KLM

Airplane of the future? It may be the “Flying-V”

The airplane of the future may be shaped like a big V.

And it may be super sustainable.

On the heels of its announcement of an investment in a biofuel plant set to open in 2022, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has announced it will partner with Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) to fund the development of an innovative flying machine known as the “Flying-V.

The new-fangled, aerodynamic aircraft design incorporates the passenger cabin, cargo hold and fuel tanks into the wings of a V-shaped aircraft.

As designed, the unusual shape would reduce an aircraft’s weight and use 20% less fuel than current airplanes. But it would allow the plane to easily land at airports and pull up to gates designed to welcome Airbus A350s.

Designers say the Flying-V will be able to carry the same number of passengers – 314 – and the same volume of cargo as an Airbus A350. But this new plane will be smaller than an A350 and more aerodynamic.

Although the Flying-V will initially fly on kerosene, it is designed make use of innovations in the propulsion system, such as electrically boosted turbofan engines.  

Designers say not only will the Flying-V look different and be energy-efficient, it could offer a better passenger experience, with seating in the wings and with a unique new design for seating and lavatories.

A flying scale model and full-size section of the interior of the “Flying-V” is set to be unveiled in October, during KLM Experience Days at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, as a potential aircraft design of the future.

I plan to be there!

(Images/video courtesy TU Delft)

KLM’s Delft Blue House #99: The White Ox

It is KLM’s 99th anniversary and the carrier is celebrating with 99 hours of special flight offers (deals end October 9) and a new miniature Delft Blue house in the airline’s series of collectible miniature houses.

This year’s Delftware miniature house represents the first store of Douwe Egberts in Joure, Holland.

The house was chosen, in part, becase at the end of October, 2018 KLM will begin serving Douwe Egberts’ sustainable UTZ-certified coffee on all its European and intercontinental flights.

The shop is now part of a museum and was where grocer Egbert Douwe laid the foundation for the well-known Douwe Egberts brand of today.

“Choosing the first store of Douwe Egberts in beautiful Joure serves to highlight the excellent cooperative relationship shared by our two established brands,” said KLM President & CEO Pieter Elbers. “Good coffee is important to our customers,” he added, “And KLM also considers it crucial to serve sustainable coffee. Two typically Dutch brands with a rich history, both placing quality first, can only serve to strengthen one another.”

KLM’s tradition of presenting Delftware miniatures to passengers traveling in the business class cabin on intercontinental flights began in the 1950s. The houses are replicas of notable buildings in the Netherlands and the number of houses in the collection has corresponded with KLM’s age since 1994.

The carrier now adds a new house to the collection each year on or around October 7.

So we’re already anxious to see which house will be honored on October 7, 2019 when KLM celebrates its 100th anniversary.

While we wait, take a look at this short video that tells the story of KLM’s Delft Blue House #99:

 

You can also read my stories about being on hand for the festivities surrounding the reveal of KLM’s Delft Blue miniature houses #98 and #97.

House #98 depicts the family home of aviation pioneer Antony Fokker in Haarlem  (near Amsterdam) and was presented at an event in Haarlem’s historic St. Bavo Church.

 

 

KLM’s mininature Delft House #97 depicts the Hotel New York in Rotterdam, which occupies the grand structure built in 1901 to house the headquarters of the Holland America line.

Do you have a collection of KLM’s Delft Blue miniature houses (gin-filled or not)? Feel free to boast about it in the comments section below.

Want: KLM’s cute little suitcase-toting robot

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a cute little robot to tote your carry-on around the airport and to the gate?

KLM is testing that idea out with its prototype self-driving cart – called KLM Care-E – that is designed to escort a passenger through the airport and carry their luggage for them.

The airline will be testing this out at JFK and SFO this summer, drawing stares and collecting data on autonomous technology at airports along the way.

KLM says the units will use non-verbal sounds to greet passengers after security and somehow prompt them to scan their ticket barcodes.

Then the unit will use GPS data to navigate through the terminal to their gate and – somehow – understand if a passenger wants to stop at a shop, restaurant or restroom along the way.

(Will the cute little blue cart wait outside the restroom with your stuff or try to go with you into the stall? That’s my first question..)

KLM says Care-E will move at 3 mph (the average human walking pace) and is designed to know if there’s a boarding gate change.

“We wanted to surprise our customers with an airport concept that was an extension of our friendly, smiling staff,” said Boet Kreiken, Executive Vice President Customer Experience at KLM. “We have the ambition to revolutionize the delivery of care through the power of existing innovations and move diagnostics from the laboratory to where our customer really is. ”

KLM worked with product development firm 10xBeta to create these e-carts, which are scheduled for 2-day long trials at JFK and SFO in July and August.

Sadly, KLM says it is only testing the interaction between machines and humans and has no plans to roll out permanent or additional Care-E carts anytime soon.

I miss the little carts already!

Snaps from the ‘reveal’ of KLM’s Delftware miniature house #98

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines celebrated its 98th anniversary on Friday by adding a new Delftware miniature house – #98 – to its collection.

This year’s house depicts the family home of aviation pioneer Antony Fokker in Haarlem, near Amsterdam and was presented at an event in Haarlem’s historic St. Bavo Church.

President & CEO Pieter Elbers presented the first copy of the new miniature to Jos Wienen, the Mayor of Haarlem. The second copy of the new house miniature house went to Erik Harverkorn, the current owner and occupant of the real Fokker house.

A closer look at house #98.

 

KLM’s Delftware miniature houses are given as a gift to KLM business class passengers flying on long haul international flights. 1 per customer, per flight.

More snaps to follow…

KLM offering Amsterdam travelers a ‘care tag’

Thinking of heading to Amsterdam?

September, when all the college kids and summer tourists clear out, might be a good time to go.

And if you do, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has what may be a fun – free – travel gadget for you.

For travelers going to Amsterdam in September, KLM has created a “Care Tag,” which it describes as a smart audio luggage tag with a built-in offline GPS module and a speaker that automatically provides verbal tips (recorded by KLM crew members) on how to travel in the city.

KLM says the tips include alerts on busy intersections with a lot of cyclists, where and how to lock your bike, and when you should watch out for pickpockets, where to taste local food for free, where to see great street art, or where to rent a bike or boat.

How do you get a tag?  KLM says passengers traveling to Amsterdam in September will be able to order their  tag on line for free. The first batch of Care Tags will speak English, but Care Tags that speak Chinese, Portuguese, German and Russian will be available later this year.

I’m checking to see if just a speaker on the tags or if you can plug in a set of headphones.

And, while the Lost and Found pup was cute – but not real – KLM reps say the Care Tag is real thing.