KLM’s new Amsterdam flagship lounge has zones inspired by the Netherlands, including a ‘Dutch Mountain’

This article originally appeared on THE DESIGNAIR

Just shy of KLM’s centenary, the airline has opened the first stage of its brand new lounge at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. The lounge – designed by Amsterdam-based Concrete – now boasts a completely new setup, set over tiered layers, with a ‘trendy’ ambience.

The lounge features the latest technologies and innovations along with improved service and catering. While this is just a taster of what is yet to come, customers can already take advantage of this in a temporary setup while refurbishment of the second part of the lounge continues until its festive opening in summer 2019.

Catering to KLM’s premium customers travelling on intercontinental flights, the international KLM Crown Lounge is located between the E and F Piers at Schiphol.

The lounge has a new impressive entrance on the Schiphol’s so-called ‘Holland Boulevard’. Customers  access the lounge by escalator (or elevator) and pass glass walls that contain five thousand of KLM’s iconic Delft Blue houses on their way up.

The lounge facilities are located on the second floor and on a newly opened, completely rejuvenated third floor. Passengers are welcomed individually by personal lounge assistance and can gain easy access by scanning their boarding passes at self-service devices. Read full article »

KLM adds passenger reviews and ratings to flight search results


Recently, a growing number of online travel agents and airlines have partnered with third-party data providers TripAdvisor and Routehappy to help customers learn more about the quality of their flight.

By sharing candid details of the passenger experience airlines could move beyond commodity pricing and beyond competition solely on fares, instead giving customer fact-based metrics about their products which would justify a higher fare.

There is an important precedent for this change in consumer mindset in the hospitality sector. Today’s informed and savvy travellers are making their hotel choices based on ‘reputation pricing’ —the correlation between a brand’s online reputation and the premium it can charge. This shift from ‘sticker price’ bookings to bookings based on the quality of the experience has been one of the big positive effects of TripAdvisor on the hotel industry.

Rate My Flight
Social and digital frontrunner, KLM is taking transparency to the next level by sharing the feedback it gathers directly from passengers with customers who are looking to book a ticket with the airline.

After extensive experimentation, KLM started showing star ratings and reviews in the search flow of the KLM website in June of this year.

Customers searching for a flight can see the actual reviews from previous passengers who have flown that flight in the past, based on reviews collected from KLM passengers using the airline’s ‘Rate My Flight’ feature. Read full article »

KLM ‘Night Light’ lets kids count the days until their travelling mom or dad will return

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By Marisa Garcia, FlightChic

For mommies (and daddies) flying  KLM on a quick business trip and leaving kids behind, bed time is a difficult time.

But KLM has come up with a charming way to soothe the little ones missing their parents with a special night light which lets them pretend to be on the flight.

The new KLM Night Light, was designed specially for the families of business travellers, KLM explains.

It’s a mini aircraft with a light behind each window of the Night Light, marking each night the traveller will be away. The lights turn off one by one as the days get closer to the return flight, with all the lights off by the morning of the big arrival back home.

KLM says the light also represents the airlines commitment to punctuality, ensuring parents get back home when promised.

KLM’s BlueBiz loyalty programme who book tickets via KLM’s BlueBiz website before 1 May, could win one of the the KLM Night Lights the airline is giving away with this promotion, and others can buy a KLM Night Light for € 33 (or 13,200 miles) in KLM’s online shop. Read full article »

KLM brings colourful design to meals and trolleys in Economy

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

As the airline industry has always captured people’s imagination, airlines can tap into their local heritage to incorporate a bit of storytelling into the travel experience. Legacy carriers in particular can benefit from their ‘flag carrier’ status as a source of inspiration in designing the cabin experience, in order to move beyond the generic grey and blue environments.

KLM ‘Internationally Dutch’
A well-documented example is KLM’s ‘Internationally Dutch’ brand positioning, which has seen the airline collaborating with internationally well-known Dutch designers such as Victor&Rolf, Marcel Wanders and Hella Jongerius for respectively amenity kits, tableware and seat and interior design. According to KLM, customers have indicated that they appreciate KLM’s typically Dutch character, so it decided to embrace Dutch Design.

Delft Blue porcelain is also part of KLM’s Dutch heritage-inspired branding. Since the 1950s, the airline has handed out small ceramic replicas of historical Dutch houses filled with ‘genever’ (a Dutch style of gin) to passengers in Business Class, which are a popular souvenir item for many passengers.

In order to bring a contemporary style to its Business Class dining, KLM in 2011 began serving meals in Business Class on both short- and long-haul flights offered on tableware designed by Marcel Wanders. The designer (of Moooi and Droog Design fame) created porcelain, glassware, cutlery, linen and a tray for the airline in his signature shapely style.

‘Tasty Blue’ catering concept
Aiming to bring a touch of design to the dining experience in Economy on long-haul flights, KLM this fall will introduce a new catering concept which it has dubbed ‘Tasty Blue’.

According to KLM, the new service is based on the concept of a ‘set table’. Says Madeleine Braun, Product Manager Economy Class Long Haul at KLM, “With the new Tasty Blue concept, KLM will set the table for passengers in Economy. And a set table should be colourful and appealing, especially given the important role of packaging today in influencing the perception and experience of consumers.” Read full article »

KLM lets friends and family surprise their loved ones with a ‘seat cover’ greeting

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

KLM is on a roll when it comes to surprising passengers with unexpected touches. In the past months, the airline has set up a dedicated ‘Lost & Found’ team at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport that aims to reunite lost items as soon as possible with their legitimate owner. The team uses all available information like seat number, phone numbers and public social media details to reunite passengers with their belongings a.s.a.p.

And last month KLM took its social media-based customer service to another level with a bold campaign called #HappyToHelp. During five days, a dedicated team scanned social media for any passenger facing travel woes throughout the world, and responded with real-time answers and support.

Cover Greetings
Showing the sheer diversity of stories of passengers travelling on the same aircraft on a given day, KLM’s latest effort is called ‘Cover Greetings’ and involved placing a personal message from loved ones staying at home to their boyfriend, girlfriend or relative on the headrest of their KLM aircraft seat.

The airline spotted people saying goodbye to their families at the departure gate, then whisked their relatives away to a place where they could decorate a seat cover with their own message. KLM together with AmsterdamSchipholAirport worked together to ensure that the personal message was placed on the right seat in the aircraft.

This made for an unexpected and touching moment for the passengers who boarded the plane as they saw a headrest cover made especially for them.

The moving video showing the cover greetings and passenger’s responses can be watched online and is also currently played on a large, centrally located, screen at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

Although the stunt took place on a single day, involving passengers from three different flights, the airline says it might develop ‘Cover Greetings’ into a permanent service.

KLM takes ‘social service’ to a new level with #HappyToHelp campaign

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

KLM, known for its savvy social service and innovative marketing campaigns, took both to new levels last week with a bold #HappyToHelp campaign.

Starting with the premise that the best promotion for customer service is great customer service, a dedicated team scanned social media during five days for passengers facing travel woes throughout the world, and responded with a creative and relevant #HappytoHelp answer produced and personalised for single passengers in real-time – even when those passengers were not travelling with KLM.

On- and offline
Selected problems would then be solved in a variety of ways, ranging from actual physical intervention, such as helping someone retrieve a forgotten passport and still make their flight, to providing one-to-one advice or information through social media.

During the week, KLM’s social media team could rely on the back-up from a team of fast-producing creative people from KLM’s creative agency Tribal DDB with different skills to produce content. Answers ranged from a simple text message to an Instagram picture, a Vine, or YouTube video.

For example, KLM staff made a wake up call over the phone and offered breakfast at the airport (video here) to a traveller who had to get up early to catch her flight, provided a tailored weather report to a traveller who was unsure what to pack for that last minute trip to Ibiza, and recorded a video with personalized Spanish language lessons to a traveller flying to Mexico.

The airline even hired a speed boat on the Hudson River (video) to help out passengers who risked missing a flight–any flight–due to being stuck in traffic on their way to JFK. “Imagine the impact if you are not flying with KLM but it is KLM that gets to the airport,” says Pol Hoenderboom, creative director at Tribal DDB Amsterdam. Read full article »

KLM’s ‘Lost & Found Team’ aims to return lost items to passengers on the spot

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

With nearly 7 million Facebook fans and 1.3 million followers on Twitter, and a wide range of social media initiatives, the KLM brand has become synonymous with social media innovation. The latest initiative by the airline is utilizing social media for an instant ‘lost & found’ service.

Instant lost & found
Every week, KLM receives 40,000 questions via social media. One of the most asked questions is about getting lost items back. This inspired KLM to set up a dedicated ‘Lost & Found’ team at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport which aims to reunite lost items as soon as possible with their legitimate owner. From a teddy bear found by the cabin crew to a laptop left in the lounge.

The team uses all available information like seat number, phone numbers and public social media details to reunite passengers with their belongings. Very often the Lost & Found team is able to surprise passengers by returning their personal belongings before they have even missed them. Despite the challenge of locating the owner, first results show that over 80 percent of the found items can now be reunited with their owners.

How it works
Air France-KLM SVP eBusiness Martijn van der Zee earlier this year explained to Dutch publication Marketingfacts how the new service works.

“The current situation is that if a passenger forgets his or her iPad on board and walks through customs, all we can do is to refer to the airport. This is very frustrating, especially when passengers realize shortly after they have left the aircraft that they have forgotten something, contact KLM and we can do nothing for them. The lost and found process can take a few weeks instead, which gives an enormous bureaucratic feeling. We know this is a weakness and we mostly know that through social media.”

“We have now appointed two people at the airport who constantly look for things that are lost. They walk past the gates to collect items and then try to find the owners on the spot by approaching them, often via social media. In many cases passengers have not even realized yet they have forgotten something and really go out of their minds when they receive their lost item back.” Read full article »

KLM first airline to let passengers pay ‘socially’ via Facebook or Twitter

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

With over 5 million Facebook fans (the most of any airline in the world) and more than 800,000 followers on Twitter, and a wide range of social media initiatives, the KLM brand has become synonymous with social media innovation. In terms of social service, the airline was recently voted as the top ‘socially devoted’ company in the world by social metrics company SocialBakers and for example every 5 minutes displays the actual social media response time via Twitter and Facebook and the airline’s 130 social media agents respond to some 35,000 queries on Facebook and Twitter each week.

KLM’s social media strategy is based on three pillars according to the airline: Reputation, Service and Commerce, stating that “Commerce is the more challenging component of our strategy. Few companies have successfully derived revenue from social media, but we aim to be among those that do.”

Social payment
According to KLM, customers are already able to arrange extra services through social media, but until now payment has taken place over the telephone. However, as customers have regularly indicated that they would like to pay online through its social media channels, the airline decided to explore the posibilities of ‘social payment’.

Explains Frederiek Filippo, Social Media Service Agent at KLM, who came up with the social payment idea: “With around 130 employees at the ready, we respond quickly. With payment required for an increasing number of requests, I wanted to find a more ‘social’ solution. We try so hard to be a one-stop-shop, so the last thing you want to do is bother customers with another call.”

How it works
Similar to booking a ticket via the telephone, customers can inquire the best fares for their preferred date of travelling via social media and when they want to book the ticket, KLM sends a link to the customer in a private message on Facebook or Twitter. The customer can then select their preferred method of payment and complete the transaction.
Read full article »

Schiphol Airport and KLM create temporary drive-in cinema at the airport

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The Disney ‘Planes’ Airport Drive-in case appeared in the September 2013 edition of the Airline Marketing Benchmark, a monthly report by airlinetrends.com and Simpliflying, which identifies the latest innovative marketing campaigns recently launched by airlines around the world. Learn more »

Airlines around the world have been busy aligning themselves with Disney’s latest film ‘Planes’ to help co-promote themselves and the movie. American Airlines was the first carrier to screen ‘Planes’ on its IFE system and the airline is even featured with their new livery in the film itself (video here). In Australia, Disney partnered with Qantas to conduct the first official Australian screening of ‘Planes’ on a Boeing 767, mid-air.

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport x KLM
In the Netherlands, KLM and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport have teamed with Disney to organize the screening of ‘Planes’ in a specially created ‘pop-up’ 3D drive-in cinema at the airport on September 28th ahead of the official launch of the movie in the Netherlands on October 9.

Billing itself as the first airport in the world that is used as the location for a 3D Drive-in cinema, Schiphol cleared the upper deck of one of its parking garages, including the removal of lamp posts in order to avoid bright lights hindering the movie goers. Set against the backdrop of the airport control tower, a heavy crane lifted the film screen and along the side of the parking deck were colourful lights, stalls selling beverages and chips, and mobile toilets. Video of the event here.

The visitors – 100 winners (and their friends and family) of KLM’s ‘Create Your Own Plane’ contest – had to drive up to the garage upper deck with their own car. They then were directed to their spot by Schiphol and KLM staff just like planes arriving at the gate. Equipped with 3D glasses and a newspaper, the movie-goers enjoyed ‘Planes’ from the inside of their car with the sound beamed to the car stereo via a radio frequency that was specially made available for the event.

According to Paul Sluis, Brand Manager B2C & Social Media at KLM, the initial ‘Create Your Own Plane’ campaign attracted 8,000 participants. The 100 participants who managed to attract the most online votes for their virtual creations were invited to the drive-in cinema experience.

Onboard pre-screening
On October 2, KLM also gave 300 kids the experience of a lifetime. The lucky kids were invited to a spectacular pre-screening of ‘Planes’ on board of a real airplane Besides the popcorn and beverages which made the kids already extremely happy, KLM created an even more unique environment: world’s first movie experience in and around a plane using special effects by recreating the world of Planes in a live setting. This made it an unforgettable experience for the kids. Video of the event here.

KLM ‘Feedback App’ lets passengers rate their level of satisfaction at the airport

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

KLM is known for its embrace of digital technology. The airline is a leader in social media and in the past years has launched a series of specific mobile apps, such as a ‘Passport’ app, which lets users record their journeys with their mobile phone and share their experiences via Facebook.

Real-time feedback
KLM’s latest mobile app allows the airline’s passengers to give real-time feedback on how they perceived their experience at the airport (e.g, check-in, lounge, boarding, arrival).

The option to provide direct feedback about the quality of service at airports isn’t entirely new. Singapore Changi, for example, has installed an instant feedback system that lets airport users rate service on the spot. The airport uses the real-time feedback to address issues immediately and to reward employees for good service. Travellers at Phoenix International Airport, meanwhile, can rate the cleanliness of the toilets by scanning a QR code.

KLM’s Feedback app, however, marks the first such initiative by an airline. According to the carrier, the objective of the Feedback app is to increase passenger involvement during the ground stage of their journey in order to improve the passenger experience at the airport.

How it works
After downloading the app, which is available for both Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, passengers first choose the airport they are currently at (13 airports are supported at the moment: Amsterdam, Accra, Almaty, Athens, Cape Town, Curacao, Geneva, Jakarta, Kuwait, Singapore, Tokyo, Toronto and Vancouver) and then choose the area (check-in, lounge, boarding, arrival) and sub-area they want to rate.

The rating consists of simply tapping a ‘Thumps Up’ or ‘Thumbs Down’ button, but passengers can also specify their rating with a comment. Interestingly, the app also allows for the feedback to be published on Twitter at the same moment. Pasengers can rate each sub-area once a day and can also view how other passengers rated this area within the last 24 hours.

KLM team leads and station management at participating airports have been equipped with iPads that enables them to monitor the feedback in real-time, so they can react on passenger feedback immediately if needed and possible.

Says Gerard-Pieter de Haas, Director CRM at KLM, “Our staff is very excited about the feedback app as it helps them to take immediately corrective action and recover the required service levels for each touch point. Moreover, we can capture this experience and relay to other touch points – like Check-in, Lounge, Transfer or even Inflight – so staff can take immediate action if needed. This fully fits our CRM-vision of ‘connecting the dots’ and really puts the customer in the center of our attention.”
Read full article »

Innovative Airlines 2012: #4 KLM

In 4th place on our 2012 ranking of innovative airlines is KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Part of Air France since 2004, the Dutch airline is the seventh largest airline in the world in terms of international kilometers flown, and serves 135 destinations with a fleet of 157 aircraft. Having a small homebase, KLM’s strength lies in a tightly-knit, worldwide network, as the majority of its 25 million passengers transfers through its Amsterdam Schiphol hub, which is widely regarded as one of the best airports in the world.

KLM has been an early adopter of self-service options such as DIY luggage check-in, has a strong focus on sustainability (e.g, catering, biofuel), is rapidly expanding in China, aims to differentiate the passenger experience by adding local Dutch touches, and is a frontrunner in the adoption of social media.

Dutch heritage
According to KLM, customers have indicated that they appreciate KLM’s typically Dutch character, and one of the ways the airline is emphasizing its Dutch origins is by partnering with contemporary Dutch designers Marcel Wanders and Viktor&Rolf for the creation of its onboard amenities. Marcel Wanders (of Droog Design fame) has designed the airline’s Business Class tableware on short- and long-haul flights in his signature style, while Viktor&Rolf have created the airline’s amenity kits.

KLM also recently teamed with Dutch designer Hella Jongerius – known for her industrial textile and colour skills – to revitalise its Business Class cabin interior across the fleet. The new Business Class will also feature BE Aerospace-produced ‘Diamond’ full-flat beds, which will replace the airline’s current angled lie-flat seats. KLM’s fleet of 22 B747-400s will be the first to be retrofitted with the new seats and further details of the design will be announced in the second half of 2012.

Delft Blue
Delft Blue porcelain is also part of KLM’s Dutch-inspired branding. Since the 1950s, the airline has handed out small ceramic replicas of historical Dutch houses filled with ‘genever’ (a Dutch style of gin) to passengers in Business Class, that are still a popular souvenir item for many passengers. Furthermore, last year KLM launched a ‘Tile & Inspire’ campaign which invited Facebook users to convert their profile picture into a Delft Blue tile and add their own message. 4,000 of the most inspiring tiles were placed on the body of a KLM ‘Delft Blue’ Boeing 777-200.
Read full article »

KLM’s ‘Meet & Seat’ social seating lets passengers pick an interesting seat mate

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KLM today has launched a ‘Meet & Seat’ scheme which encourages passengers to pick seatmates by checking out social media profiles of fellow passengers who link to their profiles during check-in. The idea is that flyers will be able to find out about interesting people who will be on board their KLM flight, for example other passengers attending the same event at the destination. The ‘social seating’ feature has been launched on flights between Amsterdam and San Francisco, Sao Paolo and New York City with plans to extend it to other intercontinental destinations shortly.

Although the idea of the ‘social flight’ in itself is not entirely new – it was coined by digital media guru Jeff Jarvis a few years ago, while airlines such as Malaysia Airlines and Estonian Air have experimented with the concept – KLM’s new ‘Meet & Seat’ tool takes the idea of ‘social seating’ a step further, as until now social media users could only connect with their friends before a flight, while KLM allows anyone to connect with anyone.

KLM says it is trying to give travellers a more “inspirational journey” with the service enabling them to see who is on the flight, perhaps meet for a coffee beforehand, select seats next to each other or share a taxi at the other end. The tool will be opt-in only, to allow the many travellers who view flight time as private time.

How it works
Passengers who have booked a KLM flight from Amsterdam to New York, San Francisco or Sao Paulo (or back), can go to KLM.com and log in to the ‘Manage my Booking’ section. They then go to the ‘Seating’ tab, click ‘Meet & Seat’ and connect their social profiles with their booking by logging in to their Facebook or LinkedIn account.
Read full article »

Free printed guide books and random surprises from KLM this summer

Dutch national airline KLM is developing a reputation when it comes to digital media campaigns that combine the online, virtual environment with the offline, real world. Examples include a Delft Blue Tiles livery based on Facebook profile pictures, passengers who are randomly surprised with a personal gift, a commercial flight exclusively sold via Twitter, and free customized luggage tags. In the past weeks, the airline has launched several more “OFF=ON” initiatives.

Hard-copy customized city guides
KLM currently lets the public create and customize their own travel guide, to be printed and delivered to their home address for free. Visitors to the KLM Cityguide website can select the sites, activities and hot spots they would like to visit at their destination via a number of questions. The final result is then turned into a pocket-sized guide that consists of 3 chapters (and 12 activities in total) and a map. The printed city guides can be ordered by residents of 10 European countries, as well as the United States and Canada. Delivery is within 4 weeks. For other countries, the personalized city guide can be downloaded as PDF file. KLM’s free hard-copy guides were so popular that heavy traffic caused the website to go offline on the first day of the campaign.

KLM Surprise, summer edition
In a follow up to the very successful ‘Surprise’ campaign, which took place at the end of 2010, KLM has just launched the KLM Surprise ‘Summer Edition’. Combining social media with real-world interactions, the KLM ‘Surprise team’, consisting of staff from the airline’s E-commerce, Ground Services and Inflight Services departments, from mid-July to mid-August randomly surprises passengers with ‘little acts of kindness’ based on information found on the passenger’s social network profile(s) or in recent tweets. Since most people have profiles on social networks such as Facebook and Linkedin these days (in fact, more Americans now have Facebook accounts than have passports) it is relatively easy to find some interesting facts about a person in order to come up with a creative surprise.
Read full article »

KLM offers its Facebook fans the chance to be featured on a ‘Delft Blue’ Boeing 777

KLM has just launched a new social media campaign that invites Facebook users to convert their Facebook profile picture into a Delft Blue tile with an inspiring message. Four thousand of the most inspiring ‘Dutch Delft Blue tiles’ will then be placed on the body of a KLM Boeing 777-200. In KLM’s words: “KLM is proud of its Dutch heritage, in which Delftware played a huge role. Now KLM invites you to create your own Delft Blue tile, add an inspirational saying and you might end up on the body of a KLM Boeing 777-200.”

Delft Blue tiles are part of the Dutch tradition. The porcelain tiles were decorated with typically Dutch scenes, such as windmills or fishing boats. These Dutch scenes were commonly supported by some words of wisdom or an inspirational proverb. For nearly 60 years, KLM has also handed out small Delft Blue ceramic replicas of historical Dutch houses filled with Dutch ‘genever’ to passengers in Business Class.

The emphasis of KLM’s ‘Tile & Inspire’ campaign is on Facebook, but anyone can also create a personal Delft Blue tile via tileyourself.com and Hyves, the largest social network in the Netherlands. The campaign will run until the end of May 2011 and the tiles with the most creative messages will be selected by a jury of native speakers in English, Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Dutch, Norwegian and Swedish. The final 4,000 Delft Blue tiles will be randomly drawn out of the selected tiles and be featured on a KLM B777-200 aircraft from June 16 on. See this video for more on the campaign.

Update 10 May: KLM reports that in the first two weeks of the campaign nearly 50,000 people have created a personal Delft blue tile. Read full article »

KLM goes Dutch Design with tableware and amenity kits

Airlines such as Emirates and Singapore Airlines have teamed up with traditional French and Italian luxury brands like Bulgari, Ferragamo and Givenchy to offer passengers quality in-flight amenities, such as toiletry kits, tableware, blankets and pyjamas.

Dutch airline KLM is taking a slightly different approach as it is upgrading its onboard experience. Instead of teaming up with the classical luxury houses, the airline is emphasizing its Dutch origins by partering with contemporary Dutch designers Viktor & Rolf and Marcel Wanders for the creation of its onboard amenities. According to KLM, customers have indicated that they appreciate KLM’s typically Dutch character, so it decided to embrace Dutch Design.

Viktor & Rolf
At the start of the summer schedule on 27 March 2011, KLM has introduced Viktor & Rolf-designed comfort bags for passengers travelling in Business Class on long-haul flights. Different bags are available for men and women, and also contain a Viktor & Rolf branded toothbrush, toothpaste, socks, eye mask, lip balm, pen and ear plugs. A new design will be created each year over the next four-year period, and a new colour will appear every six months. The fashion duo’s bags proves to be popular: A few hours after KLM announced the Viktor & Rolf amenity kits, the first requests for them already started appearing on online marketplaces.

Marcel Wanders
On 27 March 2011, KLM also began serving meals in Business Class on both short- and long-haul flights offered on tableware designed by Marcel Wanders. The designer (of Moooi and Droog Design fame) has created porcelain, glassware, cutlery, linen and a tray for the airline in his signature shapely style. In designing the new service elements, Wanders has taken into account the wishes of its customers, the working procedures of cabin crew, and the weight and space restrictions of air travel (video here).
Read full article »

Innovative airlines 2011: #7 KLM

In 7th place is KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Part of Air France since 2004, the Dutch airline is the eight largest airline in the world by international kilometers flown, transferring the majority of its passengers through its Amsterdam Schiphol hub, which is regarded as one of the best airports in the world. We have featured KLM several times on airlinetrends.com because of its innovative way of harnessing its Dutch origins, its focus on sustainability and several interesting social media campaigns. 

Dutch Design
For nearly 60 years, KLM has handed out small ceramic replicas of historical Dutch houses filled with Dutch ‘genever’ to passengers in Business Class. As KLM has produced almost a hundred different models since 1952, but carries only about 30 of the popular ‘status’ souvenirs on each flight, the airline recently launched an iPhone/Android app that lists all KLM houses, so passengers no longer have to bring crumpled notes with them in order to pick their favourite house. 

KLM is further emphasizing its Dutch origins by teaming up with Dutch designers such as Marcel Wanders (of Droog Design fame), who just created the airline’s Business Class tableware in his signature style (to be introduced in March 2011). KLM will also introduce an amenity kit designed by a well-known Dutch designer in Business Class in March 2011, while the airline’s crew in early 2010 changed into new uniforms designed by Dutch couturier Mart Visser

Sustainable catering
KLM is undertaking serious efforts to make its inflight catering more sustainable, opting for eco-friendly alternatives wherever possible. KLM is one of the few airlines that serve Rainforest Alliance-certified coffee on board as well as tea cultivated in a sustainable way. Other foodstuffs include organic eggs, bread, butter and wine, as well as meat sourced from farms that take the well-being of animals into account. KLM is also the only airline that regularly serves fish that has been caught in a sustainable manner, as certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. Catering to the ‘locavore’ trend, KLM in the last two months of 2010 served Business Class passengers on long-haul flights out of Amsterdam meals based on seasonal Dutch home-grown ingredients. Read full article »

KLM’s Delft Blue miniature houses get a full-scale version in Amsterdam

For nearly 60 years, KLM has handed out small ceramic replicas of historical Dutch houses filled with Dutch ‘genever’ to passengers in Business Class. Each Delft Blue miniature depicts a real Dutch house, and the houses are made using the same glazing process as the famous blue tiles produced in the Dutch city of Delft. KLM has produced almost a hundred different models since 1952, and every year on 7 October the airline presents a new house to mark its anniversary. All houses remain on offer, but KLM carries only about 30 on each flight. The houses have become a desirable collectors item and have generated a lively trade on websites such as eBay. KLM also recently launched a mobile app for iPhone and Android phones that lists all KLM houses, so passengers no longer have to bring crumpled notes with them in order to pick their favourite house. 

‘Out of the Blue’
The KLM miniature houses have also been the source of inspiration for a series of full-scale houses recently built In the centre of Amsterdam. In 2009, Stadsherstel Amsterdam, an organisation involved in urban restoration in Amsterdam, had been commissioned by the Municipality of Amsterdam to spruce up the ‘Oudezijds Armsteeg’, a badly run-down street in the city’s red-light district. The plan was to make the street attractive to tourists again by introducing business activities and giving it a real Amsterdam feeling. 

A flight in KLM’s Business Class provided the inspiration for a life-size version of the airline’s iconic Delft Blue houses in a project called ‘Out of the Blue’. Says Jaap Hulscher, deputy director of Stadsherstel Amsterdam, “I was flying in KLM Business Class and received one of those little KLM houses. This made me start noticing them everywhere around the world, and I realized that this is the traditional image people in other countries may have of how we live in the Netherlands. At the same time, nobody in the Netherlands has got this image.”
Read full article »

KLM surprises Foursquare users with little acts of kindness

Combining social media with real-world interactions, KLM has launched a very innovative campaign in which it randomly surprises its passengers at the airport. In what the airline calls “an experiment on how happiness spreads,” KLM has installed a ‘Surprise team’ for four weeks at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport which aims to delight passengers that have checked in at KLM venues on location-based social network Foursquare with little acts of kindness.’

How it works: As soon as someone checks in at one of KLM’s Foursquare locations at Schiphol Airport or other airports in KLM’s network, the ‘KLM Surprise’ team goes online to find more background information about the person (a.k.a. ‘counter-googling’). Since many people (especially those that already use Foursquare) have profiles on social networks such as Facebook and Linkedin or twitter frequently, it is relatively easy to find some interesting facts about a person in order to come up with a creative surprise. The KLM team then goes all out to try to contact the person before his or her flight leaves.

Little act of kindness
Some examples of the ‘free love’ KLM is spreading: On Monday October 25th, the airline started the campaign with giving Tobias Hootsen, on its way to Dubai, a homesick package as he would be abroad for a long time. Another traveller, Willem van Hommel tweeted he would miss an important soccer game of his team, PSV Eindhoven, because he was flying to New York. The KLM team surprised him with a Lonely Planet of the city with all soccer bars marked in blue to make sure he wouldn’t miss the game. KLM passenger Dennis Claesen, meanwhile, was on his way to a conference in Boston when KLM surprised him with a handy notebook in which he could write down ideas. There was a personal message in it for a bit of inspiration. For more examples, follow KLM Surprise on Twitter or see the campaign’s Facebook page.
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KLM donates old uniforms for upcycling into new products

Following earlier initiatives by Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic (seat covers and curtains), KLM is upcycling its old uniforms into bags, belts and slippers. In April 2010, more than 11,000 female cabin crew, ground staff and pilots at KLM changed into new uniforms designed by Dutch couturier Mart Visser. All blue items of the previous female uniform were collected for recycling, which resulted in 90,000 kilos of fabric.

Because of security reasons, many airlines destroy discarded uniforms as wearing an old airline outfit could make it easier to slip through airport security illegally. Airline uniforms are also in popular demand for carnival or even worse in erotic clubs. For this last reason, Japan Airlines says it has recently marked its uniforms as its restructuring will make thousands of staff redundant. Second-had JAL uniforms can generate as much as EUR2,500 and are a popular ‘roleplay’ costume.

KLM says it has been looking for ways to discard its uniforms in a thorough but sustainable way. The airline has teamed up with Texperium, which was recently set up with the help of the Dutch government, and promotes the reprocessing of discarded textiles and the development of high added value products from recycled fibres. KLM is the first company to use a new machine which reduces textile to small flocks, which then become the basic material for new products. According to the airline the recycling of the 90,000 kilos of uniforms saves 500 million litres of water, 1 million cubic meter of natural gas, and 4,600 tons of CO2. See this video (in Dutch) for an impression of KLM’s upcycling process. 
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3floz.com only sells toiletries in airport security-approved sizes

The U.S Transportation Security Administration (TSA) ‘3-1-1 rule’ for carry-on luggage states that, in order to pass through security, liquids have to be 3 fluid ounce bottle (3 fl oz / 90ml) or less, packed in 1 quart-sized clear plastic zip-top bag, and passengers can carry on 1 bag only. With most U.S. airlines also charging for checked bags, air travel has become more of a hassle than ever. 

Targeting both the frequent flyer and the consumer who wants to try something new without committing to full-size pricing, 3floz.com is a smart new website that only sells mini-sized beauty products in a TSA-approved size. Launched in February 2010, the products range from deodorants, shampoos, moisturizers and shaving creams to teeth whiteners and facial serums for men and women and brands include well known ones such as Weleda, Dr. Hauschka, Avalon Organics, Malin + Goetz, The Art of Shaving, as well as the less familiar Air Repair Yes to Carrots and and Sprayology. 3floz.com offers free overnight shipping if customers supply an itinerary that shows their flight leaves within three days. 
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