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KLM 747 Economy Comfort Review

by on April 4, 2011 · 19 comments

in Flying Blue, KLM, skyteam, Trip Reports

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I’ve flown international First, Business and Economy many times in my life, but I’ve never done premium economy. I’ve been meaning to check it out, but I’ve never really been presented with the option to purchase it, since I usually fly on cheap international coach (mileage run) fares or redeem my miles for premium cabins. However, when I booked the crazy $150 Copenhagen fare and chose routing on KLM through Amsterdam, I was automatically assigned a seat in KLM’s Economy Comfort cabin. These seats are the same as in coach, but with 4 extra inches of legroom. It was a nice surprise because I had always read that SkyTeam Elite Plus (Delta Platinum/Medallion/Gold) have to pay extra to get those seats. Even when I called to change our seats, the phone rep questioned me about whether I had actually paid to be in the cabin – to which I said yes, because I didn’t want her to boot us out of our seats :-).

For this trip, I actually built in a 6 hour layover in Amsterdam since it’s so easy to train into the city center from the airport. Amsterdam also has huge day lockers you can rent for 8 euros, so we dropped our bags and headed into town to spend the day taking in all Amsterdam had to offer. And sure enough, after some Heineken Colds, epic french fries and Dutch ice cream cones, we headed back to Schiphol for the last AMS-JFK flight of the day – on their baby blue 747. We did have 30 minutes to kill, so we checked out the KLM lounge, which was large, clean and modern looking. The food offerings were decent, though nothing spectacular. My biggest pet peeve of the lounge was the lack of power outlets – there was only one in my entire section, so I had to wait until someone was done using it before I could sneak in. Don’t the people who make business lounges know that people will need power outlets? Especially in international airports.

KLM Crown Lounge

Lounge

Not the cleanest presentation


After the quick lounge trip, getting to the gate was a breeze and there was no security line to go through because they have individual security lanes at each gate. So in order to enter the gatehouse area, you went though a crammed x-ray area, where you were allowed to wait for the plane. I suppose it’s better than going through security twice, but it just seemed terribly inefficient.

Once through the gate, I had about 5 minutes to admire the beauty of our aircraft- a 747 Combi. Even though 747s are no longer the most cutting edge planes, I still love flying them. To me, they are iconic and seem to quintessentially represent international travel. While I’m not a huge airplane geek, I love watching videos of 747s landing, like this KLM 747 landing at the famous St. Maarten beachside runway.

Big girl

Boarding was a zoo, even though they tried to board business class and SkyTeam Elite Plus first, everyone bumrushed boarding and there was little the gate agents could do to enforce priority boarding. We were towards the front of the line, so we got on relatively quickly and had no issues claiming our space in the Economy Comfort cabin.

Madhouse in the gatehouse

 

Regular coach seats, but with more room

The mini-cabin has a private feel

The 747-Combi is an interesting jet, because its converted to have a much larger cargo section in the rear, therefore it holds less passengers. This means the layout of the plane is different than your usual jet, because they need to house things like the rear galley, all towards the front of the plane. The huge front galley takes up the right half the plane for a decent sections, so on the other side of it is a mini-cabin of Economy Comfort, which is a row of 3 and 2. If this is making no sense, check out the Seat Guru Seat Map – we were in seats 17D and 17E. One of the most interesting things about our seats was the extra mini-aisle which can be used for storage during the flight.

Mini-aisle

Everything about boarding and takeoff was smooth and since it was a 5:45pm departure, dinner service began quickly once we were in the air. Beverages were served first and we were given a choice of sweet or savory pre-dinner snacks. I chose the savory and they were cheddar-herb biscuits that were quite tasty.

 

Dinner was a choice of chicken or vegetarian pasta, so I went with chicken- not expecting a lot, especially since Delta’s transatlantic chicken dishes are barebones.

Nice packaging

Chicken Tagine

However, KLM took pride in the product and I found the presentation to be well-put together and neat. The meal was actually decent- a tagine chicken with rice, couscous with feta cheese, Camembert cheese & crackers, fresh bread and then a unidentified fruit sauce afterwards.
Dessert was a caramel crunch ice-cream, which was decent.


About an two hours before landing, we had our choice of sweet or savory snack again. I went with the latter, which was a pizza roll, which had no sauce. It was interesting, though I have to say I like Delta’s transatlantic pesto pizza better.

Unlike Delta, KLM had personal TVs at each seat and there were a ton of new releases, like True Grit, The Fighter, The King’s Speech and Black Swan. Between a much needed nap and movie, time flew and we were back in NY before I knew it. I have to say, while KLM doesn’t use special seats for Premium Economy like Air France or British Airways, the extra 4 inches of legroom and extra recline was all I really needed. I remember thinking to myself “I would be fine going to Asia in this if I had to.”

I took a picture of the really tall guy across the aisle- you can see that even with the seat reclined, legroom is sufficient.

The crew was extremely attentive, professional and nice. There was not one service flaw that I could pick out – everything was solid and I really appreciated how quickly they began drink and meal service.

In summary, I was very impressed with KLM’s Economy Comfort product, which is great news because Delta is using their model and rolling out their own Economy Comfort this summer. While I normally get the exit row, Economy Comfort is better because the seats have more padding and they recline further, which makes a huge difference on long-haul flights.

Overall, a nice way to cap off a great weekend in Copenhagen and Amsterdam. I look forward to flying KLM again in the future – though hopefully next time in Business Class!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Dean

    Another great thing about Amsterdam Schiphol is that you can rent a shower/bathroom at Hotel Mercure to take a break and shower on a layover, without leaving the terminal. It used to be something like 10 or 11 euros, but that was several years ago. It’s very refreshing between two 8 hour flights!

  • Chris

    Unfortunately the DL version is nowhere near as good as the KL EC. On the 763 I took back from DUB recline was 1″ extra while the legroom (except for the front bulkhead) was not anywhere near as good as KL.

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  • http://www.twitter.com/jamucsb jammanxc

    lemon meringue mousse is the name of that desert.. i just had it 6 hours ago from a KLM flight AMS-LAX ………. Economy Comfort is REALLY good, nice legroom just like if every seat was an exit row seat and the recline was spectacular. I slept like a baby

    @Dean I was at the Mencure Hotel to look at the price list. It’s 15 Euros for the shower facility. In fact, I have a whole price list they gave me for day or night rentals if you’re interested. Hit me up on twitter or flyertalk – jammanxc

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  • Mike

    Hey Points Guy,
    Quick question around the Economy comfort…I know you were flying KLM but have you had any experience on Delta’s EC? I’m flying to Asia in a week and have a choice of either EC or Exit Row window and trying to decide which is better for the long haul (and getting some shut eye).

    Also, since the recline is greater for the EC seats…did you find issues trying to use your computer for any part of the trip as it cuts the benefits of having the seat 4 inches away.

    Any input would be much appreciated.

    Thanks!
    Mike

  • eric kam

    RE: the KLM crown lounges in Schiphol. There are Two of them it looks like you took your photos in the one located near Terminal E and F. There is another one above the Shengen Zone gates near Terminal C. The Crown lounge is open to Delta Medallion Gold and above (a.k.a. skyteam elite-plus).

    The outlets situation you mention is a little off. Power outlets are available built into the side tables at each of the soft cloth chairs. It is only the tables near the food and drink which have the lack of power. Also in the lounge there is a business area with individual desks/cubes where you get power and office chair.

    The Crown lounge also has showers free to use as well, just ask at the desk and you get put in a Queue.

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  • Janettours Jt

    I appreciated this review, as I am pondering purchasing Economy Comfort for a flight from AMS to MSP. I think it will be worth the $80!

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  • DcJimmy

    I was sort of excited last year when they introduced the product (before Delta did), and so I flew it AMS-ATL (A330 i think?). But I was disappointed, I hated the video screen because you could not view it at all, when the Economy Comfort seat in front of you was fully reclined. The video screen did not angle properly, to compensate for the steep recline angle (hard to describe this, but basically you couldn’t see the screen). It sounds like a little thing, but it was a long flight to have essentially no entertainment. I think they never thought about re-designing the screen, as it’s really designed for a standard Economy seat recline. (Unless they have fixed the problem by now?)

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  • BlayneVB

    What is KLM’s alcohol policy in Economy Comfort? Is there free beer, wine, and spirits like on Delta international flights? Ill be doing JFK-AMS on a 777-200 and AMS-JFK on a 777-300.

  • BenjiB

    Alcohol is free on all KLM flights, no matter the cabin of service.

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  • florent

    I have been an Air France frequent flyer for over 20 years. Being over 6 ft tall, I have upgraded my Dubai-Amsterdam ticket (KLM 0428) for the Economy Comfort zone to be able to sleep after a week of professional meetings.

    KLM has placed in the 2 seats next to me a dutch couple with a 1 yr old infant and it has been hell during the all flight duration: the poor child has been crying and kicking me all night long and the mum that was seating beside me found nothing else to do to calm him down that shaking him nervously and shouting “shhhhh” at him all the time.

    The KLM staff came on a few occasions asking the dad to walk around with the child but that was clearly not enough to give me a chance to enjoy the extra legroom and give me a chance to close my eyes

    I did not sleep one second and I am just after placing a complaint

    It felt like flying with a low-cost airline like Ryanair despite the flight with the “upgrades” cost me over euro 1200

    Next time I will definitely be flying with Emirates as KLM has obviously not a clue about respecting customer’s wish for Comfort. This was a very louzy experience that I do not wish to anyone…

    Last but not least, nothing has changed about the TV screen either: when the passager in front of me pushed down his seat, I could not even watch a movie any longer :(

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