KLM Reveals First Retrofitted Boeing 737-800

Great news for current and future KLM travelers on short-haul European flights. The Dutch carrier has retrofitted the first of 14 Boeing 737-800s in its fleet. This cabin refresh project will be completed by March 2022 and will save 58 tonnes of fuel consumed per aircraft per year due to the lighter seats.

KLM Reveals First Retrofitted Boeing 737-800
Only 14 737-800s in KLM’s fleet of 31 Boeing 737-800s will see these retrofits. Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr 

More comfort and connectivity

With the full cabin of 14 737-800s (business* and economy class) getting retrofits, KLM passengers will experience new and comfortable seating that is also lighter, saving on fuel and reducing carbon emissions.

On the customer experience side, this is what passengers can look forward to:

  • New, ergonomically designed seating that will offer more comfort
  • Refurbished 737-800s are also equipped with inflight WiFi, which includes 30 minutes of free messaging
  • A USB port for charging devices at each seat
  • Larger overhead bins
  • LED mood lighting

*In the case of KLM’s short-haul offerings, business class is simply a blocked middle seat in an area sectioned-off from economy class passengers.

KLM Reveals First Retrofitted Boeing 737-800
Wider cabins and inflight charging are the main highlights of this cabin refresh. Photo: KLM

Refreshed cabins will make jets 700kg lighter

Traditionally not a highlight in press releases about cabin refreshes, KLM is putting extra emphasis on the sustainability aspect of the new cabins. With seats that are 20% lighter on average, a total cabin refit will see the aircraft weigh 700kg less.

“This saves 58 tonnes of fuel and 184 tonnes of CO2 emissions per aircraft per year. For all 14 aircraft combined, this represents annual fuel savings of 812 tonnes and a reduction of 2,576 tonnes of CO2 emissions.” – KLM via official statement

In addition to the operational savings, the upholstery is comprised of “mostly recycled leather.”

KLM Reveals First Retrofitted Boeing 737-800
Upholstery is mostly comprised of recycled leather to align with the carrier’s sustainability initiatives. Photo: KLM

Which aircraft will be refreshed?

According to KLM, the first refurbished aircraft has already gone into service, with the airline expecting all work to be completed by March 2022. Interestingly, just 14 of the airline’s 31 737-800s will have their cabins updated. At this point, the airline has not specified which particular aircraft.

Looking at the airline’s list of aircraft on Planespotters.net, our best guess would be KLM’s very oldest 737-800s, 13 of which joined the fleet between 1999 and 2000. Registrations range from PH-BXA through to PH-BXN (the last letter changing in alphabetical order; PH-BXJ is the only letter missing in this sequence).

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The airline’s newest 737-800s arrived at KLM just two years ago, in March 2019; These would obviously not need to be retrofitted.

KLM Reveals First Retrofitted Boeing 737-800
All activities will be carried out by KLM’s Engineering and Maintenance division. Photo: KLM

This update will bring a significant part of KLM’s fleet up to date, in line with its long-haul fleet. The carrier’s older Airbus A330s received a cabin update in 2018.

Of course, the 737s won’t be getting inflight entertainment screens like their widebody counterparts, but at least USB ports will be useful if passengers are using their own devices for entertainment.

Have you flown on any of KLM’s 737s? Are you looking forward to this cabin refresh? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment.