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Review: KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class (AMS-KUL)

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Review Overview

This is a wonderful premium economy class product and one of the best in Europe, though recline isn't industry-leading and the airline's IT is a letdown


In February 2024 I had the chance to fly KLM’s 787 Premium Comfort class from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. KLM introduced their premium economy class product in September 2022 onboard their 787s, and will outfit all 777s and 787s with premium economy class seats by the end of 2024. I was glad to be able to try the product out while it was still fairly young, and compare it to the growing list of other premium economy class products in the market that I’ve flown.

So how was KLM’s 787 premium economy? Surprisingly delightful, I’d say. The product isn’t one of the glitziest in the market, though they hit all the basics, from a seat with good storage and tech, to WiFi without data caps, to delicious food. While the product is no-frills and feels “economy plus” rather than “business class minus”, the basics are executed very well, and I wouldn’t hesitate to fly them again.

Booking KLM’s 787 Premium Comfort Class

This was part of a multi-segment itinerary that I pieced together when trying to get from London to Phuket. Originally I wanted to get from Stockholm to Singapore, though the Amsterdam to Singapore leg was replaced by a non-refurbished 777 without premium economy, so I was rebooked in economy class (without any compensation). I asked a friendly agent over KLM chat whether I could switch to their flight to Kuala Lumpur, which did feature premium economy, and they were happy to rebook me for free.

The itinerary cost SEK 9428 (£701/HK$6,832), and was as follows:

10/02 KL1110 Stockholm – Amsterdam dep. 13:30 arr. 15:35 [Economy Class]
10/02 KL809 Amsterdam – Kuala Lumpur dep. 20:35 arr. 15:35+1 [Premium Economy Class]

I reviewed my flight from Stockholm to Amsterdam here (being on a premium economy ticket doesn’t grant you an automatic upgrade to Economy Comfort, though I decided to upgrade myself separately).

KLM’s Not-Great IT System

KLM rolled out their premium economy product in 2022, and only started installing their premium economy seats on 777s in late 2023, along with their new business class product (I’ve attached a review from One Mile At A Time here). I’m very understanding that equipment swaps happen, and for a flight in early 2024, it’s reasonable that they pulled premium economy off the Amsterdam to Singapore leg that I originally booked, perhaps because of change of plans or a delayed rollout. It’s also reasonable for them to have rebooked premium economy passengers in economy class.

I’m less understanding of the fact that there was no email or notification sent – I had to log into my booking (which I do on a periodic basis) to find out that I was rebooked in economy class. Not only this, but KLM “saves” your booking every time you check flight prices or seat availability. I have a strong preference for a window seat in the last row in premium economy, and had to try quite a few times before I could successfully reserve that seat.

The one saving grace is that KLM’s WhatsApp support function works well, and their support agents are eager to please and have many capabilities, including rebooking passengers. I was quite glad that there wasn’t a “sorry we are unable to rebook you through the chat system, please call [number that has an hour’s wait time before someone picks up] for assistance”.

KLM Premium Comfort Ground Experience and Boarding

KLM’s premium economy class doesn’t come with lounge access, though I bought access to KLM’s flagship Crown Lounge, so I could review it. You can check out my review of the lounge here.

Boarding was scheduled to commence at 7:55 PM from gate F5, so at around 7:35 PM I headed to the gate area. Our aircraft was PH-BHD, an 8-year-old 787.

an airplane in a terminal
KLM 787 at Schiphol Airport

The gate area was quite busy before the flight, and there were two clearly marked lanes for Zone 1 and Zone 3 boarding. Surely enough, premium economy passengers and SkyTeam Elite passengers were assigned Zone 2 (Zone 1 was reserved for business class passengers), so many stood around the gate wondering if there was a separate queue elsewhere. A couple of people grumbled when boarding first began, with one person saying “what’s the point of Sky Priority if you’re not even first to board”?

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KLM Gate Area Schiphol Airport

Boarding began at 7:55 PM starting with infirm and young passengers, followed by business class passengers. Surely enough, at around 8 PM the “Zone 1” screen was updated to invite Zone 2 passengers to board as well, and we made our way onto the KLM 787.

KLM Flight KL809
Saturday, February 10, 2024
Origin: Amsterdam (AMS) Gate: F6 Dep: 20:35 (20:40)
Destination: Kuala Lumpur (KUL) Gate: C3 Arr: 15:35
+1 (15:45+1)
Duration: 12 h (12 h 5 min)
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9 Reg: PH-BHD
Seat: 14K (Premium Comfort Class)

I boarded through the second set of doors, and made my way right to my seat for the evening, 14K.

KLM 787 Premium Economy Class Cabin and Seat

KLM’s 787 premium economy class consists of 21 recliner seats, laid out in a 2-3-2 configuration. The cabin is fairly intimate, and feels very smart, showing off different shades of blue.

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KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class Cabin

I assigned myself seat 14K, a premium economy window seat in the last row of the cabin.

a seat on an airplane
KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class Seats 14H and 14K

This is the Collins Aerospace MiQ seat, the same as what Cathay Pacific uses in premium economy on their A350 (though Cathay Pacific modified their version a bit).

The seat was comfortable, spacious and well-padded, and recline was fine but not amazing (there wasn’t a noticeable difference in recline in this row compared to any of the rows in front). The seat featured a fold-up legrest and a fold-down footrest, which brought the seat into a comfortable cradle position for sleeping.

a seat in an airplane a foot rest in a seat
KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class Recline and Footrest

I also enjoyed the large adjustable headrest, fairly standard for premium economy seats but typically varying in size and supportiveness. In this case, the headrest was large, adequately positioned, and quite supportive.

a seat on a plane
KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class Headrest

To the left of the seat were the two seat controls for recline and legrest deployment, as well as USB-A and USB-C charging, which I appreciated. There was also one universal power port for each passenger located by my feet.

a close up of a seatan airplane seat with a power outlet and green lights
KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class Power Ports

Located by the headrest was a snake reading light.

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KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class Reading Light

In front of the seat was a storage nook for small items. I love when premium economy seat manufacturers put effort into maximising in-seat storage, which can otherwise be lacking in a premium economy seat. This was a large nook, with enough space to fit glasses and a phone.

a close up of a screen
KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class Storage Pouch

For an otherwise incredibly well-appointed seat in good condition, I was least impressed by the tray table, which wouldn’t lay flat. The tray table was bi-fold and featured a rubber surface (presumably for a tablet or phone stand, though there was nothing to prop it on – was it broken, or am I missing something?), and was large, but not sturdy.

a grey rectangular object with a button on it a grey rectangular object with a black frame
KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class Tray Table

In front of me was a large, high definition, touchscreen TV.

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KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class TV Screen

To the left by the USB power ports was a little nook which housed a water bottle at the seat.

a bottle in a shelf
KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class Nook for Water Bottle

There were no overhead air nozzles on this 787, sadly, especially as it was quite warm in the cabin (this became less of an issue after takeoff).

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KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class Overhead Air Nozzle (or Lack Thereof)

KLM’s premium economy seat is thoughtfully designed, and I thought it was very comfortable, with the exception of the wobbly and worn tray table. Perhaps I’ve flown a couple of premium economy products in the meantime where I felt like I had a touch more recline, though I didn’t mind this at all. The seat also features all the tech that I’d expect, including USB-A, USB-C charging, and a power port for each passenger, and I also appreciated the storage nook available.

KLM’s 787 Economy Class

As I was seated in the last row of the premium economy cabin, I had a look at KLM’s large economy cabin, with 224 seats in a 3-3-3 configuration. A 9-abreast 787 economy class cabin is never fun, though at least the seats looked modern and supportive, with large headrests as well.

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KLM 787 Economy Class

KLM 787 Premium Economy Class Amenities

Back at my premium economy class seat, I found a pillow, as well as a plush blanket. Both added to seat comfort, and while the pillow could’ve been larger, I particularly liked the blanket.

a white pillow on a blue and black pillow
KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class Pillow and Blanket

There were also noise cancelling headphones provided, which were okay.

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KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class Headphones

I also found an amenity kit at my seat. This isn’t an amenity kit I’d keep for daily use – the drawstring bag felt a little tacky, despite having quite a nice design. However, the amenity kit housed all the basics, including a dental kit with toothpaste tablets (I would’ve preferred an actual tube of toothpaste), a pen, eyeshades, and earplugs.

a bag on a table a sleeping mask and other items on a table
KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class Amenity Kit

I’d call KLM’s amenities a solid offering, though in premium economy I most highly value a good pillow and blanket, which the airline delivered on.

Taking Off from Schiphol Airport

Boarding was complete at around 8:35 PM, pretty much on the dot around our scheduled departure time. The captain came to welcome us onto our 12-hour flight to Kuala Lumpur, gave a special welcome to Flying Blue members. He also acknowledged that it was quite warm in the cabin, though said that air conditioning had just been turned on, so they were expecting the cabin temperature to cool down significantly.

The premium economy class cabin was full except for the middle seat in my row. The guy sitting next to me was a pilot for a shorthaul airline, and the husband of one of the cabin crew serving us (which I found out the hard way after I said I reviewed flights – thankfully he was intrigued, and we had a good chat about the many places he’d been to). He disappeared for lengths of time midflight, so I had an empty seat next to me for a decent portion of the flight.

KLM’s cute hand-drawn style safety video was screened at around 8:40 PM.

a screen on a plane KLM Safety Video Screening

The cabin crew then came over to take meal orders before takeoff.

It was quite dark outside on this February evening, so I couldn’t get many great photos outside the window during our taxi out, unfortunately.

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View at Schiphol Airport

Keeping with normal procedures, the cabin lights were dimmed before takeoff.

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Cabin Lights dimmed at Schiphol Airport

We rocketed off runway 18L at around 8:55 PM, 20 minutes after our scheduled departure time.

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Takeoff from Schiphol Airport

After our climbout, the cabin put on purple mood lighting, as we got ready for the first meal service.

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Lights on after takeoff from Schiphol Airport

KLM 787 Premium Economy Class Lavatory

Shortly before the meal service I visited the lavatory. KLM’s 787s don’t feature dedicated lavatories in premium economy, so we shared five lavatories with economy class (totalling 245 passengers, or 49 passengers per lavatory). I never felt like there was a ridiculous wait time, though sometimes there was a short queue.

The lavatory had cute wallpaper, despite otherwise being a bog-standard economy class lavatory,

a sink and mirror in a plane a toilet in a bathroom
KLM 787 Economy Class Lavatory

KLM 787 Premium Economy Class Entertainment System

KLM’s entertainment system won’t win any awards for variety, though I found the system quite easy to navigate, with a range of movies and TV shows. The airshow was also easy to use, though didn’t feature a tail camera, which is typical of the 787.

a screen with images on it a screen with movies on it a screen shot of a device a screen shot of a television a screen shot of a television a screen with pictures on it a screen with a picture of the earth
KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class Entertainment System

KLM 787 Premium Economy Class WiFi

Shortly after the boarding process, a message on our inflight entertainment systems suggested that WiFi would be inoperable on this flight. This turned out to be false, as WiFi was working perfectly – I even showed a cabin crew member, and she seemed surprised, jokingly claiming that I’d “fixed it”.

KLM charges for WiFi by time, and you can get a full flight pass without data caps for only 18 EUR (£15.32/HK$151), which is an incredible deal. Speeds even clocked at a rather respectable 30.3 Mbps down and 6.10 Mbps up, which is some of the fastest WiFi I’ve ever used in the air.

The only struggle was that I couldn’t switch between devices, although you’re meant to be able to according to the system – I ended up buying a separate package for my phone, as I had some online content I wanted to use for some work I wanted to get done. I let KLM know of this after the flight, and they kindly refunded one of these packages.

KLM 787 Premium Economy Class Meal Service

The meal service began very shortly after takeoff. Menus were found at our seats during boarding, and they read as follows:

a blue and orange striped cloth in a package on a grey surfacea folded paper with text on it a menu on a table
KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class Menu

As you can see, there were three options to choose from for mains, as well as a separate appetiser, side dish, and dessert. The beverage selection was also good, featuring Bols espresso martini, Royal Club ginger ale, decaffeinated coffee, and alcohol-free beer. Both were on par with what I’d expect from a fairly good premium economy class product – personally I’d have been very impressed to see a couple of specialty drinks, or maybe stroopwafels on demand or an extra beer or two for this Dutch airline.

The meal service began with a hot towel.

a hand holding a tube of towel
KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class Towel

The crew then did a drinks run. I ordered ginger ale, which was served on the rocks along with some packaged nuts.

a hand holding a can of beer and a glass of liquid
KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class Towel and Nuts

The appetiser, side dish and main course then arrived on one plate, with the lid on.

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KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class Meal

I ordered the chicken gado gado, which was absolutely delicious – the sauce was nutty and so so flavourful, the chicken thigh was tender and juicy, and the rice was fluffy as well. What an absolute winner of a dish, especially for a premium economy class product.

food in a tray on a table
KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class Meal – Chicken Gado Gado

This came with an appetiser, a waldorf salad with horseradish cream. While it was presented in a plastic tub, it was also delicious, and I loved the balance of flavours and textures.

food in a tray on a plane
KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class Appetiser – Waldorf Salad with Horseradish Cream, Raisins, Walnuts and Olives

I was dipping in and out of sleep after we finished our main courses, so I asked a flight attendant whether I had missed dessert, as I did really want a stroopwafel ice cream. I let her know that I really liked stroopwafel, and the flight attendant was an absolute champ, saying “finally” when my ice cream arrived and asking whether I wanted another afterwards. This was served with a tea, which was comparatively less delicious – I could see the bottom of the cup.

Okay, perhaps my only gripe with the meal service – this ice cream was served over an hour after the main course was served, where many passengers would have gone to sleep. If the service flow could have been modified somewhat to prevent this long wait during an overnight flight, that would’ve resulted in a flawless meal service for a premium economy class product.

a container of ice cream on a napkin a cup of tea and a cup of coffee on a table
KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class Meal – Stroopwafel Ice Cream and Tea

While the meal service wasn’t particularly fancy – no partnership with a fancy restaurant or liquid smoke here – I found everything to be delicious, and really well executed.

However, I will say that I know KLM is notorious for running out of food, due to badly executed “environmental efforts”. This wasn’t my experience onboard this flight, though when that happens people tend to be served food from the cabin class below. Do note that this is a possibility when flying KLM.

KLM 787 Premium Economy Class Service

As far as service in premium economy class goes, the crew serving our flight was an absolute delight. They were so friendly – for example, when I told a crewmember that I really liked stroopwafel ice cream (as a passing comment), she came around offering me some of their spare tubs, saying that it would be “stroopwafel milkshake” by the morning if I didn’t have it sooner.

KLM generally also incorporates some premium touches into premium economy class service. For example, during the first meal service, I was always addressed by name – something I’ve rarely ever experienced in premium economy class before. Crewmembers also came by premium economy seats, offering packaged snacks to those who were awake mid-flight (the same ones available in the galley).

KLM’s 787 Premium Comfort Class Cabin and Snacks Between Services

Mood lighting was turned on after the meal service, and eventually the cabin lights were turned off completely.

a row of seats with monitors on the back of a plane people sitting in an airplane with a group of people in the back
KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class Mood Lighting

It was quite difficult to leave my seat when the seat in front was reclined, though this is fairly common amongst premium economy products. However, when I was in my seat, I felt cozy, and fell asleep fairly easily snuggled under the comfortable blanket. I did wake up a couple of times throughout the evening and noticed that the seat didn’t have a particularly generous amount of recline, though it was enough to get comfortable.

a seat in an airplanea person sleeping on an airplane
Cozied up in KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class

There isn’t a snack menu or dedicated snack selection in premium economy, though there is a walk-up galley bar at the back of economy class, featuring still and sparkling water, juice, and various packaged snacks, including KLM-branded apple pie.

a tray of food and drinks
KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class Galley Snacks

KLM 787 Premium Economy Class Pre-Arrival Meal Service

Soon before I knew it, we were 90 minutes out of Kuala Lumpur, and I woke up to mood lighting being turned on again ahead of the second meal service. At this point we were 39,000 feet in the air.

a screen with a map and a plane on it a screen with a blue screen and a white background
KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class Airshow prior to Meal Service

Breakfast was relatively less impressive compared to the first meal service – there was no choice of breakfast, and it felt quite simple. It tasted good, though, and I liked that there was a Dutch element (semolina porridge on the top left) – the egg roll with mushroom and cold cuts plate were both well-executed.

This came with a drinks run, and I decided to have both a filter coffee and an orange juice. The flight attendants gladly entertained my request for both drinks.

food on a tray with a drink and a napkin a tray with food and drinks on it
KLM 787 Premium Comfort Class Meal – Dutch Breakfast, Cold Plate and Hot Egg Roll with Mushroom

I would’ve appreciated a choice of main meal options, though I appreciated that the food served was very good quality.

Landing into Kuala Lumpur Airport

In line with Malaysian aviation regulations, the cabin was sprayed down prior to arrival.

The captain came onto the PA to announce our descent, and around 10 minutes before landing at 3:25 PM, the seatbelt sign was turned on, and we began our descent into Kuala Lumpur airport.

an airplane wing and wing of an airplane an airplane wing with a blue sky and clouds an airplane wing and wing of an airplane an airplane wing over a forest
Landing into Kuala Lumpur Airport

We U-turned right after flying past the city, and landed on runway 32L at 3:35 PM, before taxiing to gate C2, located at KLIA’s satellite terminal.

an airplane wing with a runway and buildings in the background an airplane wing on a runway
Taxiing at Kuala Lumpur Airport

KL809 was actually a flight continuing to Jakarta, though all passengers had to deplane here – passengers continuing onto Jakarta simply had to re-clear security and get back onto the flight.

Deplaning began with business class passengers at 3:45 PM, and shortly after premium economy passengers were invited to deplane as well. I walked past KLM’s 787 business class cabin on the way out, laid out in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone configuration.

a man walking in an airplane
KLM 787 Business Class

While passengers continuing onto Jakarta were directed to clear security, those terminating their travels in Kuala Lumpur were directed towards buses, which would carry us to KLIA’s main terminal.

people in a building with a large white wall
Welcome Drink at Kuala Lumpur Airport

The crowded buses weren’t pleasant at all, though at least we had a view of our beautiful 787 as we headed towards the main terminal.

a plane parked at an airport
KLM 787 View during bus to terminal

I was continuing onto my flight in Batik Air Malaysia business class. I was glad about transiting airside, since the immigration queue was absolute chaos. It looked like it would’ve taken a couple of hours at least to get through the immigration queue, so I simply went to a transfer desk to print out a boarding pass and spent some time in the terminal.

Conclusion: KLM’s 787 Premium Comfort Class

KLM’s 787 premium economy class was a delight to fly, and exceeded my expectations. The seat itself was plush, comfortable, ergonomic and high-tech (although I would’ve wished for a little more recline), the meal service was great, the crew were awesome, and the amenities were good. WiFi was also an absolute steal, and was some of the fastest I’ve had in the air.

This wasn’t the best premium economy product I’ve ever flown, however. Notable points of improvement included the airline’s not-great IT system, a couple more meal options for the second meal service, the amenity kit could’ve been presented in a higher-quality pouch, and it would’ve been good to see an expanded beverage selection. These seem like cheap fixes that could further elevate a good product.

KLM doesn’t offer some of the fancier touches I’ve seen in some premium economy products such as hot food between meal services, premium alcohol, or a separate walk-up bar, so in that sense the product is slightly no-frills. That being said, I think that’s quite consistent with many premium economy products within Europe such as British Airways, Lufthansa, and Swiss, and I think KLM gets the basics right more than these other airlines do. I’d say that KLM probably has one of the best premium economy products within Europe (out of those I’ve flown so far), but perhaps not the world.

Either way, I wouldn’t hesitate to fly KLM in premium economy class again.

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