In January, I went on a crazy trip with my colleague Peer, visiting 8 cities in America in 10 days. This insane journey started in New York, so I needed a feeder flight from my home city of Hamburg. I then packed another 4 mini-layovers in Cincinnati, Washington DC, Charleston, and Atlanta into my booking from Hamburg to New York. At the end of the trip, when I was about to board the plane in Atlanta to fly back home, my boarding pass was torn up at the gate, and I was upgraded to business class for free! A wonderful surprise that now allows me to review another business class!
To start, here are the hard facts about the flight:
- Flight: KL624 from Atlanta to Amsterdam (
- Seat: 5A
- Plane: Boeing 787-10 (PH-BKF)
- Time of departure: 16:45
- Time of arrival: 6:45
- Flight duration: 8 hours
- Month: January 2022
Check-in & Boarding
Although I had booked economy class, I can still review the business class check-in, as I was also entitled to it due to my frequent flyer status. There is not too much to say about it, however, because the process was normal, as always, with its own SkyPriority queue. However, there is no SkyPriority line at Atlanta’s security checkpoint, even though this is Delta’s main hub. But KLM can’t do anything about that, so that’s not a point of criticism on my part.
The flight took place in January 2022, i.e. only 2 months after the opening of the US borders after (or during) the pandemic, and at an unattractive travel time. So the plane was almost completely empty, and I guess I got the upgrade to balance the weight of the Dreamliner a bit better. Besides me, there was only one other person in the business class queue, everyone else flew economy. About 5 more passengers arrived later, who apparently also got a free upgrade.
Comfort & Cabin
The business class seats in the Dreamliner are installed in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone arrangement. Each seat has direct access to the aisle. The seats are angled, the outer rows facing the window and the middle row facing away from the window. As always with KLM, everything is blue – even the windows are tinted blue. I think blue is a beautiful colour, but KLM overdoes it a bit, especially with the bright blue crew uniforms. After every KLM flight, I get a bit fed up with the colour.
Even though the seat doesn’t have those modern doors, the level of privacy is tremendous. You can’t see other passengers from the seat, but you can still communicate with the crew – perfect in that respect! There is a large storage area beside the window, which can e.g. easily accommodate a laptop. The table can also be pulled out from there, which you then have to fold out again to have a very large table. So there is more than enough space to work.
There is also a small compartment that holds a water bottle and has the remote control for the screen attached. Below the screen is another small compartment that fits perfectly for your phone or glasses. A USB port is also installed there to charge mobile devices.
The seat can of course be converted into a completely flat bed. There are 3 buttons for sitting mode, lounge mode and sleep mode. You cannot move the individual seat parts manually, but you can of course release the button at any time and leave the seat between 2 levels.
Overall, this is the most comfortable seat I’ve ever had in business class. I particularly liked the seating comfort, both for relaxing watching TV, eating and working. The sleeping comfort was also very good. This seat (JAMCO Venture) is currently only available on KLM’s Boeing 787-10 and Air Europa’s Boeing 787-9.
Food & Service
At the beginning of the flight, a menu and a wine list were distributed. Not only did you have a choice of three dishes for the main course, but you could also choose one of two starters: yellowfin tuna tataki or lobster soup. To be honest, I wasn’t familiar with the former, so I opted for lobster soup, which tasted very good. There was also a salad.
For the main course, I was asked to choose between slow-cooked beef, chicken breast, or tortellini. As a half-Argentinian, of course, I had to take the beef. It was served with mustard sauce, peas and mashed potatoes and tasted quite good, while not outstanding. At other airlines, the main course has tasted much better.
For dessert, you could either get a cheese selection or a selection of chocolates, fruit petit fours, and a macaroon. Since I don’t particularly like sweets, but am a big cheese fan, I chose the first option. The cheese selection was uninspiring but was still a tasty finish.
I can’t comment on the wine list as I don’t drink wine and I completely forgot to take a picture of it (oops!). I can only say that I was thrilled that KLM is one of the airlines that also serve a glass of milk if requested.
Breakfast was porridge with fruit, a warm bun and croissant, butter, jam, turkey, cheese, and a weird warm egg dish with cheese that didn’t blow my mind. If you want, you can have sparkling wine for breakfast, or orange juice, coffee or tea – obviously I asked for another glass of milk. Overall, a good breakfast that was surprisingly filling. In the lounge in Amsterdam, I realized that I wasn’t hungry at all and didn’t actually need anything from the buffet.
After breakfast, there was another very nice tradition from KLM. Each business class passenger gets a miniature house filled with Bols liqueur. A new model appears every year, so these houses can also be collected. KLM was founded in 1919, so there are (as of 2022) 103 different houses. A number is printed on the back of the house to make it easier to identify the houses and pick one that you don’t already have. I think this tradition is really beautiful.
Finally, the crew: they were always very friendly, and I have absolutely nothing to complain about. The food was brought and cleared quickly. However, we were only about 6 passengers in business class, with almost as many stewardesses, so the flight is probably not a representative example of the speed of service.
There is a nice large screen at every seat, which can be operated either by touch or by remote control. I particularly liked the flight map. By clicking on cities on the map, you could read interesting articles about the different destinations and airports. There was also a nice selection of games, of which I enjoyed Who Wants To Be A Millionaire the most. However, I have to say that I didn’t use the entertainment system much on this red-eye flight of under 8 hours. Most of the time I was either eating or sleeping. The noise-cancelling headphones, whose manufacturer was not specified, worked perfectly.
- Check-in & Boarding
- Sitting comfort
- Sleeping comfort
I was particularly impressed by the seat, which offers a lot of privacy and is also incredibly comfortable for working or relaxing. The sleeping comfort and the service were also very good. I’ve eaten better at other airlines, but overall you really have the feeling that KLM values you as a business-class passenger and that the airline and the crew really want you to have a pleasant and comfortable flight.
Cover Picture: Ditmar Lange