Today KLM’s CEO Pieter Elbers confirmed that his airline will introduce ‘proper’ premium economy as soon as possible.
Quoted by luchtvaartnieuws.nl, Pieter Elbers said, “Our North Atlantic partners Air France, Delta and Virgin Atlantic all already have a premium economy product.”
“If KLM does not have that, then you have a product difference that you would rather not have for the customer.”
Earlier I noted the word ‘proper’ because at present KLM offers Economy Comfort – extra legroom seats for which it levies an extra fee.
This might have been acceptable years ago when premium economy was in its infancy, but it’s not competitive with the products now offered by KLM’s rivals.
According to Elbers, the lead-in time will be at least one year.
Quoted by Luchtvaartnieuws.nl he says “Drawings must be made, certification started, things ordered and a supplier chosen. But once you take a serious look at implementing such a class you won’t take many years to do it.”
It has taken KLM a very long time to get to this stage. Consider that Eva Air and Virgin Atlantic introduced premium economy in the early 1990s, with British Airways following in the year 2000.
Recently more and more carriers have jumped on the bandwagon.
Right now the stragglers are to be found in the Gulf but Dubai’s Emirates is expected to launch premium economy this year.