KLM eyes year-end completion of premium economy seat installs

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KLM's new premium economy product, called 'premium comfort', will be offered across the carrier's intercontinental fleet by the end of this year, a top Air France-KLM official says.

The new 'economy comfort' seats which, at 35in (89cm) pitch, offer around 4in greater legroom and recline twice as far as standard economy seats, are being offered in the first row of each economy class cabin.

"It will be available for free, at no additional fee, for very loyal platinum-level customers and with some additional fee for other types of customers if they want more comfort," says Air France-KLM vice-president and general manager, USA Christine Ourmieres, adding: "It's about choice."

KLM's approach to premium economy differs from merger partner Air France, which has opted to create an entirely new cabin, and offer a "fixed shell seat", dubbed Premium Voyageur, for its long-haul aircraft.

It's a "different answer" and underscores how Air France and KLM are "two different brands" with customers that have "different expectations", says Ourmieres.

She adds: "Culture is important, we are one group and two airlines."