I booked my trip to Europe in Economy Class on KLM. Thanks to my La Première boondoggle in April, I earned Silver status on Flying Blue. That allowed me to purchase an “Economy Comfort” seat at a 25% discount, or $65.56 for this leg. I figured the extra 4″ of legroom might come in handy. It did, though KLM B787-9 Economy Comfort provides a pretty decent coach experience regardless.
Note: this post is part of a longer series about my trip to Europe last November. Click here for the introductory post and trip report index.
KLM (KL) Flight 624
- Saturday, November 10, 2018
- Depart: Atlanta – Hartsfield Jackson International Airport (ATL), Concourse F, Gate F3, 15:56, 4m early
- Arrive: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS), 05:43, 17m early
- Duration: 7 hours 47 minutes
- Seat: 11C
- Equipment: Boeing 787-9
After spending some time at The Club at ATL, I headed to the gate about 20 minutes before boarding. Before finding a seat, I made sure to grab a quick photo of our beautiful bird at the gate.
As I arrived, the agents were already asking for volunteers to check hand luggage. I usually never do this, but as I had to clear passport control at AMS anyway, I decided to check mine. Anyway, boarding started on time, and in a remarkably orderly fashion. KLM boards in 4 zones, with separated lines for each zone (sorry, forgot to take a photo). Within a few minutes, I settled into my seat in the second row of economy comfort.
KLM B787-9 Economy Comfort Seating and Interior
KLM brands Economy Comfort similarly to American’s Main Cabin Extra, United’s Economy Plus, etc. In other words, you receive a seat with extra legroom, but no additional services. In the case of Economy Comfort, seats provide 35″ of pitch, compared to 31″ for standard Economy. Seat width measures 17.5″ for all Economy seats. The Economy Comfort section consists of 48 seats, utilizing Rows 10-15 and the center section of Row 16. All seats are in the less than ideal (for the 787) 3-3-3 configuration.
The Economy Comfort seats are outfitted nicely enough, in blue cloth with an enhanced black headrest. Only the headrest differentiates Economy Comfort from standard Economy, as seen in the second photo.
The usual Boeing “Sky” lighting provides a relaxing orange glow as the flight wears on.
The extra 4″ of pitch certainly makes a difference when it comes to legroom, with plenty of room to stretch. It definitely felt more comfortable than the regular coach seats on my Delta A350 flight.
On the other hand, only 17.5″ of width means the seats remain tight overall. It didn’t seem as bad as American’s 787-8, which features an even tighter 17.2″ of width. But it’s hardly “roomy”. Seat padding also isn’t spectacular; you’ll need a pillow for your posterior to stop it from going numb. Nevertheless, I managed to sleep for about 3 1/2 hours.
Waiting at the seat were a standard Economy Class pillow and blanket.
Meanwhile, each seat includes a USB port on the seatback screen, and a power port on the bottom left floor support. Unfortunately, the USB port quit working halfway a couple of hours into the flight. The power port continued working normally, though.
KLM B787-9 Economy Comfort In-Flight Entertainment
Each Economy Class seat includes a decent-sized seatback screen with very good resolution. Though perhaps not as extensive as Delta Studio, KLM provides a good selection of movies, TV shows, and games on its entertainment system. The move selection was a bit…eclectic?…but there was an extensive library of newer TV shows. I watched a couple of episodes of NCIS before going to sleep.
I also quite enjoyed KLM’s safety video, which depicted artists sketching crewmembers and making Delft houses. Much like KLM’s livery, I found it simple yet somehow elegant; it accentuated the brand, I thought.
KLM also offers WiFi on its 787-9 fleet. Unfortunately, the airline charges by data usage, not time, and €30 for 200MB seems pretty steep. You can use Flying Blue miles to pay, but please, don’t do this. At these conversion rates, you receive just 0.3 cents of value per point. I decided not to buy WiFi, and so can’t comment on speeds.
KLM B787-9 Economy Comfort Food & Beverage
Economy Comfort receives the same food and beverage service as standard Economy. The FAs served dinner about an hour after takeoff. I forgot the choices offered, but I selected the pasta.
The pasta came with a small side salad, bread, fruit crumble, and cheese and crackers.
The meal wasn’t bad at all. The salad was my least favorite. You know my aversion to goat cheese, and it had too many raw onions for my tastes, anyway. But everything else was pretty good. The pasta actually came out properly al dente, with a tasty marinara sauce and mushrooms. I usually don’t care for pesto, but it wasn’t overpowering. And the crumble made for a tasty dessert. Sure, it’s not fine dining, but perfectly acceptable for a coach meal. Unfortunately, I slept through breakfast, so I can’t comment on that. It looked like some kind of boxed meal, though.
To drink, I ordered the white wine, a South African sauvignon blanc/chardonnay blend. I found it pretty good for an “airplane house white”, if a little grassy and acidic. It does have a pleasant crispness when cold that paired well with the pasta.
What I appreciated most about the dinner service was its efficiency. You may recall my complaint about the glacial service in Delta’s Economy Class. KLM, on the other hand, managed to serve and clear meals in just an hour. That left the cabin ready to sleep just a little more than two hours into the flight. On the downside, KLM begins breakfast service REALLY early. I briefly woke up as the carts started rolling through the aisles, and noticed a good 2 hours and 15 minutes to go until landing. I woke up about 40 minutes later, with plates already cleared. That just seems too early given how quickly they managed to complete things.
Service and Other Considerations
For the most part, I can’t fault KLM for their Economy Class service. From the get-go, I found the gate agents friendly, and the FAs warmly greeted passengers upon boarding. Once airborne, while not over-the-top friendly, service was efficient and helpful at all times. The only “black mark” I’ll give is the lack of proactiveness after breakfast. I hoped someone would at least come through and offer coffee to those who slept through breakfast, but no dice. No sign of the flight attendants until we started our descent about 30 minutes outside of Amsterdam.
Also, I’ve mentioned this in previous reviews of the 787, but it bears repeating again. The lower cabin altitude of the 787 really helps when it comes to cabin comfort. I found it easier to sleep, my ears didn’t block on descent, and I experienced no jet lag that night. The A350 does provide more comfortable coach seating, thanks to wider seats (18″ versus 17.5″). But I find the overall “feel” a little better in the 787.
KLM provides a perfectly serviceable product in the back of the bus. Good service, decent meals, solid IFE, and an on-time flight are about all you can ask for. So does Economy Comfort provide a good value proposition? For a standard cost of about $85, you get 4″ of extra legroom, but nothing else. I suppose those few inches come in handy, especially in a “densified” configuration like a 3-3-3 787. On the other hand, you can often spring for full Premium Economy for only a couple of hundred bucks more. Delta, for example, currently charges and extra ~$325 each way for Premium Select from Dallas to Amsterdam. Personally, I’d pay that modest premium for both more legroom and extra service. But where Premium Economy isn’t offered, or the price premium is excessive, I’d say $85 is a fair price.