KLM has today (December 7) officially launched its enhanced economy product across its entire long haul fleet, but insists it is still a two-class airline.
As previously reported on Business Traveller (see online news September 16), the new “seating zone”, which has the same seats as in standard economy but with 10cm more legroom and twice the recline, is now available on all of KLM’s long-haul routes following a year-long fleet overhaul.
Speaking at the seat’s official unveiling in Amsterdam today, Bram Graber, senior VP Air France KLM area Benelux, told Business Traveller it was not KLM’s intention to create a separate premium economy class.
Graber said KLM wanted to give economy passengers another “comfort option” without them having to shell out for business class. He also maintained that KLM would remain a two-class airline of economy and business.
In a separate statement, KLM said: “This new alternative reflects KLM’s pledge to fulfil the changing needs of its customers, one of which was the call for more comfort options in Economy Class.”
Economy class passengers must pay €80-150 per sector for the extra space, depending on the length of flight. Meals remain the same as in standard economy.
Comfort also differs from premium economy products of other airlines, such as that of its group partner Air France, in that there are no added benefits such as lounge access.
Graber said KLM’s simple approach to premium economy was deliberately different to Air France with its Premium Voyageur class, an entirely different product from standard economy.
According to Graber, KLM has rolled out its enhanced economy in “one big bang” while Air France introduces its Premium Voyageur product more gradually, indicating a close decision process between the two airlines.
Graber added that it was a conscious decision of both airlines to take a joint approach with regards to their respective products. “We are two separate brands on the outside,” said Graber, “but behind the scenes we’re very close.”
Economy Comfort is available across all 60 of KLM’s long-haul aircraft from today on all international destinations.
To make room for Comfort in each long haul aircraft, KLM has sacrificed several rows of standard economy rather than reduce the number of business class seats.
Platinum members of Air France KLM’s Flying Blue loyalty programme, and those flying with a fully flexible economy ticket, can upgrade to Comfort for free. Flying Blue Gold and Silver members get a 50 per cent and 25 per cent discount respectively.
The unveiling today at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport saw Dutch celebrity illusionist Ramana seemingly levitate to mirror KLM’s Comfort advertising (pictured below).
For more information visit klm.com.
Report by Andrew Gough