Air France and KLM are introducing new fare classes in the economy cabin.
The new fares which were phased in across the Air France website last week but will not be available on KLM.com until January 2017, will be on all international flights within Europe, and to North Africa and Israel.
The new products are:
Light: the lowest fare. It is a hand-baggage-only fare with no checked luggage, though there is the possibility to pay for this separately (at extra cost) when booking.
Standard: for an additional fee of €40-50, this offers the option of one item of checked baggage and the ability to change the ticket for a fee.
Flex: for an additional fee of €70-150 this offers no change fees and a refund at no extra charge, as well as the possibility to take advantage of the SkyPriority service at the airport.
In all classes, passengers will receive a refreshment, snack or meal (depending on your flight’s duration) and beverage will be served.
Speaking with Business Traveller, Air France KLM’s Senior Vice President Europe, Barry Ter Voert said that the key debate internally had been whether to continue with the KLM “unbundled” fares approach, or follow the “branded” fares that Air France had adopted.
“KLM for many years went for a model of unbundling which was very successful, and it saw an improvement of its results on short haul,” Mr Ter Voert said, “and indeed when KLM tried branded fares this was not a success. Meanwhile Air France moved to branded fares, and it worked quite well, so there were different business models within the group.”
“However Air France KLM is selling an integrated product, and we want something that is fully aligned. So we have done a lot of testing, and the move we are announcing allows the best of both worlds. We offer the passenger one of these three fares, and they know what they are getting, but at the same time if they want to add something on to it such as a checked bag to a “Light” fare, or they want to move up to Economy Comfort, then this is still possible. They are not paying for something they do not need, which might be a checked bag, only for what they require.”
Mr Ter Voert also said that while the group was watching the move of British Airways to introduce Buy on Board food on short haul next year with interest, it had no plans to follow suit.
“We are a full service airline, and we think this is now a point of differentiation between us and British Airways.”