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Tuesday, 21 January 2014

KLM Introduces New World Business Class
Travel professionals got the chance to hop aboard a KLM Boeing 747 at Toronto Pearson to experience the new World Business Class
Zachary-Cy Vanasse
Left: Fabien Pelous, vice-president and general manager, Air France KLM Canada
Left: Fabien Pelous, vice-president & general manager, Air France KLM Canada
Right: Phillip Solomon, general manager, Tourcan Vacations & Stephanie Bishop, managing director, Globus family of brands - Canada

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines introduced its new World Business Class, available on its Toronto to Amsterdam route, yesterday in Toronto.

Rather than simply talk about the re-imagined Business Class, KLM decided to show the travel professionals in attendance just what travelling in its newly designed cabin looks and feels like.

Following a lunch featuring the new dining options available in KLM's World Business Class - which are prepared in cooperation with Dutch Michelin-awarded top chefs - and an update on what's new from the joint venture, which includes Delta, Air France, KLM and Alitalia, the group headed over to Toronto Pearson's Terminal 3 to get a first-hand look at the interior and take a few minutes to sit in and experience the new full flat seats.

The new cabin interiors and seats were launched in July 2013, with the first flights to feature the redesigned cabins  coming to Toronto last November, and are being progressively introduced to KLM's Boeing 747 fleet, which will be converted entirely by May 2014. The Boeing 777-200s will be the next fleet to feature the new class.

Fabien Pelous, vice-president and general manager, Air France KLM Canada & Femke Kroese, commercial director, AF-KL Canada
Fabien Pelous, vice-president and general manager, Air France KLM Canada & Femke Kroese, commercial director, AF-KL Canada
"We are one of the first airlines to use a designer, not only for the seats, but really for the entire cabin. She was responsible for everything, from the curtains to the pillows, the whole cabin," said Femke Kroese, commercial director, AF-KL Canada.  

Designed by Dutch designer Hella Jongerius, whose works have been exhibited at such world class art venues at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the goal of the designer and the airline was to make passengers feel more at home when flying with KLM. Additionally, the new amenity kits were designed by Dutch fashion designers Viktor & Rolf.

 "It's really all about comfort and privacy. We wanted to create a personal space in the cabin for the passenger," said Kroese.

The new seats measure 207 centimetres when converted to its full - 180 degrees - flat position.

"It's one of the biggest in the industry. I think we also had in mind that Dutch people would be travelling on these flights, and we're usually quite tall," Kroese said.

The positioning of the seats and the partition between television screens is designed to ensure more privacy for passengers.

Going hand-in-hand with comfort is storage space. KLM was sure to offer plenty of storage to World Business Class passengers by putting storage compartments in the seats, both beside the passenger and under the 43 centimetre television screens.

Sustainability and the environment were also an important element throughout the re-conceptualization process, according to Kroese. The new design features carpets made in part from the fibers of former KLM stewardess uniforms.

In winter, KLM has one daily flight between Toronto and Amsterdam, departing at 6:30 p.m. and landing at 7:45 a.m. the next morning. The new World Business Class is currently offered on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday's flights. Passengers travelling in World Business Class have access to the SkyPriority services and Air France KLM's Lounge at Toronto Pearson.

Other destinations progressively launching the new World Business Class include Nairobi, Delhi, Hong Kong, Seoul, Beijing and Shanghai.

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