I was connecting from a flight from London Heathrow. To read that review, see:
I then visited the new KLM Crown Lounge
We boarded at Gate 22 at 1620 for the 1700 departure on KL887 from Amsterdam Schiphol to Hong Kong International, a flight time of ten hours and 45 minutes.
I was greeted on board and directed to my seat, which was at the front of the cabin in 1K, a window seat. My jacket was taken, and I was offered water, orange juice or champagne, though there were also thin cans of Heineken as an extra offering. Very Dutch.
KLM Uses a number of different aircraft on this route, including B747, B777-200ER and a B777-300.
The last time I flew it was on a B747-400 and with the old business class seat.
This time it was a B777-200ER.
KLM has 15 of the B777-200ER, almost all named after world heritage sites: Epidaurus, Chichen-Itza, Ferrara City, Mount Kilimanjaro, Galápagos Islands, Hadrian’s Wall, Nahanni National Park, Pont du Gard, Borobudur, Darjeeling Railway, Iguazú Falls, Litomyšl Castle, Machu Picchu, and Old Rauma. There is one exception, which is the 1st B777 that flew for KLM, that was named after the founder of KLM: Albert Plesman.
They are configured in three classes: economy (ABC-DEFG-HJK), economy comfort (same ten-across as in economy, but with more legroom) and business class, and seat 320 passengers.
Business class is in two cabins, with seats in pairs with no direct aisle access (unless you are on the aisle). The configuration of 2-2-2 is AC-DG-HK. The rows are slightly staggered, so in the front, main cabin of business class you have four rows of the HK seats but five rows of the AC and DG. There is also an odd extra row of business class on the other side of the galley and in front of economy comfort – row 6, so in total there are 34 business class seats. You can see the seat plan here on KLM’s website.
The seats are in a dark blue fabric pattern which is attractive and has dated quite well. I was at the unveiling of the new World Business Class seat in 2013.
Since then this seat has, to some extent, been superseded by those on the B787 which offer direct aisle access, but while I know many business class aficionados regard it as essential, so long as I’m the one doing the step over and so not being fallen upon or kicked, I’m OK about it and these seats which recline fully flat have lots of room in this configuration.
These seats are a version of the Cirrus seat. You can read more about the different business class seats found commonly on major airlines in this article. It is for subscribers only. Time to subscribe….
Each seat had a thick duvet/blanket and a big white pillow at it. Before take-off the attractive amenity bags by Dutch designer Jan Taminiau were handed out. These unisex bags are part of a range which, according to the airline, consist of “six unique comfort bags in 12 different colours”. They are also designed to be used after the flight. Slippers were also handed out.
The seats have power both by normal plug (US, UK and EU) and USB for your phones or tablets.
The IFE screen, though not large (17 inches), is fine considering it isn’t very far away. The choice of entertainment was good, and there were several films I wanted to watch, though in the event I just worked, ate and slept.
The table comes out of the arm and then folds out but is slanted and so I jammed the provided blanket between it and the other arm to create a firm surface.
The front row seats have lots of room for your feet when fully reclined and you can put a small bag under there for storage, so I’d choose one of those – my seat 1K was a good one, I thought, though my neighbour had more room for her feet.
The service was excellent throughout the flight, starting with the explanation by the captain that push-back from the stand would be delayed by 35 minutes because of traffic congestion at the airport and also to give time for connecting passengers to take the flight.
Staff effortlessly switched between Dutch and English to explain the menu, which took some doing because unusually there was no printed menu for the supper. The flight attendant apologised, and said this was because they were in the process of changing the menus. Instead she showed me pictures from an iPad and described them.
The choice of starters was beef salad or tomato soup.
The main courses were chicken, beef or an Asian choice. I went for the soup and the Asian choice, which was very tasty.
For drinks before hand there was the choice of nuts or Dutch cheese, I chose the cheese, and then drinks, as follows: Rigal Original Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Cotes de Gascogne, France and De Kleine Schorre Schouwen-Duivenland 2017, Zeeland, Netherlands. This latter was lovely, and a vineyard KLM has served wines from for many years.
The red wines were Anne de Balbiac Pinot Noir 2018, Haute Vallee de l”aude, France; Mas l”Avail Terre d”ardoise Carignan 2018, Cotes Catalanes, France and Ken Forrester Syrah Reserve 2018, Western Cape, South Africa.
Service had been completed about two hours into the flight, and after that I put my watch forward to Hong Kong time, and of course it was then already around the early hours of the next day and I reclined the seat fully which is easily done with some very basic but clear seat controls and fell asleep.
For sleeping, this is a very comfortable bed. It’s a little tight at the shoulders, though it’s possible to sleep on both your back or side (but not your front). The amount of room for your feet depends on the seat, and my neighbour in 1H had the most room there, but then again was on the aisle, which is prone to a bit more disturbance and is slightly closer to the washroom door.
The seat is certainly long-enough (I’m five foot eleven, even lying down), and is 203cm long (so around 6 feet and 6 inches, I think).
It was designed by Dutch designer Hella Jongerius, and you can watch a video on her thoughts by following this link
I thought the cabin was very quiet during the night, and the only thing that woke me were several sessions of quite noticeable turbulence. When I first started flying to Asia and beyond to Australasia, this sort of turbulence was quite common, but it seems to be less so generally. Not on this flight. We had some quite significant bumping around, though whether it qualifies as severe or mild in pilot terms, I have no idea.
Around 90 minutes before landing I could hear some noise in the cabin and woke to find breakfast was already being served, so I moved my seat back to sitting.
This was all delicious. I went for a hard-boiled egg rather than an omelette, and there was also the further choice of some kind of sweet apple pastry.
On the final approach we were given our choice of Delft Houses, a nice touch that KLM has been doing for many years.
I chose this one, numbered 96, which means it is from 2014. On the tray there must have been a selection of at least five or six from different years.
Another excellent flight. The seat might be a little old-fashioned now, but it is very comfortable and easy to operate, and works well for either working or eating at or sleeping. The crew were always there when needed, and seemed to enjoy the flight as much as the passengers. Recommended.