In honor of the arrival of the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to its fleet, KLM introduced the new high-tech bird to the flying public with some special flights. In the same spirit as the last MD-11 “Farewell Flights” that KLM hosted in November of 2014, these 3 special flights are dubbed “Welcome Flights.” These flights took place on Sunday November 22nd, 2015—just one day before the launch of commercial operations with an inaugural flight from Amsterdam to Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.
The “Welcome Flights” are scheduled to last one hour and will overfly Holland in a big loop. Reportedly, seats on the 3 special flights were sold out in just a few hours. The AvGeek community was out in full force!
As part of that AvGeek community, Flight-Report.com was there to review KLM’s brand new World Business Class. The Dutch Flag-carrier outfitted its Dreamliners with a brand new product.
Amsterdam (AMS) – Amsterdam (AMS) – B787-9 – World Business Class
“Welcome Flight” passengers were asked to check in at a dedicated area in zone 6.
Check-in is very fast as there are no bags to check and seats were pre-assigned.
All passengers are given a copy of Luchtvaart Nieuws, which features KLM’s new baby on the Front Page.
Just like on normal flights, passengers who are eligible for priority security screening and boarding (Business class and SkyTeam Elites) have access to the Sky priority lanes.
At its main hub, KLM has two large lounges—one for flights within the Schengen area, and a larger lounge for non-Schengen destinations.
Naturally, we headed to the Schengen lounge.
All SkyTeam alliance airlines are welcome in this club.
The KLM Schengen lounge has recently been enlarged. The new larger space brings in more natural light.
Always a good feature, there are many power outlets available.
There is a decent choice of drinks—both hard and soft.
Typical snack fare
As well as some hot dishes, which is relatively new for KLM.
Breads and crackers
There’s also a salad bar.
Charcuteries and cheeses
Chicken stroganoff with rice and a salad.
The flight appears on the FIDS as a 15:30 departure to “Schipol”
Clearly KLM is proud of its new Dreamliner
Boarding will be from the lower level of gate C21 via bus, most likely to give everyone a good view of the new bird from the tarmac.
AvGeek reading materials in the gate area
Along with virtual reality goggles where one can explore the new 787 cabin prior to seeing it in real life.
A quick speech at the gate
Boarding is about to begin!
Each passenger gets a goody bag, which we’ll detail a little later.
Boarding the Dreamliner through door 2L
KLM’s 787s are powered by GEnx-1B engines
Today, we’ll be flying on PH-BHC
With the introduction of the Boeing 787 into its fleet, KLM is also introducing a new World Business Class seat.
The Dutch airline has elected to outfit the Dreamliner fleet with the Zodiac Aerospace Cirrus model, offering fully lie-flat seats with aisle-access for all passenger. Sister company Air France offers this type of seat on some of its 777 fleet.
The Cirrus seats are in a reverse-herringbone layout with seats facing away from the aisles, as opposed to the traditional herringbone configuration where seats face the aisles. Again, all passengers have direct access to the aisle in this spacious 1-2-1 configuration.
There are 30 seats in World Business class, all between doors 1R/L and 2R/L
In the galley, the chef is preparing an amuse-bouche.
The Economy Comfort section, comprising of 48 seats in the first 5 rows behind business class, features seats with 35” of pitch and 40% more recline than Economy seats.
Economy class seats have a 31” seat pitch
And different color headrests
Economy and Economy Comfort seats feature large 11” IFE screens.
Back in World Business Class, we’ll be in seat 7K for this flight.
To the right of the seat, there is a touch-screen remote control for the IFE along with 2 headphone jacks, one of which can be used for personal headsets.
The aisle-side armrest can be lowered, but does not offer more storage space as featured on some other airlines’ cirrus models.
There is a coat hook near the IFE screen.
As well as the button to release the IFE screen.
The size of the IFE screen is 16 inches
The screen can tilt up and down, which is new for a Cirrus model
The side table has an interesting design, but does not have a grip feature to avoid having glasses slide off during turbulence.
Universal power outlet and USB port.
And the famous window shading controls, unique to the Dreamliner
Nice storage space on the side.
Where you’ll find a mirror as well.
Here is what was inside the goody bag that was given at check-in. There is a KLM cap, a brochure on the KLM 787, a headset, a sandwich, a jar with airplane shaped gummy candies, and a KLM 787 safety card.
The cabin is completely full, with every seat taken.
The new KLM Safety video is played. The new video showcases the Dutch tradition of Delft Blue.
Pushback, and we’re under way.
The moving map gives a flying time of 58 minutes.
The taxi time is a bit long as we’ll be taking off from the Polderbaan. We’re escorted the whole way—there is probably a camera crew to film the takeoff.
And here we go !
Right turn and we’re overflying Schipol.
On this special flight, we’ll be flying at very low altitudes. In fact, we never go above 3000 ft and stay mostly around 2000 ft.
Flying at low altitude doesn’t stop anyone from exploring the cabin of this new Dreamliner and checking out the scenery out the large windows.
VIP guests on this flight include Alexandre de Juniac, CEO of Air-France KLM, and Piter J Th. Elbers, CEO of KLM, seen here posing with a KLM pilot.
In World Business class, there is a tasting menu of Amuse-bouches.
A glass of champagne to celebrate the arrival of this new Dreamliner.
Salmon hors-d'oeuvre with pickled vegetables
KLM’s Dutch celebrity chef, Jacob Jan Boerma
Beef and beetroot meatball
The tray table is a bit on the small side.
Sweet smile of yuzu mousse
The new World Business Class seat becomes a fully lie-flat bed, of course. Although fully lie-flat seats are now new to KLM, This is the first World Business Class cabin with aisle access for all passengers.
The In-Flight Entertainment system is the Panasonic eX3. The noise-cancelling headphones are of average quality.
There IFE system is available in many languages. This is the IFE home screen.
There are 150+ movies in 12 different languages
As well as 200+ Television programs
A large selection of music
And a section for kids.
Like on many new generation aircraft, the IFE features seat-to-seat messaging.
You can also learn a new language with Berlitz
And of course, there is flight information available, including an interactive 3D moving map.
There is also a section on KLM.
You can tag shows as “favorites”
There’s also duty-free shopping
The moving map is the latest generation with a plethora of different ways to adjust the view and zoom in/out.
Looks like they haven’t created a KLM 787 for the moving map yet, as this is clearly a 777.
In the Economy cabin there are games and entertainment, including a contest to win a model of the KLM Dreamliner.
Sadly, we’re getting to the end of this special flight.
Towards the end the flight, the cabin crew hand out Certificates of Participation in the special 787 flight to all passengers.
Upon arrival back at AMS, we are greeted by a water salute from the Schipol Fire Brigade.
Mood lighting during deplaning.
At this point, night has fallen which gives AvGeeks a good opportunity for some night shots of this beautiful bird.
Interesting that, although this is the first Dreamliner delivered to KLM, the registration is PH-BHC. Normally, the first delivery begins with an A.
As a nod to the airline’s long history, it is in fact the world’s oldest airline, a KLM DC3 is parked next to the new Dreamliner.
As of 23 November 2015, the KLM Boeing 787-9 has been flying the Amsterdam-Abu Dhabi-Bahrain route. On December 14th, Dubai becomes the second KLM Dreamliner destination from AMS with Rio de Janeiro following just a few days later on December 18th.
Air France-KLM currently has a joint order for 20 Boeing 787-9 and 6 Boeing 787-10 aircraft.
KLM’s Boeing 787-9 fleet is to be configured with 30 World Business class seats, 48 in Economy Comfort, and 216 in Economy.
With the arrival of the new Dreamliner into its fleet, KLM now offers a Business class product similar to sister airline Air France’s new Business product. The Zodiac Aerospace Cirrus seat is very popular and highly rated by flyers for comfort and privacy. This new seat will only be available on the Dreamliner fleet for the time being. Do keep in mind that KLM now has 5 different types of Business class seats (cradle, angled-flat, B/E Aerospace Minipod, B/E Aerospace Diamond, Cirrus Zodiac), so be careful when selecting flights.
It is worth mentioning, though it is not surprising, that the Economy cabin in the dense 3-3-3 configurations. The majority of 787 operators have gone with the 3-3-3 configuration, as opposed to the original 2-4-2 layout proposed by Boeing.
The Pluses :
- Good amount of privacy in the 1-2-1 configuration, also giving direct aisle-access. - Comfortable fully lie-flat bed. - IFE screen in 16/9 format with very good resolution and ability to adjust the screen angle. - Great IFE content, with several languages, and large selection of films, shows, music, etc - Pleasant mood-lighting and general 787 benefits such as larger windows - Good amount of storage - USB port and universal power outlet
- Small-ish tray table - Some issues with finishes (some plastic parts not fitting together well) - Average noise-cancelling headset. - Entry as door 2L goes right to the galley and doesn’t give that spacious open feel as on some other airlines’ 787s - No outdoor view camera available on the IFE