I kicked off my trip the Middle East by flying for the first time in KLM business class from Toronto to Amsterdam.
After a visit to the Air France/KLM Lounge, I was ready to board the flight and see what the business class experience on the Dutch flag carrier was all about.
KLM 787 Business Class – Booking
If you’re looking to book KLM business class at a good value, the Air France/KLM Flying Blue program would be your best bet.
Since Air France/KLM Flying Blue became a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards in the summer of 2021, booking awards with KLM has become much more accessible for Canadians.
Redemptions start in the region of 55,000–60,000 Flying Blue miles for a one-way trip from North America to Europe.
Furthermore, Flying Blue releases monthly Promo Rewards which reduce the number of miles needed for redemptions. Luckily, Canadian destinations are often featured.
Meanwhile, cheaper business class cash fares are typically available from Europe to North America, but not the other way around. That’s how I booked this particular flight with KLM.
This flight was actually the return journey for a round-trip cash fare from Budapest to Toronto that I had booked for US$750, which is an excellent deal for transatlantic business class. I had previously flown outbound from Paris to Toronto on Air France business class in December 2020.
KLM 787 Business Class – Cabin
After relaxing and having some food in the Air France/KLM Lounge Toronto, I headed to Gate C34 for boarding.
I was among the first to step onboard the KLM Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which joined the fleet just four years ago.
Within KLM’s long-haul fleet, the KLM 787-9 and 787-10 aircraft are the only ones offering business class with direct aisle access at every seat, so I was delighted to be flying the airline’s flagship product this evening.
The 787-9 offers a total of 30 reverse-herringbone business class seats, spread out across eight rows in a 1-2-1 configuration.
(If you happen to find yourself onboard a 787-10, it’ll be the same seating configuration, just with 10 rows instead of eight.)
The reverse-herringbone seats provide additional privacy and personal space with a partial shell around each seat, while the middle seats have a privacy divider for those who aren’t travelling together.
The middle seats face each other and are best for those travelling together, while the window seats are best for solo travellers.
For maximum privacy, seats 1A and 1K at the bulkhead can be ideal, while seats 2D and 2G will provide maximum privacy when travelling as a duo. However, the proximity to the washrooms is something to keep in mind as well.
The cabin has a classic business feel, with shades of cool colours throughout while maintaining an airy and bright atmosphere in the cabin. The black leather seats against the pop of blue on the seat interiors create a sharp look and a differentiating touch.
I found myself in Seat 8K at the back of the cabin, preferring to keep a distance from other passengers so I didn’t disturb them with my photography and videography.
Each seat has a small storage locker with a mirror, reading light, and headphones. The console is also home to the seat controls, with four buttons that slide the seat forward, into bed mode, and back up again.
Beneath the seat-side console, you can find a power outlet and USB port.
Additionally, to the right of the storage locker are the controls for the entertainment system, earphone plugs, and a small reading light built into the seat.
In front of the seat, a 16-inch entertainment screen flips out with the push of the button. The flipping action is rather violent, and the screen snaps into place with a thud.
To the left of the entertainment screen is a small coat hook, and below, a footwell for placing your feet when in lie-flat mode.
The tray table is on the left side of the seat. With the press of a button, it pops out, and then unfolds to its full size along movable rails.
Meanwhile, on the opposite left side of the seat is an armrest that can be pushed down.
There are no window shades on the 787. The windows are dimmed electronically with the touch switch under them, a unique feature to newer-generation aircraft.
Overall, I thought the KLM business class seat had a sleek design and did a great job of emphasizing its small details. Furthermore, the seat is pretty spacious and comfortable, although presumaby tighter than what you’d find on KLM’s wider, but less private, Boeing 777 seats.
KLM 787 Business Class – Amenities
A glass of welcome champagne was served after seating, along with a friendly intro from the cabin manager.
Upon arriving at my seat, a pillow and comforter had already been placed there by the flight crew, which is a standard practice on most business class cabins.
The amenities kit was likewise ready at my seat as well, and had all the basics for a long-haul flight: socks, toothpaste and wooden toothbrush, eye mask, earplugs, moisturizer, lip balm, and a pen for any forms which may need to be completed before landing.
While not the most eye-catching, I thought the KLM business class amenity kit was still a fairly unique design, and was pleased to add it to my collection.
Lastly, the flight crew provided a menu and wine list for me to browse through prior to departure, with the meal order to be taken shortly after take-off.
The food menu read as follows:
And the wine list read as follows:
KLM 787 Business Class – Meal Service
Since it was a short flight across the Atlantic, meal service would be relatively quick to allow passengers to get as much rest as they could.
The initial drink service kicked off as soon as we reached cruising altitude. I ordered some sparkling water to start.
Since I was in Row 8, it took some time for me to receive my meal, so I took out my laptop and got caught up on some work. I quite liked the mood lighting during the meal service, which gave the cabin a more relaxed atmosphere.
I asked if I could try both appetizers if they were available, and the crew were pleased to grant my request upon serving my meal.
The first appetizer was seared albacore tuna tataki, which was delicious. I loved it more than I had expected to enjoy an Asian-inspired dish onboard a Dutch airline.
The second appetizer was a simple tomato soup. I found the soup to be okay, but mainly good for dipping the accompanying bread roll (which was soft and warm).
Next up was the braised beef main course, which was saucy and soft with decent flavour, pairing well with my Argentine Malbec.
I wouldn’t say it was my favourite dish ever, but it was a respectable dish with no major flaws that stood out, and I liked it enough to finish my plate.
After the main course, my tray was withdrawn and I was offered some sweet treats and black tea to wrap up the meal.
While the quality of the food was great, I was particularly impressed by the presentation throughout the meal service.
The dishware is old-fashioned and romantic, but still has a modern touch, with thoughtful fine details on the trays, plates, and cutlery.
Moreover, the crew’s service was friendly, talkative, and warm; they expressed interest in my photography and videography work and were quite enthusiastic in their dealings overall.
KLM 787 Business Class – Entertainment
KLM’s in-flight entertainment includes movies, TV, music, games, and options for kids. They offer over 250 films to watch in at least 14 languages, with no ads during the flight.
The entertainment screen also features a 3D map with pinch-and-zoom functionality and a cockpit-view function, a feature that is becoming increasingly more popular.
In terms of Wi-Fi, KLM offers complimentary 30 minutes of free messaging, allowing passengers to receive and send text messages; however, sending or receiving photos and video will not work.
I bought a 24-hour full Wi-Fi pass for €18, which I could use on both my desktop and mobile in the form of an access code (but not both devices simultaneously). The airline also offers one hour of Wi-Fi access for €8.
KLM 787 Business Class – Bed
After the meal service, I went to the restroom to freshen up. I discovered the standard-sized restroom for a Boeing 787, with a fold-down baby changing table.
The restroom details featured tiny blue Dutch houses on the walls, which I quite liked – and a signal of what was to come later in the flight.
Returning to the cabin, I maneuvred the vacant Seat 8G opposite me into lie-flat mode in order to get some rest.
The 22-inch wide seat turns into an 81-inch bed, which was comfortable enough in terms of the sleeping surface, but I did find the footwell to be quite restrictive. That’s a common complaint on reverse-herringbone seats like this one, and I found it to be particularly noteworthy on KLM compared to other airlines.
I sometimes have a habit of oversleeping on transatlantic flights, but I made sure to set an alarm this time so that I didn’t miss the breakfast service. As a result, I only slept for less than three hours on this overnight journey.
KLM 787 Business Class – Breakfast
For the breakfast service, a fairly standard set of egg and pastry dishes were served on one tray, which is typical for eastbound transatlantic flights.
The black coffee and orange juice were great to help me perk up after getting minimal sleep. Overall, the presentation was once again the highlight of the dishes.
Towards the end of the flight, the crew came by to pass around Dutch Delft blue houses, which is a unique complimentary gift for all KLM business class passengers.
The KLM house is a decorative porcelain mini version of an actual historical Dutch building and is filled with Dutch Bols Gin. There are approximately 102 houses in the collection.
These unique gifts have been around since the 1950s, and a new KLM house is released in October each year. The houses have their own app called the Delft Blue houses app, where the story behind each one can be read
I picked up the distinctively designed House #32, and I’m looking forward to flying more with KLM to add to the collection.
Towards the end of the flight, the staff passed out personalized postcards to business class passengers. I found this to be a very thoughtful touch and a polished finish to the crew’s service.
KLM is another high-quality option for flying transatlantic, especially if you can get one of their newest seats on the Boeing 787-9 or 787-10 Dreamliner.
The seats are stylish, the service was friendly, the food was high-quality, and the Dutch Delft blue houses are a unique keepsake that distinguishes the airline from its competitors.
My one complaint is common to similar reverse-herringbone seat types: the footwell was limiting when I was trying to sleep, and it’s the price you pay for added privacy and efficient use of space on this seat type.
Now that Air France/KLM Flying Blue miles are more easily earned in Canada, often with Promo Rewards, the KLM business class experience is now more within reach to book on points — especially if you’re headed to Amsterdam or onwards to other convenient destinations in Western Europe.