View Full Version : Horrible KLM Experience...

05-28-2005, 10:27 PM
Horrible KLM Experience...

I just finished a flight from Stockholm to Amsterdam to Tokyo (May 28-29) and had the worst travel experience of my lifetime. Actually it started a little earlier on a flight from Boston to Amsterdam to Stockholm (May 20th). This is my first time flying KLM and I assumed that the service level would be the same as NWA. Among my disappointments:

- Denied entrance to KLM/Star Alliance lounge in Amsterdam because my Platinum AMEX is not valid in Europen lounges, I'm told. This is news to me as I've used it before in Spain and plenty of times in Japan.

- No upgrades on any leg of my trip

- During the check at Stockholm, the woman at the check-in counter allowed someone to skip in front of me at the Elite line. When I asked another staff member in English "What is she doing? Why is she allowed to jump in front of me?” he relayed my question to the check-in counter woman who said "I'm checking her in!" in Swedish. Completely ignoring me.

- When I checked in my luggage and asked for the priority label the same check-in woman started laughing at me and said "Do you think that actually works?" I responded "I'd hope so, are you saying it does not?" to which she responded "Anyway, you got it. If you think it works good luck" this time laughing with another counter woman.

At this point I was really shocked with the way I was being treated. I asked if it would be possible to upgrade and she said no. When I made it to the gate desk, I watched as the counter woman upgraded two people. Then when I approached the counter, one of the staff said to the gate woman in Swedish "He wants an upgrade too!" When I made my request she said "I don't think there is any room, do you have an Alliance account?" I showed her the account on my ticket which she all but ignored and said "I'll let you know if it is possible." Needless to say I was not upgraded.

When I was seated I was placed in a row of seats that don't recline! When there was a seating mix up in my row and I watched as two people were upgraded to first class after they had checked in! At this point I got the feeling that North West WorldPerks members are basicly second class citizens on KLM. This is a real shock to me considering their relationship. Every request for upgrade consideration was completely ignored. But the worst experience occured on my Amsterdam -> Tokyo leg.

On the flight the Stewardess mistakenly gave my row hot towels twice. When I mentioned that this was the second time she gave us towels she joked "Oh, you look dirty." I was really insulted by this, being African American one could easily read into this. But the fact that she would say this to a passenger shows a real lack of respect.

I am supposed to be flying back to Stockholm for a meeting and from Stockholm to Boston. But I am really considering canceling that and flying directly to Boston from Japan bypassing KLM. I never want to fly KLM again in my life. I haven't been too happy with Northwest lately but this KLM experience has really convinced me that I need to start shopping for a new airline. As someone with 220K+ miles banked, nearly 30K this year I would really expect better.

Has anyone else suffered such madness at the hands of KLM?

05-29-2005, 08:16 AM
30K a year does not equate to instant upgrades for life. 220K Banked means nothing if you earned them at 10,000 miles a year. I imagine a nice demeanor would have gone a lot further than the old "do you realize I have 220K miles with an airline that is not yours" line.

Some possible explanations for you--

Line cutting. Maybe she was an elite KLM passenger? There has to be a pecking order.

No access to the lounge-sounds resonable to me, as for how it worked in Spain, I guess they did not want to fight with you. Their lounges are less crowded. Schilpol Airport is one of the busiest worldwide.

Priority Tag-I might be inclined to go with the woman. This just tags you as someone who either is (or thinks he is) important and the baggage handlers really don't give a crap. On a United flight from Sacramento once, my Priority Tag was the last one off the plane--but mind you it was checked at the gate!

Now for your seat. How did you book these tickets? Were they feeebies to begin with--if so they are not upgradeable no matter your status. Were they booked online or withthe airline direct. There is apecking order here as well. Orbitz, Travelocity, Expedia and whatever dot com sites tend to get the crappiest hotel rooms and the--you guessed it--the last row of seats, the ones in front of the exit rows (non reclining) and are dead last on the upgrade list. My company uses an agency, and I am usually (but I don't expect) successful in getting an upgrade.

As for looknig dirty. I agree, this could be taken as an insult or racially intoned. But, I don't think so. KLM flies so many ethnicities, that I am sure it was said more in humor than anythign else.

Well, it was a bummer of a trip for you, but just hope that the next one goes better. I would not cancel your flight, it might cost you a lot more and there is still no guarantee of an upgrade or the butt kissing you feel you need.

One comment you did make, I had to chuckle at:

This is my first time flying KLM and I assumed that the service level would be the same as NWA.

You need to get out a bit--you used the term "service level" and Northwest in the same sentence! :lol:

I am not out to bash you here, and maybe the board will have a different opinion, but I think that you were simply expecting just too much.

Woodsey Not Owl
06-06-2005, 02:09 PM
Traveler was expecting "service" but that no longer is offered to an Orbitz or Expedia etc. traveler. My friend at United says the web bookers get treated poorly because those fares are not profitable for the airline. If the traveler was on a fre ticket, then it is right that they did not get upgraded. They needed to use enough points to "purchase" the first class tickets at the time of ticketing.

Because the writer does not tell us all of the story, it is hard to say he was wronged. I'd say he/she, (I did not notice) did get the service they paid for, but we would need more facts first.

David Wood