KLM to introduce premium-economy seating

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KLM is to introduce premium economy-style seats on its intercontinental services, but without the additional services normally associated with them.

The first aircraft have already been converted with the new 'economy comfort' seats which, at 35in (89cm) pitch, offer around 4in greater legroom and recline twice as far as standard economy seats, says the Dutch carrier.

They will be installed at the front of the economy cabin across KLM's intercontinental fleet of Boeing 747-400s, Boeing 777-200ERs and -300ERs, MD-11s and Airbus A330-200s. There will not be a separate cabin or curtained-off section and the level of service will be the same as that provided to economy-class passengers. Around 34-40 economy comfort seats will be fitted, depending on aircraft type.

The new seats will be the same width as standard economy. KLM declines to say how many rows of seats will have to be removed to accommodate the greater pitch of the new product.

A spokeswoman for KLM says the airline opted against a full premium-economy cabin becauase several recent customer surveys had found that passengers prioritised greater legroom over any other benefits.

She adds that, in the current economic situation, KLM thought it "important to be able to make changes in the aircraft as soon as possible", adding: "With this solution, we can do it very quickly."

KLM will offer the new seating on all intercontinental flights from December.