Picking the right business class cabin can be daunting. You need to consider a lot of things, including the price, the route, the hard product, and the soft service.
Operating since 1919, Dutch pride, KLM (The Royal Dutch Airlines) has provided its fair share of wonderful and elegant business cabins for its premium guests.
In contrast, Emirates, while only 37 years old, has some of the most coveted first class and business class cabins sought by luxury travelers and savvy travel hackers.
To find out which airline has the best business class cabin, let’s take a deep dive and find out in this KLM Business Class vs. Emirates Business Class comparison.
- Quick Glance: KLM Business Class vs. Emirates Business Class
- The Details: KLM Business Class vs. Emirates Business Class
- KLM Business Class
- Emirates Business Class
- Best For: Which Airline Class Should You Book?
- Wrapping Up
Quick Glance: KLM Business Class vs. Emirates Business Class
|KLM Business Class||Emirates Business Class|
|Ground Experience||Great! Receive priority boarding and check-in and even fast-track security when flying from the Schiphol Airport (AMS) in Amsterdam. Guests get 2 free checked baggage, weighing up to 70 pounds or 32 kilos each, and 2 free carry-on with a max combined weight of 40 pounds or 18 kilos. Access to KLM’s Crown Lounges at Schiphol Airport as well as KLM partner lounges worldwide is also a perk.||Amazing! It’s no secret the Emirates business class lounge is impressive when flying from their hub at Dubai International Airport (DXB). Business flyers also get priority boarding and check-in with free checked luggage and hand carry.|
|Seat||All KLM World Business Class have lie-flat seats. Their latest Boeing 777 planes feature sliding doors and direct aisle access courtesy of its reverse herringbone, 1-2-1 pattern. Both the 777 and 787 planes have seats with a 60 to 76-inch pitch and a 20.5-inch width.||The Emirates A380 has 76 business class seats in a 1-2-1 arrangement, giving each guest direct aisle access. These seats have a pitch of 48 inches, a bed length of 76 inches, and an 18.5-inch width. Newer Boeing 777 seats will have a 2-2-2 layout instead of the cramped 2-3-2 it currently has. All seats lie flat, have good storage, and include plenty of unique touches.|
|Amenities||KLM amenity kits are created in partnership between Rituals Cosmetics and Rijksmuseum. It contains essential pieces like a dental kit, an eye mask, a pen, socks, and lip balm. On the seat are a pillow, blanket, headphones, and bottled water. Every business class guest also receives a KLM Delft Blue miniature house filled with Dutch gin.||Guests on Emirates business class receive a luxurious amenity kit. Each one has a dental kit, eye mask, tissues, and an eye mask. Men get an additional razor, deodorant, and shaving cream while women get a hand mirror, a Bvlgari hand lotion, and hand cream. There are also luxury items like the Bvlgari cologne – Aqua Pour Homme for men and Omnia Crystalline for women.|
|Food and Beverage||Amazing service. Meals start an hour after take off. It’s given in two courses, starting with fresh bread and appetizers. Followed by mains and a selection of top-shelf wine. Choose from a fruit plate or a cheese plate as a finisher. Order coffee or snacks in between if you’re still hungry. The second meal starts 90 minutes before landing.||Emirates serves pre-flight drinks in the form of Veuve Clicquot champagne or orange juice with warm nuts or olives. Paper menus are given and orders are taken shortly after takeoff. Meal service begins 40 minutes into the flight with starters, mains, and desserts. The second meal starts at least two hours before landing. On the A380, there’s a bar area where guests can grab cocktails and light bites as well.|
|Entertainment||Older seats on the Boeing 787 carry an 18-inch touchscreen IFE. It has a fixed viewing angle and comes preloaded with movies, music, TV shows, and more. Noise-canceling headphones from KLM are on the seats including multiple charging sockets to use with your device.||Emirates is one of those airlines that has gotten entertainment right. Their onboard ICE system is fantastic, with more than 5,000 movies, shows, music, an airshow, and even Live TV. The main 23-inch screen is in front of the seat while a second tablet controller is on the side, and a third, smaller handheld remote is also within reach.|
|Lavatories||Aboard the 787 Dreamliner are two lavatories with Rituals Cosmetics toiletries. It’s small but cleaned throughout the flight.||On the A380, there can be as many as 6 lavatories to accommodate all the passengers in the business cabin. Showers aren’t available here but they have extra touches like handtowels, dental kits, a full-length mirror, and even a rose.|
|Bed||Each seat can be moved to different positions at a touch of a button. The bed lies flat with a pitch of 76 to 78 inches and a 20.5-inch width.||All of the seats in business class transform into a comfy bed. On the A380, each seat comes with a 76-inch bed length and 18.5-inch width. There’s a footwell and amenities such as a thick mattress topper, duvet, pillow, an eye mask, and starry cabin lights to help you doze off.|
|Service||KLM, in general, has a well-trained crew manning their business class. They are friendly service and will gladly offer a smile. If you happen on a veteran crew, they can make your flight more seamless.||For the most part, the service aboard Emirate is always great. The crew is professional, attentive, and cheerful. There are times when they’re non-proactive but these are rare.|
|Wi-Fi||Get onboard Wi-Fi on KLM’s newer planes at 18 Euros or about $19 for the entire duration of the flight. Keep in mind, not all of KLM’s fleet has Wi-Fi installed. Most of the older jets don’t have it.||Wi-Fi plans start at $2.99 to $5.99 for unlimited chat services like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. For a full flight connection, it starts at $9.99 to $19.99 depending on the flight duration. There’s also an easy connect option on certain routes where guests can connect for 30 minutes without a data cap for only $9.99.|
The Details: KLM Business Class vs. Emirates Business Class
KLM Business Class
Guests going through Schiphol Airport (AMS) get access to the KLM Crown Lounges – considered among the best in Europe!
You can enter the Schengen Crown Lounge in Concourse D if you’re flying into a Schengen country or go for the Non-Schengen Crown Lounge at Concourse E and F if you’re flying internationally.
Intra-Europe flights will give you entry to the Schengen Crown Lounge and its extensive hot and cold buffet. If you want to quench your thirst, there’s a counter for self-serve alcohol as well as other beverages and liquor. This lounge is smaller compared to the Non-Schengen version but has all the amenities you need before flying out.
For the Non-Schengen Crown Lounge, there’s a restaurant for a la carte dining, paid sleeping rooms, and shower areas for freshening up. A striking feature for aviation geeks is the extensive collection of vintage KLM planes on display.
Inside the lounge is a hot and cold buffet area, a coffee station, and a bar as well as premium drinks and alcohol. There’s another wall featuring all of KLM’s Delft Blue Houses as well.
Since KLM is a SkyTeam member, guests can also enter partner lounges worldwide when using other hub cities.
All KLM business class passengers get 2 free checked baggage weighing up to 32 kilos or 70 pounds each. They’re also entitled to carry a maximum of 2 carry-on luggage weighing not more than 18 kilos or 40 pounds combined. Plus, they can bring one personal item on board like a laptop bag or a handbag/purse.
Those flying in KLM business class can now get even better seats since KLM has updated a handful of their Boeing 777s. You’ll find the upgrades aboard select 777 and 787 planes.
These seats are in a reverse herringbone pattern at a 1-2-1 configuration, providing aisle access to everyone. On top of that, the newer seats come with sliding doors for privacy.
In the meantime, the older jets will continue to sport the classic 2-2-2 pattern with the Collins Aerospace Diamond Seats. These seats are slightly outdated but they do lie flat when in bed mode.
KLM seats have good legroom and several storage areas for small items. The Dreamliner also has window dimmers controlled by the crew. It’s perfect when it’s too bright outside but can be annoying when you want sunlight to come through during the daytime. If the latter, you can ask the crew to lighten the shades.
An IFE screen lets you watch different shows and movies mid-flight. KLM noise-canceling headphones and remote control are also within reach. Finally, the seats also have a reading light, a USB port, a pullout tray, and a charging outlet for your devices.
Business class guests get special extras when flying in a KLM business cabin. Beautiful blue and white amenity kits designed in partnership between Rituals Cosmetics and Rijksmuseum are given to each guest. The kits contain a dental kit, blue socks, an eye mask, a pen, and earplugs as well as Rituals Cosmetics items like a lip balm and moisturizer.
Thick blankets and fluffy pillows are on the seats too. But perhaps the most unique touch is that every guest will receive a Delft Blue miniature house filled with premium Dutch gin. These houses have been a tradition for years and are considered highly collectible by KLM fans.
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Food and Beverage
After settling on the seat, attendants will offer pre-flight drinks and light bites. Guests can choose from premium champagne, orange juice, or soda with nuts or cheese nibbles. Menus are given at this time and the official meal service begins 40 minutes to an hour after the plane takes off.
All meals are curated by Dutch chef Jonnie Boer from De Librije. These are served on a single tray with a striking blue liner atop a white tablecloth. Starter options commence with appetizers, often with a soup or salad. The mains come next with three options and then two options for dessert, which include a sweets plate with macarons and petit fours or a cheese and fruit plate.
Delft chocolate houses serve as palate cleansers after a meal. You can also order coffee or tea to go with this.
Breakfast or the second meal comes around 90 minutes before landing. You can order snacks or drinks anytime in between. The coffee or tea is served in beautiful Delft cups with charming stirrers created by Marcel Wanders.
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The older 787 jets carry an 18-inch monitor that’s fixed at the front of the seat. Because of its fixed nature, it can be challenging if you want to view it from a different angle. KLM’s IFE has a huge selection of movies and shows. Aside from Hollywood shows and movies, there’s a good amount of Dutch content as well.
KLM-branded headphones are on the seats. These are noise-canceling and work well even though it’s not as extravagant as American Airlines’ Bang & Olufsen headphones.
For full flight connection, KLM offers business class guests Internet access for 18 Euros or $19. It’s worth remembering that older jets may not have WI-Fi installed so you need to check ahead of time if you intend to get work done up in the air.
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Business class passengers often get one or two lavatories per cabin. Even though these lavatories aren’t lavish, they are usually equipped with Rituals Cosmetics products.
Transform your seat into a comfortable bed when you’re ready to sleep. Once flat, the seats measure 76 to 78 inches in length with a narrow width of 20.5 inches. There’s an option to lower the side arm as well to give yourself more room.
Staff and Guest Services
One highlight of KLM is its service. For the most part, the service is amazing! Of course, this would still depend on the crew but it’s generally efficient and prompt.
Who Is It For?
KLM business class is for anyone who wants to fly in comfort. The older jets may have narrower seats but with the recent upgrades in their international fleet, KLM business class is looking promising. With premium perks, great amenity kits, and good food, it’s a superb option to take if you want to fly business class.
KLM Business Class Gallery
Emirates Business Class
With travel in full swing, Emirates is also back providing premium services to their valued guests. Business class travelers flying on Emirates from their hub at Dubai International Airport (DXB) get a few perks.
The first perk, every First Class and Business Class guest can opt for complimentary chauffeur service to and from the airport. Chauffeur-drive is available at all of their destinations at the moment. Emirates is one of a handful of airlines that still has this service. You can check your route on the Emirates website to see if you’re eligible.
A second perk for business guests is access to one of the best lounges in the Middle East, the Emirates Business Class Lounge at Concourse A. This is the primary business lounge if you’re flying on a long-haul route. In keeping with Emirates’ huge fleet, the lounge is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Lounge access is given exclusively to First Class and Business Class Emirates passengers and Emirates Skywards Silver or higher members. Those flying on Air Canada with Aeroplan 50K, 75K, and Super Elite can also access the lounge regardless of their cabin.
Like the First Class lounge, the Emirates Business Class Lounge occupies an entire wing and has its own boarding area for its flights. It’s divided into two wings and when you enter, you can either turn right or turn left. You’ll find similar amenities on each side of the lounge.
Once inside, there’s never a shortage of seating, from simple chairs, dining areas, loungers, sofas, recliner chairs, and even napping areas – you can find a spot to call your own. TVs also dot the lounge for entertainment.
Each wing has two buffet sections with a selection of hot and cold dishes and an abundance of drinks. From coffee to premium liquor, it’s all here. There’s even a Moët & Chandon champagne on the bar, for that extra hint of luxury.
In addition, there’s an ice cream cart, coffee machines, a host of shower suites, a business center, a play area for kids, and a shopping area.
There’s also the Timeless Spa right by the entrance. Treatments aren’t free to business class guests so if you want to indulge in a massage or treatment, you’ll need to pay up.
Once boarding commences, you can march to your boarding gate and receive priority check-in and boarding. Emirates business class guests can hand carry up to 2 personal items like a handbag and laptop bag on board as long as they don’t exceed more than 7 kg (15 lbs.) each.
For checked baggage, Emirates employs a weight model so you can technically check in as many bags as you want provided they’re within the specified maximum weight limit according to your fare and route. For example, those flying routes from Europe to the United States can check in 2 pieces of luggage with a maximum weight of 32 kilos each.
Everyone grieved the loss of the A380 when Emirates announced it would shelve its Airbus during the pandemic. But now that air travel is back in full force, they’ve brought back these humongous air buses coupled with fresh new interiors and upgrades to boot!
The A380 has 76 business class seats with a 1-2-1 arrangement. It’s located on the upper deck of the plane, right next to the prestigious Emirates First Class cabin. Fitted with new creamy leather seats, rich dark wood tones, and elegant purplish mood lighting, it’s enough to elevate the business experience.
Each seat has a pitch of 48 inches and a 76-inch bed length, leaving enough room to relax. Luxurious extras on the seat include a personal minibar, a giant IFE screen with thousands of movies and shows, noise-canceling headphones, a pillow, a blanket, a mattress topper, deep storage areas, sockets, and more.
Another novelty in the A380 is the Emirates Bar. Socialize, have a few drinks, and maybe a sandwich or two – it’s all here!
As for the Boeing 777s, Emirates will also upgrade 56 of their planes with new interiors. The full revamp should be done by 2025, according to the airline.
Chances are, you’ll still get the older version of the 777 when you fly. The seats on these planes are equally comfortable with a 60-inch pitch and a 20.5-inch width.
Emirates has dedicated kits for men and women. While not overly stylish, the pouches are functional and include a few basics like a dental kit, a comb, a tissue, and an eye mask.
The kits for men also have a razor, deodorant, and shaving cream. There’s a Bvlgari Aqua Pour Homme cologne inside too. Meanwhile, for women, aside from the basics, the kits contain a hand mirror, hand cream, a hand lotion, and an Omnia Crystalline cologne from Bvlgari.
Guests will also find a fluffy pillow, a thick mattress topper, and a blanket on the seat. Noise-canceling headphones are also provided. The headphones may not be branded but they work pretty well and are comfortable to use.
Food and Beverage
Enjoy a glass of Veuve Clicquot the moment you settle on your seat, it’s the champagne of choice for all Emirates business class. The bubbly is served together with warm nuts or olives. At this time, a paper menu is also given out so you can choose what to have for dinner or your first meal.
Unlike first class, there’s no dine-on-demand here so you’ll need to dine at the appointed time. The first meal service starts at least 40 minutes to an hour after takeoff.
All meals are dished out on a tray atop a white tablecloth using real cutlery. Pretty much the meal service on most flights has gone back to normal before the pandemic (no more plastic wrapping on the food).
Starter dishes go with a side salad and bread. Mains follow next and then dessert, composed of a cheese plate and a cake or tart.
The second meal starts about 90 minutes to 2 hours before landing. Attendants will ask you beforehand if you want to be woken up for breakfast or if you prefer to skip it. Breakfast meals are also in trays and contain fruit, bread, an omelet, or an egg dish along with either coffee or orange juice.
All seats in business class come with one of the largest IFE screens onboard any aircraft, a 23-inch touchscreen monitor. Even better, Emirates’ ICE system is preloaded with thousands of movies, TV shows, music, podcasts, even Live channels, and an airshow to keep you entertained for the duration of your flight.
Aside from the huge screen in front of your seat, there’s a smaller tablet on the side for easy controls or viewing. There’s a smaller, handheld controller with a screen that you can use too.
If you want to plug in your gadgets for work or entertainment, you have several USB ports and a power outlet within reach. But, in case you board an older jet, you might need a power converter to plug into a USB port. It’s recommended to ask the staff for a converter ahead of time since they tend to run out fast.
If you want to connect to Wi-Fi on board, the chat plan starts at $2.99 to $5.00. You can use Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and similar messaging apps for the duration. However, if you want a full-flight connection, the prices begin at $9.99 to $19.99. Certain routes have economical options where you can connect for up to 30 minutes online without a data cap for just $9.99.
Bigger planes have more lavatories since they need to accommodate a lot of business class guests. For example, in the A380, the business cabin has a total of 6 lavatories. While these don’t have any showers, they do include nice add-ons like dental kits, a mirror, hand towels, and even a rose.
The seats all transform into a convenient bed when you’re ready to sleep. Aboard the A380, the bed length measures 76 inches with an 18.5-inch width.
To aid in your sleeping, Emirates supplies a thick mattress topper, a duvet, and a fluffy pillow. There’s also an eye mask and the cabin lights are dimmed to help you relax.
Staff and Guest Services
Prompt and attentive, the crew aboard Emirates is well-trained. You can expect your questions and requests to be attended to within a few minutes. There can be occasional hits and misses, but for the most part, you can expect excellent service on board.
Who Is It For?
Emirates business class is a solid product, complete with immaculate hard products and a superb soft product counterpart. While the meal service is no Air France, it is decent and counted among the finest in the air. So if you’re thinking of splurging but don’t want to pay $10,000 on a first class ticket yet, then the Emirates Business Class cabin is a fantastic option.
Emirates Business Class Gallery
Best For: Which Airline Class Should You Book?
|Winner||What Makes It Great|
|Best for Food||KLM Business Class||Although Emirates serves up delicious food, KLM edges out on this one thanks to their curated meals and extras.|
|Best for Seats||Emirates Business Class||You can’t go wrong with the lavish Emirates business class seats especially onboard the A380.|
|Best for Ground Experience||Emirates Business Class||Occupying a dedicated wing and having a private boarding gate, the Emirates DXB lounge wins this hands down.|
|Best For Comfort||Emirates Business Class||With the luxurious addition of a mattress topper, the seat becomes a fantastic bed to sleep on!|
|Best for Families||Emirates Business Class||The seats are great but the highlight is the bar area/lounge where families or groups can sit together and socialize.|
|Best for Couples||Emirates Business Class||The honeymoon seats aboard the newer business class cabins with a 2-2-2 configuration are ideal for couples.|
|Best for Service||Tie||Both airlines have a fantastic well-trained crews. Yes, there are off days but this is rare and they’re usually friendly, personable, and professional.|
|Most Exclusive||Emirates Business Class||Emirates just adds that extra bit of luxury and exclusivity to their cabins.|
Both KLM Business Class and Emirates Business Class know how to offer a reliable business product.
KLM has been in the industry for over a hundred years. With this amount of experience, they’ve honed their product to showcase the best possible options and services to premium guests. The new seat upgrades on their fleet take this one step further. Plus, their unique perks like the signature Delft Blue miniature houses are an awesome bonus!
On the flip side, Emirates Business Class needs no introduction. With impeccable seats, an in-seat minibar, an amazing IFE, and a luxurious amenity kit, not to mention the perks of having a bar in the air aboard their A380 – Emirates pulls out all the stops when it comes to giving guests the ultimate flying experience. There are slight inconsistencies in the meal service but it’s nothing dramatic. In the end, you still get a memorable adventure while flying in this luxe cabin.
Regardless of whether you go with one or the other, both these airlines know how to create and deliver a remarkable business class experience.