Review: KLM B787-9 World Business Class (AMS-AUS)

Wrapping up our trip to Germany and Switzerland, we had one final flight in KLM’s World Business Class from Amsterdam to Austin on the Boeing 787-9. KLM operates this route 4x weekly and our return flight was operated by the same aircraft that flew us to Amsterdam a week and a half prior.

Booking

I booked our flights almost 9 months in advance. With transatlantic demand for the summer at an all time high, I paid a slight premium to fly into Austin rather than another US destination. We booked our ZRH-AMS-AUS routing through Flying Blue for 80k points per person plus $250 in taxes and fees. This is well above the 50k points you can sometimes find on routes between Europe and the United States.

Pre-Flight

We arrived on our severely delayed flight from Zurich and assumed that we had missed our connection. Thankfully (or unfortunately depending on your scenario) our onward flight to Austin took a three hour mechanical delay meaning our connection was still intact. After confirming with a KLM agent that our seats hadn’t been given away, we headed off to passport control and entered the Non-Schengen part of the airport and headed for the lounge.

Lounge

Non-Schengen passengers have access to the KLM Crown Lounge 52 which is the airline’s flagship lounge at Schiphol Airport. The lounge is quite large at over 70,000 square feet and spans two levels. Four days of weather related delays and cancellations made the lounge quite busy but it was still large enough that you could find seating if you looked. Even though the lounge was busy, it was relatively quiet and calm. Compared to the terminal, it was practically an oasis. My full writeup from our visit to the lounge can be found here.

a room with stairs and tables and chairs
a man sitting at a table in a restaurant
a group of people sitting in a lobby
a group of people sitting at tables in a large room

Boarding

We left the lounge just after 3:00p and headed down to gate E9 to board our flight to Austin. Our updated boarding time was 3:15p and we arrived at the gate after Group 1 had been called. Group 2 hadn’t been called yet so we were able to use the Sky Priority lane and headed onboard. Dual jet bridge boarding was underway and, with most of Business Class boarded, we were onboard in seconds.

a group of people in a room
a hallway with posters on the wall

KLM names all of their aircraft and the 787’s are named after flowers. Our ride to Austin this this afternoon was PH-BHF (Hibiscus), the same 787 that we flew from Austin to Amsterdam days earlier.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

KL 667

AMS-AUS (Amsterdam Schiphol – Austin-Bergstrom International)

Seat: 6D (Business)

B787-9 (PH-BHF)

Scheduled: 12:50p-4:05p

Actual: 4:33p-7:41p

We boarded through door 1L and turned right to get to our seats. KLM’s signature blue motif was on display throughout the cabin which is better than some of the sterile white/gray cabins I’ve seen on other airlines. Since we boarded late, I recycled some cabin shots from out outbound journey.

KLM Boeing 787-9 World Business Class Cabin Interior
KLM Boeing 787-9 World Business Class Cabin Interior

Seat

Unlike our outbound, where we sat in 7D/G, I selected seats 6D/G which is the center pair in the third to last row of the cabin. Business Class takes up the entirety of the space between the first and second set of doors on the 787-9. The seats are in the standard reverse-herringbone layout and are very similar to what you’ll find on partner Air France’s business class, albeit with a little more color. Though there isn’t a door, the seats still felt very private.

KLM Boeing 787-9 World Business Class Seat

Waiting at our seats was a decent sized pillow though, unlike our outbound flight, no blanket was provided. I shoved the pillow into the footwell for boarding and departure.

KLM Boeing 787-9 World Business Class Pillow

Having flown on the exact same plane the week before, the seats felt like home and had plenty of legroom for my 6’2″ frame in the upright position.

KLM Boeing 787-9 World Business Class Legroom

To the right of my seat was a small storage platform that also housed the seat controls. Not many options but they were very intuitive and responsive.

KLM Boeing 787-9 World Business Class Seat Controls

The amenity kit was waiting on the shelf for us when we arrived and featured a face moisturizer and lip balm from Rituals, socks, eye mask, toothbrush, toothpaste, pen, and earplugs. The kit itself was made of a canvas material and didn’t feel that substantial.

KLM World Business Class Amenity Kit

Next to the platform was a decent sized storage area. On the inside of the door was a mirror and a set of headphones and a bottle of water were waiting inside. Also, next to the storage compartment was the cradle holding the IFE remote.

a blue and silver metal door
a bottle of water inside a locker

The headphones plugged into the slot underneath the IFE controls. While they were good quality, they weren’t fantastic and you’d be better off using your own.

a hand holding a black cord
a hand holding headphones in front of a television

The IFE screen swung out at a 45 degree angle and was crisp and responsive to the touch. I mainly used the touchscreen and only used the IFE controller to display the moving map. The destination themed backgrounds were a nice touch.

KLM Boeing 787-9 World Business Class IFE Screen

The tray table was located under the storage shelf and slid out with a push of a button and could be folded over in half to save space. It could also be adjusted forwards and backwards as needed. While my tray table on the last flight didn’t want to lock in place and constantly slid down towards me, this one held its place much better.

a hand touching a blue button
a hand on a desk
a person's legs in a plane
a seat in a plane

Underneath the tray table was another storage pocket that held the safety card and had enough space for a book or magazine. 12 volt and USB-A power ports were also located down here.

a safety sign in a magazine holder
a wall outlet with a green light

Finally, individual air nozzles were available at every seat. While the cabin temperatures was fine on this flight, it’s nice to have the option to get some extra air.

Menu

During boarding, the menu and wine list for the flight was distributed. Due to the delayed departure, the meal services didn’t really align as the main meal was served just after departure with a small snack before arrival, though it was after dinnertime in Austin once that was served. The full menu and wine list read as follows.

a hand holding a menu
a menu of a restaurant
a menu of a restaurant
a menu open in a book
a menu of drinks and beverages
a hand holding a menu

Departure

As boarding was wrapping up, the cabin crew distributed menus for the flight and also offered a selection of pre-departure beverages that included water, orange juice, champagne, and Heineken beer.

Our scheduled boarding time came and went and our Captain came over the radio and informed us that we were waiting on a few more connecting passengers. I couldn’t be upset since a delay was the only reason we made the flight in the first place. While we waited, I headed to check out the lavatory. It wasn’t spacious but did feature KLM’s signature Delft motif with the wallpaper having little Dutch houses printed on it.

KLM Boeing 787-9 World Business Class Lavatory

Rituals toiletries including hair gel, hand and body lotion, and body mist were available in the Business Class lavatory along with foaming hand soap.

KLM Boeing 787-9 World Business Class Rituals Toiletries

Finally, about 30 minutes after our re-scheduled departure time, the aircraft doors were closed and the safety demonstration was screened. The crew also made an announcement that, due to legal requirements by the Dutch government, service would be amended during the pre-arrival meal due to duty times.

KLM World Business Class Safety Demonstration

We taxied out to our departure runway and had a very bumpy climb out as we passed through the remnants of a storm near the airport. As we crossed through 10,000 feet, I pulled out my laptop and connected to the in-flight Wi-Fi. Pricing was reasonable at 8 Euro for an hour or 18 Euro for the entire flight.

KLM World Business Class In-Flight Wi-Fi Options

Main Meal

Even though the climb out was bumpy, meal service started 30 minutes after departure with hot towels being distributed.

KLM Boeing 787-9 World Business Class Hot Towel

Tablecloths were distributed next and our meal orders were taken.

KLM Boeing 787-9 World Business Class Tablecloth

For starters, I had the Thai red curry soup which was very good. This was served with a small side salad, a bread roll, and butter. I paired this with a glass of the Jacquart Mosaïque Brut and some sparkling water.

KLM World Business Class Thai Red Curry Soup Starter

For our mains, I had the Sea Wolf while Mrs. ATX had the Tasting of delicacies Asian sampler. I wasn’t sure what to expect with my dish but it ended up being decent. Though it wasn’t one of my favorite airplane meals in recent memory. Mrs. ATX said that her main was ok as well.

a plate of food and a glass of water on a tray
a tray with food on it

The turbulence continued throughout the meal service but it was only a minor nuisance with drinks sloshing around. Mrs. ATX’s IFE started having issues and required a reboot between our mains and dessert being served. Since I’m not a big fan of sweets, I had the cheese plate which featured blue, goat, and cumin cheese served with grapes and crackers which I paired with some Jack Daniels Whiskey.

KLM World Business Class Cheese Plate

In-Flight

After the meal was over, I put my seat in bed mode. While I had plenty of legroom when the seat was in bed mode, I did find it to be tight in the shoulder area. I’ve flown this style seat before on the Air France 777 and had no issues, so I can only assume the seat was slightly narrower due to the smaller fuselage. I managed to sleep for three to four hours and woke up with roughly four hours remaining in the flight.

KLM Boring 787-9 Business Class Moving Map

I was feeling peckish and headed to the galley to grab something to eat. There were a few boxes of chocolates at the front of the cabin as well as a snack basket in the galley. I grabbed a white chocolate house, a Stroopwafel, and some cheese sticks and headed back to my seat.

a person holding a package of butter
a close up of food

I fired up the IFE and watched another one of the Fast and Furious movies (Seriously, how many are there?) to pass the time. With about three hours until landing the cabin crew came through with a water service, though most passengers were sleeping. I was wide awake so I ordered a coffee which was served with a small cookie.

KLM World Business Class Coffee Service

Pre-Arrival Meal

With an hour and forty-five minutes remaining in the flight, the pre-arrival meal was served. For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to order the hamburger that had been on a plane for over 10 hours. It was surprisingly good and was served with a small lemon merengue pie for dessert.

a tray with food and drinks on it
a tray with food on it

Mrs. ATX had the empanada with spicy corn and veggies which she really enjoyed.

KLM World Business Class Empanada

Our trays were cleared roughly an hour before landing in Austin.

Arrival

The cabin crew buttoned things up about 20 minutes before landing and we had a bumpy, fast approach into Austin. We landed on Runway 18L and taxied over to Gate 6. We had to wait a few minutes to get someone to connect the jet bridge to the aircraft. We deplaned through door 2L and the cabin crew held the Economy passengers to allow Business Class to deplane. On the way to customs, we got a great look at our aircraft.

PH-BHF at Austin Airport

While I appreciated the crew holding Economy so Business Class could deplane, it didn’t matter since the Customs and Immigration setup in Austin has baggage claim before Passport Control. Our Priority tagged bags were some of the last ones off the belt but most of the other passengers had already cleared Passport Control by the time we retrieved our bags so we were through quickly. Mrs. ATX’s brother picked us up curbside and we were at our house 20 minutes later.

Summary

KLM’s World Business Class on the B787-9 is a middle of the road product when it comes to transatlantic options. While the food on this flight wasn’t top notch, the fact that this flight gives us a direct link to Europe will always make it a contender for us when booking trips. In fact, we have another flight in KLM Business Class booked for February to cap off another trip.

In This Trip Report

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