KLM World Business Class New York (JFK) to Amsterdam Flight 644 Review

By Jonathan Spira on 1 September 2011
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Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport occupies the site of the former International Arrivals Building and serves 40 airlines and almost 10 million passengers a year.

KLM has two daily non-stop flights to Amsterdam from Terminal 4 including flight 644, which also operates as a codeshare with Delta Air Lines as flight 9347. One of the non-stops is on a Boeing 777-200ER and the other uses an unusual aircraft, the 747-400M or Combi.  KLM is one of the few operators of the Combi, which is a regular 747-400 except that the rear third of the aircraft is used for freight.  I was to fly on the Combi.

It was easy to locate the KLM counter at Terminal 4 and the business class line was empty so there was no wait for me to check in and also check my bag (as much as I hate checking luggage, the combination of a 10-day trip, variable weather forecast, and a mixture of business and leisure activities necessitated it).  Because the baggage system isn’t integrated with security controls for checked luggage, I then had to drop the bag off en route to the lounge.

KLM (owns), along with numerous other airlines, uses the Oasis lounge, which is landside.   Given the number of international departures, it was rather crowded (it serves almost a dozen airlines) and I didn’t stay long since it was close to boarding time.


The line to get through security, even for business and first-class passengers, was quite long and the line moved very slowly because it didn’t even have a dedicated TSA staffer checking IDs and boarding passes – she alternated (quite slowly and deliberately ) between the premium passenger line and the main line.

Once through security, however, I proceeded to the gate, where boarding had already begun.

KLM offers SkyPriority boarding in the U.S., which allows business-class passengers and elite members of various SkyTeam frequent-flier program to board at any time.  Only one door (2L) was in use for boarding, which meant a bit of a wait on the jetway.

My seat, 79K, was on the upper deck of the aircraft.  With 24 seats, the interior more resembled a private jet than one of the world’s largest airliners (it can be configured to seat as many as 660 passengers in an all-coach configuration and the 747-400M seats 275).  The two flight attendants working the upper cabin greeted me warmly and offered me a choice of pre-departure beverages (as is my custom, I went with water to keep hydrated during the flight).   The purser stopped by to welcome me on board as well and I was addressed by name throughout the flight.


Seats on the upper deck have a 2-2 configuration (the lower deck is also 2-2 as it is in the narrower front part of the aircraft).  The sleeper seats extend to 74.8 inches and recline to 175°.  Pitch is 60” and each seat is 20” wide.  Window seats on the upper deck have an individual locker that provides for extra storage space.

Each seat has a privacy hood (which essentially guards the top of your head from the passenger behind you) and a massage button, which is a nice touch.  I found the seats quite comfortable for takeoff and sitting and, with the addition of an extra blanket to even the seat out, it made for a very comfortable bed as well.    Pressing the “flat” icon on the seat controls puts the seat into bed mode. Despite the seat’s length, the footrest seemed too small and I found myself in need of a few extra inches in this department.

Despite this, the soft pillows (no one was sitting beside me so I had two) helped me fall asleep quickly.

Click here to continue to Page 2 – Inflight Service/Arrival/The Return Flight/Virtual Tours

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