KLM Adds Orlando Service With New Triangle Flight

KLM Adds Orlando Service With New Triangle Flight

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KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has announced some long haul expansion for this winter, though new destinations aren’t necessarily being added in the way you’d expect.

KLM’s winter 2021 intercontinental expansion

For the winter 2021 season (which goes from October 31, 2021, to March 26, 2022), KLM will be expanding its network where it expects recovery to be the fastest. The airline is adding service to the following six destinations:

  • Bridgetown, Barbados, & Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago — 3x weekly as a triangle flight (from Amsterdam to Bridgetown to Port of Spain to Amsterdam)
  • Cancun, Mexico — 3x weekly direct from Amsterdam
  • Mombasa, Kenya — 2x weekly as a triangle flight with the existing Nairobi service (from Amsterdam to Mombasa to Nairobi to Amsterdam)
  • Orlando, USA — 4x weekly as a triangle flight with the existing Miami service (2x weekly from Amsterdam to Orlando to Miami to Amsterdam, and 2x weekly from Amsterdam to Miami to Orlando to Amsterdam)
  • Phuket, Thailand — 4x weekly as a tag flight of existing Kuala Lumpur service (the airline will fly from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur to Phuket and back)

KLM’s new long haul routes for the winter 2021 season

How KLM is adding flights to Orlando

As you can see, KLM’s one new long haul destination in the United States is Orlando, and that’s being paired with Miami service, which is a market that KLM has long served (though it has been suspended due to coronavirus).

The flight will operate on Mondays and Saturdays with the following schedule:

KL625 Amsterdam to Orlando departing 11:15AM arriving 3:00PM
KL625 Orlando to Miami departing 4:45PM arriving 5:50PM
KL625 Miami to Amsterdam departing 6:50PM arriving 9:15AM (+1 day)

The flight will operate on Thursdays and Fridays with the following schedule:

KL629 Amsterdam to Miami departing 10:40AM arriving 2:40PM
KL629 Miami to Orlando departing 4:30PM arriving 5:35PM
KL629 Orlando to Amsterdam departing 6:35PM arriving 8:40AM (+1 day)

I’m always fascinated by the strategy behind these triangle routes:

  • They make sense in terms of airlines hedging their bets if they’re worried there won’t otherwise be enough demand, since it’s a way to add an additional destination without greatly increasing costs
  • At the same time, it does (marginally) increase operating costs compared to flying to just one destination, and some passengers will be put off by the extra travel time, especially if they’re connecting beyond Amsterdam, where there are multiple options

If anything, I suppose what surprises me is that KLM doesn’t think there will be enough demand for both of these routes independently this winter.

Assuming travel restrictions between United States and the European Union are lifted (which I think is highly likely), and with Florida being wide open, I feel like Europeans will be flocking to Miami this winter. Admittedly there will likely still be major travel restrictions in other parts of the world, which would impact demand for connecting passengers.

They certainly did pre-coronavirus, and I’m sure that will only be more extreme post-coronavirus. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more capacity added to Florida.

A couple of other interesting things to note:

  • This isn’t the first such triangle flight we’ve seen in this market; pre-coronavirus, TUI also operated an Amsterdam to Orlando to Miami to Amsterdam route
  • Pre-coronavirus Delta operated flights from both Orlando and Tampa to Amsterdam (at least for some amount of time), and Delta has a transatlantic joint venture with KLM

KLM will be introducing service to Orlando

Bottom line

KLM has announced an intercontinental expansion this winter, including making Orlando its latest destination in the United States. The airline will simply be adding Orlando onto its existing Miami service.

This is a safe way to add a destination with minimal risk. It’ll be interesting to see if the triangle service is maintained long term, if Orlando eventually gets a direct flight, or if the Orlando service is cut altogether. Too bad you can’t book KLM exclusively between Orlando and Miami!

What do you make of KLM’s new Orlando triangle route?

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  1. Sean M.

    I think you're being overly optimistic about the lack of travel restrictions. While some parts of Europe may be open somewhat by then, there will continue to be travel bans, restrictions and other hurdles on the US side for passengers connecting from KLM's core transit markets in India, Middle East and Africa. For example the US has not been processing new tourist visas for any travelers anywhere in the world for over a year now...

    I think you're being overly optimistic about the lack of travel restrictions. While some parts of Europe may be open somewhat by then, there will continue to be travel bans, restrictions and other hurdles on the US side for passengers connecting from KLM's core transit markets in India, Middle East and Africa. For example the US has not been processing new tourist visas for any travelers anywhere in the world for over a year now and that situation is likely to remain until 2022 at least. The volume of inbound tourism to the US and Europe will be significantly lower this year, although domestic/regional tourism will somewhat make up for it.

  2. Aaron

    Wait, so is KLM selling the MIA to MCO leg separately and operating it as a fifth freedom flight?

  3. SAM G

    @Aaron - no. It's sabotage I believe - so can't be done. But anyway it's a triangle, so the flight will be potentially full of MIA-AMS travellers and AMS-MCO travelers at that point

    They may carry passengers KL-Phuket though, I have taken the Singapore - Bali flight many times

  4. Sam G

    Question though - does everyone have to clear immigration at MCO? I assume so based on the ground time and usual US process. that's quite an inconvenience !

  5. JB

    Delta operated a daily MCO-AMS flight before the pandemic on a 767-300ER. Same from TPA. I'm actually surprised they won't operate it nonstop but won't be surprised for them to increase frequencies.

  6. tom

    What fun, pick the wrong departure day and MCO travellers get to clear US CBP in MIA, before being allowed board for the short hop to MCO !

  7. Niko_jas

    I think it's too optimistic to expect a big boost to long haul holiday travel.
    The UK is the most vaccinated country in Europe, 72% have had at least one dose, yet in the last week Germany has closed to UK tourists, then followed by Austria. And now France will require all UK visitors to quarantine on arrival for 14days.
    So firstly vaccination looks like not being the solution we all hoped it...

    I think it's too optimistic to expect a big boost to long haul holiday travel.
    The UK is the most vaccinated country in Europe, 72% have had at least one dose, yet in the last week Germany has closed to UK tourists, then followed by Austria. And now France will require all UK visitors to quarantine on arrival for 14days.
    So firstly vaccination looks like not being the solution we all hoped it would be. Secondly, if you can't arrange a long weekend to France without it all going wrong when the rules change abruptly, who will spend thousands to book a winter holiday to Florida and risk that amount of cash and the stress of waiting weeks or months to get a refund when the rules could have changed repeatedly by then.
    It's disappointing but it seems like it's going to take much longer to get back to normal than we hoped.

  8. Joe Chivas

    Very interested in the MIA-MCO and MCO-MIA segments only. Are these available independently?

    1. Ben

      @ Joe Chivas -- They won't be. A foreign airline can't sell domestic flights within the USA.

  9. BobTL

    It's naieve to assume travel will be as before. Miami, Orlando and Florida are mostly eldery destinations and many will not be willing to travel anymore...it'll take a period where people will get used to travel again.

    1. Ben

      @ BobTL -- Sorry, Miami is a destination for elderly Europeans? That certainly doesn't reflect my experience -- it's largely a destination for young Europeans looking to party and tan on South Beach.

  10. BobTL

    @Ben Sure there might be some youngsters but research shows this is just a small part (13%), shown here on page 17:
    https://www.visitflorida.org/media/37150/2017-2018-vf-marketing-plan.pdf

  11. Matt

    The 2 hours on the ground seems weird. What will happen?

    1) Through passengers don't get off the plane... that's seems a long time to wait on a plane

    2) Through passengers get off the plane and clear immigration and customs. Everyone would have to deplane, pass through immigration, collect their bags, pass through customs then recheck bags, then repass security to reboard. US airports aren't really set up for this type of connection. 2...

    The 2 hours on the ground seems weird. What will happen?

    1) Through passengers don't get off the plane... that's seems a long time to wait on a plane

    2) Through passengers get off the plane and clear immigration and customs. Everyone would have to deplane, pass through immigration, collect their bags, pass through customs then recheck bags, then repass security to reboard. US airports aren't really set up for this type of connection. 2 hours may be enough time in Orlando, but it is pretty risky in Miami where immigration and security queues are notoriously bad. Will the plane wait for any that get stuck or will it strand them?

    It looks like its the latter. I know Qantas does it on its Sydney - LAX - JFK flight, but does any other airline do US triangles?

    The BA City - JFK flight stopped in Shannon to clear immigration. Everyone got off, but was tunnelled through an area and you didn't have to pick up and recheck your bag--the agent just showed it you on a screen and was cleared in the back and reloaded.

  12. Matt

    @BobTL. the data you have shown is for Florida as a whole. I think @Ben's point was that Miami is not an elderly destination.

    I agree with Ben... most elderly people are scared of Miami with its size and crime, not attracted to its hotspots (clubs, glitzy hotels, South Beach). I don't think the Golden Girls would live there today. However I agree that the rest of FL is biased to elderly eg Central Florida, West Coast, Keys and East Coast north of Miami.

  13. FNT Delta Diamond

    Don't forget KLM did or still does operate "triangle" flights in S.E. Asia. For example, Jakarta to Singapore to Amsterdam.

  14. Tom

    As an Orlando resident, I’m excited! Since the pandemic, our service to Europe has dried up. @lucky, do you know what kind of aircraft KL is going to use? If it’s an upgrade over DL’s 767, I’ll be thrilled!

  15. Kuloko

    Perhaps, "... with new triangular flight". Why use Triangle (easily confused by some of us with Research Triangle or Research Triangle Park - RTP in NC) when there is Triangular (adj.)?

  16. Andrew

    What’s more intersting here are routes that KL either never served before or have been withdrawn decades ago. BGS / POS / HKT

    Do they have rights between those routes? Kul - hkt would be nice compared to the competition. No booze on MH. You get nice little houses to booth.

  17. ChrisC

    Sam G - you mean cabotage not sabotage.

  18. Franklin

    Why don't we see more triangle routes like ams-mia-smx?

  19. ChrisC

    Assuming you meant SXM (SMX is a small regional airport in california) then that would be an additional 3 hours between SXM and MIA or vice versa causing all sorts of other issues such as pilot hours.

    Plus it's likely KL can already fill a plane there anyway.

  20. ChrisC

    Matt says:
    May 27, 2021 at 8:55 am

    The BA City – JFK flight stopped in Shannon to clear immigration. Everyone got off, but was tunnelled through an area and you didn’t have to pick up and recheck your bag–the agent just showed it you on a screen and was cleared in the back and reloaded.

    +++++

    But that was just a variation on the SNN pre clearance system anyway where you check in...

    Matt says:
    May 27, 2021 at 8:55 am

    The BA City – JFK flight stopped in Shannon to clear immigration. Everyone got off, but was tunnelled through an area and you didn’t have to pick up and recheck your bag–the agent just showed it you on a screen and was cleared in the back and reloaded.

    +++++

    But that was just a variation on the SNN pre clearance system anyway where you check in as normal and clear normal security then when called you proceed to the pre clearance area for the extra security check and CBP agent who show you a picture of your luggage as part of the immigration process.

    And to be accurate the stop at SNN was to refuel and the pre clearance was a bonus and wasn't available on the 2nd afternoon flight from LCY on a Friday as pre clearance was closed

    Plus it was only a max of 32 pax plus 2 pilots and 3 cabin crew.

  21. iamhere

    Passengers would have to clear immigration and customs in Miami I assume which would be annoying. Interesting if they would be allowed to sell tickets on the Orlando Miami flights because it appears to have a separate KLM number so it's not a continuation of the same flight

  22. Alberto

    KLM continues the route of TUI (Netherlands) with this triangle flight, TUI flew this (holiday) route with flight numbers:
    OR317 Amsterdam - Orlando - Miami and return flight OR318 Miami - Amsterdam until April 2020.

  23. Oda

    Dutch TUI flew this (holiday) route with flight number OR317 Amsterdam - Orlando - Miami and return flight OR318 Miami - Amsterdam until April 2020. KLM (Royal Dutch airlines) continues the route with this new triangle flight.

Featured Comments Load all 25 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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BobTL

It's naieve to assume travel will be as before. Miami, Orlando and Florida are mostly eldery destinations and many will not be willing to travel anymore...it'll take a period where people will get used to travel again.

JB

Delta operated a daily MCO-AMS flight before the pandemic on a 767-300ER. Same from TPA. I'm actually surprised they won't operate it nonstop but won't be surprised for them to increase frequencies.

Sean M.

I think you're being overly optimistic about the lack of travel restrictions. While some parts of Europe may be open somewhat by then, there will continue to be travel bans, restrictions and other hurdles on the US side for passengers connecting from KLM's core transit markets in India, Middle East and Africa. For example the US has not been processing new tourist visas for any travelers anywhere in the world for over a year now and that situation is likely to remain until 2022 at least. The volume of inbound tourism to the US and Europe will be significantly lower this year, although domestic/regional tourism will somewhat make up for it.

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