The history of KLM at ORD goes back to the Nixon Administration 1969-1974.
After WW2, in 1946, KLM was the first continental European airline to open a scheduled airline service from Europe to the USA - NYC Idlewild.
It was however a long standing wish of KLM to operate from Europe to the US West Coast.
In the 1950-1960's, the US Government gave permission to other European airlines to operate Europe - US West Coast (BA, LH, AF, even SK to SEA), but not to KLM.
KLM was made to do with 1950's IAH, which it introduced on AMS-YUL-IAH-MEX and built a successful oil route to Texas.
The story goes that Nixon planned visits to Europe a couple of times in 1969-1974, and visited the big European capitals.
One such trip should have taken him to the Netherlands, but this never materialized.
As a sweetener to the Dutch for missing out, the Nixon Admin. gave ORD traffic rights to KLM.
KLM immediately opened AMS-ORD with DC8-63, and was so successful that, first the DC10 and later B747 were introduced, which remained until 2020.
DL and NW never operated the route, though KLM did operate upto 10x weekly (KL611 + KL613).
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I lived in Chicago with my parents in 1969 and my brother and I remember going to AMS in July on KLM, but it was via JFK. Later in 1970s we flew to AMS from ORD.
The aircraft was indeed the Stretched 8. We flew on Marco Polo and Amerigo Vespucci, IIRC.
However the last time we flew to ORD from AMS was PH-DCU Sir Winston Churchill, a DC-8-50 Combi January 1971. As an aside, KLM didn't fly to LAX until 1979. As a small boy I remember the only routes to the USA were NY and Houston.