DALLAS — In this trip report, Airways presents the European economy class experience on board KLM’s (KL) latest addition to their regional fleet, the E195-E2, from Milan Linate Airport (LIN) to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS).
KLM flies from the Dutch capital to Milan’s “city” airport four times a day, using almost every aircraft in their regional fleet. The same route is also served by ITA Airways (AZ) and easyJet (EC), operating a fleet of Airbus A319s. Is KLM worth the extra fare on this route?
Today, I am flying economy light, KL’s cheapest fare. Unlike many airlines in Europe, KL still offers a complimentary carry-on suitcase together with a backpack and a snack for this fare. However, a pricey fare is charged for flight changes, and fewer miles are earned compared to more expensive fares.
Check-in and Boarding
Milan Linate prides itself to be Milan’s “city” airport. The airport is now served by the new subway line M4, which partially opened in November 2022. This way, the airport is connected directly to the city center, making the journey faster and more accessible than Milan Malpensa (MXP) or Orio al Serio (BGY).
The check-in area at Linate Airport was empty, and I printed my boarding pass in no time. I then headed to the security controls immediately. LIN was the first airport in Europe to implement a new security scanner system that allows passengers to keep their liquids and electronic devices in their hand luggage.
I decided to take advantage of this new technology by taking some extra virgin olive oil in my carry-on luggage, and everything went well.
A duty-free area is found immediately after the security controls, after which a new commercial area and food court are located. The shops include Italian design firms, while the food options allow trying some good Italian cuisine before flying. A tech shop and a bookshop are also found before the new boarding area. A new waiting area was created for flights that are boarded by bus. Overall, it took me only 10 minutes from check-in to the gate.
My flight boarded through the old Linate area, where not much work has been done to renew the waiting area and facilities. The seats are a bit old, and there were no power outlets where I waited. On the other hand, the view of the traffic was amazing, with clear sights of the entire Linate apron.
I spent almost one hour working and looking at the new/old ITA A319s and A320s. I had flown with Alitalia countless times from LIN before, and I felt a bit nostalgic about seeing the MD-80s and the old livery on the A320s flying to Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO).
KL1624 is scheduled to depart from Linate airport at 14:05 local time, arriving at AMS 90 minutes later at 15:35. We were delayed by half an hour due to delays in Amsterdam Schiphol. My flight was operated by PH-NXD; the aircraft was delivered to KL in May 2021 and carries up to 132 passengers in a two-class configuration. While being longer than an A320, the E195-E2 features a 2-2 configuration.
Boarding started 20 minutes after the schedule. The load factor on this flight was around 40%, so we saved quite some time. The crew told us that we would have refueled while boarding, and in as little as five minutes, all passengers were sitting with seat belts fastened.
I was sitting in seat 24F, and I had the entire row for myself. Pushback started immediately after, and we were soon in the air over the city of Monza, home of the Italian Grand Prix, and the Alps.
Cabin and Seat
KLM fitted two different seats on their E195-E2. The first five rows are dedicated to business class. The premium seat, found in business class, features a higher legroom, wider seat, tray table, and adjustable headrest.
No curtain divider is found between the economy and business cabins, which allows for appreciating the length of the E195-E2. A total of 28 rows of economy seats start at row 6, with similar legroom and identical seat design. Eight emergency exit seats feature improved legroom and are sold at an additional charge on KL’s website.
The economy seat and armrest felt a bit narrow. The seat does not recline and is not the most comfortable I have ever tried in economy class. The tray table was quite small but allowed me to get my laptop out and do some work. No Wi-Fi or in-flight entertainment was offered either. This is a shame, as KL’s new economy-class cabins on its regional fleet feel like a downgrade from KL’s Boeing 737 or E190 experience.
On the positive side, the legroom was adequate for a short hop, the seat was equipped with individual USB ports, the seat in front came with a cup holder, the in-flight magazine is always a pleasure to check on KL and the cabin was spotless.
The E195-E12 features new PW1900G engines that allow significant fuel consumption reduction. This is possible due to the increased bypass ratio, 1:12, which increases the propulsive efficiency of the aircraft. For the shorter version, the E190-E2, this is calculated to be 11% fuel savings with respect to the previous E190STD generation.
Perhaps the most underwhelming characteristic about the E195-E2 is that, after a few rows, the seats are no longer aligned with the windows. So in the final economy rows, passengers only get “half” windows, and most light is reflected on the seat itself, making the cabin a bit darker than usual.
Service started soon. KL’s famous cheese toast is always a high-quality and welcome snack to have on their flights, offered to all economy passengers independently of their traveling fares. The crew was young and friendly and completed the service in just 20 minutes.
I quickly checked the lavatory in the rear service galley, which was very clean and came with a tray table for changing babies. Only six passengers were seated in the last seven rows of economy class.
Approach and Landing
Unlike the first flight, it was cloudy for most of the flight. The captain informed us about our delay, which was about 15 minutes. Many passengers had connecting flights to catch in Amsterdam Schiphol, so the crew contacted them one by one to inform them about their gates, and whether they could have made it on time. Luckily, despite the short delay, everyone was still on time to catch their connections.
The Netherlands welcome us with rows of wind turbines as we descended into cloudy Amsterdam. Our assigned runway was 27, which offered some good views of Amsterdam Zuid and the city center as we landed. After a five-minute taxiing, we parked in the area designated for KL’s regional fleet, where two buses were waiting for us. We were soon in the main terminal, which was packed with travelers.
Amsterdam Schiphol is extremely well connected to the rest of the country, with direct trains to almost anywhere in the Netherlands. From plane to train, it took me only 15 minutes, which is remarkably efficient considering how big Amsterdam Schiphol is.
This was a pleasant and relaxed flight on board KL’s next regional workhorse. While it is clear that the economy class “hard product” was designed to be durable and cheap, the in-flight service such as snacks, constant updates about delays, and connecting flights was what you would expect from a legacy airline like KL.
This flight was only a few euros more than a low-cost fare on the same route, so it is worth the price difference. Check out the full KLM E195-E2 experience in the video below.
Featured image: KLM E195-E2 PH-NXD. Photo: Simone Chellini/Airways