Review: KLM Business Class Oslo-Amsterdam-Chicago (Boeing 747)

Oslo – Amsterdam

Our hour long flight from Oslo to Amsterdam was fairly uneventful. Business class on intra-European flights is just pretty much the middle seat blocked on every airline and KLM was no different in that regard. Service on our flight was outstanding though despite it being only an hour long. We were handed a menu for breakfast at the start of the flight which looked like this. While there weren’t really any options outside the drinks, it was still nice to see a menu to see what’s on offer. There were no vegetarian options on this flight. In my experience only Lufthansa and BA offer exclusively vegetarian options on short haul flights. 

Though it was only an hour long flight, drinks were always kept full and the FAs worked hard to make sure the passengers who were awake were kept happy. Breakfast was brought out in this neat looking box and breakfast consisted of some fresh bread, fruit, cheese, cold cut meats, and meusli. Despite my not wanting one, the FA insisted that I take a look what they offer:

Anyway the flight went by in an flash and before we knew it we were landing in Amsterdam Schiphol. And of course that meant my nose was stuck to the window for the last 10 minutes of the flight taking in the beautiful Dutch countryside:


Amsterdam – Chicago

So we had a 45 minute layover in Amsterdam, which meant we pretty much got off this flight and briskly walked to our next flight. Amsterdam is one of the few airports in the world where you can always make short connections. With that being said, boarding had already started by the time we arrived at our gate. And let me just say that there were a lot of “Sky Priority” passengers flying on this route.

The line moved rather efficiently and we were on the air bridge in no time. The design of Amsterdam airport anywhere from the terminal building to the air bridges is a wonderful mix of futuristic design and real world sensibility. The circular windows in the air bridges always make for good photo opportunities.

Our KLM flight to Chicago was operated by a Boeing 747, which I have been longing to fly ever since I captured this image back when I was on Sint Maarten. There’s something special about riding in the upper deck of these birds. It’s almost feels like you have the entire plane to yourself at times.

As mentioned KLM has most of its business class cabin on the upper deck of the 747. There are 20 seats in total on the upper deck with a 2-2 configuration.

The seats are what you would find on the old Continental or United aircraft with spacious seats, but no direct aisle access from the window seats. It’s really nothing to complain about for me because I hardly get out of my seat on 9-10 hour flights anyway and since I was traveling with my parents and sister, I didn’t have to sit next to a stranger.

At every seat were your standard issue: blanket and pillow. Not really amenities, which are out of this world by any stretch of the imagination. In fact the offerings are kind of pathetic when you compare it to the likes of the US carriers and British Airways.

The seats are lie flat at every seat and the foot rest is this exposed cubby-hole under which my bag luckily fit (the overhead bins didn’t fit my fully loaded peak design backpack).

As soon as we got settled into our seats we were offered a choice between champagne and orange juice, and were handed our amenity kits and menus. The amenity kits on KLM are by Jantaminiau, which appear unique, but really just consist of your usual stuff: toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm etc.

The FA confirmed that our Asian vegetarian meals were already loaded onto the aircraft when she handed out the menu, but mentioned that the dessert would have to be selected from the on board menu.

At this point our captain came on the PA system and announced our flight time of 8 hours and 15 minutes. It was expected that this would be a smooth flight all the way through with no real reports of any turbulence. This would put us into Chicago a bit earlier than expected. It was a bit rainy and cloudy in Amsterdam at this time so as soon as we left the airport, you couldn’t really see much outside the window of the plane. 90 minutes after we left Amsterdam, the FAs sprang into action with the lunch service. The choice of snacks included dutch cheese or a mix of nuts (not warm like on US airlines). I of course went with some Coke Zero for drink choice.

15 minutes after nuts and drinks were delivered, the FAs came by to set the table for the lunch service and place the appetizer. The serving trays,plating, and cutlery is all very uniquely designed on KLM. You can see some Dutch heritage all throughout and the salt and pepper shakers happened to be modeled after traditional Dutch wooden shoes. I have to say I really appreciate these minute touches. Anyway, the appetizer consisted of a salad of roasted veggies with cashews and pistachios. Unlike vegetables on other airlines, these were actually fairly fresh and well sauteed.

For the main course there were some beans, veggies, and rice along with some lentils. I can’t say that this dish was particularly appetizing though it didn’t taste all that bad. Far from the worst airline meal, but also not one of the better ones either. For dessert I had the Mango Mousse, which was quite light and a satisfying palate cleanser. Though it was a limited quantity, it was quite nice.

The entertainment system on the flight didn’t really have many options since it was an older variant of the IFE and there was no Wi-Fi so I was glad that the service only took about an hour. After lunch, I laid back and went to sleep. I pretty much slept like a baby until we were about 2 hours from Chicago at which point we were all served a warm, flaky Dutch pastry. It pretty much tasted like a Danish and was perhaps the best part of the meal service. It was flavorful and I certainly enjoyed the design of the ceramic cup it was served in.

And finally just about an hour out of Chicago we were served the snack service, which consisted of a hot vegetarian wrap full of potatoes and peppers. It was actually quite good and was certainly better than the food we got earlier despite the presentation.

After meal service finished, it was time to land in Chicago, As we were starting our descent, the purser came around to thank each and every one of us for our business and handed us our flight souvenir: a traditional ceramic Dutch Delft Blue house full of gin. It seems a bit irrational, but I do love to fly KLM just to collect these houses. I probably have about 20 of these already. They are perfect for winter village arrangements around the Christmas Tree 🙂  KLM even has an Android and iOS application where you can keep track of which houses you already have.

Bottom Line:

While KLM business class certainly doesn’t offer the world’s best business class hard product, the soft product is quite nice with its uniquely Dutch touches. While the meal service leaves a lot of to be desired, the service was courteous and attentive more than what could be said for US carriers. On top of all this, there’s no denying the fact that Amsterdam is Europe’s finest major airport and perhaps the easiest to connect through. It’s a pity that the 747 will soon be retired from the KLM fleet because flying on it ranks among my favorite experiences. And I do believe it should be on anyone’s bucket list. As for KLM, I wouldn’t hesitate to fly them again, especially when connecting onward to my final destination.


In case you missed my Vlogs from my Switzerland trip here they are once more. As always I would appreciate a like, comment, or maybe a subscription. That pretty much caps yet another trip to the world’s most beautiful country.

 

 


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