A while back I wrote a review of my first ever flight on board the amazing Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. It was back in September (2016) on board Etihad Airways’ Boeing 787-9 from Düsseldorf to Abu Dhabi. I was flying onto Muscat and at that time KLM was operating their Amsterdam-Abu Dhabi-Muscat-Abu Dhabi-Amsterdam route with their very own Boeing 787-9s too. So I booked my flights in such a way that I would also have the opportunity to connect onwards to Muscat on board KLM’s 787 from Abu Dhabi.
As the flights between Abu Dhabi and Muscat (and vice versa) are too short for an extensive flight review, I’m just going to focus on the aircraft itself. Therefore, this is gonna be a short review of KLM’s Boeing 787 aircraft. Having flown on board KLM’s A330s just couple of days earlier, I figured it would be a huge difference (some might even call it an ‘upgrade’) ;). The Boeing 787 itself is one of the most modern and latest models of aircraft being produced by the company, plus KLM’s 787s are all newly ordered, with most of them having an age of less than 1 or 2 years!
On the other hand, just having flown from Düsseldorf with Eithad on my first ever 787 flight, it would be an interesting comparison to make with KLM’s 787. You could even say I flew on board a completely new aircraft twice on the same day 😀
So how does the aircraft differ between Etihad and KLM? Okay the aircraft itself, as in Boeing 787, it’s the same in its technical features. Same manufacturer, same aircraft body, same structure, efficiency, everything. The main difference is always seen how airlines configure their aircraft interior and cabin.
My flight from Abu Dhabi to Muscat was on board KLM’s 5th Boeing 787, registered PH-BHE with its nickname ‘Dahlia’. KLM names their 787s after flowers. This particular aircraft (Dahlia) at that time was only six months old, and here’s the interesting fact – my return from Muscat to Abu Dhabi was also once again on board this very same aircraft. Since I started keeping data of my flights, this was the second time I’ve flown on the same aircraft twice!
Both Etihad and KLM’s 787-9s had 2-class configurations – Business and Economy, with KLM’s one having so-called 48 ‘Economy Comfort’ seats which are basically economy seats with increased pitch/legroom. I haven’t flown on Business Class but I did visit the cabins and took captured some shots. Etihad’s business class looked definitely better and more ‘charming’ to me, and later when I compared, Etihad’s business class seats had more pitch (bed length) and width than KLM’s. When I sat on the economy seats on board Etihad’s 787, it seemed pretty comfy to me – great legroom, perfect width, awesome headrest etc. But KLM’s economy seats initially seemed a bit wider to me – and this was confirmed when I checked the specs online. KLM’s 787 economy seats indeed have slightly more width, but slightly less legroom than Etihad. Also, their economy seats definitely lack an awesome headrest which you can lean onto when you want to sleep, and it wasn’t as comfy as Etihad’s seat.
Etihad also has a better inflight entertainment system than KLM. While KLM has THALES touchscreens and system with built-in USB ports, they are not very responsive time to time. Plus the lack of a remote control makes the screen your only choice of controlling everything by touching it, which can get really annoying when it doesn’t work well. Etihad’s 787 on the other hand has 12-inch touchscreens AND an interactive remote control with a secondary screen – which makes controlling much easier, responsive, and you can watch two things at the same time!
So to sum up, both aircraft were great – the Boeing 787 truly lives up to its promise of being one of the most modern, efficient, and comfortable aircraft out there. But if flying long-haul economy class between Etihad and KLM’s 787, I’d definitely go for Etihad! Unless of course, there is no other choice – but it doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t give it a try on KLM 787s to fly somewhere!