What you need to know about KLM

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It is the national airline and also the oldest airline still operating under its name in Europe. The basis of KLM is of course Schiphol Amsterdam Airport, where it is also by far the largest user of the airport. The Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij is active worldwide, so it has a very extensive route network with approximately 140 destinations

What you need to know about KLM

KLM is short for Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij. It is the national airline and also the oldest airline still operating under its name in Europe. The basis of KLM is of course Schiphol Amsterdam Airport, where it is also by far the largest user of the airport. The Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij is active worldwide, so it has a very extensive route network with approximately 140 destinations. The airline is a member of the SkyTeam airline alliance. KLM merged with Air France in 2004. As a result, KLM is now part of the holding company Air France-KLM. The KLM Group also includes Transavia, Martinair, KLM CityHopper, and KLM Cargo. Transavia also has bases at other Dutch airports such as Eindhoven Airport, Rotterdam The Hague Airport, Groningen Eelde Airport and Maastricht-Aachen Airport.


History of KLM

On October 7, 1919, the Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij is founded. The first flight of KLM takes place on 17 May 1920. In the years after its foundation, the young airline flew mainly with Fokker aircraft to more and more European destinations. From 1 October 1924, it flew in regular service to Batavia (Jakarta). At the time, this was the longest scheduled service in the world. Just before the Second World War, KLM was the third largest airline in the world. Only Pan Am (American) and Imperial Airways (merged with present-day British Airways) were larger.


From the Second World War to the merger with Air France

Aviation activities resumed shortly after the second war. Scheduled service with the United States starts (at that time the only one), KLM continues to grow at a rapid pace. In 1953 the founder of the airline, Albert Plesman, dies. A new president is appointed who ensures that the first jet aircraft (or jets) are included in the fleet in 1958. It's about the DC-8. In 1971 the Boeing 747 comes to KLM, it is a prestigious aircraft as KLM is one of the first customers in the world of Boeing to receive the aircraft. It is then the fourth-largest airline in Europe, and still a leading airline in global aviation. This is gradually decreasing, partly because many companies are announcing far-reaching collaborations. KLM has been working closely with Northwest Airlines (now merged into Delta Airlines) since 1993. But it's not enough. KLM cannot stay behind and is in talks with the Scandinavian SAS, British Airways, and Swiss Swiss Airlines. This all comes to nothing. It almost agrees with the Italian Alitalia. In 2004, however, Air France is the new cooperation partner of KLM. As a result, the Dutch KLM will join SkyTeam.


Subsidiaries, collaborations, and mergers

Until the merger with Air France, KLM did not just remain KLM. Cityhopper was founded in 1966, in 1991 it was renamed KLM Cityhopper. Since 1968 KLM has owned 50% of Martinair, in 2008 this became 100%. In 1991 the airline company also acquired 80% of the shares of Transavia. This share has been 100% since 2003. Today, Transavia is the low-cost subsidiary of Air France-KLM. So you can see that the Dutch airline company has certainly not been idle over the years, it is also quite active abroad. KLM has been a 26% shareholder of Kenya Airways since 1995. It also had a subsidiary in England until 2003: AirUK (later KLM UK) and Buzz. In 2003 Buzz was sold to Ryanair, the rest of the KLM UK fleet was added with the KLM Cityhopper fleet. In addition, Air France-KLM has owned 7.1% of Alitalia since 2009.

Corona crisis

After the outbreak of corona, it became clear that KLM had to become a lot smaller. For example, it said goodbye to 5,000 employees, the Boeing 747 was retired early and the number of routes was reduced. KLM has survived the corona crisis thanks to supporting from the Dutch government. However, this is a loan with a hefty interest, which means that KLM pays money to be rescued. Salaries of staff also declined and contracts with aircraft leasing companies, hotels, and fuel companies have been renegotiated.


Fleet of KLM

KLM has a relatively old but innovative fleet of just over 100 aircraft. As older aircraft burn more fuel, the older aircraft are currently being abandoned. For example, a few Boeing 737-300 and 737-400s went out in 2011, the passenger variant of the MD11 was divested in 2014 and KLM Cityhopper divested the Fokker 70 aircraft. In 2020, the four-engine Boeing 747 was phased out. Transavia flies exclusively with Boeing 737-700 and -800 series.


KLM also has an order outstanding with the American aircraft manufacturer Boeing for another 6 Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners will also be added to the KLM fleet from 2015. There was talk of several Airbus A350 aircraft, but these have been exchanged with Air France for 787-10 aircraft. With the arrival of these new aircraft and the divestment of the older types, KLM hopes to reduce structural fuel costs. This is desperately needed, as the Dutch airline is not doing well financially at the moment.


KLM travel classes

KLM's travel classes can be divided into long-haul flights (or outside Europe) and short-haul flights (or within Europe).


  • Long-haul flights: World Business Class (with full-flat seats!). Other benefits include: own check-in counters, being the first to board the plane, a three-course meal on board, drinks, and snacks throughout the flight and you can take extra luggage with you. An image of the KLM World Business Class can be seen on the right.
  • Long-haul flights: Economy Class. This is the intercontinental economy class. All drinks are free, the flight also includes a hot meal. A personal entertainment system is available, which the intercontinental business class also has.
  • Short-haul flights: Europe Business Class. The middle seat in the row of three seats does not exist in this business class. You can also take more luggage with you, you get a full meal on board and you can be the first to board the plane. The reservation is also very flexible.
  • Short-haul flights: Economy Class. This is KLM's basic transport product on flights within Europe. You get a free snack as well as a drink on board. The booking is not flexible.
  • Economy Comfort is a separate class that is available on almost all KLM flights. It is a separate class within Economy Class. It is in the front of the plane where you hear the engines less, and you have a little more legroom. It is often available at an additional cost.


KLM luggage and luggage costs

At KLM you can check in one piece of checked baggage (suitcase) of a maximum of 23 kg (Standard+ tickets), both within Europe and intercontinental, except the new Light tickets. The dimensions of the case, length x width x height, must not exceed 158 cm. One piece of max. 55 x 35 x 25 cm and one accessory of max. 40 x 30 x 15 cm is allowed as hand luggage. There is a maximum combined weight of 12 kg. There are exceptions for Business Class and Flying Blue and SkyTeam Elite members.


With a Business Class ticket, you can take 2 pieces of checked baggage with you. The rules for this checked baggage are that the L + W + H may not exceed 158 cm. The weight is