I took a vacation in Europe this past May, and the first flight I took was on a KLM’s Boeing 777-200 from Vancouver to Amsterdam. I booked the economy class for this trip. KLM’s economy class on their Boeing 777 fleet has a 3-4-3 layout, which is super narrow. So even though I could pre-select the bulkhead seat in advance, I wanted an upgrade. KLM offers online check-in 36 hours in advance, and it gave me an option to upgrade at “half price.” Since there were a few open spaces, the upgrade went through at online check-in, and I was able to select a window seat, 3K.
Boarding at Vancouver International Airport
Since the flight leaves in the late afternoon, I came to the airport directly after work, checked my luggage, and went through security checks without any issue. As a member of the Skyteam, KLM uses the SkyTeam lounge at Vancouver International Airport, but I won’t talk much about this lounge in this review.
I walked to the gate about ten minutes before the scheduled boarding time. Today’s flight must be full, and there are a lot of people. From the boarding gate, you can see KLM’s blue Boeing 777-200LR.
KLM has five boarding groups: the first is for the business class passengers; the second is for the SkyTeam Super Elite passengers, and so on.
KLM Business Class Cabin and Welcome
The majority of the KLM widebody fleet has a 2-2-2 configuration for their business class cabin, except for KLM’s Boeing 787-9 fleet, which uses the reverse herringbone seats with a 1-2-1 configuration. For the 2-2-2 configuration, it doesn’t have direct access to the aisle, which can be inconvenient for the window seat passenger in a long haul flight. The design of this seat has very little storage space that it is almost impossible to store my camera.
The headphone jack is on the rear right side of the seat, and it is not particularly convenient to watch movies with the supplied noise-canceling headphones. There is an aluminum plate with many small holes between seats as a privacy divider. When the seat is in a normal position, the divider doesn’t provide any coverage; when the seat is in the lie-flat position, the divider does block seatmates from seeing each other. I don’t appreciate the design of this divider, and it looks rather ugly and cheap. The seat itself is very comfortable! Additionally, the armrest near the window can be lowered during the sleep, and it immediately adds some right amount of width to the seat.
About 10 minutes after boarding, the flight attendant came by to handout the amenity kit. KLM’s amenity kit is gender-specific, and they are all orange today. The color of the amenity kit for men is brighter, and the amenity kit for women is in a long-rectangular shape, which appears more elegant.
After handing out the amenity kids, the flight attendant brought the welcome drinks, and the choices are champagne, orange juice, and Heineken beer. I asked for a glass of champagne and orange juice, so I can mix them up to have a glass of home-made Mimosa.
As the plane was taxiing on the runway, safety videos began to play. KLM’s safety video is neat, and I watched them from beginning to end.
Soon after the plane took off, I adjusted my seat to the “relaxed” mode. Each business class seat comes with a small pillow and a thin blanket, and the quality has a lot to improve. I think even a Shanghai Airlines’ domestic economy class pillow is better than KLM’s business class pillow. Finally, I asked for another one from the flight attendant.
KLM Business Class In-Flight Meal
Soon the flight attendant brought me the menu for today’s flight, and she also brought me the drink and mixed nuts. KLM is famous for its sinagure cocktail, but today it ran out very quickly. The last passenger could only get a half glass of it. I got a whole glass, but I don’t think it was that tasty. After another round of drinks, the meal service started.
Today’s appetizer is two prawns with cucumber and mango salad.
For dinner, I ordered fish and crab meat with short beans and mashed potatoes. The taste was pretty good, but the portion was quite large.
The fruit is sweet, and tiramisu is a bit too sweet.
KLM serves appetizers, main meal, and dessert separately, and each time there is another flight attendant would come to serve the drinks. After the dinner, one flight attendant took away all the tableware, and another flight attendant came by to hand out a piece of chocolate in the shape of a Dutch house. Finally they gave each passenger a large bottle of mineral water.
The flight attendant who served me was very friendly, always with a beautiful smile. The service from the KLM business class is very efficient. I noticed the flight attendant come by to ask to refill my drink only during the meal service; after the meal, I had to press the call button to get a refill, and they came by very quickly.
After eating, I took a quick walk to the back of the plane. The economy class is very crowded with the 3-4-3 seat configuration. The aisle in the economy class is so narrow that flight attendants must have a difficult time serving passengers. Today’s flight is full, and I’m glad I decided to upgrade. Walking back to my seat, I felt a little sleepy, so I slept for about two or three hours, and then it was time for breakfast. I ordered the omelet with smoked salmon. Once again, KLM served another large portion of the meal!
After breakfast, the flight attendant came over and gave everyone a model of a dutch house. I think this is a KLM’s tradition, and some passengers indeed collect them since they have different designs.
Soon the plane landed safely in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It also ended this great flight.