|Route||Amsterdam (AMS) to New York (JFK)|
|Flight Time||7 hours 44 minutes|
|Class Of Service||World Business Class|
|Booked With||Delta Vacations Promo|
After a fun couple of weeks hopping around Europe, it was time to head back to the States. While I was a little disappointed that my flight back wasn’t on the Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner to JFK, I was still excited to fly KLM business class on their Boeing 777-300ER.
If you haven’t already, check out my review of KLM business class on the 787-10.
So, how did this flight stack up? Let’s find out.
In This Article
Upon arriving in Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) from Rome (FCO) on a super early flight, I made my way to the KLM Crown Lounge. There are two Crown Lounges at Schiphol – one for flights within the Schengen Area and one for flights departing the Schengen Area.
Since I was flying to the States, that put me at the lounge in the non-Schengen area: KLM Crown Lounge 52. You’ll want to follow the signs for 52 to make your life easier.
The entrance to this lounge is fantastic. You can enter via elevator but it’s much more fun to take the escalator as it’s lined by Delft Blue Houses. More on those later.
Upon reaching the top of the escalator, it was clear that the lounge was packed. I reserved a shower time and it was a good thing I did, as there wasn’t any availability for 2 hours.
With a shower slot reserved, I checked out the bar area. It’s heavily branded by a small local brewery you might have heard mentioned – Heineken. Afterward, I made the decision to go up one more level to Blue by KLM.
This is KLM’s premium dining option. While I’m not a big fan of having to pay for food within a business class lounge, I’m okay with Blue by KLM as it’s closer to a first-class lounge experience. As KLM doesn’t have any aircraft with international first-class, this is a bonus offering so I understand the extra cost.
The restaurant has a great terrace outside to plane spot. While’s it’s not as stunning as the observation deck at the SWISS business class lounge in Zurich (ZRH), it’s still very cool.
After a quick shower and a last Heineken, I went to my gate to begin the journey.
If the boarding process on my KLM flight from JFK was calm and simple, this was the opposite. By the time I had reached the gate, it wasn’t quite time to board but it looked like a massive line had already formed.
In reality, it was more of a blob of people who didn’t know where to go. With SkyPriority boarding thanks to my business class ticket, I made my toward the SkyPriority boarding late. It was still a mass of confusion but a KLM gate agent was kind enough to mention where people should be and I was easily able to slide into the proper lane.
We boarded from the middle door, but instead of turning left, I turned right toward economy class.
The Business Class Cabin
There are a few things that make the business class cabin on KLM’s Boeing 777-300ER different than my previous flight on the 787-10. While I sat in row 6 on both flights, the cabin was arranged in a 2-2-2 layout on this flight.
So, why did I turn right instead of left?
On the 777-300ER, the business class cabin is only six rows but the sixth row is actually split from the other five rows. It’s situated just behind the middle exit/galley and just in front of the economy cabin. Even with others in Row 6, the mini-cabin feels very removed from others.
Off the bat, this means that only the center section guarantees both seats direct aisle access. Everyone still has a lie-flat seat but you’ll have to step over someone (or be stepped over) if you’re sitting by either window. This also means you’ll have a lot less privacy than you will on the 787-10 which is quite private.
If you’re sitting with a friend, this can actually be quite nice as it’s easier to chat throughout the flight – assuming you want to chat with them. Awkward.
Fortunately, there are plenty of movies to watch if you want to ignore your seatmate. KLM also provides decent noise-canceling headphones so you can just pretend to not realize your seatmate is gesturing to you. The screen is a bit far away from you so you’ll probably want to use the remote so you can sit back and relax.
The flight attendant working my aisle on this flight was nothing short of spectacular. She was always super friendly and attentive even with a pretty full business class cabin. Even when they ran out of a main course option for lunch, she handled it smoothly.
At the end of the flight, she even gave me a wine bottle stopper as an extra little gift. See, being uber friendly while traveling has its perks sometimes.
As you might expect, I had a glass of champagne prior to takeoff. KLM serves Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve which retails for about $30-35 per bottle. While it’s not the best you can find on a flight, I found it quite refreshing.
Once in the air, I switched to the 100th Anniversary Cocktail – a variation on the negroni – and, instead of mixed nuts, I chose cheese as my snack. Of all the snacks I’ve had just after takeoff, this is my favorite by far. I mean, I love cheese, but still!
I started with the beef and mixed mushrooms with sesame cream and cashews. For the main course, I ordered the Captain’s Choice which consisted of pasta filled with grouper, spinach in a noilly prat sauce with beans, carrots, asparagus and pearl onions. This dish won the KLM cooking contest in 2019. However, it seemed everyone wanted to try it and they ran out.I settled for the Miso marinated chicken thigh with carrot, potato puree, Brussels sprouts with an orange beurre blanc sauce. Say what you will about inflight food, but that’s fancier than anything I make at home.
My travel buddy had the Captain’s Choice. Yes, I sacrificed for a friend. Considering I got the only 100th anniversary Delft Blue house on our KLM business class flight to Europe, it was only fair.
I still don’t think he’s forgiven more for grabbing the only 100th edition of the Delft house.
Of course, I grabbed a bit of his just to see what I was missing. Honestly, though, I preferred my chicken dish. I found the Captain’s Choice a little bland while the chicken was full of flavor.
For dessert, I tried the sweet bites which included a brownie with hazelnut ganache, a lemon meringue tartlet, an apple tarte Tatin and fresh fruit. I had the sweet bites on my last flight and should have learned my lesson and ordered the cheese plate. I’m just not a fan of their desserts and need to remember that.
Prior to landing, we were served a light meal. The appetizer was a combo of food I can’t say I’ve put together before: a broccoli and wheat salad with cheese, olives, pecans and sun-dried tomatoes. It was actually pretty good.
The main dish was an Angus beef burger on a brioche bun with cheese, fried onions and a hamburger sauce. It was a very simple meal but, honestly, quite good. I finished the meal with a mini apple pie which was excellent.
The Jan Taminiau amenity kit has some useful items including socks, a toothbrush and toothpaste, an eye mask, face moisturizer and lip balm. KLM doesn’t offer pajamas (many business class flights don’t) nor do they offer slippers. Personally, I’m fine with a breathable pair of socks. Besides, my clown feet rarely ever fit in airline slippers.
On this flight, I collected my third Delft Blue house and chose number 20.
For those unfamiliar with this tradition. KLM has offered these miniature houses as souvenirs to World Business Class passengers. Each one is a model of an actual house somewhere in the Netherlands. They’re even filled with genever (Dutch gin).
If you plan on flying KLM World Business Class quite a lot, there’s an app to help you keep track of which ones you have (Apple and Android). Now, keep in mind that these houses are not given on intra-EU business class flights. You need to be flying World Business Class which is a true international business class product.
Unless we see another Delta Vacations promo in which SkyMiles are worth 2 cents per mile, it’s unlikely that you’ll book the same way I did. However, I’ll give you a quick rundown on how I booked it then show you how to book with miles and points.
I booked a package that included my round-trip business class flights on KLM plus 3 nights at the Renaissance Zurich Tower Hotel for a total cost of $2,744.11. However, I didn’t pay anywhere near that price.
I used 73,179 SkyMiles, an $800 Delta voucher and only $480.53 out of pocket. I only had 23,179 SkyMiles prior to booking so I transferred 50,000 points from my Amex Membership Rewards account. If you’re curious about the $800 voucher, I received it for taking a bump on an oversold flight – it pays to be flexible.
There are a couple of ways I would consider booking business class on KLM with points and miles – maybe, just for the Delft Blue house. Before we get into redemption rates, let’s quickly touch on the surcharges that come with booking KLM.
If you book a KLM flight to or from Europe with Flying Blue – Air France and KLM’s joint loyalty program, you will be on the hook for surcharges. On a one-way ticket in either direction, you can expect close to $250 in total taxes/fees because of these surcharges.
To avoid the surcharges on a flight to Europe, you could also use Delta SkyMiles to book which will drop the cash cost to almost nothing. However, you do not want to use SkyMiles to book a flight from Europe as you will be on the hook for the surcharges.
The advantage to booking with Flying Blue is that you can use as few as 53,000 Flying Blue miles to book KLM business class to/from Europe. This varies by destination so you’ll want to check the Miles Price Estimator to find saver level for your origin/destination pairing.
If the route you want to book is one of the monthly Flying Blue Promo Awards, you can use 25-50% fewer miles. These monthly promos are only eligible from select airports in North America so it takes a little luck or flexibility to make them work.
If you want to save cash, or Flying Blue requires about 70,000 miles for a one-way award, it can make sense to book with Delta SkyMiles for your flight to Europe. While you’ll need 75,000 SkyMiles, the cash you’ll save more than makes up for the small difference in miles. Just remember that Delta gets access to less KLM award space than Flying Blue.
If you need to earn Flying Blue miles, you can transfer points from Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Capital One and Citi ThankYou Points. Delta’s only bank partner is American Express. However, in a pinch, you can transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to either Delta or Flying Blue.
If I’m honest, I was a little disappointed that my flight wasn’t on the new Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner. I just really like that aircraft. However, I’m glad I was able to try business class on the Boeing 777-300ER.
While the seats definitely lack the privacy that is common in business class these days, it’s actually a nice setup if you’re traveling with a friend or loved one. As with previous flights, the food and drink were more than good enough and the friendliness of the crew made me happy to be there.
If you want privacy when you sleep on an overnight flight, this might not be the one for you but, otherwise, it’s a great experience that I’d be happy to have again.
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