With a worldwide network including joint ownerships and agreements with Air France and Delta Air Lines, and codeshares with a large range of other carriers servicing the Australasia region, flying KLM business class has never been better. Combined with the completed rollout of their the KLM World Business Class cabin redesign, many that used to avoid this European carrier are coming back to experience it again.
What redesign you may say? Completed in early 2019 the long haul fleet was given a major makeover. The KLM business class cabin was brought into the 21st century, providing fully flat beds on all aircraft on all long haul routes. This is the reason many are now willing to give them another go as previously, the prospect of paying for business class and being stuck on a 12-hour flight to Singapore in a reclining seat was enough to send shivers down their spine.
So, like the many returning customers, I too thought it was high time to give them another try. So here is my KLM business class review for when I flew from London to Singapore recently.
Finally, the time had come for a return to one of my favourite cities in the world. Not only that but for the first time in many years I was heading to Singapore with an airline that I once held close to my heart, KLM. For the last seven or eight years, I have avoided flying with the Dutch carrier on long haul flights for one very simple reason… I never arrived feeling refreshed. Now with the new business class cabin on KLM intercontinental flights, I don’t have to worry, so I was once again looking forward to spending some time with friends in the Lion City.
Departing from London City on KL994 meant I missed out on the creature comforts of the SkyTeam Lounge at Terminal 4 in Heathrow, but it did mean I could breeze through security and immigration without the thousands of others at the larger airports trying to do the same. Definitely a benefit of flying a European airline on a short leg first.
I won’t go into details of the Embraer 90 flight as it was only just over 1 hour long and I’d much rather focus on the Amsterdam to Singapore leg in the KLM World Business Class seat. What I will say is that I was checked in by a lovely staff member, through to the gate and on the aircraft in less time than the flight took, a feat nearly unheard of elsewhere.
Arriving into Amsterdam Schiphol, the KLM ground crew are some of the most efficient in the world. Good thing too as I only had 1 hour between my flights before boarding KL835. Once again it meant I wasn’t able to fully use the facilities at the fantastic new KLM Crown Lounge 52 but I did manage to poke my head in and have a quick look around. From a distance, the business class lounge shines brightly on the ground level and is not hard to miss. The escalators leading up positively gleam with the natural light from the enormous upstairs windows being reflected from the mirrored walls.
At the top is the reception area and inside, the lounge is huge. It was moderately busy when I entered but with this much space, it was no issue in finding a comfortable place. As a multi-level lounge, it appears to go on and on, all with generous amounts of sunshine streaming in. With a combination of couches, table areas and private business workstations spread over the levels, the other passengers looked to be enjoying the new facilities.
With a buffet selection on the ground floor offering both hot and cold dishes and self-serve non-alcoholic drinks, beer and wine, I was pleased to see some unusual offerings amongst the usual dishes found in all good lounges. Meanwhile, upstairs has a manned bar ready to take your drinks order, while on the other side is an a-la-carte restaurant offering a fine dining experience for those with the time between flights.
I also noted that there were shower facilities and lockers available but due to my quick connection, I had to get to my gate for priority boarding.
Upon entering KLM’s B777-300ER, the first thing I noticed about the business class cabin was the cool, calming atmosphere. The combination of the pristine white seat surrounds with the earthy brown seats and blue highlights walked a fine line between clinical and comfortable, falling just on the later for me. With only 6 rows in a 2-2-2 configuration, I had pre-selected seat 3D. The way the cabin is laid out is in 2 sections with the first five rows, a galley and then the sixth row separate. Usually, I wouldn’t choose a middle seat but I wanted the direct aisle access without having someone wanting to climb over me.
The seat itself is set slightly out of line with the one next to it which creates a little more privacy, along with the partition. I noticed that the bulkhead rows (1 and 6) had additional space in the footwell but this comes at the price of being near the galley and toilets. The best thing about the new KLM business class cabin was that there was no fear of being stuck in a reclining seat as the entire KLM fleet now has fully flat beds to relax in.
Welcomed by the crew with a beverage, a glass of champagne in a beautifully bevelled glass, and a luxury business class amenity kit from Jan Taminiau, I settled into my seat. The space was comfortable with several storage locations and a power outlet and USB socket for gadgets if you’re so inclined. The inflight entertainment was displayed on a 16″ touch screen and that could also be controlled by a remote that certainly helps when lying in the fully flat bed. Containing over 150 movies and a large range of TV shows, and coming with noise-cancelling headphones, there was plenty to keep me occupied on this overnight flight.
Having taken off from Amsterdam, I adjusted the seat into a more relaxed position and made small individual adjustments to the lumbar support to ensure I could rest while I perused the menu. It wasn’t long before a was ordering a coconut beef soup to start (I wasn’t really feeling the shrimp and salmon mousse with pickles), and a chicken and goats cheese ravioli for my main, all washed down with a glass of fantastic Australian Shiraz from Wirra Wirra. I could have easily gone with the cod fillet in bell pepper sauce or the braised lamb in a tarragon sauce but prefer to not overindulge when I have to get some sleep at 40,000 feet.
The meal was delicious and just what was needed, especially when followed by a cheese plate with a distinctly Dutch twist and a miniature chocolate KLM house.
Settling in for the evening I converted my seat into the fully flat bed at the touch of a button. At nearly two metres in length, the space was ample to stretch out but felt a little tight in width compared to other business class seats I’ve experienced. Unfortunately, with all the redesigns of the KLM business class though, one thing seems to have been forgotten. With no mattress topper on offer, the seats are very hard and not ideal in my eyes for sleep. With a quick word to the cabin crew, I got a second blanket and used this as a mattress which made it a little better.
Managing to get about 5 hours of sleep, I brought my bed back to a comfortable position and plugged in to watch a movie while I waited for breakfast to roll around. The egg souffle with mushrooms, a croissant, fruit and a coffee was perfect for me to ease into the day, and the tradition of receiving a Delft Blue house is always a nice touch on KLM business class flights.
It is always a joy to land into Singapore Changi Airport and flying business class with KLM makes it even better. Disembarking first and having priority luggage always means getting through to my hotel is easy and streamlined.
I found some real positives with the new KLM World Business Class since they have made the improvements. The ability to depart from several UK regional airports so I didn’t have to brave the London traffic is always a bonus and the ability to return through Paris with Air France instead of Amsterdam making it easy to have a stopover in both directions in a different city is nice if you want to extend your trip. And the fact that it often costs half the price to fly KLM business class than it does to fly direct certainly helps too.
On top of that, the new KLM Crown 52 Lounge at Amsterdam is fantastic and I would love to have a bit more time to truly experience it properly. The friendly and attentive crew in the KLM business class cabin made the journey efficient and pleasurable, and the new fully flat bed seats are a definite improvement on the old business class seats. But I just couldn’t get over the fact that after spending so much on the improvements, something as simple as a mattress topper would have made the flight perfect.
Regardless, I would definitely fly on KLM’s B777-300ER business class again as the positives outweigh the negatives immensely.
Want to know more about the new KLM business class offering or which destinations you can experience it on? Contact one of the experts at Just Fly Business and they can fill you in on all you need to know. From Tokyo to Taipei and Cape Town to Canada, the team can find you a fantastic deal on KLM business class. Call today on 020 8417 1366 and start planning your next trip.
Images courtesy of KLM.com