Skip to Content

KLM vs Lufthansa: Which European Airline is Best?

KLM vs Lufthansa: Which European Airline is Best?

KLM is the world’s oldest, continually-operating airline, and though it’s base is Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, its partnerships give you additional options for departures and arrivals.

KLM flies worldwide and has partnerships with Air France and Delta, as well as other carriers that serve the Australasia area.

Lufthansa is the main competitor of KLM and also rated highly in terms of Europe’s airlines. Lufthansa is the largest German airline and the oldest airline in Europe, and it’s grown in popularity over the past decade.

Like KLM, Lufthansa has partnerships with travel vendors around the globe and flies all over the world.

How do the two stack up against each other, though? Let’s compare KLM vs. Lufthansa.

Bottom Line Up Front Summary: If you you flying Business Class or First, it’s hard to beat the perks, storage, menu and entertainment options of KLM (Expedia / OneTravel). That said, if you are flying Economy or Premium Economy, the better value is Lufthansa (Expedia / OneTravel).

The Main Differences Between KLM vs Lufthansa

The main difference between KLM vs Lufthansa are:

  • KLM has more seat amenities in business class like charging stations and extra storage, whereas Lufthansa has fewer niceties overall
  • KLM has better entertainment options in business class, whereas Lufthansa has a less impressive movie and TV offering
  • KLM has a more extensive gourmet menu in business class, whereas Lufthansa has quality options but not as impressive a selection
  • KLM has a lackluster upgraded economy section, whereas Lufthansa has a fantastic premium economy section
  • KLM has a fantastic business class section, whereas Lufthansa’s business class isn’t much more notable than its premium economy section

The Pros and Cons of KLM and Lufthansa

klm premium economy

While both KLM and Lufthansa leave passengers with a positive experience, there are distinct pros and cons to each airline, especially when it comes to their different classes. Let’s explore the pros and cons of each airline.

KLM Pros

  • Thanks to KLM’s partnerships with Air France and Delta, you have options beyond arriving in and departing from its base in Amsterdam.
  • The KLM ground crew is notably efficient, which is necessary if you have a short time between connecting flights.
  • KLM’s business class is one of the best in Europe, and possibly the world, with fantastic dining and entertainment options, plus private seating and seats that recline to a flat position.
  • With noise-canceling headphones and a rich in-flight entertainment system, you can choose from hundreds of movies and TV shows.
  • Business-class passengers are able to leave the plane first and they also get priority luggage access.
  • The airport lounge is phenomenal, with multiple levels, shower facilities, workstations, a buffet, and a bar.

KLM Cons

  • Economy and upgraded economy are so similar that it’s difficult to tell if there are any differences between the two-seat grades, and both are uncomfortable, cramming a lot of seats into the cabin.
  • Even though business class seats are private and the seats themselves fully recline, space is smaller than on some other airlines. Also, there isn’t a mattress topper, so sleeping on the hard seat can be difficult and uncomfortable.

Lufthansa Pros

  • Lufthansa is known for its customer service and efficiency, especially when it comes to making your way through security quickly.
  • Premium economy is comfortable on Lufthansa, and you may not feel the need to pay for a business class seat to have a comfortable trip. There’s a lot of legroom and a decent entertainment selection, and you’ll also get an amenities kit.

Lufthansa Cons

  • Seating in economy, even if you get an emergency row seat, is tight and has limited legroom.
  • If you’re sitting in economy, you won’t get any special treatment when it comes to dining, like being able to order a drink before takeoff or asking for an alternative to the in-flight meal.
  • The amenities kit you receive in premium economy has some low-quality items, so if you depend on the sleeping mask or earplugs to block out noise so you can rest, you may be disappointed.
  • There’s not too much that’s notable about business class aside from the high-quality, noise-blocking headphones.

Why Choose KLM?

klm premium economy

It’s often less costly to split your trip with KLM and fly business class than to book a direct flight.

Passengers especially appreciate how efficient the KLM ground crew is, which is a necessity if you have limited time between flights and every minute counts. Let’s look into other features of KLM.

Economy and Upgraded Economy in KLM Premium Economy

Like many airlines, flying economy with KLM is pretty uncomfortable. On the 777s, for example, there are ten seats across.

Premium economy isn’t really premium in any discernible way, and some passengers feel that charging more for a “premium” seat is a scam.

Business Class in KLM

Flying business class with KLM is a real treat, especially if you haven’t experienced it since the new design, which was finished in early 2019. The cabin is designed to be both contemporary and comforting, and the blue and earthy colors are soothing, helping you settle in for your trip.

The pre- and in-flight experiences are excellent, but even post-flight the special treatment continues. You’ll leave the plane first, ahead of the other passengers, and you’ll have priority luggage so you can get your bags quickly.

Why Go With Samsonite?

All products are tested for strength, durability and performance based on the demands of frequent travelers. Orders of $150 or more qualify for free standard shipping, no code needed. Need it sooner? Choose expedited or priority.

Check Deals at Samsonite Check Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Seating in Business Class with KLM

The seats in business class are purposely out of line with one another to create more privacy. There’s also a partition for when you want to relax or fall asleep.

While the bulkhead rows have even more space than the other rows in business class, you’ll be closer to the kitchen and bathrooms, so you’ll need to weigh your options.

Wherever you sit in business class, every seat fully reclines to a flat position, turning into a bed for when you need to sleep on your flight. This was one of the main components of the redesign.

Before, there were a lot of reclining seats instead of flat-lay seats, which is difficult to deal with for a long flight. There’s also lumbar support so you can make micro-adjustments for extra comfort.

When you’re ready to turn your seat into a flatbed, you’ll have about two meters of space to stretch out in. This may seem a bit smaller than other airlines’ business class beds, but it’s still enough space for most passengers to be comfortable.

One drawback is that there aren’t mattress toppers available, so you’ll need to ask the crew for an extra blanket to pad the hard seat.

Amenities in Business Class with KLM 

When you board the plane, the crew will welcome you with a glass of Champagne and a luxury amenity kit. There are a lot of storage areas around your seat so you can organize your items however you like. There’s also a power outlet and a USB socket.

Entertainment in Business Class with KLM

KLM’s business class entertainment system includes a 16-inch touch-screen TV that you can also control by remote, which is useful when you’re laying down flat to relax or try to sleep.

The entertainment system includes more than 150 movies and several TV shows. You can also use their noise-canceling headphones to tune out the rest of the sounds around you.

Food in Business Class with KLM

klm meal

The food available in KLM’s business class is gourmet-level. For example, you can order menu items like coconut beef soup or shrimp and salmon mousse as an appetizer.

For your entrée, choices may include chicken and goat cheese ravioli or braised lamb in tarragon sauce.

You can also order quality wine to cap off the dining experience. When you’re finished, you may be treated to a cheese plate and chocolate.

If you’re taking an early flight, there are breakfast options as well. For example, you can order an egg souffle that’s served with a croissant and coffee.

The KLM Airport Lounge

If you have time to kill before your flight, you can duck into the luxury KLM lounge instead of waiting in the public areas of the airport.

The lounge is very big, so even if there are a lot of people milling about, it won’t feel crowded. It’s also spread across multi-levels. There are couches, tables, and workstations to choose from. If you want to freshen up before your flight, there are shower facilities and lockers for your use.

You can also eat before your flight thanks to the lounge’s buffet selection. There are both hot and cold dishes, as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. There’s an additional bar, too, as well as an a la carte, fine dining restaurant.

Read More: KLM vs Delta – Which is the Best Airline?

Why Choose Lufthansa?

Overall, Lufthansa is run pretty well. You should be able to get through security fast, so you don’t have to worry too much about missing your flight even if you’re running a bit behind. Passengers often praise Lufthansa for customer service. Let’s look into the different aspects of flying with Lufthansa.

Seating in Economy with Lufthansa

When you check-in, Lufthansa gives you the option of reserving an emergency row exit seat for free if there are any left. To ensure you get one of these seats, check-in as early as possible before they’re all snagged up.

Unfortunately, whereas many airlines have extra legroom in the emergency exit row, the legroom here is still pretty uncomfortable, particularly on planes designed for short-haul trips.

Food in Economy with Lufthansa

lufthansa food

In economy, all passengers receive the same meal, which may be something as simple as a basic sandwich. You may not be able to request an alternative, even if you have a special dietary need.

You may also have a hard time getting a beverage, even water, before takeoff, which can be especially difficult if taxiing takes a long time (which tends to).

Waiting to serve beverages is not completely uncommon for airlines, but it does shine a light on how economy passengers are treated differently than passengers in other seating categories, like premium economy.

Seating in Premium Economy with Lufthansa

There’s excellent legroom in Lufthansa’s premium economy section. There’s enough distance between the seats that the person in front of you can lay back as far as they want without impeding on your space or making you feel like you have to move back, too.

Entertainment in Premium Economy with Lufthansa

While the entertainment system in premium economy of Lufthansa isn’t the best compared to other airlines, it still offers enough to keep your mind occupied for your trip. You can also track the flight with live GPS tracking on the system. There are also movies available.

Amenities in Premium Economy with Lufthansa

When you sit in a premium economy on a Lufthansa flight, you should receive an amenities kit. The kit will likely include items like a toothbrush and toothpaste, a refreshment towel, a sleeping mask, earplugs and a pair of comfy socks. Unfortunately, these amenities aren’t all top-quality, but they should give you enough comfort for the duration of the flight, especially the thick socks.

Amenities in Business Class with Lufthansa

In business class, you get to use a pair of comfortable, high-quality headphones. They work so well when blocking out noise that you won’t even be able to hear the sounds of the plane, and you can enjoy what you’re watching on the entertainment system because the sound will be crisp. The headphones are probably popular because they’re locked into the seat to deter people from taking them when they leave the plane.

FAQs About KLM vs. Lufthansa

Is Lufthansa a KLM?

Lufthansa and KLM are two separate airlines that operate in Europe. By fleet, Lufthansa is the largest individual airline, followed by KLM.

Is KLM a good airline?

KLM has excellent reviews from passengers, particularly when it comes to its business class, which was revamped in early 2019. However, while it’s rated highly for customer service and ground crew efficiency, its economy and “upgraded” economy sections are not nearly as comfortable or accommodating as business class.

Is Austrian Airlines better than Lufthansa?

When it comes to Austrian Airlines vs. Lufthansa, the better airline is the one with the route you need to take and the price for the flight. Austrian Airlines doesn’t have nearly as many routes as Lufthansa, so if you need worldwide options, it won’t be your best bet.

What is the best airline to fly in Europe?

Among the best airlines to fly in Europe are KLM and Lufthansa, as well as Swiss International Air Lines, Austrian Airlines and Air France.

Final Thoughts on Choosing KLM vs Lufthansa

Both KLM and Lufthansa are considered among Europe’s best airlines, flying to multiple international destinations and scoring highly when it comes to customer service and efficiency.

Their main differences are in the seating and cabin classes they offer, and the one you choose will depend on your personal preferences and how long you’ll be in the air.

If you’re taking a long-haul flight and you need to arrive at your destination feeling as fresh as possible, opt for KLM’s business class.

Lufthansa’s premium economy and business class are pretty close in terms of amenities and comfort, but KLM’s business class is a big leap ahead, so this should be your choice for top-notch seats.

On the other hand, if you want an enjoyable flying experience without having to pay for a business class seat, go with Lufthansa. Their premium economy class is worth the upgrade from the economy, but it won’t cost as much as business class. It comes with enough comforts to keep you happy for even a longer flight, and though it doesn’t have as much as KLM’s business class, most flyers will be satisfied with the experience.

Overall, though, if we had to pick one winner, it would be KLM. They offer a better experience overall, and between their stellar business-class amenities and the outfitted KLM lounge, every aspect of your trip will be fantastic.

Bottom Line Summary: If you you flying Business Class or First, it’s hard to beat the perks, storage, menu and entertainment options of KLM (Expedia / OneTravel). That said, if you are flying Economy or Premium Economy, the better value is Lufthansa (Expedia / OneTravel).

Recommended Reads: