Is flying on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines’ Premium Economy on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner worth it?

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines launched their Premium Comfort product in September of last year, relatively late compared to other European airlines. Currently, eight Boeing Dreamliners are equipped with the new seats, while the remaining wide seats will be retrofitted by June 2024. The 787-10 Dreamliner operates flights from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) to destinations in the United States, including Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

TPG’s Zach Griff was impressed with KLM’s first Premium Comfort flight in 2022, prompting this frequent Premium Economy passenger to test out the service on a round-trip itinerary between Amsterdam and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD).

KLM’s Premium Comfort round-trip cash fares are generally 50% to 100% higher than economy fares, while business class is typically three times the price. Flying Blue, Air France-KLM Royal Dutch Airlines’ loyalty program, uses dynamic pricing for rewards, which means mileage redemption rates can vary significantly depending on travel dates and demand as well as cash fare prices.

Booking with Flying Blue Miles or transfer partners such as Delta SkyMiles and Virgin Atlantic Points can ultimately lead to a free Premium Economy ticket that includes a seat selection and two checked bags of up to 50 pounds each. Passengers can also use the Sky Priority check-in line, a faster way to check-in compared to the regular line.

KLM’s 787-10 Premium Comfort cabin is located directly behind the business class cabin with 28 seats in a 2-3-2 configuration. The seats offer more comfort with thicker padding, a headrest that can be adjusted up and down in multiple positions, and wings on the sides that can be adjusted to support the head. The leg rest also pops out from under the seat cushion for added comfort. There are universal AC charging points and USB-A and USB-C charging ports located next to the center console in between each seat.

Upon boarding, each Premium Comfort seat is provided with a pillow, a plastic-wrapped blanket, noise-cancelling headphones, and a basic amenity kit. The amenity kit is designed in collaboration with Repreve Our. Ocean and includes a pen, eye mask, earplugs, toothpaste tablets, and a bamboo toothbrush.

Passengers are served meals on a single tray in recyclable black plastic containers. However, the presentation and quality of the dishes more than make up for the lack of porcelain tableware. On the outbound trip from Amsterdam to Chicago, passengers are presented with a corn and lemongrass cream appetizer, cheese and grape garnish, bread rolls, and a choice of three entrees and a dessert. The quantity and quality of food served 90 minutes before landing on a return flight is also impressive, with a mesclun salad topped with cold smoked salmon.

Premium Comfort passengers do not have a separate restroom and share six toilets with the rear economy cabin, but they are kept adequately clean throughout the flight. Boarding lanes are carefully set up in five different zones, with Premium Comfort passengers invited to board second after Business Class.

Overall, KLM’s Premium Comfort product offers a significant improvement over economy class with added comfort and luxury amenities. However, with the higher fare and dynamic pricing for redemption rates, it may not be worth the hype for every traveler.

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