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My poke around the public and private parts of a KLM Boeing 787-9

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As part of my trip to KLM this week, I got to take a look around a Boeing 787-9 which was in the hangar.  There are four reasons why I thought you’d find this interesting:

we often write about KLM business class sale fares on Head for Points, so it was good to see the latest seat in the flesh

if you live outside the M25, flying long-haul via Amsterdam is often easier than flying via Heathrow – KLM has far more UK regional airport connections to its hub than British Airways

KLM business class seats will be bookable with Virgin Flying Club miles from some point in 2019, and you will also be able to earn Virgin Atlantic miles when flying with KLM

I got to poke around, and photograph, the cockpit and crew rest areas

This is what the plane looked like in the hangar:


and this is what it looks like when you get inside the landing gear:

KLM Boeing 787-9 landing gear

The flight deck looks like a flight deck (Anika is the flight simulator expert on HfP as long-term readers will know, I honestly haven’t a clue what is going on in this photo):

When the cabin or First Officer swap over with the 2nd pair, this is where they go above the cockpit for their rest period:

KLM Boeing 787-9 Business Class

This is what you’ll get if you book Business Class on one of KLM’s Boeing 787-9 aircraft:

It turns out that it is virtually identical to the American Airlines Boeing 77W seat that I reviewed last week – the review is here.

I was very positive about that seat and, apart from cosmetic changes, there seem to be no major changes here.  The layout is 1-2-1 and the seats by the windows are angled inwards.  This means that you get quite a large space for your feet but cannot see out of the window very well when in the seat.

The middle pairs angle in, so – if you are sharing the middle pair with a stranger – your head is nowhere near theirs.  In fact, you head is nearer to the person across the aisle in the window seat.

Whilst both of you have your feet fairly close together, there is absolutely no chance of them touching due to a high divider.

All in all, based on my American Airlines seat review, I would be happy to fly this.

IMPORTANT:  This seat is only available on the 787-9.   The KLM Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 fleet have a 2-2-2 seat configuration. The KLM Boeing 747 fleet has a 2-2 configuration on both the lower and upper deck.

KLM Boeing 787-9 Economy Class

There were some other seats at the back:

Finally, here is a shot of the crew rest area.  This can sleep up to six people (three in the area shown and three opposite) and is situated at the rear by the galley.  Apparently the rules insist that crew lay down during their rest periods – they are not allowed to sit because it is not seen as providing enough relaxation.

This is obviously a very quick overview of the KLM’s Boeing 787-9 but, in business class, it looks pretty good.  Remember that you will be able to redeem Virgin Flying Club miles for KLM flights from some point in 2019.

How to earn Flying Blue miles from UK credit cards

How to earn Flying Blue miles from UK credit cards (December 2023)

Air France and KLM do not have a UK Flying Blue credit card.  However, you can earn Flying Blue miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.

These cards earn Membership Rewards points:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Flying Blue miles which is an attractive rate.  The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Flying Blue mile. The Gold card earns double points (2 per £1) on all flights you charge to it.

Comments (15)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Brian says:

    Presumably your head is nowhere near that of the other person in the middle pair even if the other is not a stranger….

  • Peter K says:


  • Tom says:

    It is the same basic seat but quite clearly not ‘identical, in every way’ to the AA 77W seat – the footwell is smaller (look at your picture above) due to the narrowed fuselage of a 789 vs. the 77W making it less comfortable for sleeping and the privacy screen at the side is also too small – it’s not quite as good.

    • Rob says:

      I did notice that the headrest seemed to curve around a bit less, but it is still there as a festure.

  • Nick says:

    Must be my eyes or brain but I skim read “a poke around private parts” on first read and nearly spat my coco pops out ????anyone else do the same?!

    • ankomonkey says:

      Not quite, but I did spit of cucumber water all over the screen at the mention of the cockpit.

  • DavidW says:

    Was the aircraft hanging in the hanger. Or standing in the hangar?

  • ChrisC says:

    Don’t count your miles and redemptions yet.

    The DL / VS / KL / AF joint venture still hasn’t been approved and the sale of VS shares to Af/KL is conditional on the JV being approved by the US and EU

    • guesswho2000 says:

      Maybe, but Flying Blue is still an option for anyone with MR points.

  • @mkcol says:

    I would have described the window seats as being angled outwards, especially as you describe the middle seats as being angled inwards too.

  • Catalan says:

    Doesn’t look as spacious or comfortable as the new Iberia A350 business class seat. Plus you are required to fold away the IFE screen for take-off and landing, unlike Iberia.

    • Rob says:

      But that is GOOD! The Iberia screen hits 12 inches from your face for the entire flight and you can’t move it. The ability to fold the screen away is a major plus to me.

      • Nick says:

        Me too. Fixed screens are horrible, particularly for those moments when the backlight won’t go off.

        My ‘pedant moment’ though is this… it doesn’t look like a ‘cockpit’ at all… because it isn’t one. A flight deck is where you walk in and out. A cockpit is where you climb in and/or are lowered in (as in fighter jets). I know of no commercial airline that doesn’t call it by its proper name.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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