Is KLM Even Trying Anymore With Their Domestic Business Class? Food – Bad. Seat – Bad. Wifi – No. Business Class / Skyteam Elite bags – Not loaded.

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Best part of KLM domestic business class seats is simply the view out the window!

In 2018 as well as in 2017 my wife and I enjoyed almost two weeks in The Haven on Norwegian cruise lines EPIC. As always, we flew Delta (and partners) to get to amazing Barcelona, Spain to board the ship. In 2017 we were on a dilapidated 777 that is soon to get the same seats we flew over in 2018 on the A350, that is, Delta One Suites (that are not all that great btw but light years better than the 777). The final leg each trip was with Delta’s Skyteam partner KLM from Amsterdam in domestic business class.

…is there another choice? Please?

I did not take seat photos again because on KLM domestic 737s the seats are all the same (i.e. all bad). They are all coach seats that may or may not include a blocked middle seat so you have a bit more elbow room but that is it. They are such bad seats and nothing resembling business class (maybe Comfort Plus but we all know there is nothing comfortable about C+, right). I also love to praise my dearest Delta on domestic business class meals. They really are almost always good or even great. Delta rocks it out on food. Does KLM domestically?

Really? Really KLM? Sigh…

Uh, in a word, NO! This was one of the worst KLM domestic meals I have ever had. The sandwich was pathetic with almost no filling and what was there was meager and blah. The salad, that looked like the one bright spot on this plastic tray, was unimpressive. The desert? One bite and pass. And this was the best choice on the menu that I could see. Sigh.

Cheers?

Even the domestic KLM service is not what it once was. The flight attendants seemed to rush to get you done so they could spend a bulk of the time in main cabin rather than checking on you in business class. And it got worse!

I arrive noon. Bags arrive hotel 9PM!

We had a rather long-ish layover in Amsterdam due to amazing tail winds that propelled our A350 to almost an hour early arrival but still, even with our bags tagged with yellow “Sky Priority” tags our bags did not make it with about 3 hours to go from one jet to another. So, we had to fill out claim forms that resulted in extra fees from our very reasonable transport service (welcome pickups) who had to wait for us to make sure our bags would be found at some point (they were delivered late at night to our hotel thankfully).

Not my idea of #TeamBoardLast 😉

Bottom line is I am so over KLM domestic business class and could really care less nowadays. Even boarding becomes worthless as you are many times bussed out to the jet and then there is no joy of boarding first and getting settled in before general boarding begins.

What do you think? Is it worth the extra miles (or money) to ever in 2019, and I say this biting my lip, to “upgrade” to KLM domestic business class? – René

 

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14 comments

  1. This flight is blocked at 771 miles. Delta only has the snack basket on routes of that length except a handful of specific competitive business markets. Sounds like a leg-up, IMO.

    And not sure how the bags went missing, but I’m hoping you know that happens on all airlines. I’ve had bags get routed to some crazy places and sometimes not make it on the plane at all despite it being the only flight leaving the airport around then and arriving well ahead of check-in cutoff.

  2. KLM doesn’t operate any domestic flights – the Netherlands is too small for that.

    They have *European* flights though, including the one you were on. It’s a completely different product than US domestic “First”, positioned in a completely different market, within which it is competitive.

  3. Rene,
    I have to agree with Ben. KLM’s website does state that for Europe Business Class, they offer a hot 3-course meal on flights over 120 minutes, but for shorter flights, they still offer a cold meal. Last week, I had to fly from Heathrow to Amsterdam, and took KLM Europe Business Class. My meal was similar to yours and included three sandwich choices, served on on nice, fresh artisan bread. It was all nicely displayed and the flight crew was very polite and attentive. There were five rows of Europe Business Class on my flight, and they managed to serve everyone and ultimately get it all cleared in maybe an hour or so of wheels-up time? I was amazed they could do all that. Even in Economy, they served fresh packaged sandwiches and drinks to everyone.

    I agree with you that the seating/hard product is nicer in Delta’s domestic business class product, but I’m impressed that they can still pull off meals at all on short flights. Will be interested to see, next month, when I have a KLM CityHopper flight from AMS to BRU, which is really short, but they say they still do the cold meal service.

  4. Americans flying in Europe tend to be disappointed because the hard product on European business class is usually only a blocked middle on a standard coach seat. Leg room is also, normally, not any better than coach and LESS than what you get in C+ as an example. Moreover, boarding is often to a bus gate or a walk out on a tarmac.

    Europeans flying in the US tend to be disappointed because the soft product does not contain lounge access and food in domestic first is normally not as plentiful as food in intra-European business.

    I am American, so my preference is for the nicer seat over the slightly better food. In my mind, Euro business isn’t worth it. I would never buy it separately but would happily take it on a connection. I’m led to believe that Aussie’s get both the better seat and the better food (and maybe lounge access).

  5. @Stavros – Unless the Netherlands has pulled a Brexit they are in the EU. That, to me, is domestic and I think others see it the same way.

  6. The EU is not the same as the US. Therefore, all 27 members of the EU may well operate domestic services within their own countries, but cross borders as in this case are most certainly not Domestic.

  7. I would call it domestic if travel is between two Schengen Area countries.

    I travel to Bulgaria once a year, and Bulgaria is part of the EU but is not yet part of the Schengen Area. In Sofia, I need to clear customs when arriving from Paris or Amsterdam and when I exit. On the plus side, once I get to Amsterdam I can go directly to my plane back to the US, although it is not as nice as it used to be because of the enhanced screening.

    By the way, Aeroflot has US-style business class seats in their A32X and 737 fleets, and lots and lots of vodka.

    Some of the A32X and 737 planes of South African airlines have a 2-3 configuration in business class. I have only sat on the “2” side, but I thought it was pretty nice improvement over the “economy with the middle seat blocked off” seating that Air France and Alitalia have.

  8. Just got off a kLM 737-800. I was two rows behind Business (which was the first two rows), but the curtain wasn’t pulled so I could see much of what was happening up front — and it wasn’t a lot. I thought the legroom in Economy Comfort was generous, probably the same as Business. (In fact, the first seven rows can be turned into business class by moving the curtain, so I suspect the hard product is the same for all seven rows.) The flight was about 2.5 hours and we were served a hot container of chicken and rice, along with two beverage services, including alcohol. So the only real difference is meal quality (maybe), the use of real glasses for drinks, the empty seat, and a bit more attention..

    I also recently flew on Alitalia, both overseas and within Europe. The transatlantic flight was fantastic, but that’s another subject. The intra-Europe flight was similar in configuration to KLM — coach seats 3-3 with center seats unoccupied, but those empty seats folded down to create armrests and beverage holders. Legroom was very generous,the hot meal and wine were excellent, and the service was attentive.

  9. My experience with KLM is that the flights over to Europe have been 95% topnotch. However, Euro business class is a joke. The seat as you mentioned, is a main cabin seat, but with elbow room because they don’t fill the center seat. The food has been so great. However, I do like reading about how happy their chickens are, and that we can visit the chickens that produced the eggs for my eggs salad sandwich…LOL No thanks! I’ve got better things to do.

  10. @rene The biggest lesson I have learned when flying a connecting DL to KLM DL to AF (or any other SkyTeam partner) is to check at every stop and ask about my bag at the lounge. I have found several times the bags are loaded onto a KLM plane in the USA (in this example) but do not get loaded into the KLM computer. Once it gets to AMS, the system does not recognise the bag and it is pulled.

    My trip in December MCO-JFK-AMS-DPS, i checked at JFK and at AMS to make sure my bag was indeed in the KLM system… and it wasn’t at JFK. I was A-OK in AMS. That sounds like a SkyTeam issue. Just a word of advise.

  11. had really bad food etc in Biz on KLM AMS to SFO will try never to book them again!! Hubby had Prem econo but gave him seat in the back even tho other seats open…Also asked for upgrade buy or GUC as seats available but GA’s did not bother very bad experience

  12. Dot,
    Interesting, but the article was about KLM ‘domestic’ business class, meaning within Europe, for purposes of this article. Also, KLM doesn’t offer Premium Economy. They only offer Economy Comfort, which is about the same as Delta’s Comfort Plus, and to be sure, not a real Premium Economy product. So, confused about that comment. Lastly, on international flights, I’ve found the GA’s can’t usually process the requests or payments for paid upgrades, and definitely not within 60 minutes, when they’re closing out the manifest. Were you at a location with real KLM EE’s, like Amsterdam Schipol, or were you in a location (like most international locations) where the GA function is subcontracted out? You can always tell from the uniforms they’re wearing. The KLM blue is quite distinctive. When I’ve done those kinds of last minute discounted upgrades, it’s always at the ticket counter or in the KLM Crown Lounge. KLM is one of the only Delta associated international carriers that I’ve had great experiences with, so just wondering about these things with your experiences.

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