Besides all the local airlines such as Singapore Airlines and Garuda Indonesia, the one airline that stands out when you search for flights between Singapore and Denpasar (Bali) is KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.
KLM operates on the route as part of its Amsterdam – Singapore – Denpasar route, and it has fifth freedom rights on the shorter segment.
I had a chance to try the flight in business class earlier this year as part of an award ticket from Singapore to Osaka.
Continue reading this review to see what the flight onboard KLM’s 777-200ER was like.
Check-in and Boarding at Singapore Changi Airport
While I got to the airport around 1PM, since I had to check out of my hotel at 12PM, it was still too early for KLM’s check-in desks to be open. As such, I went to The Haven by JetQuay lounge which is located in the arrivals hall of terminal 3, and thus can be accessed before clearing security.
I left the lounge around 3:20PM, and headed back to terminal 1. When I got to the KLM check-in desks this time, they were already staffed, and so, I was able to drop my bag off, and get my boarding passes and lounge invitation in no time.
Exiting the country through an automated immigration kiosk took less than a minute.
Airside, I walked around the terminal a bit – enjoying the Christmas decorations and outdoor terrace – before visiting the Dnata Lounge which KLM invites its business class and elite passengers into.
As the boarding was supposed to start at 5:05PM, I left the lounge around 4:45PM and walked to gate D42.
There, I went through security since – rather than having a central security checkpoint for all its passengers – Singapore Changi airport has a separate security checkpoint at each gate.
In the waiting area, quite a few passengers were already waiting to board the flight. And, behind the windows, the aircraft that would be operating the flight – KLM Asia’s Boeing 777-200ER registered PH-BQM – was waiting, almost ready to go.
Boarding started at 4:55PM with Sky Priority passengers, and I was one of the first people to get onboard.
KLM Boeing 777-200ER Business Class Cabin and Seat
KLM 777-200ERs have a large business class cabin between the first pair of doors, and then a small cabin with just a single row of seats. The larger cabin is equipped with 28 lie-flat seats in a “2-2-2” configuration while the smaller one has 6 seats for a total of 34 business class seats on the aircraft.
After taking a couple of photos of the cabin, I settled in my seat 2D, an aisle seat in the center section of the larger cabin.
While the seat was comfortable to sit on and lounge in on the short flight from Singapore to Bali, it might not be as comfortable for longer flights due to the small foot cubby that connects with the seat when in bed mode.
In fact, when it comes to lie-flat business class seats, the one this one was about as bad as it gets since it featured the biggest drawback of the great reverse herringbone and staggered seats – the foot cubby, yet it lacked the privacy and direct aisle access that those seats offer.
It also lacked the main advantage of older generation lie-flat seats – the vast amount of space they offer to each passenger.
At the very least, though, there was a fairly large partition between each pair of seats.
Upon boarding, a large pillow and a noise cancelling headset were waiting at the seat.
As for the seat itself, there were a small storage rack and the in-flight entertainment screen above the foot cubby.
The console between each pair of seats featured a (very slippery) counter, the seat controls, the IFE controller, a magazine rack with a safety card and so on, a small counter where the headset could be found, as well as the USB and universal power ports and audio output.
The tray table which could be folded in half was stored in the console as well.
There were also a reading light and a separate, simplified set of seat controls in the shell of the seat.
Departing Singapore Onboard KLM Flight 835
Once most of the passengers were settled down, around 5:10PM, the cabin crew came around offering welcome drinks.
Besides the usual water and champagne, there was also freshly squeezed orange juice and – more interestingly – canned Heineken.
I opted for a glass of orange juice which was excellent.
Before push back, I paid a quick visit to the restroom. Just like – as you will find out further in this review – everything else, the toilets featured unique KLM designs including the famous Delft houses.
After boarding was completed, the crew went around the cabin distributing meal menus and wine lists. Shortly after that, the captain welcomed us onboard, and mentioned that we were expecting a flight time of 2 hours and 10 minutes.
The push back started at 5:31PM – four minutes ahead of schedule.
And, as we made our way to the departure runway from which we took off at 5:59PM, KLM’s unique safety video made using over 1,000 hand painted Delft tiles was played.
KLM’s Business Class Meal on the Singapore – Bali 5th Freedom Flight
The seatbelt signs were switched off less than five minutes after take-off at which the cabin crew started preparing for the meal service. While KLM didn’t serve a multi-meal course on this short fifth freedom flight, it served a decent single-tray meal.
First, though, the cabin crew went around handing out hot towels.
Then, about ten minutes later, the table cloth was set, and a minute after that, the meal itself was served.
There were two choices as pictured on the menu below, and I opted for the chicken.
Besides the main, the meal which – as mentioned above – was served on a single tray, also included an appetizer and a traditional Indonesian cake for dessert.
While the chicken and the appetizer were both a bit bland and nothing overly memorable, the dessert was excellent. The freshly squeezed apple juice that I got with the meal was good as well.
It’s also worth pointing out, once again, the unique designs that KLM manages to put on about anything – in this case the salt and pepper shakers, cutlery, and drink cart.
I finished the meal around 6:45PM, and it was cleared about ten minutes later. At that time, tea and coffee were served (I went with a cup of peppermint tea), and chocolate houses (I went with a white chocolate one) were offered.
The regular drinks and wine menus offered – besides the juices and peppermint tea that I had – plenty of other options as presented in the menu below.
Cruising Towards Bali
I spent the rest of the flight – after the meal was cleared – working on some reviews for KN Aviation. While doing so, nothing notable happened except for the crew going around the cabin doing duty free sales.
While I didn’t sleep during the flight, I tried turning the seat to its full-flat position. I already mentioned this earlier, but while for the most part, it looked relatively comfortable, the foot cubby was very small.
KLM In-Flight Entertainment System
Back when we were taxiing for departure and also during the flight, I also played around with the in-flight entertainment system a bit.
The screen could be controlled either with the remote controller at the seat or using a touchscreen function. Since the screen was fairly close to the seat and was very responsive, I opted for the latter.
There was a selection of more than 100 movies ranging from the latest Hollywood blockbusters all the way to classic and Dutch movies.
The selection of TV shows was much weaker, as most of the TV shows only had a single episode available to watch. There was, though, a section titled “binge-watching” where each of the shows in the section had several episodes available.
As for music selection, there were tens of albums of a variety of genres, as well as thematic playlists. What I liked about those was that unlike “radio stations” that are offered on some in-flight entertainment systems, it was possible to select individual songs in those thematic playlists.
There was also some travel podcast – likely KLM’s original production – to listen to.
Finally, the airshow was one of the modern ones where one could rotate and zoom the map. And, it could be played either on the main screen or the handset.
Arriving at Denpasar Airport
Going back to the flight itself, about an hour before landing, it was time for the highlight of the flight. Namely, for the famous KLM Delft Blue houses to be handed out.
Around 7:35PM, the copilot made an announcement saying that we would be starting our descent in a few moments, that we expected to arrive at 8:10PM, an that it was 30 degrees Celsius with a few clouds and a very light breeze in Bali.
We started our initial descent at 7:43PM, and the seatbelt signs were switched on less than fifteen minutes later.
At 8:03PM, the cockpit crew lowered the landing gear, and three minutes later, we touched down at Denpasar airport. Then, we taxied for a few minutes before parking at gate 19 at 8:10PM – ten minutes ahead of schedule.
KLM 777-200ER Fifth-Freedom Flight Business Class Summary
While there are several airlines flying between Singapore and Bali multiple times a day, as an aviation enthusiast, I was happy to take the fifth freedom flight that KLM offers as a continuation of its service from Amsterdam to Singapore.
The seat was beyond adequate for such a short flight, and the meal was decent as well. The main reason I decided to take this flight instead of Garuda Indonesia, though, was to get one of KLM’s famous Delft Blue houses.