***This is part 3 of my “Spain-giving 2014” trip report detailing a recent trip to Barcelona over Thanksgiving weekend***
1. American Express Centurion Lounge at SFO
2. Korean Air Lounge at LAX
3. KLM Business Class Los Angeles to Barcelona, via Amsterdam
4. Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona
5. Exploring Barcelona in a Motorcycle Sidecar
6. Day trip to Girona for Lunch at El Celler De Can Roca
7. Sala VIP Lounge at BCN, KLM Crown Lounge at AMS
8. KLM Business Class Barcelona to San Francisco, via Amsterdam
In a lot of ways, trying a new airline for the first time is like going on a blind date. There’s that excitement in the back of your mind, “could this be the one?” That’s how my love affair with Cathay Pacific started about a couple years ago, and since then no airline has even come close to stealing me away.
Since my experiences with European airlines such as Lufthansa and British Airways have been average at best, going in I wasn’t expecting to be blown away by KLM. We arrived at the gate just prior to boarding, and I snapped a picture of our gorgeous Boeing 747 that would be taking us to Amsterdam.
As an added bonus, today’ s flight would feature KLM’s new flat-bed business class product. We were among the first to board, as I often like to do, so I could get some empty cabin pictures.
While it’s always novel and fun to sit on the upper deck, today we’d be boogers, seated right in the nose of the plane in row 1. Can’t beat the privacy of having nobody in front of you.
In terms of the seat, it reminded me a lot of United’s Business Class product, except with a much sexier navy blue color.
We got settled in and I started playing around with the IFE system and seat controls. Overall, it was a somewhat clunky IFE system with a low-resolution screen and minimal selections.
The seat and IFE controls were all intuitive and easy to use, and the in-seat power worked well for the duration of the flight. Noise-cancellation headphones were also distributed.
There was a little bit of foot traffic around takeoff and landing as a few other passengers had used the closet next to us.
Prior to departure, amenity kits were passed out, which were available in his and hers colors.
Food and wine menus were next.
We pushed back from the gate early and started our taxi to the runway. We ran into the Etihad flight bound for AUH, which is high on my bucket list to try, next time!
About 30 minutes after takeoff, meal service began with some nuts and really tasty apple juice.
Next up was the salad and salmon tataki appetizer.
There was a cute box for the salad dressing and salt and pepper shaker.
The braised short ribs were pretty good, and most importantly not overcooked.
And cheese and dessert to finish. Of course, I had to try the Dutch apple pie. Overall, I was really pleased with the food which was up there with some of the best we’ve had in Business Class.
I finished up my movie, popped in a Benadryl, and was off to sleep for the duration of the flight. The bed was very comfortable and even as a finicky sleeper, I had no issues getting comfortable and dozing off.
I awoke just as breakfast service was starting and grazed from the tray as I continued to wake up.
Lastly, the flight attendants handed out the customary gift, which was a ceramic house filled with schnapps. There were roughly 40 choices and we had fun picking out our houses which were sealed and not to be opened until we reached our final destination.
Overall, it was a great first experience with KLM and more than anything, I was really, really impressed with the service which as among the best we’ve ever had in the level of attentiveness and friendliness.
We landed at KLM airport on a gloomy and rainy day, and taxied to our gate.
There was no time to explore the lounge today as our layover was just under an hour. We sprinted over to the next terminal, which was a solid 20-30 minute fast-paced walk. Of course, that didn’t stop us from taking a quick break to check out the Dutch chocolates.
The continuation of our journey from Amsterdam to Barcelona would be in Business Class, albeit the intra-Europe variety which is really just an Economy seat with the middle seat in each row blocked off.
Not that I was complaining since it was just a quick 1 hour flight, and I was still half asleep.
What the intra-Europe Business Class product lacks in seating, it more than makes-up for in the food. Even on this short flight, we were served a proper 3-course lunch.
The fish was pretty darn good.
And the Dutch ‘Boerenjongens’ dessert was amazing, so much so that I stole my wife’s.
Overall, I was really impressed with KLM, and based on this flight, wouldn’t hesitate to fly them again. While the hard product was solid, the food was above average, and the service was truly outstanding.
Now, note that I mention “this flight” in particular, since while the new flat-bed hard product is solid, the older seat we flew home from Amsterdam to San Francisco was as uncomfortable as they get.