DAL v KLM from AMS to ATL?

Old Sep 2, 18, 4:54 am
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Question DAL v KLM from AMS to ATL?

Hi--my wife and I fly semi-regularly between ATL and AMS--and have always done it both directions in Delta One. We are considering doing the return flight for a trip this winter on a KLM operated aircraft--a 777-200.

Can anyone give us a comparison of that Business cabin and seating as compared to the DAL 333--which we like quite a bit. I see the seating is 2-2-2, which isn't as good as Delta, but on the daytime trip back over to ATL would be doable.

How is the seat compared to a DL 333?
Does it have international wi-fi available for purchase?
How is the meal service? We typically order non-dairy vegetarian, and that isn't the best part of the Delta One experience.

Any advice or information would be appreciated
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Old Sep 2, 18, 5:19 am
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The KLM seat is acceptable, I guess, but not anywhere close to as good as the Delta A330. The only airplane KLM has with equivalent quality seating is their 787, which has direct aisle access and a similar herringbone design. The rest of their aircraft are a 2-2-2 lieflat config (like the 777/747) or, in extreme cases, an angleflat recliner that should have been replaced a decade ago (on some KLM A330 aircraft).

You may find the 2-2-2 seat less bad if you're traveling with a companion - you use 'we' a few times, and if that means you fly with a partner or friend you may find having a seatmate to be less troublesome than if you're traveling by yourself. The seat itself is comfortable enough, but it's seriously lacking in privacy compared to other options.

The real gotcha is that KLM meal service is absolutely miserable. Their food and beverage are awful - easily the worst I've experienced from any SkyTeam airline, and I've flown a lot of them. The food is usually just the acceptable side of edible, but poorly presented and made of cheap ingredients. My main complaint is that they favor lower cost cuts of meat than other airlines tend to use, though, which might not affect you when ordering vegetarian options. They do tend to also overindex on curry-based dishes, which might actually be a positive in your book. But the real problem is that the wine is unacceptably abhorrent - they spend less than half on average per bottle than AF or DL, based on an analysis I did recently, and while price isn't always an indication it definitely is reflected in how the wines taste. (We're in US$6/bottle territory here.) Combine that misfire with KL's hometown affinity for Heineken, and I struggle to find anything drinkable onboard other than the jenever.

If the KL flight times are dramatically more convenient, you'll certainly survive - choosing based on flight times or mileage earning may be the most rational choice. But despite my desire to grow my extensive collection of huisges, I'll pick Delta or Air France over KLM every time for long haul business class flights unless I have absolutely no alternative.
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Old Sep 2, 18, 5:37 am
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Originally Posted by BenA View Post
The KLM seat is acceptable, I guess, but not anywhere close to as good as the Delta A330. The only airplane KLM has with equivalent quality seating is their 787, which has direct aisle access and a similar herringbone design. The rest of their aircraft are a 2-2-2 lieflat config (like the 777/747) or, in extreme cases, an angleflat recliner that should have been replaced a decade ago (on some KLM A330 aircraft).

You may find the 2-2-2 seat less bad if you're traveling with a companion - you use 'we' a few times, and if that means you fly with a partner or friend you may find having a seatmate to be less troublesome than if you're traveling by yourself. The seat itself is comfortable enough, but it's seriously lacking in privacy compared to other options.

The real gotcha is that KLM meal service is absolutely miserable. Their food and beverage are awful - easily the worst I've experienced from any SkyTeam airline, and I've flown a lot of them. The food is usually just the acceptable side of edible, but poorly presented and made of cheap ingredients. My main complaint is that they favor lower cost cuts of meat than other airlines tend to use, though, which might not affect you when ordering vegetarian options. They do tend to also overindex on curry-based dishes, which might actually be a positive in your book. But the real problem is that the wine is unacceptably abhorrent - they spend less than half on average per bottle than AF or DL, based on an analysis I did recently, and while price isn't always an indication it definitely is reflected in how the wines taste. (We're in US$6/bottle territory here.) Combine that misfire with KL's hometown affinity for Heineken, and I struggle to find anything drinkable onboard other than the jenever.

If the KL flight times are dramatically more convenient, you'll certainly survive - choosing based on flight times or mileage earning may be the most rational choice. But despite my desire to grow my extensive collection of huisges, I'll pick Delta or Air France over KLM every time for long haul business class flights unless I have absolutely no alternative.
Thanks BenA. It's my wife and I (the "we"). Time was the factor in considering the KLM flight, but reading your review makes me think we will stick with DAL, as we basically always do..

Anyone else want to weigh in?
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Old Sep 2, 18, 8:02 am
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Originally Posted by atl runner View Post
Anyone else want to weigh in?
I quite like KL WBC, but treat it more or less interchangeably to DL. To your specific questions:

How is the seat compared to a DL 333?

The KL 777 seat is basically the DL 75S seat, if you're familiar with that. The DLA330 seat is definitely superior when traveling alone. With a companion, the KL seats are quite tolerable, and maybe even slightly preferable (since you can more easily talk to each other). Pick the center two if you both want aisle access, otherwise the window has to step over the aisle. (Not a big deal for people who know each other, especially daytime flights.)

Does it have international wi-fi available for purchase?

Only one or two KL 777s are equipped with wifi, and it's ludicrously expensive and metered. (Like 20 for 200MB or something.) If wifi is important, fly DL.

How is the meal service? We typically order non-dairy vegetarian, and that isn't the best part of the Delta One experience.

I haven't had the same experience as BenA, but I also don't order the meat dishes and I've dramatically reduced the amount of wine I drink on board. (For the record, KL beer selection is also terrible.) But I've also had some clunkers on DL lately, so I personally wouldn't pick based on the food service. One nice thing about KL is you can dig around in your reservation online and find the exact menu (ie: a PDF) for your flight in advance. So you can review that and then decide if an SPML is in order.

Of course, you'll each get a Delft House

Another thing about KLM (though maybe not relevant here) is they still (for now) operate 747-400s. While the UD isn't as awesome as the old DL one, it's still nice to have the option.
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Old Sep 2, 18, 9:04 am
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Thanks bennos My wife likes having the internet so that makes it sound more and more like Delta will be best for us. On the 333s we sit in something like 5K and 6K, as we like having the window. Don't like those middle seats. We can pop up and visit each other--hate sitting for long periods anyway.
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Old Sep 2, 18, 10:09 am
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Originally Posted by atl runner View Post
Any advice or information would be appreciated
Did you try your own search for answers to these questions before creating a new thread?

Your same questions have been asked hundreds of times between the Delta and KLM forum on FT alone.

You could also Google countless in-flight reviews of KL and DL business class transatlantic and see real pics of menus, seats, reviews of service and IFE, etc

The long and short is: they are both pretty similar. Not a night and day difference. The nuances are small but different people react differently to them. Research others' experiences and make your own decision as to what you'd prefer, then move on - you'll still be in business class either way
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Old Sep 2, 18, 10:19 am
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While portion could be bigger, I like the simpler food on KLM. DL just over does it and IMO ends up missing the mark.
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Old Sep 2, 18, 11:49 am
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The thing to bear in mind is that the KL product is kept deliberately worse than AF, lest they compete with themselves. To that end, it is a second-tier product. Go with DL. Better food (though catering ex-AMS is generally worse than elsewhere, DL will still be better) and much better seat. Service is largely what you make of it and the lounge will be the same (middling), but DL definitely wins.
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Old Sep 2, 18, 9:23 pm
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I slept better on KLM 747, than I did the Delta A330. I like the increased seat pitch because on DL metal my knees hit the pod of the seat in front of me. I thought the food on Delta is better.
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Old Sep 2, 18, 10:21 pm
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Originally Posted by Gig103 View Post
I slept better on KLM 747, than I did the Delta A330. I like the increased seat pitch because on DL metal my knees hit the pod of the seat in front of me. I thought the food on Delta is better.
DL has increased pitch. 80 VS 63. Also the A330 you barely having anything over you. The IFE screen at most will be half way between knees and bottom of foot. Not sure you're thinking of correct aircraft. The DL 767 this would be true.
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Old Sep 2, 18, 11:25 pm
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Originally Posted by flyerCO View Post
DL has increased pitch. 80 VS 63. Also the A330 you barely having anything over you. The IFE screen at most will be half way between knees and bottom of foot. Not sure you're thinking of correct aircraft. The DL 767 this would be true.
No, I've been on both the 330 and 767, and on the A330 the shell of the seat in front of me was close (at an angle b/c it was reverse herringbone) and there were controls on it. But on the KLM flight (2-2 on the upper deck) I had no issues with knee space.

Maybe I used the wrong term? Isn't pitch the space from one seat back to another? On KLM the seatback in front of me was so far out I couldn't touch the IFE without leaning forward, but on Delta there were even controls on the shell of the seat in front of me, and my legs were nearly immobile and on my side hit the other seat shell.
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Old Sep 3, 18, 3:18 pm
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@OP maybe these photos could help. Leg space

KLM


DL A330
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Old Sep 3, 18, 3:20 pm
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KLM


DL
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Old Sep 3, 18, 3:25 pm
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Which prove my point. Your knees aren't covered. At most your feet are and a couple inches of lower leg. They're angled to allow all aisle access. Length of bed is basically the same.
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Old Sep 3, 18, 4:50 pm
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Originally Posted by flyerCO View Post
Which prove my point. Your knees aren't covered. At most your feet are and a couple inches of lower leg. They're angled to allow all aisle access. Length of bed is basically the same.
I have identified the point of confusion flyerCO. My earlier post did not clarify that "as a side sleeper", my knees hit. On KLM I had unrestricted knee space when on my side, but on DL I hit the other seat. If you look at my A330 photo, my right calf is touching the seat back in front of me when straight out, which meant I had issues with my knees reclined into the space and on my side.

At the end of the day, because the next passenger was further from me on KLM it felt less claustrophobic and so I'd fly it again (in fact I hope to get an LAX-AMS flight for a reasonable price in the spring). One other minor nicety about KLM is that on the ex-US return trip, passengers are covered by EC261.
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