KLM formally introduced its Premium Comfort cabin this week, bringing a premium economy option to its long-haul fleet. The new seats, designed in partnership with Collins Aerospace, will be available for travel starting in July 2022 and eventually rolling out across the 777 and 787 fleets.
We have great expectations for this new Premium Comfort Class, based on extensive market research.– Boet Kreiken, executive vice president of KLM Customer Experience
While schedules are subject to change, KLM’s inaugural flight with the new seat currently appears to be KL645 on 26 July from Amsterdam to New York-JFK. Seats are not yet for sale.
The first aircraft converted will be a 787-10. Los Angeles and San Francisco should soon follow as early destinations for the KLM Premium Comfort offering, with Nairobi, Kilimanjaro, and Dar-es-Salaam also showing the cabin on some frequencies from early August.
Between 21 and 28 seats will be on offer in the Premium Comfort cabin, depending on the the aircraft type. In the new configuration the 787-10 will operate with 38 seats in World Business Class, 28 seats in Premium Comfort and 252 seats in economy.
Premium Comfort on the 787 consists of 28 seats in a 2-3-2 layout. Pitch increases to 38″ in the premium economy cabin, with an 8″ recline. Seats will include a 13.3″ screen, noise-cancelling headphones, AC power, USB-A, and USB-C ports (though positioning of the USB ports looks like trouble).
The business class cabin remains the same size, taking the full space between the two forward doors on the 787-10. The transition will also remove two rows of regular economy, dropping that cabin from 270 to 252 seats.
Also of note, the Premium Comfort cabin does not fully replace KLM’s Economy Comfort (extra legroom) offering. The 787-10 today has 27 seats there in a 3-3-3 layout; that number boosts to 39 in the new layout.
Conversions are being carried out by the KLM Engineering team at Schiphol.
KLM’s new Premium Comfort also brings about a new catering concept for the carrier. Long-haul passengers will receive one or two hot meals, depending on the duration of the flight. There will always be a choice of meat, fish or vegetarian dishes.
After the meal, passengers will be offered coffee, tea, liqueur and ice cream. A variety of snacks and cocktails will also be served between meals, which will be largely selected from those that were previously popular in World Business Class.
Care was taken in selecting catering materials for Premium Comfort to reduce weight and associated fuel burn and emissions. They are either reusable (special cutlery, bowls and plates made of lightweight polypropylene) and those that are not reusable are made of recycled PEF.
A small amenity kit will be offered to Premium Comfort passengers, and lounge access is available to purchase.
Among the other benefits the new cabin brings to the market, Boet Kreiken, executive vice president of KLM Customer Experience notes that it “reaffirms our partnership with Delta Air Lines, Air France and Virgin Atlantic on North Atlantic routes, where we can now combine all products on all routes.” Being able to efficiently market the mid-level offering across all partners in the joint venture brings significant financial value to the group.
Even as the on-board products from KLM and Air France trend closer to a common offering, the two carriers seem to have not yet fully aligned. Both carriers have new business class and premium economy products coming to market. The new business class cabins look incredibly similar. And yet they continue to work with separate suppliers. And presumably separate internal design and engineering teams as well.
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