All Posts

British Airways vs KLM

KLM and British Airways are well-known, full-service airlines. Comparing their reputation, onboard services, and routes will help determine if KLM has an advantage over British Airways.

British Airways vs KLM

Both airlines are incredibly similar, and you'll know why. In Skytrax's 2019 rankings, KLM secured the 18th spot, followed by British Airways in 19th. Skytrax, a leading authority on airline reviews and rankings, placed KLM as the fourth best in Europe, with British Airways trailing slightly at fifth. For airline staff quality, KLM took the 6th position. Both airlines have a four-star rating from Skytrax, indicating their high-quality performance and services.

In 2020, the Business Traveller Awards highlighted British Airways as the Best Short-Haul Carrier and lauded its frequent flyer program. The airline's Concorde Room at Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 was named the Best Airport Lounge. Furthermore, their mobile application was recognized as the Best Travel App. Business Traveller ranked British Airways as the fourth-best airline in its 2020 list. But it was a few years ago.

In-flight Experience: KLM vs British Airways

KLM and British Airways ensure passengers enjoy a premium in-flight experience. Both airlines provide complimentary meals and in-flight entertainment on their long-haul routes. On short-haul flights, KLM offers free refreshments and meals, whereas, since January 2021, British Airways introduced a buy-on-board service for its economy passengers. Both airlines have equipped many of their planes with Wi-Fi. While KLM offers free messaging on popular platforms, with paid options for browsing and streaming, British Airways provides Wi-Fi services only as paid packages.

KLM's signature World Business Class includes amenities like full-flat seats, personal entertainment screens, and privacy dividers. Their European Business Class promises spacious legroom, reclining seats, and gourmet meals. Additionally, KLM features economy seats with extra legroom for an added charge. In contrast, British Airways offers a more varied service portfolio, ranging from Euro Traveller and World Traveller (economy services) to the premium World Traveller Plus. British Airways' business classes, Club Europe and Club World, provide benefits like lounge access and flat beds on long-haul routes. Their First Class epitomizes luxury with private suites, elite comfort, and gourmet dining.

RatePunk - get the cheapest hotel price and pay the fair price with browser extension

You may be interested in other aviation topics: 10 busiest airports in Europe (2023) - With Images, Best Airport in the World 2023, Top Budget Airlines: Ryanair vs. EasyJet, and Southwest Airlines vs American Airlines.

Baggage Allowance 

When comparing the baggage policies of two major airlines like British Airways and KLM, it's essential to note that allowances can vary based on the class of travel, the destination, and the type of fare purchased. Here's a general overview:

  • British Airways:
    • Hand Luggage: 1 bag (max. 56 x 45 x 25 cm) and 1 laptop/handbag (max. 40 x 30 x 15 cm) & weight depends on the class but typically up to 23 kg for the main cabin bag.
    • Checked Baggage: typically 23 kg for Economy, 32 kg for higher classes (up to 90 x 75 x 43 cm;  the number of bags allowed varies by fare type and route). 
    • Extra: Charges vary depending on the route, but passengers are generally charged for every additional kilogram over the weight allowance or for additional bags beyond the allowed limit.
    • Special baggage: airlines allows passengers to carry musical instruments, sports equipment, and other special baggage items, though certain conditions and potential fees might apply
  • KLM:
    • Hand Luggage: 1 bag (max. 55 x 35 x 25 cm) and 1 small item like a handbag or laptop bag not heavier than 12 kg for Economy and 18 kg for Business class.
    • Checked baggage has a weight limit- 23 kg for Economy, 32 kg for Business (size up to 158 cm (length + width + height)). 
    • Extra baggage - additional fees are applied for oversized or overweight luggage, and the costs depend on the route and the extent of the excess.
    • Special baggage: provides provisions for special baggage but might charge extra fees based on the size and weight of the item.


British Airways boasts an expansive network, offering flights to every inhabited continent. As of January 2021, they connect to 192 destinations and, as a member of the Oneworld alliance, they extend their reach to over 1,000 global destinations.

Conversely, KLM's network is slightly more limited, serving 145 destinations across five continents, with Oceania as the only exception. Nevertheless, as part of the SkyTeam alliance, KLM passengers can access over 1,150 destinations worldwide.

KLM and British Airways, both reputable airlines, provide closely matched services in many respects. They share similarities in baggage allowances, cancellation protocols, and the quality and availability of complimentary in-flight meals, especially in economy class.

KLM edges ahead with benefits like free messaging on Wi-Fi enabled flights and complimentary snacks or meals across all its services. However, when assessing broader criteria such as global connectivity, in-flight service diversity, and industry standing, British Airways tends to have the upper hand.

Thus, while both airlines excel in their own areas, British Airways appears to offer a more comprehensive experience overall. However, the best choice largely depends on individual preferences and specific travel needs.

Oct 23, 2023

Leave a comment

View More Comments

Never miss out on a better rate!

Sign up to receive a desktop reminder.

Lightning Icon