To kick-off my first trip post-pandemic trip, I flew from Toronto to Amsterdam en route to Cape Town on the KLM 787-10 World Business Class thanks to several premium flight deals I scored earlier in 2022 to make up for lack of travelling for the last two years. As it was a SkyTeam deal on either Air France or KLM aircrafts, I organized and arranged my upcoming flights to ensure I end up in as many KLM 787 aircrafts as possible.
Flying three 787 aircrafts between Toronto to Cape Town was a real treat – these seats are very private seating pods and having experienced it on 3 of the 4 legs of my flights, I can only book these types of seating moving forward.
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Background on the KLM 787-10
The KLM 787-10 aircrafts are some of the newest in their fleet – you can say there’s almost that new plane smell to it. There are only 5 in service as of May 2022 (the airline received their 6th delivery in Aug 2022, a 2-year break attributed to the pandemic) and this aircraft flies to select destinations such as Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salaam or Dubai. Each aircraft is named after a flower (sadly I forgot to note which one was mine) which I thought is a very unique touch. The 787-10 is the extended version of the 797-9 (which I also flew on on 2 of 4 legs of my trip) with 10 rows instead of 8.
KLM World Business Class Flight Details
🗓️ Trip Date: May 2022
✈️ Flight Number: KL692
🛣️ Route: Toronto (YYZ) – Amsterdam (AMS)
🛫 Aircraft: Boeing 787-10
💺 Cabin/Seat: Business (7K)
⏰ Departure: 5PM / Arrival: 6:05AM (7h5)
The 787-10 aircraft features the 1-2-1 reverse herringbone seats which means direct aisle access for every passenger. Solo travellers like myself will enjoy the seats by the window and couples or those travelling together will enjoy the middle seats and each will also have access to the aisle.
The reason flying the 787-10 was really exciting for me is how private the individual seat pods are. After 2 years of social distancing and keeping 2m apart from everyone, I personally wanted a bit more space when travelling long-haul and these pods were really what I needed.
The Toronto-Amsterdam flight (KL692) was scheduled to depart at 5pm from Toronto. I decided to take a half-day from work and arrived at the airport 4 hours early, at around 1pm to leave enough time given all the chaos and lengthy line-ups Pearson has been dealing with all summer long. I was pleasantly surprised to discover there wasn’t even any line up to worry about (check-in or security) which meant I had plenty of time to relax at the lounge after clearing security.
KLM 787-10 World Business Class – Boarding
I was the first passenger to board immediately after boarding for families with babies and passengers requiring mobility assistance. This was the only time my vaccination document was checked until I landed in Cape Town so I’m guessing the online verification helped save time and hassle. The purser greeted me by my name and personally showed me to my seat.
As the business class cabin completed boarding, a flight attendant started going around with a selection of champagne, orange juice, water, and of course, cans of Heineken (are you truly flying a Dutch airline if this wasn’t an option?) This service was also followed by a wet towel service. I know most people are torn about these towel service – personally, I use it to wipe my hands and nothing more so it doesn’t bother me.
KLM 787-10 World Business Class – Seat / Cabin Review
With spacious reverse herringbone seats in 1-2-1 configuration, solo travellers can enjoy complete privacy in booking one of the window seats and couples and enjoy a cosy and private set up in the centre section. If you are a solo traveller seated in the centre section, there is a partition that you can pull to provide some privacy. The Boeing 787-10 has 38 business seats making the World Business Class section quite massive. I picked 7K, which is a window seat on the right-hand side.
It probably goes without saying that the seats are entirely lie-flat and pillow/blanket are comfortable. The window seats come with the added bonus that it’s angled away from the aisle; combined with the pod-style seating, you get a very personal and private pod during your entire flight.
Do note that there is a seat you’ll want to avoid on the 787-10 and 787-9 and that’s the window seat on row 5. For some reason, there are no windows (you get half) so there’s really no view to enjoy.
After flying on the 787-9 on the left-hand section (8A and 7A respectively), for future flights, I’ll know to book the right-hand seats. With the extra space on the right side, it makes it much easier and more natural to write on a notebook or store stuff anything as it’s my dominant side. I picked my subsequent seats on the left-hand side, and found it a little more hassle to do things than I thought I would since I have to stretch over my tray table. The IFE also popped out to be more “in your face” when seated in the left section.
With variations of blue, white and grey decorating each pods, the name of the game is tranquility. Upon arriving at my seat, I noted not only was everything sanitized (you can see the slightly “wet” tray table), a packet of disinfecting wipe and hand sanitizer were provided should you want to wipe things down further, the meal and wine menu (printed with the day of the flight and route), a noise-cancelling headphone and the amenity kit.
I didn’t take a picture of the amenity kit (fairly standard: toothbrush, toothpaste, eye mask, socks, pen, hand cream, and earplugs) but I did note that the airline made an effort to use paper packaging and the toothbrush itself is a bamboo brush.
Immediately to my right is an exposed storage area where you can find the headphones and a water bottle – I didn’t find this storage area particularly useful compared to the compartment in the 787-9. The shelf compartment in the 787-9 is great to tuck away things you don’t need during the flight but want them to be accessible (glasses, phone, etc). Plugs (USB and universal) as well as the IFE remote can be found next to the storage area, along with your personal reading light.
The touchscreen for changing the seat configuration is very sleek but also a little finicky. It got stuck a few times and I really had to play around with it to get it going again. On this flight, I had the overhead storage to myself, which is another bonus – I don’t usually travel with a lot of luggage (or more than one carry-on/handbag anyway) but knowing the space is available is always helpful. There is a small stowage area where the footrest is where I tucked my Longchamp bag in.
Overall, the seat storage is very generous – both the space next to the open storage area and all-around for your suitcase, and personal effects. There’s even a leather pocket right under the tray table where you can tuck your phone or reading glasses during the flight.
KLM 787-10 World Business Class – In Flight Entertainment System (IFE)
The massive 18.5 inch screen makes watching movies a complete pleasure. I watched two movies instead of sleeping on my overnight flight. The touchscreen IFE can be controlled via a touchscreen remote when you’re comfortably reclined in your seat. The movie selection isn’t too bad but nothing to write home about – I watched “No Time to Die” and “Wonder Woman 1984” during my first leg of the trip.
KLM 787-10 World Business Class – Drinks and Meal Service
As soon as we took off (and the seatbelt sign was turned off) drinks service started with the offering of packaged salted nuts and I ordered the famous Bols Negroni cocktail with a splash of orange juice. The negroni (developed for KLM by Bols) was delicious and I had a second. As the Flight Attendants made their way around with the drinks, we were asked for our meal selection.
We left Toronto at 5pm and for dinner, the business class meal service includes a 3-course meal. I chose the prosciutto appetizer (Prosciutto with ricotta cheese, artichoke and cherry tomato with black olive tapenade) accompanied with a mesclun salad. For the main meal, I opted for the selection of delicacies (Beef short rib in morel sauce, carrots/apple roasted with cinnamon and potatoes with parsley and cheddar) which was quite delicious.
The dessert option included a cheese (savoury) or sweet option – I’m not the biggest fan of cheese so I opted the sweets plate which included a macaron, sweet raspberry tart and brownie along with a cup of Earl Grey tea (or anything else you want). We were also offered a Delft-shaped chocolate house (in dark, milk or white chocolate) after dessert.
I was really impressed by the level of details and presentation of the meal service – everything from the adorable clog-shaped salt and pepper shaker, the beautifully designed silverware, and intricately designed cups. I was never hungry or thirsty, being approached several times for top-up. Conveniently the meal service wrapped up within 2.5 hours of takeoff, which allowed us to settle in and rest for the rest of our flight.
During the flight, there’s a snack basket that’s laid out near the galley and replenished during the night – there are sweet and savoury option and as someone who enjoys the savoury / salty option after my meal, having the option is definitely much appreciated.
Around 3 hours before landing, breakfast service started. We had a fairly standard fare of croissant, warm roll and cold cuts, along with a side of muesli and fruits.
The 5-hour flight from Toronto to Amsterdam landed too quickly but I had another 787-9 flight taking me to Cape Town so I was eager to compare how the two cabins would compare.
KLM 787-10 World Business Class Overall Service and Dutch Houses Gift
KLM is world-famous for their incredible in-flight service. I experienced a taste of it here but felt that the flight attendants were a little too efficient. Aside from being personally greeted at the beginning of my flight, there wasn’t too much interaction otherwise. The reason I highlight this is because my inbound CPT-AMS flight was a completely different experience. The purser took the time to speak to each passenger on a full business class cabin – he got our names, travel destination and had chatted about our holiday / return plans with every passenger. I also felt the flight attendants on that flight to be more conversational during the drinks and meal service – making personalized drinks recommendation based on our meal choices – it was a contrast.
In any case, the service was sufficient that it didn’t break my overall experience. I was happy when they came around with trays of the Dutch Houses which is a parting gift provided on all KLM long-haul flights for business class passenger. There are around 100 in production, and a new design is released every October. They are filled with the Bols gin and is a collector item. Flight attendants are not told which designs they get on board but you can exchange any duplicates at the Crown 52 lounge in Amsterdam from what I’ve been told.
Final thoughts on the KLM 787-10 World Business Class
The KLM 787-10 world business class is one of the better transatlantic products I’ve flown – the details and final touches to the meal service and overall cabin and seat offering are comfortable, impressive and makes you not want the flight to end. The Boeing Dreamliner is the more comfortable aircraft I’ve flown in and I try to pick flights that has is scheduled to fly the 787.
The IFE and service leave little to be desired although that tends to vary greatly based on the route and time of the year. The 787-10 delivered a touch more superior experience than the 787-9 in my humble opinion and I look forward to sharing my thoughts on the 787-9 flight between Amsterdam and Cape Town in an upcoming post!
Have you flown the 787-10 international long-haul flight? What was your impression?