Review: KLM Business Class 777 Singapore To Bali

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The only reason we flew to Singapore to begin with was to be able to get onto the Hello Kitty flight from Taipei. We could have flown direct from Taipei to Bali, but that would have meant no Hello Kitty for us.

So we booked cheap paid tickets from Singapore to Bali on KLM. This is a fun fifth freedom route they operate, as it’s a tag-on of their Amsterdam to Singapore flight. The one-way business class ticket cost about $250.

Our connection in Singapore was about three hours. We weren’t able to check-in online, so we got our boarding passes at the transit desk at Changi Airport. Our flight was departing from gate D42, with boarding scheduled to begin at 5:05PM. So we headed to the gate at around 4:45PM, given that at Changi Airport security checkpoints are at the individual gates.

I love KLM’s livery, especially on the 777.

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KLM 777 Singapore Changi Airport

Security was quick, and to my surprise, we were among the first people to the gate, despite the flight being full.

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Singapore Changi Airport departure gate

As we sat at the gate I saw a Finnair A350 pulling into the gate next to us. While I’ve flown the Finnair A350, it was entirely at night, so I couldn’t appreciate the livery. What a gorgeous plane.

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Finnair A350 Singapore Changi Airport

Finally at 5:15PM boarding began, starting with business class. This was my second flight in KLM’s World Business Class, as I flew them a few years back from Amsterdam to Chicago.

KLM 835
Singapore (SIN) – Bali (DPS)
Friday, February 10 
Depart: 5:35PM
Arrive: 8:15PM
Duration: 2hr40min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 5D (Business Class)

I boarded through door L1, where I was greeted by the incredibly charming chief purser. She pointed me towards my seat in row five.

KLM’s 777-300s feature B/E Aerospace Diamond seats. These are the same seats you’ll find on AeroflotAeromexico, Air China, Royal JordanianSaudia, United, etc.

There are a total of 34 seats in business class on the 777. The forward cabin has a total of 28 seats, spread across five rows in a 2-2-2 configuration.

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KLM 777 business class cabin

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KLM 777 business class cabin

The last row is missing two seats on the right side due to a closet. Do note that while there are seats on the left side, there’s a missing window, so you won’t easily be able to look outside.

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KLM 777 business class row five seat location

Then behind the second set of doors is a single additional row of business class seats.

I had assigned myself seat 5D, which was the center aisle seat in the last row of the forward cabin, on the left side.

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KLM 777 business class seats

This kind of product is excellent for such a short flight. For longhaul flights I think the B/E Aerospace Diamond seats are about average. I prefer them to most forward facing fully flat seats because the seats are a bit more private. There’s a privacy shield between each set of seats, and the seats are staggered by a few inches.

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KLM 777 business class privacy partition

The downside to these seats is that the area for your feet is quite small. Each seat has a footwell which can be quite restrictive.

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KLM 777 business class seats

It certainly limits the positions in which you can sleep, unless you bend your knees and don’t use the full area for your feet.

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KLM 777 business class legroom

On the center armrest were the seat controls, which were easy to use. There were two pre-sets, and then several more options for adjusting only certain parts of the seat.

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KLM 777 business class seat controls

Behind the seat and to the right was an exposed storage area, and also a 110v outlet, USB outlet, and headphone jack.

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KLM 777 business class storage and outlets

The entertainment controller was underneath the center armrest. You could select entertainment options directly from the controller, or if you prefer, could us it to control what appears on the entertainment screen.

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KLM 777 business class entertainment controller

The tray table extended from the center armrest, and could be folded over so that just half of it was out.

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KLM business class tray table

There were also headphones waiting at my seat. They weren’t especially well padded, though were supposedly noise canceling.

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KLM business class headphones

Once I was settled in, one of the lovely flight attendants came by to offer me a drink. The choice was between water, orange juice, champagne, or Heineken (served in a can). I selected the champagne, which was served in a nice glass.

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KLM business class pre-departure champagne

By 5:45PM the cabin door was closed, with every seat on the plane taken. Once the door closed the captain made his welcome aboard announcement. He informed us of our flight time of 2hr10min, and said “if you’re coming from Amsterdam, I’d like you to know that you are being served by a fresh crew.”

The captain went on to say that there was a slight ATC delay, and that we’d be pushing back a few minutes late.

Once that announcement was done, the very cool safety video was screened. It apparently uses over one thousand hand painted Delft Blue tiles, which is pretty awesome.

After that the crew came through the cabin to distribute menus for the quick flight.

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KLM business class menu

Since I had time, I decided to browse the entertainment selection.

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KLM entertainment selection

There was a decent selection of TV shows and movies. It wasn’t as good as Emirates’ ICE system, but wasn’t half bad either, especially as far as European airlines go.

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KLM entertainment selection

One thing I found a bit unusual is that some TV shows had just a single episode, while others had entire seasons. That’s quite a contrast.

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KLM entertainment selection

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KLM entertainment selection

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KLM entertainment selection

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KLM entertainment selection

However, for most of the flight I just kept the entertainment set to the airshow.

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Airshow enroute to Bali

At 5:55PM we began our pushback, and from there it was about a 15 minute taxi to the runway, and then a five minute wait for our takeoff clearance.

At 6:15PM we were cleared for takeoff.

About 10 minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off, at which point the crew began their service.

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KLM 777 business class cabin

They first distributed landing cards for Indonesia.

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Landing form for Indonesia

A few minutes later they came through the cabin with warm towels, just prior to the meal service.

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KLM business class hot towel

The menu read as follows:

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The drink list read as follows:

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All the service on this flight was done off a cart, and given the short duration of the flight, the appetizer, main course, and dessert, were all served on a single tray. I ordered The Flying Dutchman to drink, which is KLM’s signature cocktail, with gin, blackberry liqueur, lemon juice, sugar syrup, etc.

The flight attendant explained the history of the drink to me, though it was a bit too sweet for me.

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KLM business class dinner

While I had no clue what to expect from the food based on the menu description, the food was phenomenal, especially for such a short flight.

The starter consisted of ikan cod pepes with acar salad and micro cress… whatever that is. It was flavorful.

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KLM business class dinner — Ikan cod pepes with acar salad and micro cress

The main course consisted of daging beef benkulu with garlic rice and coconut green beans.

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KLM business class dinner — daging beef benkulu with garlic rice and coconut green beans

The dessert consisted of “Farah’s famous bolu srikaya cake” (again, whatever that means). It was also tasty.

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KLM business class dinner — Farah’s famous bolu srikaya cake

I love the tableware that KLM uses, and even the hourglass salt & pepper shaker. KLM does such a great job with the details, in my opinion.

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KLM business class salt & pepper shaker

After the meal service, the chief purser came around with a box of chocolates. You most commonly see that in first class, so it’s an especially nice touch in business class.

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KLM business class chocolates

After that the crew came around with coffee and tea. I had a coffee with milk.

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KLM business class coffee

Even though the flight was quick and the crew was busy, I can’t say enough positive things about how friendly they were. At U.S. airlines they were what we’d call “senior mamas,” and they couldn’t have been more pleasant.

The flight attendant working my aisle humorously explained how she doesn’t ever have problems with jetlag, and said it was because she doesn’t drink coffee and alcohol. Of course she told me this story while serving me coffee and alcohol. 😉

I was impressed by how the crew managed to engage in small talk with just about everyone, while still working efficiently.

After the meal I quickly checked out the lavatory, located between the two business class cabins. The lavatory was pretty basic, and had Zenology toiletries.

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KLM business class lavatory

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KLM business class lavatory Zenology amenities

About 30 minutes before landing the crew came around the cabin with KLM’s famous little houses, which Tiffany has explained the history of in a previous post.

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KLM houses

A few minutes later the captain provided us with updated arrival information, expecting we’d land at 8:30PM.

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Airshow enroute to Bali

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Airshow enroute to Bali

We hit some turbulence on the descent, though had a smooth touchdown at 8:30PM sharp. From there it was just a five minute taxi to our arrival gate.

I bid farewell to the crew on the way out — they were turning right around to Singapore, and then laying over for a couple of days before going to Amsterdam — and then we cleared immigration quickly.

KLM 777 Business Class bottom line

My flight on KLM was awesome, and made me want to fly with them again on a longhaul flight. While the hard product is just okay, the crew was exceptional, the food excellent, and I love the quirky elements of KLM’s service, like the little houses, the hourglass salt & pepper shaker, etc.

It’s time to give KLM a try on their new 787, I think!

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Comments

  1. You should try to get on one of their new 787s – with the new Zodiac seats, it’s an improved hard product. I’d be curious to see your comparison of the two. KLM must be working on their in-flight service, as I can say from the experience of living in NL, the Dutch aren’t exactly renowned for attentive customer service.

  2. Isn’t half of KLM’s fleet still operating with angled seats in business class? I tried to book a Taipei flight with them, but all the possible return dates were just angled seats. On a 14 hour flight. I don’t think so.

    And this “new” product, 2-2-2 in business? If this were British Airways, wouldn’t we be slagging them off about now?

    I do actually use KLM from time to time. They’re fine for short haul around Europe. But their longhaul product hasn’t kept up with the market.

  3. Lucky two quick typos: when describing the dessert you meant means instead of mans, and also 3rd to last pragragraph first sentence you need a adjective to describe the turbulence (I assume rough)

  4. Did you just call a SIN-DPS $250 ticket “cheap”?

    Really?

    You are aware that you can get a typical SIN-DPS ticket for around $60 right?

    Don’t call something expensive as cheap. Report accurately, that you got a premium product at 5 times the going rate for that route.

  5. @B Hard to compare a $60 Air Asia/Jetstar economy flight to KLM business class. $250 for any business flight is pretty damn cheap.

  6. @Paul 2-2-2 in business would be a huge improvement for BA….

    Pretty sure that BA and UA’s 2-4-2 biz config is the worse lie-flat product out there. I’m glad UA is doing something about it. I wish BA would come out with a new product, maybe Apex suites. JAL’s got those on their 77Ws 2-3-2

  7. @B: On which carrier can you purchase a business class ticket for $60?

    @ Lucky: Do the bulkhead business class seats have full width footwells?

  8. I have flown several KLM long haul and short haul flights and I have found their crew consistently polished, warm and engaging. I love the Dutch personality anyway and really enjoy my flights on KLM.

  9. I’m sorry but this is a horrible business-class product. KLM simply isn’t competitive without direct-aisle 1x2x1 seats. Why on earth they didn’t install the same seats as Air France is beyond me. Even Alitalia has a better product.

  10. Bali is great place to get married. Congrats.

    How do you address a gay couple?
    Is it Mr and Mrs lucky or Mr and Mr lucky?

  11. @David W, I doubt British Airways, as we know it, will be in business much longer. They’re basically Diet Ryan Air now.

  12. Are u guys getting married in Bali????
    Congrats!!!! Sooo Romantic!!!
    Mike Jagger & Jerry Hall married there too!

  13. Farah Quinn is Indonesia’s celebrity chef (kind of like the Indonesian Giada from Food Network). Back in 2013 she partnered with AirAsia to create some special inflight meals. I did not expect her to partner with KLM, but good that Indonesian food is served in flights to Bali 🙂

    What I don’t understand is why her name is included in every single dish, and the English translation from the Indonesian dish names are quite terrible (a lot of redundant nouns).

  14. KLM bahhh, Im not flying them anytime soon. In any class. I have given then enough chanses. Ill rather walk.

  15. $250 for a three hour flight in lie flat seats is pretty great. In the USA I can’t get a $250 one way three hour flight even in cattle class.

  16. @David W
    “2-2-2 in business would be a huge improvement for BA”

    No it wouldn’t. You’d still have no direct aisle access from every seat, but you’d lose the advantages of the ying-yang layout – *much* more footroom, and, especially in window seats, a *huge* amount more privacy. I don’t want to be constantly distracted by my seat mate’s tv screen. In fact, I don’t want a seat mate period.

    This is not to argue that BA is the gold standard: obviously, very far from it. But:
    1) every single longhaul seat is a lie-flat bed, whereas with KLM (and most of the US legacy carriers) it’s a gamble – will I just get a scummy old angled seat rather than the brilliant new product? Do I feel, er, Lucky?
    2) I dislike seats which “fold over” for the bed because I often want a mid-way position between seated and fully-flat, and I don’t want to stand there like a prune at the mercy of the crew “making my bed” for me – how old am I, five? I realise some people like the personal attention, but I don’t. So layouts like Virgin Atlantic’s are also a fail for me.

    If you take Lucky’s oft-stated maxim, that business class is all about the hard product, KLM is doing a pretty crappy job. My experience of their soft product is actually rather good (I like the Dutch matter-of-factness, I don’t like people kneeling at my side or putting my slippers on).

    And that’s all before we see what Qatar is going to thrill us with later today…

    Incidentally, the commenter who thinks BA is going bust in bonkers: it’s currently one of the most profitable longhaul carriers around and, unlike every US legacy carrier, it hasn’t had to be rescued and receive a massive state subsidy by going through bankruptcy. It mercilessly exploits its dominance at Heathrow and its near-total capture of the UK longhaul market. But its management is sufficiently savvy to have turned Iberia into profit (and to have nicely modernised it), while doing something similar with Aer Lingus. It’s not my favourite airline – not by a long way – but to hate it for the wrong reasons is crazy.

  17. Is the marriage quote guy correct? If so I must’ve missed an earlier post, congratulations. Bali is an awesome spot.

  18. I like those big Dutch girls…very efficient, invariably friendly and polite…pity about the lousy seats.

  19. @Lucky/Ben
    Just curious, what lounge did you use in Singapore? Was it the lounge affiliated with the KLM flight or was it another lounge that you have access?

  20. @ SullyofDoha — They use the Dnata Lounge, though I ended up just hanging around the airport, given how nice it is.

  21. A few things:

    1) My biggest pet peeve about the standard B/E Diamond (not the heavily modified one United did with Pentagram that is much better ergonomically, even if it is dense) is that awful location for the plug and headset jacks. It is so easy to pull out the headset, especially earbuds, just by shifting a bit. It is also a real stretch to plug things in when buckled in. The privacy screens are a nice touch, however.

    2) Good to hear the food and service were good, but that drink selection is really poor. While not the infamous China Southern Vin Mousseux, that Nicolas Feuillatte is pretty awful. The wines are nothing special, and no French, SA or NZ sauvignon blanc.

    “How do you address a gay couple?
    Is it Mr and Mrs lucky or Mr and Mr lucky?”

    Messers Lucky sounds about right. Congrats!

  22. I used to fly KL in the 1990s because they flew nonstop from AMS to where I was going. They no longer do so I stopped, and I am glad of it. Between the neckbreaker J seats (now gone), the borderline rude FAs (they were only friendly with Dutch speakers) and the heavy-gravy food, I have awful memories.

  23. @Paul. There is no real hit or miss with KLM seats if you know the fleet. There are 28 777 and 8 787 in the fleet all with lie flat. The rest is made up of 13 A330-300 & 200’s with sloped seats or almost flat 175 degree pod seats in PH-A0M & PH-AON.

    5 of those A330 will leave the fleet soon as their leases are up, this leaves only 8 aircraft or 18% of fleet with older type seats. These 8 will start being refurbished this month.

  24. @majik
    You completely misunderstand how “normal” paying punters operate. Those of us who fly for business are working to a schedule. We’re not designing our travels around the rostering of particular aircraft in a fleet (though even if we were, there is still the problem of last-minute equipment swaps).

    So, we have the meeting we need to go to, and we look up the flights. The example I gave – a Europe-Taiwan round trip – was real; the outbound flights all had KLM’s decent new product; but every possible return flight (for my business schedule) was rostered with angled seats.

    In avgeek world that doesn’t matter; I can go another route, or replan my trip. In the world of business, where people are paying for their tickets, that is a deal-breaker.

    Non-avgeek punters want consistency of product (isn’t that what a brand is supposed to promise?). It doesn’t matter how brilliant the product is on the best of the fleet; I want to know how crappy the product is on the worst. Much as most avgeeks seem to hate them, that’s where BA scores: every single longhaul plane offers exactly the same product (whether you like it or not). No guesswork. No nasty surprises when you turn up exhausted at the airport and just want some kip before you finally get home.

  25. Hi Lucky, just want to explain the dishes you had back there.

    Like one post said, Farah Quinn is one of Indonesian celebrity chefs. Her menu on KLM is available to/from Indonesia (CGK, DPS).

    “Ikan cod pepes” simply means cod fish simmered in variety of herbs and then steamed. “Acar” means pickle.
    “Bolu srikaya” means sponge cake with sugar-apple fruit flavor.

  26. Next time why don’t you just google something you don’t know instead of saying what some might view as culturally insensitive and others might view as lazy and stupid, “whatever that is”.

  27. @Blank

    “whatever that is”.

    Kind of hard to look up something on an KLM airplane with no wifi.

    I have a pet hate with airlines using fancy/local name for food when flying.

    While it might come across as culturally insensitive to Google it afterward for a review, it still doesn’t change the fact that airlines might as well call it mystery fish dish and you would be just as wise when on-board the aircraft.

    You can’t expect every traveler out there to know the local name of every food dish in the world.

  28. @Paul

    Fully agree that consistency across a hard product is better for customers, but according to your reasoning you’d never fly an airline that is in the midst of updating their business class product? If an airline wants to keep up with the market they’ll need to update their product once in a while and that simply doesnt happen in the blink of an eye.

    It’s a bit odd to critize an airline on the one hand for having an ‘out of date’ product, while simultanuasly critizing them for not providing consistency when they’re in the midst of updating this very same product? You cant have your cake and eat it too..

    I guess you were out of luck with your return flight from Taipei, but the vast majority of the fleet (747, 777, 787) has a solid, lie-flat hard product in business class. I must admit I like KLM’s service a lot, it’s one of the few airlines wher flight attendants seem to actually have fun at their jobs….

  29. the food presentation needs lotsa work. it looks like gravy shlopp–akin to an american airlines poor quality food products throughout the classes. is klm now owed by americans?

  30. @lucky

    KLM’s Business Class seats on the 787 are definitely more modern than the 777 or 747(touchscreen IFE remotes and more storage space) but they are way tighter. Although the cool thing about the 787 is the privacy and all seats have direct aisle access. Never fly KLM late in the night though because their meal service is mediocre at most! Though, they have upgraded the food a lot at the KLM Crown Lounge in Amsterdam, sadly you won’t see anymore stroopwafels there.

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