KLM and Delta Air Lines are two major international carriers that offer a wide range of services and amenities. While they are similar in many regards (they are both part of SkyTeam), there are differences when it comes to things like seats, amenities, and experience at the airport.
In this article, we will compare KLM and Delta, including differences between their business class, premium economy, and economy experiences. Read on to make an informed decision for your next adventure!
Seats & Onboard Amenities
Business Class Seats & Amenities
KLM’s Business Class typically features lie-flat seats that can recline to a fully flat position. The cabin layout may vary depending on the aircraft type, but many KLM aircraft offer a 2-2-2 or 1-2-1 seat configuration, allowing direct aisle access for most passengers.
Delta’s business class, known as Delta One, also offers lie-flat seats with direct aisle access. Delta has a variety of seat configurations depending on the aircraft, including 2-2-2 and 1-2-1 configurations like KLM.
Both KLM and Delta offer a selection of movies, TV shows, and music via their in-flight entertainment systems. Delta system (called Delta Studio) is a bit more personalized.
Delta and KLM also both offer elevated dining in business class. KLM’s menu is Dutch-inspired and Delta partners with various chefs for theirs. Both airlines offer a selection of complimentary alcoholic beverages in business class.
Premium Economy Seats & Amenities
KLM’s Premium Economy seats, branded as “Premium Comfort,” are located in the middle of the plane, behind Business Class, and in front of Economy. These seats offer more legroom and a greater recline compared to regular economy seats. The seat configuration is 2-4-2 on most long-haul aircraft, and the seats provide more width compared to regular economy. KLM also offers an upgraded meal service with complimentary drinks (including alcohol) in Premium Economy.
Delta’s version of premium economy is called Premium Select and also offers more legroom, a greater recline, and a dedicated cabin. The seat configuration is usually 2-4-2 on wide-body aircraft. Premium Select passengers also receive an elevated dining experience, which usually includes a welcome wine or prosecco.
Economy Class Seats & Amenities
Both KLM and Delta typically offer standard economy class seats with a similar width and pitch (legroom). The seat configuration may vary depending on the aircraft type, but it’s often 3-3 or 3-4-3 on wide-body aircraft for both airlines. Both airlines offer the option to select preferred or extra-legroom seats for an additional fee, which can provide more legroom (Delta called theirs Comfort+).
KLM and Delta both provide in-flight entertainment systems on most long-haul flights, including a selection of movies, TV shows, music, and games on individual seatback screens.
On long-haul international flights, both Delta and KLM also offer complimentary meals and beverages. They usually offer at least two different meal choices and the ability to accommodate most dietary restrictions if requested in advance.
Frequent Flyer Programs
Delta SkyMiles and KLM’s frequent flyer program, known as Flying Blue (along with Air France), are both airline loyalty programs, and they share a partnership as part of the SkyTeam alliance. Since both Delta and KLM are part of SkyTeam, many elite benefits are shared between the two airlines, including priority boarding.
Flying Blue points are more valuable than Delta SkyMiles, but SkyMiles may be easier to use, especially if you live in the United States. Delta uses dynamic pricing for award flights, which means that the number of miles required for an award ticket can vary based on factors like demand, route, and time of booking while Flying Blue has a fixed award chart with set mileage requirements for award flights. Delta allows you to use your SkyMiles for seat upgrades.
KLM operates its lounges (called KLM Crown Lounges) primarily at its hub in Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS). Delta, on the other hand, operates its Delta Sky Club lounges at locations throughout the United States and select international locations.
Access to the KLM Crown Lounge is granted to Business Class passengers and SkyTeam Elite Plus members (when flying a SkyTeam airline). Delta offers wider availability to their Sky Club lounges – they are available to Delta One passengers, SkyTeam Business Class passengers, SkyTeam Elite Plus members (when flying SkyTeam), and via premium credit cards like the American Express Platinum card.
The choice between Delta and KLM depends on factors such as your travel preferences, routes, and loyalty. Delta, a major U.S. carrier, has a vast network in the United States and offers Delta Sky Club lounges, particularly in U.S. airports. KLM, based in the Netherlands, is a key player in European aviation and operates lounges, especially in Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Both are members of the SkyTeam alliance, so frequent flyers may prefer the airline that aligns with their home country or travel patterns. Delta often shines domestically, while KLM is known for its modern lounges and strong European network. Ultimately, your choice should consider your specific travel needs and frequent flyer affiliations.
Have you flown either airline? Let us know your experience in the comments!