Not much is known about KLM’s forthcoming premium economy offering. Set to launch sometime early this year, the details remain a mystery. Until the product is introduced, beginning with the airline’s Dreamliners and 777s, two options are available for travel on one of the Dutch flag carrier’s flights – plus a small extra-legroom bonus.
Awaiting premium economy
The Koninklijke Luchtvaartmaatschappij (Royal Air Transportation Company), or, as it is thankfully abbreviated in everyday life, KLM, is now over 102 years old. Its livery and services are known to many who have never even stayed a day in the Netherlands due to the abundance of transfer operations via Amsterdam Schiphol onwards to Europe and basically anywhere else in the world.
KLM’s cabin offerings have been relatively straightforward. The airline’s fleet, currently consisting of 179 aircraft counting KLM Cityhopper’s Embraer regional jets, is equipped with a two-class configuration – business and economy. However, that is set to change sometime early this year.
The airline has yet to offer any details about what the new premium economy cabin will look like. However, the first aircraft to receive the new setup will be the airline’s Boeing 777-300ERs and its 787 Dreamliners. Premium economy has already been added as an option for booking via KLM’s mobile app. However, this reporter failed to find any specific flight for which it was yet available.
Europe vs. World Business
Business class on KLM’s short-haul aircraft is the so-called EuroBusiness. This means that they are economy seats at the front of the cabin, with the middle seat blocked out. However, catering is a step above KLM’s standard short-haul egg or cheese sandwich, and travelers in the premium cabin are granted lounge access.
Meanwhile, on newer long-haul aircraft such as the 787s, KLM offers its World Business Class fully lie-flat seats in a reverse herringbone configuration on 1-2-1. These have a pitch of 60/75 inches and a width of 20.25 and are manufactured by Zodiac. The 787-10 has 38 business class seats, while the 787-9 has 30.
On the 777-200ERs and -300ERs, the layout is 2-2-2. However, they have been refurbished and now also feature fully lie-flat seats at a pitch of 63 inches and a width of 20. Both models have 34 premium seats each. The Airbus A330s also feature lie-flat beds – apart from a few unrefurbished A330-200s that seem to still offer only angle-flat rather than 180 degrees.
Economy (with comfort)
While waiting for the premium version to arrive, passengers in economy do have the option of splurging for a little bit of extra leg space. KLM offers what the airline calls economy comfort right behind business class.
On long-haul services operated by a 777-300ER, this means a seat pitch of 34 rather than the standard 30 inches. Both seats are 17.5 inches wide. The 777-300 features 40 of the former and 334 of the latter. On the 787-9 the corresponding numbers are 35 vs. 31 inches pitch, with 48 and 216 seats, respectively.
For KLM’s narrowbody of choice (that is, up until the recent A320neo order), the Boeing 737 economy comfort seats have a pitch of 33 inches while standard economy offers 30. These are usually pretty good value, costing somewhere around €16 ($18) for a two-hour flight.
Do you travel with KLM often? In which cabin? Which one of the airline’s aircraft do you prefer? Leave a comment below and let us know.