KLM Launches A “New Economy Class Service Concept”

a woman in blue uniform handing a black card to a man in a plane

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KLM has announced a few changes to its Economy Class food service and it has chosen to promote these changes as a “new economy class service concept”. In reality that’s just PR-speak for “we’re making a few changes to how we serve meals and what you can expect from the meals” – calling it a “new concept” is a stretch.

Here’s what KLM says is changing:

“KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will offer a new Economy Class service concept aboard its intercontinental flights. At the start of an intercontinental flight, Economy Class passengers will receive a bottle of water, a refreshing towel and earphones, which means they can immediately get set for their journey. After this welcome service, passengers will be offered an extended choice of meals on flights out of Amsterdam.”

a bottle of water on a table
Image KLM

The service onboard will vary depending on the length of the flight (not exactly new!) and flights will be subdivided into three categories:

  • Short-range intercontinental flights
  • Medium-range intercontinental flights
  • Long-range intercontinental flights

All intercontinental flights out of Amsterdam will offer a choice of hot meals…..

a black container with food in it
Image KLM

……a salad (of which KLM appears to be particularly proud)…..

a salad in a plastic container
Image KLM

…and a dessert.

On medium- and long-range intercontinental flights ice creams, sweets and savoury snacks will also be provided (either during regular service or in the galley as a help-yourself option)

a woman holding a napkin
Image KLM

KLM is also making a big deal about an “innovative tray” that it says it will be using to ensure space is used efficiently when fitting all meal components….

a food in a tray

…..but the airline is also keen to stress that “the volume of components is equal or larger than before and the quality has also improved” – so expect smaller trays with the same amount of food as before.

Apparently all of this is as a result of a new labor agreement which will see a majority of KLM’s intercontinental routes staffed with one fewer flight attendant and, according to the airline, these changes will make Economy Class service more efficient.

Per KLM:

“By better utilising the space on meal trays, trolleys can be stocked with more trays, ensuring that passengers are served more quickly. The new service is also more in line with passengers’ wishes, in that the amount of food and drinks served remains the same, while the quality of the service improves.”


I don’t fly with KLM very often and when I do it’s not usually on long-haul flights so I’m not in a great position to comment here….but I have a feeling there’s something that we’re not being told.

When airlines go looking for efficiencies (like when they cut a member of cabin crew) things aren’t usually better for passengers so I’m left wondering what aspect of Economy Class service has KLM cut that it hasn’t mentioned in the press release.

Here’s a video KLM has pulled together to explain what passengers can expect onboard:

New Service Rollout

From 1 July 2018 the new service will be rolled out on flights to the following nine destinations:

  • Bonaire (via Aruba)
  • Entebbe (via Kigali)
  • Fortaleza
  • Hong Kong
  • Houston
  • Osaka
  • Rio de Janeiro
  • Seoul
  • Vancouver

From 28 October 2018 the new service will be available on all of KLM’s intercontinental flights.


I have to admit that the salad looks a lot more substantial than any salad I’ve encountered on other airlines, I like the idea of getting a bottle of water as soon as I board and I like that KLM has confirmed that it isn’t cutting alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages….so what am I missing? I’m struggling to believe that there isn’t any bad news hidden here….or am I simply being too cynical?

If any regular KLM flyers out there can spot something untoward please let us all know in the comments below. Thanks.


  1. No more cheese and crackers maybe? And instead of an appetiser and salad you get just a bigger salad? I’m with you; if it’s an efficiency improvement then something must have been cut!

  2. I used to fly KLM regularly as it was one of the very few airlines departing from HGH so I didn’t have to go to Shanghai for that. A couple of things – first, they used to have snacks available in the galley area that this notice is conspicuously silent on. Second, just for fun I have turned on price alerts for HGH-HEL-HGH route over the summer, and the tickets go for almost 1400USD, compared to 900USD that you could get comparable tickets for PVG-HEL-PVG.

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