KLM Adding Amsterdam to Las Vegas Route in 2019 on a 787-9

Sep 21, 2018

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What’s better than a transatlantic flight to Las Vegas? A transatlantic flight to Las Vegas on a Dreamliner. KLM has announced yet another new route for 2019 from its home in Amsterdam, with Sin City joining Boston to become the carrier’s 18th North Atlantic destination to be served directly.

The Boeing 787-9 flights will offer 30 seats in World Business Class, 45 in Economy Comfort and 219 in economy. Initially, routes will run between Amsterdam (AMS) and Las Vegas (LAS) on Fridays and Sundays from June 6, 2019, with a third weekly flight being added on Tuesdays beginning July 2, 2019. KL635 will depart Amsterdam at 12:30pm and arrive at 2:15pm in Las Vegas. The return, KL636, will depart Las Vegas at 4:05pm and arrive at 11:05am the following day in Amsterdam.

elm dreamliner
KLM’s World Business class seating on its Boeing 787-9. (Photo by Eric Rosen for The Points Guy)

Interestingly, KLM notes that “changes had to be made to [its] network” in order to open Las Vegas as a new destination. Partly due to Schiphol’s slot restrictions, the airline “was forced to revise its portfolio of destinations sooner than expected,” leading to the cancellation of service to Freetown in Sierra Leone (FNA) and Monrovia (ROB) in Liberia, effective March 29, 2019. Passengers with a reservation for a flight after March 29, 2019, from Amsterdam to these African destinations and vice versa will either be rebooked or reimbursed. Air France will continue to operate its direct service to Freetown from Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG).

Why the add? Per The Las Vegas Review-Journal, the deal has been some five years in the making. McCarran International Airport CMO Chris Jones reportedly began talks with KLM in 2013, and “concluded with the new service announcement after the World Routes aviation conference in Guangzhou, China, this week.” Back in 2013, Las Vegas itself hosted World Routes, and Jones cited a KLM executive experiencing the business side of Vegas — the side where hundreds of thousands of businesspeople suit up and don convention badges — as a pivotal piece to landing the route.

Las Vegas convention center
Venues like the Las Vegas Convention Center drove KLM’s decision to fly nonstop to Las Vegas from Amsterdam. (Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy)

Of the unnamed KLM exec, Jones said: “He was surprised when he came downstairs to get his coffee, walking around in the hotel and seeing so many people with (convention) badges on and dressed up in suits and going to meetings. I think hosting that event was eye-opening for him to get an understanding of what Las Vegas had become. It wasn’t people in shorts going to the pool and people at the casino playing slot machines at 4 o’clock in the morning. It had become something more, especially for a network carrier that wants to fill the front of the plane with people paying for business seats or high-end leisure seats. That really kicked in the door.”

So, as nifty as it’d be to believe that KLM was simply looking for a direct link between its blue-hued headquarters and weekly encounters with Blue Man Group, it seems that the prospect of providing nonstop service to a never-ending stream of trade shows is what really sealed it.

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