Thursday, February 28, 2013

Goodbye, KLM

Vince, the natural-born pilot and lover of planes already dislikes KLM. He hates what he sees as their sloppy onboard service and he hates their expensive seat upgrades for extra leg room and he hates what he calls their 'antiquated' video system.

Don't even ask Ellen what she thinks of KLM (remember the nightmare trip to South Africa?).

I was far more ambivalent.

But now I hate them, too.

I often have to make one date change to my return ticket to South Africa.  In fact I've been making that change for over a decade. There's a penalty, of course, always about $150. Not chicken feed, but worth it.

Today, I noticed that I could not make that change online. So I called. A woman answered the phone and uttered these fatal words: "Delta Airlines?"

Slow motion, N-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!

Oh, no. An unholy partnership. One I should have remembered better because of this Delta travel nightmare.

KLM codeshares with Delta. And whenever you deal with Delta, things go squirrely. My e-ticket was issued by Delta.

And squirrely things went.

How much to change the ticket?

Fve minutes of muzak later:

"$1,000, " she says.

Me: "One. Thousand. DOLLARS?"

Maybe she meant cents.

She did not.

That's it. Goodbye, KLM.

Hasta la effing vista.

20 comments:

  1. the one and only time i flew klm was from the states to amsterdam. that was the one and only time 3 of our 5 suitcases (family of 4) were lost...permanently. their partner, then, was northwestern.

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  2. I relate completely. Used to regularly travel between NY and AMS and had to travel those old KLM 747s. Was a bit less painful dealing with Northwest on this side but that no longer exists. It's interesting to see how KLM's social media rep has become so positive due to creative social marketing (but not due to inflight service).

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  3. That is outrageous. I've never heard of the change fee being more than $150. Of course you know how I feel about KLM, but truly, the rest of the trip was wonderful...once I got there!

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    Replies
    1. Yeah - in all my years of regular flying - 18, to date (creak!) I have never been met with this.

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  4. Goodbye 66 square feet
    Hasta la effing vista
    A proud KLM employee

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    Replies
    1. I'm crushed.

      It is lovely to be proud of one's company.

      But I am taken aback that you are proud of such behaviour.

      Delete
    2. On the other hand, this anonymous person could be someone with a vested interest in KLM, and not just an employee.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. KLM used to be a lovely airline....how sad!

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  6. Well all I know of KLM is they are one of the best, safest and most considerate when one has to ship a horse from Europe. I have never flown on them, but have had horses flown by them. They arrived safe, sound, only minority stressed, and without much ado. that is worth EVERYTHING to me.

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    Replies
    1. I should ship a horse sometime :-)

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    2. Better yet - perhaps you could ship me as a horse?

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  7. After a 4 hour KLM delay made me miss my Garuda flight out of Amsterdam to Australia to see my dying father I swore I would never, ever fly with them again. No assistance, no hotel, nada di nada because I was flying Garuda.
    Having said this, there have been plenty of bad experiences with other European airlines to the point that when flying Etihad to Australia recently I asked for a seat with more leg room and they gave it to me I nearly fell over backwards. They actually treated my like a treasured customer who gave them my hard-earned money and therefore deserved courteous service. Wow!

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  8. I miss Martinair...we used to fly it to A'dam out of Orlando...now they only fly out of Miami...such a great Dutch Airline

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  9. Of course, one will always have a bad experience at some point in one's flying life, I've had bad service on SAA, and BA.

    But nothing quite like this one-way $1,000 add on to a ticket that already cost $1,700.00...

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  10. Never flown KLM, but Delta? Phistttt. I now drive Pa to GA.

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  12. Did they let you know what the reason was behind the $1000 fee? I would imagine it was a combination of a change fee plus an increase in base fare + taxes / fees. Depending on the change in dates, there may not have been any remaining seats in the fare class you originally purchased.

    As someone who travels a ton for work, I know how infuriating the changes can be -- and that's why I almost never incur changes on my personal travels or book my tickets until I know for 10000% sure what my schedule will be. I really hope Delta treats you better this time around though. I fly about 75k-80k miles with them every year and they treat me like gold. :)

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    Replies
    1. Hey Jill - I'm glad you have a good story...

      Yes, those were their (KLM/Delta) reasons. But I always book a return ticket out of SA, with many months inbetween, and I have without fail made one change, on all sorts of airlines, including KLM - paying a bit extra up front for the privilege.

      It's a long story, I shan't go into more details but the upshot, for me, is that I will never fly on them (KLM) again. I have heard such Delta horror stories, though - perhaps it's South African thing.

      You do fly a lot!!!

      Delete

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