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Air France vs KLM : Which One Is Better?

While Air France and KLM fall under the same airline group, one might assume that a comparison of these airlines is pointless. Surely there's a consistent standard across both, yet there are some notable distinctions too.

Air France vs KLM : Which One Is Better?

I probably wouldn't have picked this topic if not my Bordeaux obsession. However, since I usually take Lufthansa, KLM, or Air France to visit my beloved city, I have some insights I'd like to share. Given that they share many routes and often have comparable fares, understanding where one excels over the other becomes essential for those choosing between them, ensuring you select the superior option.

KLM vs. Air France: Routes, Destinations, and Hubs

Kinda tie… but let's say Air France Wins 

KLM Main Hub: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS), located in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
KLM Routes & Destinations: the airlines operates a vast network covering Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Oceania. It is known for its extensive operations connecting Amsterdam to various global destinations. KLM operates 1 domestic destination and 166 international destinations in 65 countries.

Air France Main Hub: Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) in Paris and a secondary hub at Orly Airport (ORY), both located in France.
Air France Routes & Destinations: Air France provides comprehensive coverage primarily from its Parisian hubs to international destinations across continents like Europe, Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Oceania. In total Air France operates 21 domestic destinations and 165 international destinations in 83 countries. 

Being part of the same airline holding, SkyTeam alliance, both airlines often share routes and code-share flights, allowing passengers more flexibility and options when booking flights. This collaboration means that travelers can potentially begin their journey with one airline and complete it with the other. This synergy is especially beneficial for passengers traveling on intricate routes or looking for more convenient flight timings. 

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You may be interested in reading about Most Comfortable Economy Class Seats, Lufthansa vs Austrian Airlines, Top Budget Airlines: Ryanair vs. EasyJet, Ryanair vs Wizz Air


It's a tie

KLM Carry-On: Depending on the ticket class, passengers are allowed one or two carry-on items with a maximum weight of 12kg for Economy and 18kg for Business class, plus one personal item.

KLM Checked Baggage: For European routes, Economy passengers typically get 1 piece of up to 23kg, while Business class passengers are allowed 2 pieces of up to 32kg each. For intercontinental flights, the baggage allowance might differ.

AIR FRANCE :Carry-On: same as with KLM.  Checked Baggage: For most flights, Economy passengers can check one bag of up to 23kg. Premium Economy passengers might be allowed 2 bags of up to 23kg each. Business and La Première classes usually have an allowance of 2-3 bags of up to 32kg each.

Common Points: Both airlines have specific dimensions for carry-on and checked baggage, so it's essential to check the airlines' official websites or contact their customer service for precise and updated information, especially if flying on a ticket that has special conditions. Also, both airlines offer a discount for pre-paying excess baggage online before reaching the airport. The baggage policies may vary based on the specific fare type, route, and whether the flight is code-shared with another airlines.

Ticket Price Difference

It's a tie

When looking at ticket prices between Air France and KLM, there isn't much difference. Both airlines are part of the same big company, so they sometimes show prices for the same trips on their websites. They even share some flights. 

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Dining Service

Air France wins

On short-haul flights, KLM offers a small snack and drink, with sandwiches on longer European routes. Air France serves snacks like croissants in the morning and sandwiches later, with hot meals on extended European trips. For long-haul flights, both provide two hot meal choices, a range of drinks, and extra snacks depending on flight duration. Air France stands out with its 'A La Carte' gourmet menu. Their 'a la carte' menu might seem unconventional, offering Indonesian rice, Japanese, and Italian dishes, priced between 19 and 30 euros.  However, KLM is appreciated for its better coffee quality and generous drink offerings. Honestly, I woudn't say so cause the coffee doesn't taste as good as on the ground. 

In-Flight Entertainment

Air France wins

The hottest news in European sky so far since May 2023.  Air France boasts that nearly 90% of its planes are equipped with WiFi. Passengers can choose from three connectivity plans: Message Pass, Surf Pass, and Stream Pass, catering to different browsing needs. Additionally, every Air France flight features on-demand television, showcasing both popular blockbusters and a range of French cinema. In their quest for continual improvement, Air France has recently revamped its cabins, enhancing comfort and amenities. Notably, this year, it launched new cabin interiors on long-haul routes to destinations like New York, Rio de Janeiro, and Dakar.

KLM, on the other hand, presents a varied set of in-flight features. While all its widebody aircraft offer on-demand TV, the narrowbody economy class misses out. Power outlets are standard, except on Embraer aircraft, and only a few new widebody planes cater to laptop charging needs. Just like Air France, KLM provides in-flight WiFi. They offer the Message Pass for free messaging throughout the flight. For more intensive browsing, there's the Surf Pass at 8 euros, and for streaming enthusiasts, the Stream Pass is available at 12 euros.

Air France vs KLM : Which One Is Better?

I'd say Air France wins. My verdict considers not just in-flight amenities but the overall travel experience. Most Air France routes require a transfer in Paris' Charles DeGaulle Airport, which, from personal experience, can be a stressful transition. And based on how many strikes French airports had, it is possible that you'll agree with me too. In contrast, KLM connects through the efficient Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, offering a more relaxed transit experience. However, Schiphol did face challenges in summer 2022 due to COVID-19. If flying direct without a transfer, I'd lean towards Air France for its comfort, superior amenities, and marginally better food compared to KLM.

Oct 19, 2023

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