Transatlantic award space on Delta is extremely difficult to find at the low-level threshold of only 50,000 miles each way in business class. It’s even harder to find on Delta’s partner, as very few seats are actually made available by Air France, KLM, Alitalia, etc. Yet, somehow (another blog post to come later) I was able to score two business class seats on KLM from LAX to Amsterdam this week! Thus meant my brother’s graduation trip to Europe would be flown in KLM business class instead of economy and my brother would experience his first ever transatlantic (and his first international flight) on a European Airline in business class. Can you say spoiled?!?
KLM Business Class Check In
Joshua (my brother) and I were traveling on two different award tickets. He was traveling from Seattle and I was starting my travels and meeting him in Los Angeles. Due to the last minute booking, only economy class was available from Seattle, and Alaska Airline could not assign seats or provide Josh with his boarding passes for his KLM operated flights. This was a moot issue though because Josh had a 3 hour connection in LAX and when I had checked in online that morning 72A (upper deck bulkhead) was still empty next to me.
I arrived at LAX 3 hours before my flight because I wanted to meet my brother at T6 and walk with him over to T2 where the KLM flights depart. I actually arrived right as he was landing and headed to T2 to print my boarding pass. At that time there were only a few people in line and no one in the Sky Priority Line. The agent quickly helped me and also agreed to move Josh from his seat on the lower deck to 72A. He provided me with my boarding pass and informed me Joshua would have to collect his own. This was not an issue because 30 minutes later, when Joshua and I had trekked from T6 to T2, the line was still empty and Josh had the seat next to me from LAX!
Overall, the staff at check-in was friendly and helpful! I would note though that the employees at T2 are actually Delta employees and not KLM/Air France.
KLM Business Class Security
Since the flight was departing form T2 there is no Pre-check offered. At the time, the only domestic airline that departs from this part of T2 at LAX is Hawaiian air, and pre-check is still not offered to Hawaiian passengers or airlines traveling on foreign carriers. Thankfully though, the lines weren’t long and with priority access we were through security in less than 5 minutes. In addition, the TSA agents were being friendly, and each time more than 1 person was in line for the body scanner, they would direct others through the regular xray scanners. This means I did not have to opt out nor get a full body rub down!
KLM Business Class Lounge Access
Business class & SkyTeam Elite Plus passengers departing on Air France, KLM, AeroMexico, & Alitalia flights from T2 have access to the Air France lounge. The Air France Lounge is small and simple.
Business Class Boarding/Pre-flight
After an extended stay at the Air France lounge due to our early arrival, we headed to the plane when the gate monitor switched from “on time” to “boarding”. Since Josh had never flown business class before I wanted him to have the full experience, from the line cutting to the preflight drink. However, when we arrived at the gate, the gate area was busting at it seems with people and the flight was not actually boarding yet. The Delta gate agents were still calling parties of people to the desk so they could have their seats. We waited in this area with the gate lice for about 10 minutes before the boarding process actually began. This was done effectively with business class passengers being called first. The gate lice kindly stepped to the side and allowed myself and others board. My brother was very much amused by this situation!
Once we embarked the airplane a group of smiling flight attendants greeted us and directed us up the stairs to the upper deck. My brother was grinning ear to ear and climbed the stairs with ease, making his first boarding of the 747 ever so special! At the top of the stairs, another flight attendant directed us to our seats and within minutes of us being situated she offered us a glass of water, champagne, or orange juice. We both opted for the champagne, cheered each other and sipped down our drinks as we pretended to live the lifestyles of the rich and famous! The nice touch about KLMs welcome drink is that it’s actually served in glassware and not a disposable plastic cup like most airlines.
Predeparture dinner menus & amenity kits were also handed out and our drinks were refilled as we waited for all economy class passengers to board.
KLM 747 Business Class Inflight
Service inflight was impeccable! Two flight attendants work the upper deck of KLM Business Class. Each attendant worked ½ of the cabin. Our flight attendant was extremely pleasant, friendly, had a smile on her face, and was even conversational. She quickly learned that this was Josh’s first oversea flight and graduation present. She played into the scenario and really stepped up her own game to make the flight special.
Once we were about 10,000 feet in the air, the seatbelt like came off and flight attendants quickly got to work. Within 20 minutes of takeoff we were being offered warm mix nuts and a beverage of our liking.
Once our FA served the 3 rows of passengers their drinks and nuts, she returned to take our orders and to refill our drinks. Dinner was then served in two rounds with wine and drink refills with each round. The first round was appetizers & salads while the second was our main course. After dinner was cleaned up, dessert or cheese were offered along with an aperitif, digestive, or dessert wine.
Santa Barbara smoked salmon offered with crème fraîche, green and white asparagus, corn and pea shoots.
Wok-fried chick in ginger sauce with Hong Kong noodles, bell peppers, bok choy and cauliflower.
Cheese ravioli complemented by a primavera cream sauce, cherry tomatoes and Parmesan cheese.
Seared beef tenderloin served with café de Paris butter, mashed potatoes with leeks, and Mediterranean vegetable confit.
We invite you to select your choice of mango cheese cake, brownie, a cheese plate and seasonal fruit.
Coffee and tea
Coffee and tea served with chocolates created by famous Dutch patisserie Van Wely and your choice of digestif.
At any time during the flight, assortments of refreshments are available upon request.
Dinner overall was good, with the appetizer and dessert being the best part. The smoked salmon was delicious and my ravioli was good for 30,000 feet. Not too salty, but the portion was huge and I could not finish it! My brother enjoyed his beef tenderloin and reported “it wasn’t anything fantastic but for airplane food, I really enjoyed it. Slightly overcooked but at least it wasn’t well done.”
For dessert I took part in the cheese plate and port wine while my brother indulged in the mango cheese cake. My cheese was delicious as usual, but I LOVE cheese. Yet, I clearly made the wrong choice because my brother’s cheese cake was extremely succulent! He was basically licking the plate clean afterwards! He was kind enough to let me have a small bite and I will say the creamy decadent cake melted in my mouth!
Shortly after dinner, well buzzed and extremely stuffed, my brother and I reclined our chairs, started watching a movie and both fell asleep. For about 4-5 hours we both slept of the 10 hours flight. Once we woke up, I noticed the flight attendants were absent from the cabin, sticking to themselves and being extremely quiet in the galley. Despite this, they were still very friendly and responded to any requests of passengers. In addition, when I requested a snack, the FA was then very attentive and came to check on me several times. I was one of the few people actually awake in the cabin.
Breakfast was served with about 90 minutes remaining in flight. Due to the duration of our flight, we were offered a full service breakfast before landing. The breakfast, like the dinner was large in size and decent for airplane food.
Tomato and feta cheese omelet served with a turkey sausage and fried potato cubes.
Both breakfast items included the item mentioned above along with warm croissants, jam and butter, yogurt, muesli, and the option of milk. Both my brother and I selected the omelet. The omelet was decent, but really no better than the domestic breakfast omelets served by Delta airlines. The potatoes were dry and the meat, well I did not eat it, but my brother reported it was “good”. The breakfast wasn’t spectacular, but for 30,000 feet and as a second full meal was better than just a cold breakfast option found on many long-haul flights.
After breakfast was cleaned up, the flight attendants offered each passenger a little Dutch houses filled with a typical Dutch drink. The departing gift was quite the surprise to both myself and my brother! We smiled with glee as we received our departure gift! For after all, I have flown long-haul and medium-haul business class on a number of airlines (including Thai, Singapore, Asiana, Delta, British Airways, Swiss, Lufthansa, NWA, and China Southern) and have never been provided with a departure gift. The icing on the cake, a few minutes later, the FA returned with a second House. She wrapped it with a note of congratulations for graduating university! It was quite a nice touch!
KLM 747 Business Class Seats and IFE
The seats on the 747-400 were the older angle flat seats. All KLM planes have now been reconfigured. At the time of writing on a couple 747 had been reconfigure. Sadly we did not fly the newly configured 747 with true lay flat seats. Despite this, their angle seat was probably one of the most comfortable I have flown! The cushions were thick and supportive and the massage function gently caressed my lumbar region. I had a bulkhead seat so there was no floor storage for my bag or laptop, but the wall storage provided enough space for both my brother and I. TVs were under the armrest one side and the table was under the other armrest. There was in seat power and the only real complaint I have about the seat was to get the IFE device from the seat. Each time you want to access the TV, you must also move your drink. I made the mistake of trying to open my armrest flat, not realizing that the cup holder and arm rest was all connected. This resulted in a piss like stain that was similar to that of a three year old!
KLM business class IFE on the plane is very similar to that on the old NWA (Delta) A330s. The Panasonic eX2 Audio and Video onDemand system offers a 10.4inch screen and a large selection of movies, music, inflight shopping, games, and a moving map. The movie selection was great, and at no point was I bored or dissatisfied with the service.
Inflight amenities in KLM business class from LAX to AMS were similar to most airlines business class. Each passenger received a Viktor & Rolf branded amenity kit. The kit includes socks, eye mask, ear plugs, toothbrush and toothpaste, chap stick and an ink pen. Face wash, body lotion, face lotion, and spray deodorant was available in large bottle in the business class cabin. Overall the amenity kit wasn’t anything exciting and very basic. A would really like to have lotion in my amenity kit because usually I go through a travel size bottle of lotion while flying at 30,000 feet trying to counter the effects of the dry air.
Each seat also had noise canceling headphones, a pillow, and blanket. The pillow was comfortable and the blanket was light. In my opinion, Delta and other airlines have better blankets, I was satisfied with the offering, but one could tell by the color scheme and material that the blankets and pillows were dated. Despite this, they did the job and kept me very comfortable while sleeping.
KLM 747 Business Class Overall thoughts
KLM offers a solid product that is dated yet still very comfortable. I was really impressed with the professionalism and friendliness of the staff. The pilot of the airplane even walked the cabin and made personal introductions! Before hand, he made it a point to announce that he was going to be in the cabin and would be happy to meet the passengers! On the upper deck, he talked with each individual passenger and even invited my brother to sit in the cockpit and explore it after landing in Amsterdam! My brother Josh had just received his commercial pilot’s license and was more than ecstatic.
Upon landing, my brother not only viewed the cockpit, but sat in the Captains chair! We actually stayed on the plane for at least 30 minutes and my brother was able to take part in the shutdown flow checklist with the pilots!
Service on KLM is top notch and could not be beat! I felt like the KLM employees were extremely personable and unlike the many standoffish US-based flight attendants or robotic Asian FAs. The food was good enough (especially the dessert) and the wine selection was superb. All-in-All I would HAPPILY fly KLM business class again!