So in October 2017, I did a day out to Amsterdam with KLM- the reason for this was to fly on the farewell flight of the Fokker F70. However as I was on the AMS-LHR leg, I needed to get to Amsterdam earlier in the day- this is where this flight comes in!
I've done multiple European flights on KLM with their Boeing 737-NG fleet, but only once in business class!
I was 20 years old then, and recently started a job that offered better pay than my last one, so I had some "spare money" available and when the offer to do an upgrade fare to Business Class for only £65, I thought I would give it a shot!
The fare I already paid for the return trip in Economy before upgrading this out-bound leg was around £90, so for sake of argument we'll say I paid £110 for this fare going off 50% of £90 plus the £65 upgrade. I would end up getting 750 award miles on my Flying Blue account under the old method of acquiring miles when KLM gave you a proper business class mileage return even on cheap upgrades.
This Business Class upgrade would see me reunited with an "old friend"
I couldn't upgrade the Fokker F70 flight, but my outbound 737 flight was offered for Business Class and as I had done cheap upgrades with Swiss Avro RJ & LATAM B787 earlier in the year, I opted to try out KLM for a comparison! To date its my only KLM Business Class experience, but I thought I would share this retrospective.
I don't have many photos as most of my GoPro images of the flight were lost in a PC memory bank crash- but the surviving photos I have (from my phone & GoPro) plus the video of my flight should ideally fill in the gaps and provide a good report to enjoy!
KLM 737 Business Class Experience
Arriving into Terminal 4 at London Heathrow (which was home to KLM & majority of Skyteam Airlines at the time) early in the morning, I made my way through security (I checked in online the previous day) and I headed for the Skyteam Lounge at London Heathrow T4. I recall having a good experience enjoying a few breakfast items (plus a cheeky OJ & Vodka) as well as being able to indulge in a shower at the Airport Lounge.
After a good start to get me in the spirit, I had to leave the lounge ready to board my Boeing 737 that was to fly me from London to Amsterdam that morning. Being a Business Class passenger on this flight, I was able to enjoy Sky Priority boarding, and I made my way onto the plane, where I got an interesting surprise!
The Boeing 737-706(WL) operating my flight was PH-BGP "Pelikaan", this was the first KLM plane I ever flew on back in late March 2015 from London Heathrow to Amsterdam Schiphol following a rather hassling saga due to weather delays and cancellations at LHR. So it was nice to reunite with such a special aircraft from my flight history under more pleasant circumstances!
Bit of history on this aircraft: PH-BGP was delivered in May 2011 to KLM brand new from Boeing. It flew for nearly 10 years with the airline and was withdrawn from use in early March 2021 due to the Pandemic and KLM wanting to retire their Boeing 737-700 fleet for newer Boeing 737-800 & Embraer E2-195. The aircraft is still flying for its new operator Eznis Airways in Mongolia as EI-GVW.
Boarding the aircraft I took my seat for the flight in the last row of Business Class on the flight which was Seat 4F, by sheer luck I was the only person seated on the right side of Row 4. Getting a whole row to myself and not just the blocked middle seat!
As with most Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 business class products in Europe- there is no difference in the seats except the extra few inches of legroom for Business Class flyers and the airline charges a small premium to sit in the unused business class seats if they're being used for economy class flyers!
We had a prompt and quick departure out of London Heathrow as the 06:30am KL1000 flight is the first departure from T4 normally (it was back then) and one of the first overall departures out of London Heathrow. As it was late October the take off was effectively in darkness, but as we crossed towards the time-zone jump and as the hour long flight progressed- day light evolved out of the dusk.
Breakfast was quickly dished out to us and a Dutch based cold Continental breakfast offering was quite satisfactory for such a short flight from London to Amsterdam!
The breakfast included: A Greek yoghurt, fruit bowl, croissant with jam preserve, a selection of Dutch cheeses & ham, a bread roll and a choice of hot drink- of which I opted for tea, delivered in a Dutch Delftware mug!
The flight was quite comfortable and smooth when we were cruising along towards the Netherlands, but a bit of a breeze had built up around Amsterdam Schiphol, so we were predicted for a bouncy landing!
I was enjoying lapping up the views as the day became more dominant as the dusk wore off the morning!
We began our arrival into Amsterdam shortly before 09am local time, and sure enough we had quite the approach into Amsterdam. It was getting a little bouncy as we went through the clouds and it began to liven up as we came in on finals into Schiphol Airport!
The plane was cleared to land on Runway 36C- which gave us an interesting view of the Runway 90 and the cargo Terminal on arrival as we came in on finals!
We landed safe and sound (as you'd expect) and taxied off heading for the Airport's central Terminal complex. I was ready for a day in Amsterdam before my party flight back on the Fokker F70!
I was overall quite happy with my experience and I would be open to making another KLM Business Class flight if I was offered a good price to upgrade (or alternatively an Ex-EU itinerary originating in Dublin), this hasn't happened as of August 2022- but you never know, stranger things have happened in Aviation!
Upon parking, I asked if I could quickly visit the flight deck of this notable Boeing 737, and I was privileged to be allowed to look at the cockpit of "The Pelikaan" for what could well be the last time I fly this aircraft! It was nice to see it in daylight and have a quick chat with the crew about the upcoming retirement of the F70 and my previous flight on this B737!
I left the Boeing 737 and made my way into the D-Pier at Amsterdam Schiphol (where most UK/Irish flights operate) and made my way over to passport control and I carried on my day visiting the Panomara Terrace and the city centre!
SkyTeam Lounge - 4
London - LHR
Amsterdam - AMS
KLM Business Class- I quite enjoyed it and would put it on par with my Swiss Avro & recent BA A320 experiences. Quite a nice experience, although I would only do this if I got a cheap upgrade offer (£50-£75 offering) or cashed in Flying Blue Miles, I wouldn't pay just for the privilege directly unless its part of a long haul business itinerary. The lounge seemed nice, although being very early there wasn't much on offer at that time. I would probably need another visit to make a better judgement (as well as this being 5 years ago).
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Thank you Jett for the nice report!
It is nice to see a pre covid flight with a nice cuttlelry and food!
I am going to miss this Lounge at Heathrow4
Thank you for the kind words Chris, glad you enjoyed the read and trip into Memory lane!
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