KLM Review / current airline developments & overview

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  alainboy56 26 Nov 2016
at 04:00
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  • MarcusGB
    Participant

    A very thorough review for the flight Havana – AMS-LHR, thank you.

    https://www.businesstraveller.com/tried-and-tested-category/airlines/klm/

    I use KLM for most International flights so also am frequent ex LHR, or LCY Cityjet (booked on the KLM site you are on a KL codeshare), so get KLM benefits. I only ever use economy in Europe, but always the Economy Comfort seats. I travel Business class long haul for the right deal!

    KLM will start their CityHopper Embraer 190 flights to LCY in February, adding a 2nd flight in March, and i think this will grow, as Cityjet will lose passengers to the new KLM Bue aircraft. More leisure travelers are using these flights ex LCY now, so perhaps this may help you in the future, and avoid LHR its delays, and time it takes.

    After long haul flights, its great to arrive at LCY connecting in AMS and be out of the airport in 15-30 minutes.

    The “Economy Comfort” seats are there in Europe also, and about £10 LHR-AMS, and worth it – often not all taken so you can have a seat free.

    They are great for Europe, for medium and long haul, set according to distance, £50+ but much more room and quieter, again if not full, these would be left only for those who paid. But I highly recommend them within Europe at least. Select and allocate as you book. You get a graded discount for FFP status, free to Platinum members, gold I think 50% off, so well worth using you earned benefit.

    Schiphol it must be noted, as busy as it is, has had completed 2 years of improvements, virtually another floor, and 40 security security scanners in two areas, with more EU electronic gates.

    This is simply excellent, and mostly passengers incoming stay on the other floor, unless you connect out, so a huge capacity.

    I think the Hub for KLM is simply excellent, and should be seen as an enjoyable experience.
    Connecting from 22 regional airports in the UK is a great advantage for many living in the UK, to hop over to KLM and carry on your journey.

    Yes the A333s are only a few years old, they only have a few, and do not plan to add more, but do not have the new Business class seats, and wi fi, as do the refurbished 747’s, and 772/3’s and all new aircraft coming in.

    Their new Dreamliners appearing on many routes a few times a week (Dubai, KUL, YVR, CPT , so looking out for one of these or a different aircraft is a good tip for KLM.

    All Fokkers 100’s the last of the F70’s are being replaced with new Embraers, and the 737-7/8/9’s are new also, well kept. The B772’s feel a bit less fresh but all the fleet now have the new seating, and new aircraft do also, with the new livery outside, curving downwards at the front. KLM apart from the still gleaming 747’s, have basically completely renewed their fleet, and also for long haul.

    I would always say check several days of the week, as a different aircraft may run on alternate days, like the 789 Dreamliner, meaning you get more comfort and a new fresh aircraft. They have an excellent fleet, clean well maintained gleaming KLM Blue aircraft, and their popularity is increasing even more.

    Long Haul Business Class, 747’s 777-2/300’s, the seats fully flat and cabins have much improved from the old seats, and the Dreamliners with Business “Suites” 1-2-1 which are superb. In economy, at least you can make add-ons for a small price, with seats, meals, and even bid for an upgrade prior to your flight.

    The “KLM Family” still is a key value within the Airline, and I know several senior managers at KLM.

    With airlines like BA removing food and going 90% low cost now, KLM have done well and should stay with what they provide, great coffee always and a bar even on flights within Europe that are short, such as LHR.

    Tough times for KLM and AF pulling the whole group being, but KLM have secured a great reputation in Europe, and many connect to their Long Haul network. I just read traffic is up 6% on this time last year and on many flights I have been (mainly Budapest, Lisbon, LHR in Europe services) the flights almost always full. Long haul Business Class to Asia / Middle East mainly I fly, are almost always full, (bids for an upgrade for economy enable these to be accepted at the gate).

    Many airlines have adopted low cost additions, but I think KLM has stuck out well and not gone down the pathway of BA, which personally I feel is atrocious with no food and buying drinks. BA is no longer a full service airline, yet KLM will remain so, and I support them fully with Europe and Long Haul flights. Slowly but surely, they have renewed the entire fleet almost, have an excellent hub at Schiphol, and I can only commend the Dutch feel and enjoy all my flights with them.

    They often have sales such as £299 LHR – DXB return!!!), and constant World Business class sale. If you make a booking on the NL website of KLM.com , check World Business Class, and you get a 60% reduction buying for 3 month + in advance. You can then add on and buy your flight from the UK wherever you are for less than £100 from all the regions, and KLM will put the two bookings together for you after so you can be seen connecting through.This often saves me £500 per long haul flight compared to other Airlines ex LHR, and I can stop over in Amsterdam if I wish also.

    Even with the Euro having dropped to 1.08 at one stage (today it’s improved gradually 1.17 to the £), for Business class you can make huge savings. Even booking KLM Ex LHR on an AMS (stopover 3 days), -SIN, returning from KUL on the Dreamliner in Business throughout, on UK site it was only £1,620. Economy ex AMS is expensive, more so than departing from the UK, but Business seats are where the savings are to be made.

    I hope they split from AF and this is being an issue discussed more and more, as AF drag the group down, and the two airlines are so completely different in service, aircraft, reliability, and The KLM Dutch feel and KLM Blue, remain an icon, and well respected as an Airline, one if not the best in Europe.

    Transavia, their low cost fleet are doing extremely well, v high load factors, and soon Europe will come under the CityHopper flights Model, at least this was the aim.

    For the first 3 1/4’s the group had made over 500M Euros, and this is set to rise with high loads each month. Without AF sucking money out, they would be a highly profitable airline on their own. It is an exciting time at KLM, with so many innovations, expanding new routes, and a solid foundation for the future, with the Lead Hub in Europe. Etihad, Emirates and Qatar coming into AMS has taken away these Middle East routes and certainly others long haul, but they are doing well, and trying to keep services rather than cutting back and being greedy like BA!

    I wonder what others overall impressions are today of KLM compared to some years ago, and what you feel, compared to other European Airlines and all their deductions and additions, now?


    Gin&Tonic
    Participant

    I always approach the KLM website with anticipation, I really enjoy the products they have and connection ex MAN. My only ctitisicm is the inconsistent pricing. I have had some very good business class rates into Asia KUL in particular.
    The cabin crew are always excellent, the business class product is always consistently high standard and Ams is excellent as a transit point.
    I much prefer Ams as a transit over any of the MEA hubs, once I hit Ams I know it’s an hour home, not another 7.


    alainboy56
    Participant

    @MarcusGB — I fully agree with you with regard to your view on KLM cabin service. There is rather wholesome freshness about KLM as an airline or more rather a large friendly family (on long haul anyway).

    I had the pleasure earlier this year, to travel AMS-AUH, after I had flown into AMS from LGW with EZY. The aircraft was a brand new B787-9, I think when I checked, just 3 weeks old.

    What impressed me when I arrived at the gate at the same time as the crew, was being pleasantly greeted by many of them, especially the CSO, who went out of her way to greet as many pax as possible.

    This was not the first time i had been impressed by this ‘friendliness’, once on an A332 on the same route, The Capt came to the Biz section and spoke personally to all Biz pax (without mic so to speak). You are right, they are efficient, they make money, they keep up their service levels, and they are, as I said above, an extremely friendly airline, and therefore must dump their ‘surly’ and ‘cash-bleeding’ partners AFR urgently. That way they can look to the future with hope and promise.

    Oh, if only, as Brits, we could talk in such ‘glowing terms’ about our own ‘once great’ airline!

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