Review: KLM Business Class Boeing 737

Review: KLM Business Class Boeing 737

FROM: AMS
TO: ARN
CABIN: Business
DATE: July 2021
REVIEW RATING:
BEN SAYS: KLM's Boeing 737s offer a pleasant experience in business class by intra-Europe standards, with excellent legroom, power ports, friendly service, and decent food. The only thing missing is Wi-Fi.
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After flying from Chicago to Amsterdam on the KLM Boeing 787-10, it was time to connect to Stockholm on a KLM Boeing 737-800. Let’s pick up where I left off in the last installment.

How I redeemed miles for KLM business class

To briefly summarize, we redeemed 60,500 Flying Blue miles plus $240 per person in taxes and carrier imposed surcharges to fly the following routing in business class:

06/30 KL612 Chicago to Amsterdam departing 4:15PM arriving 6:55AM (+1 day)
07/01 KL1109 Amsterdam to Stockholm departing 10:40AM arriving 12:40PM

That’s a pretty great value, especially when you consider how easy Flying Blue miles are to earn.

KLM Crown Lounge Amsterdam (AMS)

We had a 3hr45min layover in Amsterdam, so upon landing we headed straight towards the KLM Crown Lounge. While KLM has a separate Schengen lounge, the non-Schengen flagship lounge is much better, so that’s what we decided to visit. I reviewed this lounge a couple of years back when it first opened, so I won’t be fully reviewing it this time around.

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport terminal

The Crowne Lounge was really great, better than last time I visited. The lounge grew since my last visit, and was also much quieter than the last time I visited (though I imagine that’s changing with travel demand continuing to increase). That being said, the food seemed to be scaled back a bit. Nonetheless I liked the general fun and quirky vibe of the lounge.

KLM Crown Lounge Amsterdam
KLM Crown Lounge Amsterdam
KLM Crown Lounge Amsterdam
KLM Crown Lounge Amsterdam
KLM Crown Lounge Amsterdam
KLM Crown Lounge Amsterdam

As someone who loves good coffee, I particularly liked the barista-made beverages, and I had a couple of cappuccinos.

KLM Crown Lounge Amsterdam
KLM Crown Lounge Amsterdam

And as an avgeek I also appreciated all the miniature KLM Dutch Houses — there was a display with all of them, and then there were also a bunch at the entrance.

KLM Crown Lounge Amsterdam
KLM Crown Lounge Amsterdam

We spent a couple of hours in the lounge, and then headed to passport control, where there was a massive queue. It took about 30 minutes to get through. Fortunately we left plenty of time, and even had time to do some plane spotting.

TUI Boeing 787 Amsterdam Airport
KLM Boeing 737 Amsterdam Airport
SAS CRJ-900 Amsterdam Airport
Alitalia Embraer E175 Amsterdam Airport

KLM Boeing 737-800 business class cabin & seats

Our flight to Stockholm was departing from gate C18. Boarding started at 10:10AM for our 10:40AM departure — this flight was using the self-boarding gates, which worked quite well.

KLM boarding gate Amsterdam Airport

At the forward door we were greeted by the friendly purser. As is standard on intra-Europe flights, business class simply consisted of economy with blocked middle seats. The size of the cabin can change between flights, and on this particular flight there were four rows of business class.

KLM Boeing 737 business class cabin

I assigned us seats 4A & 4C, the business class aisle and window seats in the fourth row on the left side.

KLM Boeing 737 business class legroom

The cabin definitely felt a bit older, but on intra-Europe flights I’d consider that to be a good thing — the padding was comfortable, and the legroom was just about the best I’ve seen within Europe for these kinds of configurations. In intra-Europe business class you usually still only get 30″ of pitch, but KLM has 33″ of pitch in the first few rows of the 737, so that’s awesome.

KLM Boeing 737 business class legroom
KLM Boeing 737 business class legroom

While this particular plane didn’t have Wi-Fi, there were 110v outlets at every seat, which is a feature that I sure appreciate.

KLM Boeing 737 business class power outlets

Departing Amsterdam

The boarding process was efficient, even though economy was mostly full (meanwhile nine of the 16 business class seats were occupied). The main cabin door closed at 10:35AM, and shortly thereafter the manual safety demonstration began. The crew wished a happy birthday to a passenger over the intercom — I’m not sure if this was somehow tracked based on the reservation, or if there was some other connection between the crew and passenger.

KLM business class cabin Boeing 737

At 10:40AM we began our pushback, right next to a Transavia Boeing 737.

Pushing back at Amsterdam Airport
Transavia Boeing 737 Amsterdam Airport

We had a pretty quick taxi to runway 24. Once there we were cleared for takeoff immediately, and rocketed off for our 1hr40min flight to Stockholm.

Taxiing at Amsterdam Airport

There was a bit of chop on the climb out, but after the initial cloud layer the ride got much smoother. The seatbelt sign was turned off within 10 minutes.

View after takeoff from Amsterdam Airport

KLM business class food & drink service

A few minutes after the seatbelt sign was turned off, the crew closed the curtains and began the service.

KLM business class cabin Boeing 737

There was no choice for the meals, but rather each business class passenger was presented a box of food, plus a selection of drinks. I ordered coffee and water, which were served in proper glassware.

KLM business class meal service intra-Europe

Intra-Europe catering usually isn’t much to get excited about, but I thought this was fairly decent and simple. The meal included a fruit salad, yogurt and granola, smoked salmon, a boiled egg, and a bread roll.

KLM business class meal service intra-Europe

I also liked that there was a menu that came along with the meal, which included both the food and drink options. Too often within Europe you’re served a meal with no clue of what it actually is, and the crew often doesn’t have a lot more information either.

KLM business class menu
KLM business class drink list

Later on in the flight I ordered a second cup of coffee, after the trays were cleared. I liked how this was served on a little coffee tray with a sweet — often it’s the little touches that differentiate an experience.

KLM business class coffee service

KLM business class service

The purser working this flight was delightful — she was friendly, professional, and incredibly attentive. She passed through the cabin several times even after the initial service, and provided service with pride. I have nothing but good things to say about her.

KLM business class lavatory

There was a lavatory located at the front of the 737, for the exclusive use of business class passengers. It was pretty no frills, but was clean, and at least there was never a wait to use it.

KLM business class lavatory

Landing in Stockholm

At around 12PM we began our descent towards Stockholm. Summer in Northern Europe sure is pretty, and it was a particularly lovely day outside.

View approaching Stockholm

The seatbelt sign turned on about 10 minutes after we started our descent. After the gear dropped it got really bumpy, as there were some strong surface winds. So the plane was swaying back and forth as we approached, and felt like it was coming in at an unusually high speed. While the touchdown was on the rough side, we landed safely without a go around, so that works for me. 😉

View approaching Stockholm
View approaching Stockholm

At 12:30PM we were on the ground in Stockholm, and the purser announced that we were on a very special flight, as KLM was celebrating flying to Stockholm for 85 years. How interesting, but also random. It’s not like there was a gate party or anything to celebrate it, so does the airline just give the purser random interesting facts to announce, or…?

Taxiing Stockholm Airport

As we exited the plane, I think that’s just about the last time we saw someone else wearing a mask until we boarded our flight departing Sweden. Masks are only required onboard planes, and not at the airport (or anywhere else, really).

Passport control in Stockholm took quite a while, as there were only a few immigration officers working, and there was another flight that landed at the same time. Usually passport control wouldn’t be needed on this flight, but because every country currently has different entry requirements, we had to present proof of vaccination and/or a negative coronavirus test.

Bottom line

We had a great flight in KLM’s intra-Europe business class from Amsterdam to Stockholm. KLM has excellent legroom on 737s, along with power ports. On top of that, the purser working the cabin was friendly, and the food was decent as well. The only shortfall was the lack of Wi-Fi, but that was hardly a huge issue on a short flight.

If you’ve flown KLM’s 737 business class, what was your experience like?

Conversations (32)
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  1. Joy ezetah Guest

    I had a wonderful experience that made me want to take another trip.
    Meals are exactly as described by the earlier writer. Landing and take off were smooth. Cabin crew were friendly.

  2. Jemima Sim Guest

    No little blue house given out on this flight??

  3. Andrew Guest

    I have gold status on Air France-KLM. Frankly the economy class seating and service is good enough that I'd never spend money or points to upgrade on intra-Europe flights. Much rather save them for trans-Atlantic flights.

  4. ArnoldB Guest

    Lucky, jfyi, on most Lufthansa, Austrian and presumably also Swiss narrowbodies there is 32" pitch in the first 6-10 rows (depending on the type), except for some ex-Airberlin A320s which are 30" throughout. So unless you have bad luck and get one of the exceptions, there should always be extra legroom in Business Class (and/or the first economy rows).

  5. Tomas Guest

    Unfortunately I take quite some intra-european flights with KLM in business class and their speed of service is quite slow. They try the individual service by asking row by row what you want to drink, however if you sit in row 3 or 4, often you get a drink after all economy already have received a drink, snack and all was cleaned. It's quite unacceptable that this happens after. Crown lounge is, on the contrary,...

    Unfortunately I take quite some intra-european flights with KLM in business class and their speed of service is quite slow. They try the individual service by asking row by row what you want to drink, however if you sit in row 3 or 4, often you get a drink after all economy already have received a drink, snack and all was cleaned. It's quite unacceptable that this happens after. Crown lounge is, on the contrary, an amazing lounge, challenging the amazing loft in Brussels airport.

  6. Thomas Guest

    It's a good product. You can often upgrade these 3-hour legs from economy to business for about 75€. That's a steal if you ask me

  7. Greg Guest

    Nice to see cloth seats for a change but that COVID box catering needs to be reverted to proper service

    1. Aaron Guest

      This was their catering before COVID came along...

  8. SGT PERI Guest

    These are biz seats?! Looks seats on a plane out of Congo!!! Bloody awefull! Food seems ok.

  9. Vox Guest

    Quite a sneaky way of insinuating that the crew were not above board when wishing that pax. You do you.

  10. glenn t Diamond

    So exactly what was required for Covid status: (a) vaccination certificate, (b) neg. test result, or (c) both?

    1. Samo Guest

      One of those two. Or a recovery certificate (but that is only accepted if issued in the EU).

  11. Foo Blah Guest

    Lucky, you’re giving me flashbacks. I’ve flown Houston to Amsterdam to Moscow many times for work. KLM is ok. Arriving in Amsterdam at 7am generally sucked. Then trying to get into the overcrowded Priority Pass lounge was a chore. One of the Starbucks there has a padded bench and tables tucked around the side of the counter that most folks miss. Nice place to hideout and watch planes through a glass wall.
    Singapore Airlines...

    Lucky, you’re giving me flashbacks. I’ve flown Houston to Amsterdam to Moscow many times for work. KLM is ok. Arriving in Amsterdam at 7am generally sucked. Then trying to get into the overcrowded Priority Pass lounge was a chore. One of the Starbucks there has a padded bench and tables tucked around the side of the counter that most folks miss. Nice place to hideout and watch planes through a glass wall.
    Singapore Airlines used to fly direct from Houston to Moscow. Me and my coworkers miss that flight dearly. I flew business class on Singapore once on that route and it was amazing!

  12. Rafal Badri Guest

    It is disappointing to observe that business class passengers flying intra-European routes do not deserve what they pay for. The seating on the A320s & B737s is the same as economy class with probably the same legroom. Why is it so difficult to exchange these seats with the proper 2×2 configuration like what most airlines do in other continents?

    1. Will in SFO Guest

      this will help you:

      https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/british-airways-executive-club/1774808-why-intra-europe-business-class-way.html

  13. Peter Guest

    KLM totally lack what both Swiss and LH do. My recent flight in C on KLM on evening flights was same kind of box with cold food... LH have a menu a hot food and very good same goes for Swiss. KLM in Europe and you are better of in economy same leg room and if lucky no one next to you.. And the sandwish very good....

    1. Aaron Guest

      Swiss and Austrian have good food. LX's is...ok.

  14. AlanT98 Guest

    Why did you have to go through passport control at Stockholm if ARN and AMS are both in the Schengen Area?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ AlanT98 -- Because I was connecting from the United States, and first used the lounge in the non-Schengen area.

    2. Jerry Gold

      I'm still a little confused by this. Would you not have had to clear Schengen immigration in AMS at some point prior to boarding? If not, how were they able to differentiate between pax on board?

    3. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Jerry -- Whoops, I'm sorry, I misread these comments, and realize now what y'all are saying. I think the reason for the passport control was because currently each country has different entry policies, and Sweden had different entry requirements than the Netherlands. So while there might not usually be passport control, there was in this case.

    4. Kevin Guest

      I understand going through passport control in AMS but why did you have to go through it when you landed in ARN?

    5. Criced Criced Guest

      Probebly because this flight were before the EU-covidpass went standard and Sweden still checked on everybodys testresults etc.

    6. Alec Guest

      Can I use the non Schengen lounge as an arrival lounge if Amsterdam is destination? Coming from LAX and may want to shower if I can’t check into hotel until afternoon.

    7. Reyyan New Member

      Lounge access is permitted on arrival if you are coming from a long-haul business class flight on KLM.

  15. Jason Guest

    Very similar experience to yours a few years ago - 2019. 737-800 from AMS to LHR after arriving from Abu Dhabi. I enjoyed seeing the Crown Lounge and then the flight was good. Nice friendly service, good food for breakfast, and several passes through the cabin with extra coffee/ water/ juice. A pleasant flight. I like KLM

  16. pstm91 Platinum

    Good review, excited for the rest. My guess is the purser saw it on a company email/memo and just announced it. Not every milestone warrants a full celebration but it's cool to note.

    Ben - please, please, please get rid of the popup ad in the lower right part of the screen. You've done a good job with limiting the ads, and I can deal with the banner ad at the bottom of the page,...

    Good review, excited for the rest. My guess is the purser saw it on a company email/memo and just announced it. Not every milestone warrants a full celebration but it's cool to note.

    Ben - please, please, please get rid of the popup ad in the lower right part of the screen. You've done a good job with limiting the ads, and I can deal with the banner ad at the bottom of the page, but the popup one is incredibly annoying and intrusive. It blocks a good portion of the screen, and the fact that it's a "moving" ad is so distracting - I go close it immediately and it's beyond obnoxious. They seem to be for your other posts, which makes me think it's just a feature you've added rather than a paying ad? If so, please get rid of it ASAP.

    1. ken Guest

      I also noticed it recently in other travel blogs and imagined it was probably a feature of the hosting website? I agree it's annoying

    2. Deborah Guest

      I've noticed it on this site and View from the Wing. It is incredibly annoying!

  17. Pierre Guest

    When I flew in KLM business class all seats were occupied, which wasn't so nice. Otherwise KLM is one of the better airlines to travel here in Europe

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

pstm91 Platinum

Good review, excited for the rest. My guess is the purser saw it on a company email/memo and just announced it. Not every milestone warrants a full celebration but it's cool to note. Ben - please, please, please get rid of the popup ad in the lower right part of the screen. You've done a good job with limiting the ads, and I can deal with the banner ad at the bottom of the page, but the popup one is incredibly annoying and intrusive. It blocks a good portion of the screen, and the fact that it's a "moving" ad is so distracting - I go close it immediately and it's beyond obnoxious. They seem to be for your other posts, which makes me think it's just a feature you've added rather than a paying ad? If so, please get rid of it ASAP.

6
ken Guest

I also noticed it recently in other travel blogs and imagined it was probably a feature of the hosting website? I agree it's annoying

3
Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Jerry -- Whoops, I'm sorry, I misread these comments, and realize now what y'all are saying. I think the reason for the passport control was because currently each country has different entry policies, and Sweden had different entry requirements than the Netherlands. So while there might not usually be passport control, there was in this case.

2
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