KLM or Emirates: Which is better?

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Emirates are two of the world’s leading airlines. Comparing key elements of your flying experience helps distinguish the two airlines. Comparing industry recognition, inflight experiences, baggage allowance policies and networks lets us see which airline is better.




Industry recognition


Skytrax is a leading air transport rating organisation and offer a benchmark for service quality. Both airlines are certified as four-star airlines. Four-star ratings are awarded to airlines with good overall quality performance. It represents good standards across cabins, onboard and airport experiences, and staff service.

At Skytrax’s 2019 World Airline Awards, Emirates was the 5th best airline while KLM ranked 18th. Emirates also received additional accolades, including ranking 19th for the best cabin crew. The airline was also recognised with the world’s best inflight entertainment. Emirates also ranked 4th for the best business class and 6th for the best economy class.




KLM & Emirates inflight service


There are two classes of service on KLM flights. World Business Class on intercontinental flights has full-flat seats, a privacy screen and personal entertainment. Europe Business Class offers extra legroom, more recline and a luxurious meal. Economy class includes free meals on all flights plus in-flight entertainment on intercontinental flights. Economy Comfort seats are also available with extra legroom.

Recognised as the World’s Best First Class 2020 in the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards, Emirates’ First Class offers ultimate seclusion. First Class suites are fully enclosed on Emirates’ Boeing 777s while a privacy door is provided on Airbus A380s. Fine dining, an onboard shower spa and a lounge bar are also available. Business Class boasts gourmet meals and a lounge steps from your lie-flat seat, while Economy Class features regional cuisine and comfortable seats.




Inflight entertainment


With a fleet of 270 aircraft of Boeing 777 and Airbus A380, Emirates offers a consistent onboard experience. The airline’s Inflight entertainment has a mix of movies, television shows and Live TV. There are over 4,500 channels available. Wi-Fi is also offered on all flights. On-board data plans are available at a fee, whether you just want to chat or browse and stream.


KLM has a mix of 204 aircraft with Boeing 777, 787 and 737, Airbus A330, and Embraer 190 and 175. This means passengers’ experience may differ. Onboard Wi-Fi is available on certain aircraft. Chat including via WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger is available for free when there is Wi-Fi. Additional data packages are provided depending on the aircraft. Over 1,000 hours of entertainment are provided on almost all intercontinental flights, including more than 200 films.




KLM vs Emirates destinations


The world’s oldest airline still operating under its original name, KLM has been flying since 1919. As of December 2020, KLM serves 141 destinations from its hub Schiphol Airport. Destinations include cities in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia. Through codeshares, KLM and its partners fly to more than 800 destinations. SkyTeam also reaches more than 1,150 destinations.


Emirates offers flights to more destinations. As of December 2020, the airline flies to 157 destinations from its hub in Dubai. Routes cover the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific. While the airline is not a member of a global airline alliance, it does have codeshare agreements with several airlines. This extends Emirates’ network to more than 5,250 destinations.




Visit KLM’s website for more information




Baggage allowance


KLM offers one free checked bag for intercontinental flights on economy class and two in business class. In Europe, checked bags are free with standard and flex fares only. Certain intercontinental flights permit two free bags in economy.


Emirates offers a similarly generous baggage policy. One or two free bags can be checked depending on the economy class fare category. The allowance for Emirates Business and First Class passengers is two bags, although at a higher weight comparted to economy class.




KLM or Emirates – The verdict


When comparing reputation, inflight experience, destinations and baggage allowance Emirates has an edge over KLM. Both offer complimentary meals and a generous baggage policy. At the same time, the Dubai-based airline has a larger network and is renowned as an industry leader. For those looking for luxury, Emirates also offers a First Class service that KLM does not provide.


Visit KLM

Visit Emirates


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