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

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IN-FLIGHT SERVICE

At the beginning of the flight, a member of the cabin crew distributed a Victor & Rolf amenity kit (the bag itself may be one of the most useful amenity kit bags I’ve seen in years) containing grey socks and eyeshades, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a pen, and lip balm.

Given the late hour (we pushed back shortly after our 10:50 p.m. scheduled departure time but our actual departure was about 90 minutes later due to weather), my primary objective was sleep and the flight attendants seemed somewhat disappointed that I would only be having a small snack instead of the complete meal.

They prepared a small but very enjoyable assortment of fruit and cheese for me and, knowing I wanted to go to sleep, served it to me before they began the meal service.    It was time to go to bed.

ARRIVAL

I awakened to hear the clinking of dishes and other passengers having breakfast.  I chose a sweet muffin, which was served with juice, fruit, yoghurt, and coffee, and was very tasty.

Prior to landing, the flight attendant went around the cabin with a tray of Delft Blue miniature traditional Dutch houses (Delfts blauwe huisjes), each filled with jenever.  Each miniature is the depiction of a real Dutch house [KLM offers an iPhone/iPad app, also available for Android, not only allows passengers to track which houses they have (there are many as they have been offered to business class passengers since the 1950s) and see exactly where the house is located in Holland, using Google maps].

We landed in Schiphol 45 minutes behind schedule, having made up some time in the air.  I had a three-hour layover before continuing to Stuttgart, so I spent some time in the KLM Crown Room and perhaps two hours touring the airport itself (see the Virtual Tour at the end of this article), which has amenities that rival those of a small town. These include a casino, a museum (a branch of the world-renowned Rijksmuseum in town), a library where one can learn about Dutch culture, a grand piano for anyone to play (yes, I played it), a yotel hotel, numerous places to enjoy drinks (including Café Chocolat and the Bubbles wine bar), an indoor park (with an adjoining terrace), and giant tulips.

The annex of the Rijksmuseum, part of “Holland Boulevard” (which may be found between piers E and F), may very well be unique in world airports.  The museum offers two exhibits, one permanent and one rotating.  A collection of nine floral paintings from the Netherland’s Golden Age of painting in the 17th century displays still lifes that Dutch burghers commissioned at a time when actual flower bulbs were more expensive than the paintings.

RETURN FLIGHT

On the return flight, in a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft with similar seating in a 2-3-2 configuration, I enjoyed the full meal service since it was a daytime flight.  KLM’s menu thoughtfully provides a timeline showing what will be offered when, in steps ranging from Departure (“Aperitif”) to Main Service to Second Service (“hot towel”,“light meal”) to Arrival (“Delft Blue Houses”).

I was hesitant as to which white wine to choose so the flight attendant conducted an impromptu wine tasting in the aisle, insisting I try all three.  I settled on the Antinori Campogrande Tenuta Santa Cristina 2010, an Orvieto from Umbria.  It was so good, with multiple fruit notes including peach, apple, and pear, that I continued with it for the entire meal.

The meal service began shortly thereafter. The KLM World Business Class long-haul menu through September was created by Jonnie Boer of the restaurant De Librije, a chef with three Michelin stars.

KLM recently commissioned designer Marcel Wanders to create elegant and environmentally-friendly tableware for use in World Business Class and Europe Business Class flights.

The smoked salmon appetizer, accompanied by smoked potatoes and cream of horseradish, encircled by an orange lime dressing, was nothing short of divine.    For a main course, I chose the braised veal with horseradish sauce, carrots, cumin potatoes, pearl onions, and spinach.  I particularly enjoyed the carrots with the sauce.

Dessert came all too soon and I once again couldn’t make up my mind, so the flight attendant gave me a sampler plate, with two cheeses (Reypenaer and Bresse Bleu), fresh strawberries, a yoghurt rhubarb parfait, and an incredible citrus tart with a coffee filling.

We arrived in New York 10 minutes early.  Business-class passengers were the first to deplane and, with the help of Global Entry, I had no wait for passport control or customs and my suitcase was one of the first to arrive at the luggage carousel.  A short time later, I was on my way home.

Click here to continue to Page 3 – Bottom Line and Virtual Tours

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