According to luchtvaartnieuws, KLM will introduce the 787-9 (“Dreamliner”) in October of 2015. Current data points to a configuration of 294 seats; which is slightly more seating than the current A330s. It is expected that the business class configuration will be a 1-2-1 reverse Herringbone ‘Cirrus’ business class seat, similar to the new AF777 business class seat I reviewed last month.
The initial route will be AMS-AUH-BAH. A quick glance at KLM schedules still show the A330-200 and 777s on that route for October 2015. My guess, is that the schedules and equipment will be updated in the next few months. I have seen Monday, 26th October 2015 as the rumoured start date for this route.
FlyingBlue business class award tickets, as well as Delta SkyMiles award tickets are available on this date. While the coach awards (25,000 Delta SkyMiles + €152,05) are not a significant value in comparison to a standard revenue (economy class) ticket (due to the high EU taxes);
the business class award is a decent value at 42,500 Delta Skymiles + €202,05 in comparison to the rather expensive KLM business class fares (without a promotion) from Amsterdam to Bahrain. It is interesting that the award is actually “more expensive” from Flying Blue but with lower taxes, 50,000 FlyingBlue miles + €187,05 in taxes.
One advantage of the Delta SkyMiles program, is that award tickets booked by Platinum or Diamond Medallions can be changed/cancelled with no fees up to 72 hours prior to departure. I am considering holding a business class award ticket on this flight, just in case. Might be fun to experience the inaugural flight of the KLM “Dreamliner!”
Future KLM routes for the 787 as more aircraft come online will include Cairo, Xiamen, Hong Kong, Guayaquil, Vancouver, Havana, Chengdu, Tokio Narita, Rio de Janeiro and Fukuoka. Since the current KLM A330s are not suitable for long routes (12+ hours) and the 777 is often too large of an aircraft for a number of markets, the 787 should be the “perfect” fit for a number of KLM destinations. A big part of this is the fact that the 787s will have a crew rest area; making these long routes possible. Engines will be consistent with the Air France 787s due to be delivered in 2017; the General Electric GEnx-1B engine.
The KLM 787-9 will feature the modified livery that was first introduced on the Embraer 190 in 2014.
While the introduction of the 787-9 is probably the most exciting KLM development for 2015, it also marks the beginning of the end for the KLM 747 fleet. Hard to imagine KLM without the 747, but this seems to be the logical trend for most carriers. Especially, when you consider KLM has a fleet that includes a number of older and not particularly fuel efficient 747s. Definitely reason to consider scheduling more 747 flights over the next few years. It will be a very sad day indeed, when the “Queen of the Skies” no longer operates in KLM Blue.
Are you excited for the KLM 787?
AUH : Abu Dhabi International Airport
BAH : Bahrain International Airport
AMS : Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Skyteam : One of the three major global airline partnerships that includes Delta, KLM, Air France and a number of other carriers.
Flying Blue : Frequent Flyer program for Air France/KLM (Elite level is Flying Blue Silver, Gold and Platinum)
Delta SkyMiles : Frequent Flyer program for Delta (Elite level is called Medallion, and includes Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond Medallion)
Medallion : The Delta Airlines (SkyMile) Elite program