KLM Adding Wifi On 777s & A330s (And Improving Pricing)

Filed Under: KLM, Travel Technology

I’m a big fan of KLM as an airline, though find that they’re a bit behind when it comes to the number of Wi-Fi equipped planes they have. This is a feature I greatly value, since it allows me to work efficiently while traveling.

The good news is that the airline is making significant progress on that front. The Flying Dutchboy has outlined KLM’s plans for installing Wi-Fi throughout their longhaul fleet.

Long story short, you can expect that by the end of 2021 KLM’s entire longhaul fleet will feature Wi-Fi. On top of that, KLM is improving their Wi-Fi pricing.

Let’s discuss the details.

An overview of KLM’s longhaul fleet

KLM’s longhaul fleet consists of the following aircraft, sorted by the number of each plane they have:

  • 5 A330-300s
  • 8 A330-200s
  • 11 Boeing 747-400s
  • 13 Boeing 787-9s
  • 14 Boeing 777-300s
  • 15 Boeing 777-200s

On top of that, the airline has eight 787-10s on order, which will be delivered to the airline between 2019 and 2023.

KLM A330

KLM’s Wi-Fi installation plans

All of KLM’s Boeing 787-9s already feature Wi-Fi, provided by Panasonic. The Wi-Fi was installed when they took delivery of the aircraft. Now KLM has had the task of retrofitting their existing planes with Wi-Fi.

KLM plans to have Wi-Fi throughout their longhaul fleet by the end of 2021, and this will be accomplished as follows:

  • The first two A330-300s now have Wi-Fi from Gogo, with plans for all A330s to have Wi-Fi by the end of 2021 (don’t expect more planes to get it immediately, since they’ll wait until after the summer schedule before any more planes feature Wi-Fi)
  • The first two 777-300s now have Wi-Fi (one from Panasonic and one from Gogo), with plans for all 777-300s to have Wi-Fi by the first quarter of 2020
  • While no 777-200s have Wi-Fi yet, the plan is for all 777-200s to get Wi-Fi by the first quarter of 2021
  • Since the 747s will be retired by 2021, they won’t feature Wi-Fi
  • Boeing 787-10s will be delivered with Panasonic Wi-Fi, much like what we see on the 787-9

For their A330s and 777s, KLM is primarily using Gogo 2Ku Wi-Fi, much like what Air France is offering. This is fantastic news, since it’s high speed.

KLM’s 787s already have Wi-Fi

KLM will be improving Wi-Fi pricing

I recently flew KLM’s 787-9 for the first time. While the flight was good overall, I was annoyed by the Wi-Fi situation. They charge for Wi-Fi based on data usage rather than time, which I find to be a customer-unfriendly metric.

For example, even though I turned off everything in the background on my laptop, my 50MB pass was exhausted in just a few minutes. I can never figure out why that happens, though I know I’m not the only one frustrated by this.

The good news is that KLM intends to change this, as KLM will start charging for Wi-Fi based on time rather than based on data usage.

First of all, for KLM planes equipped with Gogo Wi-Fi, pricing will match that on Air France, which is as follows:

  • A free “message” pass — passengers will be allowed to use WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, iMessage, WeChat, and the KLM website and app from their smartphone or tablet at no cost throughout the flight
  • A paid “surf” pass — passengers will be able to pay for Wi-Fi that’s ideal for sending emails and other stuff that doesn’t require much data, at the cost of 8EUR per hour or 18EUR per longhaul flight
  • A paid “stream” pass — passengers will be able to pay for the fastest Wi-Fi available, ideal for streaming and downloading, at the cost of 30EUR per flight

While 787s and one 777 currently have Wi-Fi through Panasonic, the plan is that this system will also eventually charge based on time rather than data usage. As of now, one 787-9 has been converted to charging based on time rather than data, and by the end of April, all 787s should charge based on time.

This is excellent news.

What about Wi-Fi on short-haul KLM flights?

KLM says that they eventually plan to offer Wi-Fi on short-haul flights, but they don’t have a timeline or further details for now. I wouldn’t count on seeing it anytime soon.

Bottom line

If everything goes as planned, all KLM widebody aircraft should feature Wi-Fi by the end of 2021. All 787s already have Wi-Fi, as well as a limited number of 777-300s and A330-300s. You can expect that 777-300s will be the next to consistently get Wi-Fi, and then A330s and 777-200s should all feature Wi-Fi in the next couple of years.

Equally exciting is that KLM will be improving the Wi-Fi plans by charging based on time rather than data usage, which makes a huge difference for many of us.

If you’ve used KLM’s inflight Wi-Fi, what was your experience like?

  1. Why are they installing goof wifi on existing planes but having new planes (787s) delivered with Panasonic?

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