KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Airline Check KLM (part 2): Popular airline with crown in logo

Esther Nestle
18.10.2019
6 pictures
5 minutes

The venerable KLM Royal Dutch Airlines celebrated its 100th anniversary on October 7, 2019. We lift the light blue-white veil of the past a little and bring you interesting figures, data, facts from back then and today. At the end of the article things get rather hands-on – we look at experiences recently made by a KLM passenger, exclusively shared with WingMag.

The KLM fleet in light blue and white is as well known in Germany as the Dutch football team Oranjes. And when it comes to popularity, the light blue crown beats the orange jerseys – for many German football fans the object of a love-hate relationship – by far: In a survey conducted by the German Institute for Service Quality (German article) in the spring, the flying Dutch even put themselves at the top of the popularity scale, ahead of the German Lufthansa’s crane logo. Flight offers, safety, punctuality, reliability in luggage transport, service, online booking, social media communication –all TOP. A truly royal ranking!

Small country, big airline, long history (to put it short)

The company was awarded the title “royal” by Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands when it was founded. More glamour and glory was not in sight in the early days. With its first own aircraft (Fokker), the state-owned airline was finally able to take off: 1930 with long-haul flights to Indonesia, at that time the longest flight connection in the world. We jump into the next millennium:

In 2004, KLM and Air France (with the French state as the largest shareholder) merged. Then there was the surprise: at the beginning of 2019, the Dutch state unexpectedly secured a large equity share – with a share proportion of 12.68 percent, the Dutch now hold almost as many shares as the French. The purchase of shares should be seen as a clear signal from the buyers not to let Dutch interests be taken away from them, even in the long term. And France? Est en colère. The last chapter has not yet been written here! We are curious.

Current figures, data, facts

KLM operates its own route network to more than 85 destinations. In the ranking of the world’s largest airlines in terms of passenger volume on international flights, KLM is ranked 7th in 2018 with 32.7 million passengers. However, if the size of the aircraft fleet is taken as a benchmark, with its 120 passenger aircraft (as of June 2019) KLM is not among the top 20. KLM has four subsidiaries: KLM Cargo and Martinair (cargo flights), Transavia (low-cost flights), KLM Cityhopper (European regional and feeder flights).

Further figures, data and facts about the airline can be found here: https://www.skyteam.com/en/about/KLM-Royal-Dutch-Airlines

KLM passenger experiences unplugged: From Stuttgart via Amsterdam to Hong Kong

KLM KL 1874, 03.08.19, Stuttgart-Amsterdam

“A320, short flight, yet water, tea, coffee and very delicious tomato mozzarella spinach wraps are served. Cabin clean, crew including pilot friendly.”

KLM KL 0887, 03.08.19, AMS Hong Kong

Boeing 777-200, wood class. People with a BMI over 25 can never fit into these seats … Or are the seats narrower on flights to Asia …? A quick look around from my seat shows me that we seem to be pretty much the only Europeans in the Hong Kong plane today. No folding footrests, not so great on such a long flight of almost 11 hours. But at least the legroom is ok, I experienced worse in 777s, e.g. with American Airlines.

We start at 05:30 p.m., 90 minutes later dinner. Without comment we get a tray with food handed to us.  When I asked what menu options there were, I was answered: “Chicken or beef, but beef is finished”. Aha. No excuse. I wonder – we are sitting in the middle of the cabin in row 21 and now a meal has already gone out?

Anyway – I would have taken chicken (which I will regret, my fellow passengers in row 1-20 seemed to know exactly why they had all chosen beef …!)

In-flight entertainment program is ok, even if not above average. Very few games.

11 p.m.: On my search for the snack bar, I move towards the galley and find out that KLM has unfortunately abolished these goodies. What a pity! After all, water and juice are available for self-service. And: The beloved KLM ice cream still exists! Will be distributed shortly afterwards.

4 am: Toilets are absolutely clean after 11 hours flight. Thumbs up!

4:30 am: Landing after a quiet flight. All in all pleasant“.

by Esther Nestle

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