AIRLINE: KLM »
ROUTE: Madrid to Amsterdam
FLIGHT TIME: 2h 28m
DATE: March 27, 2018
AIRCRAFT TYPE: Boeing 737-800 »
CLASS OF SERVICE: Europe Business Class »
This flight was leg 4 of 6 on a Sky Miles itinerary that went SFO-DTW-AMS-MAD-AMS-SEA-SFO. I found an incredible deal - 100,000 miles per person - with the return legs in KLM European Business Class, Delta One, and First Class respectively (the outbound segment was Economy).
KLM uses Terminal 2 at Madrid, which is not colocated with Iberia’s (and OneWorld partners) giant Terminal 4. It is much older and darker than T4, but check-in and security was quick and easy.
We had access to the Cibeles Lounge as SkyTeam premium cabin passengers with an intercontinental itinerary. The Lounge’s website says it’s open 24 hours, but it was closed when we arrived, so we had to stand at our departure gate. There wasn’t much seating around the gate area.
Boarding was delayed approximately 20 minutes due to fog at our destination. The boarding process was smooth - there were two lines: SkyPriority and General Boarding.
The staff was incredibly friendly once in board. One of the flight attendants offered my daughter a passport holder and coloring book.
European Business Class seats are arranged in a 3x3 arrangement, which is the same as Economy. But, there are 3 inches of additional legroom and the center seats are left empty. There is a sliding divider that allows for more or less rows depending on demand. There can be up to 5 rows partitioned off for Business Class. This flight had 4 rows, though there was only one other passenger in addition to my wife, daughter, and me.
We were delayed another 30 minutes at the gate. But, the Captain was very communicative during the delay and offered frequent updates.
The inflight service was excellent. Flight attendant immediately offered coffee and other drinks once they were cleared to move about the cabin. Breakfast was very hearty, much larger than comparable US First Class offerings.
The Captain was able to make up a little time in flight, but we still arrived about 40 min late. He was very apologetic when he made his final cabin announcement before arrival.
Overall, I thought the soft product was excellent, far superior to that of US First Class. The service was better and the food was exceptional. However, the hard product was quite inferior. Aside from seat pitch, the seats were no different than Economy. Domestic US First Class seats are much larger and offer more space.
In spite of the excellent service, I don’t recommend paying extra for this product, especially on relatively short intra-European flights. It is fine if it is attached to a follow-on intercontinental premium cabin itinerary, but don’t go out of your way to fly European Business Class if you are only flying within Europe.