All KLM Longhaul Aircraft Will Feature Flat Beds By January 2019

In Europe you have three “powerhouse” airline groups — Air France-KLM, IAG (the parent company of Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, etc.), and Lufthansa Group (the parent company of Austrian, Lufthansa, Swiss, etc.).

Virtually all IAG and Lufthansa Group airlines feature fully flat seats in business class throughout their longhaul fleet (there are limited exceptions, like Aer Lingus having a single A330 with angled seats). Now, largely these airlines don’t have particularly good fully flat seats, but at least they’re flat.

Lufthansa business class

Meanwhile I’d say Air France-KLM has both the best and worst European hard products in business class. On one end of the spectrum, KLM 787s, as well as Air France 787s and select 777s, feature reverse herringbone seats in business class. On the other end of the spectrum, Air France and KLM also have some aircraft with angled seats in business class.

In 2018 not only are fully flat seats expected in business class, but direct aisle access from all business class seats is becoming the norm rather than the exception.

Well, there’s some good news on that front. KLM has revealed that all of their longhaul aircraft will feature fully flat beds by January 2019, so we’re just a few months from those retrofits being complete.

The highlight of KLM’s longhaul fleet are their 787s, which feature reverse herringbone seats.

KLM 787 business class

Then KLM’s 777s, 747s, and most A330s feature B/E Aerospace Diamond seats, which are forward facing seats.

KLM business class

It’s my understanding that all 777s and 747s already feature the new business class cabins, so at this point KLM is just reconfiguring their last few A330s with the new business class seats.

KLM business class

Now it’s time for Air France to catch up. Their 787s and some 777s feature their new business class product.

Air France 787 business class

Their A380s, A330s, and some 777s continue to feature angled seats in business class, which is just embarrassing. This will continue to be the case for at least a couple more years, as Air France only plans on reconfiguring their A380s in 2020, and that timeline could be pushed back as well.

Air France A380


  1. Yes, all KLMs 747 and 777 have fully flat. You could mention and show Jamco seats in reverse herringbone configuration which they will install in A350s. Interesting choice from KLM.

  2. AF has started refurbishing their A330s into a 2-2-2 fully flat seats.

    Next year they will start reconfiguring their COI 777-300ER (used to FDF PTP RUN MRU BKK YUL) with a similar cabin as United.

    The last 777-300ER are not decided yet.
    Still no word on the A380s.

  3. @Sasha
    and KL’s 787-10

    Based on what I read on another site, AF will retain 2-2-2 (Stelia Equinox 2D) with flat beds on their A330 biz and UA Polaris style seating (I forgot the official name, but it’s from Zodiac) on their A350. I don’t see any information for their A380 reconfig.

  4. Is there any differentiation in fully-flat seat comfort on transatlantic? I’ve flown about half of them but wondering if any of them stand out in a good way (even if its a niche route)?

  5. A nice improvement. What are the best ways to find award space across the Atlantic on KLM? I seem to recall that space is tough to come by.

  6. The only reason to book on an AF A380 is if you’re flying economy and you can get into that mini cabin in the back of the upper deck. As far as economy is concerned it’s pretty comfortable. Other than that you have to stay away like the plague. Living in LA it’s not hard to find a 777 since they have up to 3 flights a day, but would be nice to be able to get back on an A380…they’re fun.

  7. @Tony

    The AF COI 777 will get the United seat? Will that be Polaris or the less good 2-2-2 seat?
    I can’t wait for AF to upgrade their Bangkok aircraft. Any idea which routes get the refitted planes first?

  8. @Niko_jas

    Polaris (Optima seats) so fully flat & direct aisle access. This also means there will only be 12 777-300ERs without any retrofit planned. Most (if not all) of them are late builds (~5 years old).

    First A350s are supposedly destined to go to Joon and replace the A340 fleet. They will also have the United Polaris seats.

    The COI fleet is 12 birds strong so I’m guessing it should take around a year or so to refurbish them. Will likely be deployed to YUL and PTP/FDF first to maximize utilisation.

  9. “2018 not only are fully flat seats expected in business class, but direct aisle access from all business class seats is becoming the norm rather than the exception.

    Well, there’s some good news on that front. KLM has revealed that all of their longhaul aircraft will feature fully flat beds by January 2019”

    Well, semi-good news…KLM may have flatbed seats but not all of them have direct aisle access…

  10. I am still hoping for a demerger between KLM and Air France. Culturally they are a terrible fit. I always appreciated KLM for their staff, and short-haul at least if you don’t mind connecting which many people in regions outside of capitals have to do anyway is easily the best product in western europe…

  11. This is so marginal. In a real world context it so doesnt matter if it´s angled flat, reverse herringbone flat or direct this or that access. It matters you sit upfront and get a rest. Or you sit in the back and arriving rested will be a bit more difficult..

  12. I will fly AMS to YVR in mid Dec, and hoping that the refurb will catch up already by then, but not holding my breath. For 26K per pax in Business class from MUC to YVR, I can accept flying on old angle flat.

  13. @Ron

    What was on the menu? Big improvement over the old configuration? I’ll be on that flight soon myself. Thanks!

  14. I really enjoyed KLM’s B787 reverse herringbone seat: direct asile access, comfortable, small and quite premium cabin and stylish design (fantastic job with that flashy corporate colour) .

  15. I am frequently flying KLM and AF business class from Europe to Asia and South-America in 777, 747 and 787 = all fully lie flat.
    In August I was going on vacation with my mommy from CDG to JFK (AF A380 = angled seats).
    But frankly spoken, when travelling together with family or partner or friends that configuration is defenitely not too bad. The day flight (around 7 hours) was much better than I expected = nice and very comfortable and clean cabin, quiet (we were seated in the front BC cabin = only 26 seats). I could sleep very well some hours, etc..
    I really would always fly again that “old” BC without any problems (okay, may-be not 14 hours night flights), but if travelling in twos, I think it is still a very good option.

  16. @John —> On the one hand, yes, it IS “so marginal.” Certainly the overwhelming number of people who fly long-haul flights are flying in Economy. Some fly PE, a smaller number fly Business, and even fewer fly in First.

    On the other hand, one of the reasons I do *not* fly AF¹ or KLM to Europe is precisely because of the angle seats. I cannot afford to pay for a Business class ticket from SFO to ______________; when I travel abroad, it’s almost always on points (barring some super sale for Economy, where I can then either pay slightly more cash or points for an upgrade to PE). Flying a transoceanic route in First may be aspirational, but flying in Business (or PE) is far more realistic. For that reason, and that reason alone, it MATTERS which carrier has angled versus flat seats, which one has reverse herringbone and direct aisle access versus having to climb over someone in the middle of the night, etc., etc.

    There is a term frequently used in my profession: “QPR,” or Quality-Price Ratio. Is the price you’re paying (cash or points) worth the quality you receive? That does *not* mean that (e.g.) traveling from SFO-AMS for 10,000 points is a great deal, if I’m sitting in a seat with 29″ of pitch, 16″ of seat width, and no IFE. What is does, or rather can, mean is that I’m willing to pay some number of additional points to fly in a more comfortable Business class seat than in a less comfortable one.

    YM (or in this case, points) MV.

    ¹ In the interest of full disclosure, I actually have flown to Europe (IAD-CDG) on AF for business, but 1) that was on someone else’s dime, and 2) we were in Economy.

  17. @Addison

    Both ways excellent food. I remember 2 beef dishes, esp the return flight had the Cuban shredded beef and it was delicious.
    The soups were good as well, I think it was tomato soup and carrot soup.

    Otw to HAV the snack was a typical dutch broodje kroket and the light meal was a pretty good hamburger.

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