KLM to launch "premium economy" zone

16 Sep 2009 by Mark Caswell

KLM is to offer an upgraded economy class on its intercontinental flights from this December. Economy Comfort will feature its own zone on the aircraft, with up to 10cm more legroom and twice the recline of the existing economy seat.

The carrier has already started converting some of its aircraft, and will continue to do so over the next few months, with all intercontinental flights offering the new zone from December.

KLM has gone for a different approach to sister airline Air France, which is officially launching its new premium economy product next week (Business Traveller will be reporting from the launch in Paris next week). While Air France has gone for a completely new seat, with a separate cabin, priority check-in and upgraded amenities, and with ticket prices to reflect this, KLM is effectively adapting its economy seat to offer passengers the choice of more legroom and a greater recline.

The airline says that it is launching the new zone “in response to customer demands for greater comfort and more choice in economy class”. Customers will be able to book the new seat offering online from the end of November, or upgrade at the airport using the self-service check-in kiosks, with prices ranging from €80 to €150 for a single leg of a journey, depending on the distances involved.

KLM is clearly trying to attract its most loyal customers with this new seating, as Flying Blue Platinum members and passengers travelling on fully-flexible economy tickets will be able to book Economy Comfort seats without a surcharge, while Flying Blue Gold members will be offered a 50 per cent discount and Flying Blue Silver members a 25 per cent discount.

It’s not yet clear how many Economy Comfort seats will be available on each plane, but the seats will be positioned at the front of the standard economy class, allowing Economy Comfort customers to disembark first. Service in Economy Comfort will be the same as that in standard economy. Below is an image released by KLM to accompany today's announcement.

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Report by Mark Caswell

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