December 1, 2020 / KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KL) will be the next European carrier to offer Premium Economy, according to an interview released by CEO Pieter Elbers to Luchtvaartneuws Magazine. The new cabin, along with a revamped Business Class, will be available from mid-2022, as the air travel demand is expected to return to normal following as the Covid pandemic should resolve during 2021.
“Our partners Air France, Delta Airlines and Virgin Atlantic already offer a Premium Economy product on long-haul flights and if KLM does not have that, then you have product differences that you would rather not want for the customer” Elbers declared. Virgin Atlantic’ product, in particular, was recognized by Skytrax as “World’s Best Premium Economy” in 2019. The first two aircraft fitted with the new Premium Economy cabin are expected to be Boeing 777-300s PH-BVV and PH-BVW which will be delivered from Boeing to KLM at the end of 2020 and early in 2021, respectively. The new cabins (Premium and the upgraded Business) will be retrofitted to all the long-haul KLM fleet in the next two years.
In Europe, Premium Economy is extremely popular among major airlines, the list of those boasting a cabin dedicated to this product including Iberia (IB), Alitalia (AZ), Austrian Airlines (OS), Lufthansa (LH), Air France (AF), Brussels Airlines (SN), Scandinavia Airlines (SK), Lot Polish (LO), British Airways (BA) and Virgin Atlantic (VS). Tap Air Portugal (TP) and Finnair (AY) offer more legroom (but not a separated cabin) in the first rows of their Economy Class (the same does KLM today, as illustrated by the featured), while Swiss (LX) and Aer Lingus (EI) do not have any kind of upgrade between Business Class and ‘normal’ Economy Class. (Photo Wikimedia Commons / Judaesz)