Tried & Tested

Flight review: KLM B737-800 business class

1 Jul 2019 by Tom Otley
KLM-B737-800

Background

KLM 17 departure points in the UK and Ireland. Current points of departure are: Aberdeen, Belfast, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Dublin, Durham-Tees Valley, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Humberside, Inverness, Leeds-Bradford, London City, London Heathrow, Manchester, Newcastle, and Norwich.

First impressions

I arrived at Heathrow Terminal 4 at 1000 for my 1145 departure on KL1010 to Amsterdam, a short flight of 45 minutes. I was flying on to Hong Kong, so checked a bag at the Sky Priority queue at Zone H, and then used the fast track security to go airside, which was very quick at this time on a Sunday morning.

The lounge

KLM uses the Skyteam Lounge. This recently celebrated its 10th birthday in July 2019, having opened first in 2009. Here’s the review:

Lounge review: Skyteam Lounge Heathrow Terminal 4

Boarding

We boarded at 1000 from Gate 15, a short walk from the lounge. There was a priority queue (queue 1) for Sky Priority and business class, but in the end this didn’t make much difference since once we were halfway down the airbridge there was a barrier across the entrance way. I assumed this was a mistake and made my way past it, but a woman told me to go back because “There was a barrier there for a reason”, and didn’t seem interested that they were sending passengers down the airbridge, including families, so we all stood there for a few minutes until a man responded to a phone call from the gate and quickly removed it.

This was a B737-800 aircraft of which KLM has 30 (they have an additional 16 B737-700 aircraft). These are configured in two classes and have a maximum of 186 passengers in two classes – economy and business class, though obviously since the seats are the same in both business and economy, the size of the business cabin is easily varied depending on demand with only the middle seat blocked out. On this flight it was four rows of business class and the rest was economy.

KLM B738-leg-room

The seats

The seats are fairly old, upholstered in blue fabric and with a button to recline them. There is in-seat power, however, which is useful, even if on a flight this short it’s unlikely to be essential.

Best seat

The middle seat is left blocked, so you get plenty of elbow room. If you like sleeping or looking out of the window, then clearly the window seat is the one, or if you prefer being able to stand up and perhaps get items out of the overhead locker, then the aisle seats are best. Generally, I avoid the front row since it can be difficult to find room in the overhead lockers and you can’t keep your bag with you at your feet beneath the row in front.

UK-coast

The flight

We weren’t offered drinks before take-off, and my jacket stayed on the middle seat, but otherwise the service was attentive. Once airborne we were offered towels and then there was a necessarily quick service with a light brunch meal. This was tasty.

Brunch-KLM-business short haul

Drinks were offered. The lady in front of me asked for some ‘Bubbles” which after a moment of confusion on the part of the flight attendant was clarified, although he said it was not champagne but cava.

Amsterdam-approach

Arrival

Almost as soon as we started the flight we were descending into Amsterdam Schiphol. We were told we would have around a five-minute taxi to our stand, which proved to be the case, and then we walked down the steps and took a bus to the terminal, ready for the next part of the journey.

Verdict

A very short flight, but pleasant and efficient ready for using Schiphol as a hub and then onward to Hong Kong. To read a review of the newly refurbished Crown Lounge, see:

Lounge review: KLM non-Schengen Crown Lounge, Schiphol Airport

klm.com

Fact box

CONFIGURATION 3-3

·  SEAT WIDTH 17in

·  SEAT PITCH 33 in

·  CONTACT klm.com

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