or are you just assuming she is chinese because of how she looks? And if you didn’t, what made you say chinese instead of japanese, korean, etc. Thanks!!

  33. If the real focus was only on selling the woman the Mont Blanc pen, then why feel the need to point out that she’s chinese as well?

    For or it to be said so that you can ‘imagine’ the story better, you mention a specific characteristic and that is race, which at worst calls to mind harmful stereotypes.

    There was no need to give her ethnicity. When we add descriptors to undeveloped figures we do it to call something to attention, and pull the reader’s selective knowledge in. This selective knowledge is usually based off of stereotypes, and stereotypes on non-white ethnicities (and some white ethnicities, as many Europeans will tell you) are usually based in racism. This is not a character in a story who has been meticulously formed through description, this is a real woman who had their ethnicity mentioned simply because they were not a white norm, possibly to call to attention that she was Chinese and to call upon the stereotype of Chinese being rich and big shoppers.

  34. I remember being on KLM J maybe 20 years ago, when they had those awful neckbreaker seats. The service was just as gruff and abrupt as it apparently is today. But the FAs were much friendlier to Dutch passengers, talking and laughing with them at some length. So if you are Dutch, or maybe just speak Dutch, your experience on KLM will be different.

    [Disclaimer: my mention of Dutch passengers is not intended to be racist.]

  35. @Chuck Lesker: why do you think Ben’s such a Lufthansa fanboy?


  36. as I am European but living in Asia, I like to travel with KLM. But Air France, with their new business cabin is now on the top on long haul. They improved the service.

  37. Hey Chuck, I’m Dutch and I once flew KLM Business. So I’m soooooo offended! Hahahaha!

    Honestly, even being Dutch, I didn’t like the service. I found it to be very cold and impersonal. The seat is amazing, I’m 6’9 and for the second time in my life I could sleep in an airplane (the first time was when I had a complete row of 8 seats on Swiss for myself, four economy seats together really make up a great bed).

    The FA I had on the KLM flight was way more interested in some frequent fliers across the isle and took at least half an hour to discuss which Delft Blue house they should take. My plate was empty, I had nothing to drink and only when I asked, she noticed be and after ample pressure, she brought me a new glass of wine… I’ve had better!

    And Nick: great report! Describing someone as Chinese only added to the picture in my head. Some people should really relax and look at real racism and fight that. This was just a description, get a life.

  38. omg Nick, these guys are nuts with the Chinese comments.

    I suppose to keep them happy you should not have mentioned that the person was chinese, or a woman, or that she was buying a montblanc pen, or even that she was buying a pen at all. You should omit that she was in business class because we might make judgements about that too. Maybe you should just leave out that this happened on a plane at all. Also, it’s really not the airline’s fault about the menu, so you should leave them out too. Here you go, I fixed it for you:

    How many trees died so that you could sell that Chinese woman a Montblanc pen, KLM?


    How many trees died so that you could sell that person an object, corporation?

  39. Nice review, very descriptive. Too many times I just find myself scrolling through a bunch of pics so I appreciate your taking the time to describe your reactions to each experience. Any idea on the level of award availability from LAX? I have a few Skymiles from when I used to fly Delta pre-AwardChartGate and this sounds like a good use.

  40. @Stannis: It’s 62,500 SkyMiles each way from LAX to AMS in World Business Class. Though I’m no expert on the award chart (the PointsPros or Ask Lucky board might be able to shed further flight on this), availability is pretty decent far out though never as reliable as Air France LAX-CDG. However, the nice thing about one-way awards now is that you just have to find availability for one of the legs and lock it down, and see what happens. If you have AmEx MR points, you can always transfer into Flying Blue for the other leg. Flying Blue has a much wider inventory of low-level awards for both AF and KLM. Hope that helps!

  41. My wife flies SFO-AMS and LAX-AMS business class on KLM a dozen times a year. What irritates her the most is it often takes 3 hours to serve dinner because the staff is having a jolly time – talking to each other – and ignoring passengers. It is infuriatingly slow/inept service for those who just want a meal and then some peace and quiet for sleeping. She likes the new hard product but the service standards suck.

  42. You mention them bringing drinks just a few times in your review, seems like it was at boarding, with the nuts then at meal services. Did they come around with drinks other than that? I’ve only flown business and first on United, but they were constantly coming around with drinks, so I was just wondering if KLM is that much different.

  43. @Jerry: My FA came around a few more times. I also proactively went to the galley for a refill on the champers once or twice.

    It appears Lucky had a little bit more full-service of an experience on KLM (which, to be clear, was on an AMS-ORD flight last year).

  44. The answer to your question on why “tasteful” is in quotes is because in Dutch “smaakvol” has a double meaning – it can mean either “tasteful” or “tasty/full of flavour”. The play on words is lost in translation.

  45. Nick, Ben …. Tasteful isn’t in speechmarks eg “Tasteful” – it is in inverted commas ‘Tasteful’ – which are intended to help with language understanding, such as when there is a double meaning. 😉

  46. Hi;

    First; thanks for the review. I really enjoyed reading it.

    I live in Dubai and I travel on the average once ever three weeks. I prefer KLM because of the overnight timing of the flight (I don’t waste a day in the air) and because the new business class in the 777s they use on the flights is comfortable and the crew service pleasant.

    However; what I really look forward to is flying from AMS to somewhere in North America, so I can fly in one of the 747 combis in biz class. I LOVE 1A and always book it in advance of the trip. Lies you said; it’s fairly private, comfortable and close to the closet in the nose of the plane.

    One thing that I really enjoy is how quiet the lower deck biz class is. The combination of distance from the engines and the bulkheads means that the nose of the plane is very quiet. It’s the only cabin I fly in where I don’t feel the need to get out my Bose noise cancelling headphones as soon as I can. I’ve taken the 747 biz class from AMS to YYZ; ORD; JFK and LAX and have loved the cabin each and every time.

    I agree with what you said about the food and service. The food is good but I wouldn’t rave about it. I’ve been fortunate enough to have pleasant cabin crews on my flights, but I spend a lot of time in the Netherlands, so perhaps I’m used to the nature of the service.

  47. Service is excellent. Food needs lotsa help with presentation. Also, on american carriers, they are so superficially “friendly” it’s plain creepy. Are these smiles, and fakeness, and how’re doin’s. It’s bizarre b/c it’s not sincere. it’s american phonyness.

  48. Thanks for the review. I always visit your site for tips. I will be travelling (solo) from Toronto to Amsterdam in business class. I have an option of seat 1A or 4A. Which of the 2 would you recommend? Some people have said 1A feels tight. Thanks.

  49. I’ve flown in 1A on many occasions and I’m a big guy. I’ve never felt that it was tight. I like the fact that it’s a solo seat and close to the baggage closet at the font of the cabin.

  50. Thanks Harris for the advise! 1A it is 🙂 Actually… I see that both seats are open on both flights. I will take 4A for the outbound flight and 1A on the inbound. I will give an update here after my trip.

  51. I just completed an RT from Europe from LAX. LAX to AMS using KLM and CDG to LAX using AirFrance both Business Class.

    KLM’s business class was fantastic, best sleep on a plane I’ve had. The Lounge in Schiphol was great.

    I had an 18hr Paris layover coming home, so had to leave CDG temporarily… If I ever HAVE TO fly through CDG again, I will not leave the airport… was stressful trying to get back in and the CDG AirFrance lounge was OK.

    KLM’s business class from LAX to AMS versus AirFrance CDG to LAX was clearly a cut above. The entire experience of airports was a cut above. If I’m going to Europe and returning business class, I will jump through hoops to fly KLM.

  52. I going on AMS to LAX and specifically chose seat 4a as opposed to another airline.i hope this is worth it.

  53. tsk, tsk. so many pictures of food and very few pictures to give a feel of the cabin layout. Wide angle lens please.

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