KLM New World Business Class New York-Amsterdam – Flight Review
KLM is the oldest commercial airline in the world flying passengers (and mail) since 1919 and has been a respected player across the Atlantic Ocean and worldwide for decades. To keep pace with the competition, the airline has introduced new fully lie-flat seats in its World Business Class cabin. The retrofit started with its Boeing 747 aircraft, and, at the time of publication, five planes are equipped with the new seats. By mid-2014, all twenty-three 747s in its fleet will have the new lie-flat seats installed. The carrier will upgrade its fleet of Boeing 777s next, followed by the Airbus A330s.
Arriving at JFK’s Terminal 4, the new home of SkyTeam partner Delta (thus most of the ground staff consists of Delta employees), I was pleased to find that a newly-renovated 747 aircraft would carry me across the Atlantic. It was 9 p.m. (the flight scheduled to push back at 10.55pm), and check-in took no more than a minute..
The availability of TSA PreCheck at the security checkpoint, put me airside in minutes. KLM invites business-class passengers to visit the Delta Sky Club lounge, which just opened in May. Unfortunately, the new Sky Deck outdoor terrace was closed at the late hour.
All SkyTeam airlines at Terminal 4 have dedicated SkyPriority boarding lanes for business class and SkyTeam Elite and Elite Plus passengers. The window-lined jet bridge, presented exceptional views of the aircraft.
Flight attendants offered champagne, water, and juices plus a selection of canapés. Waiting at my seat was a large multicolor pillow and cotton duvet. Gender oriented amenity kits were distributed shortly thereafter.
Business class occupies the entire upper deck as well as the forward nose section of the plane. The new business-class seats, with minor exceptions, are configured in a 2-2 arrangement and, on the main deck, seats 1A and 4A are single seats and offer the most personal space. Seat 4 C is the only center seat evoking a throne by its being a single seat in the middle of the cabin.
The increased space required by the new 81” flat beds resulted in seven fewer seats in the World Business Class cabin compared to the old layout. Each of the 35 new seats is 23″ wide and expands to 26″ with the armrests lowered. Seat pitch is an impressive 63″ and all seats have similar leg room.
I was in seat 1K, at the bulkhead, with the main benefit being that, with the exception of a clothing closet, there is nothing else in front, not even the cockpit (which is on the upper deck), so there is little through traffic by crew or other passengers to disturb you. Also, the curvature of the aircraft’s fuselage provides slightly improved forward views through the windows.