Founded in 1919, KLM is actually the world’s oldest airline still flying under its original name. How do you keep an airline with that long of a history feeling fresh? New planes definitely help, and for KLM’s long-haul fleet the freshest faces are its 787 Dreamliners.
Since joining the fleet a few years ago, the 787-9 has been KLM’s pride and joy. One of my very first AirlineReporter stories was a KLM pop-up exhibit in San Francisco back in 2016. Both then and now, folks at the airline are super proud of the Dreamliner fleet and its newest-generation onboard product. A few months ago, I scored a great deal on an award ticket from San Francisco to Amsterdam and on to Rio, and I’d get to try KLM’s long-haul Dreamliner service along the way. And it ended up being one of the best international business class experiences I’ve had.
For more of the highlights — from gin-filled ceramic houses and fancy Dutch glassware, to bubbly flight attendants and incredible views of that Dreamliner wing flex — keep on reading!
Alitalia is one of those airlines that I have always watched closely but have never had the chance to fly. While its business matters are complicated and ever evolving, Alitalia continues to run a solid operation with a highly regarded business class product and service standard. I was happy to join the airline for a flight in Magnifica Class on its newly added Dulles to Rome route, one of a small handful of new routes Alitalia has added to its map this year.
Alitalia does not have its own lounge at Dulles and instead leans on Skyteam partner Air France, but that lounge is currently under renovation so Magnifica passengers have access to the nearby Turkish Airlines lounge in the meantime. After a few lounge drinks it was time to board EI-EJL, an Airbus A330-200. Alitalia’s longhaul fleet is made up of 14 Airbus A330-200s, 11 Boeing 777-200s, and one single Boeing 777-300ER. Why does its fleet contain a single 777-300ER? Well, nobody really knows, actually.
Clearly we spent a ton of time talking about Finnair’s new flagship Airbus A350s … but we never flew one ourselves. Well we’re about to fix that! On Sunday March 31st into Monday April 1st we’ll be flying Finnair’s inaugural service from Los Angeles LAX to Helsinki on the A350. It’s the airline’s first US route to get full-time A350 service, which means a huge passenger experience upgrade in all cabins. As usual, we’ll be live tweeting along the way @AirlineReporter.
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On the best of business class flights, it feels like you’re being treated like royalty. Well, what better way to fly like a king or queen than to sit in a throne? That’s how I felt on a trip from San Francisco to Helsinki on Finnair, when I scored one of the business class cabin’s “throne seats.” With no neighbors, tons of table space on both sides, miles of elbow room, and a view out the window, it’s one of the most stylish ways I’ve crossed the Atlantic. It also gave me a great chance to learn about Finnair and its unique Finnish touch. And now that I’m back on the ground, it’s time to spill some details.
Read on for plenty of photos, videos, and thoughts from my long-haul Finnair business class A330 flight from San Francisco to Helsinki. And then decide for yourself whether it’s an experience fit for a king!