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KLM Negative Experience.  
User currently offlineFYODOR From Russia, joined May 2005, 716 posts, RR: 12
Posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 4708 times:

Hi folks,

Month ago that was a sad case happened with me in Schiphol.

We had arrived from SXM, it was a light snowing and around -1C. When we arrived we didn't get our kid’s trolley at the gate, but we have got an explanation that it was too dangerous for the airport staff to bring the trolley to the gate and it was sent directly to Moscow. So, we had spent at the airport 6 hours with our 11 months old son on our hands (likely we spend time in business lounge). We also were advised by the KLM personnal to use regular airport trolleys (small ones in the 'clean area'), which I had considered as at least unsafe for the kid. But who cares on safety of small business-class passenger if we talk about such a delicate people as the airport loaders?

KLM and Schiphol really have the great skills to explain customer why the customers' troubles is just made for customers' interests. However they are not as good enough in solving such issues. Whatever you ask them which is half-step out of regular way of things - reply (after long explanation) is: "No, sir." Well - with one exception: "Why at least airport can't hold duty kids trolleys for such cases?" - "We don't know, sir."

I’d like to congratulate AMS staff with the high professional level and for their focus on such important thing like personnel safety, which is indeed much more important than customers’ whishes and needs. Indeed small kid without trolley for the half of the day is a much less safety problem when for the strong man to bring it when it is whole -1C. My best regards to AMS from Russia where we also have snow from time to time. But trolleys are suddenly waiting at the gates.

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Photo © Fyodor Borisov - Russian AviaPhoto Team

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Photo © Fyodor Borisov - Russian AviaPhoto Team

If to talk seriously - do you think it has a sense to write complaint regarding the case? For the last years I do not see much focus on the customer as in KLM, as in AF. If procedure is really so that it is allow not to make basic duties when it is -1C on the street - will anybody even start to do something with this complaint?

I accept the advise 'Why not to try?' beforehand, however I just interesting in yours, travellers opinions and experience. Hard to believe but I never complained officially to aircompany before.



10 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlinemoby147 From UK - England, joined Mar 2013, 63 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 4212 times:

Hi fyodor,

I think you will find the "health & safety" people now rule the world ( or at least most of Europe)

Normally Schiphol is a good hub to go through but good luck with a complaint with KLM.

I have had a number of problems with KLM over the years with no redress.

User currently offlineKL838 From UK - England, joined Oct 2010, 179 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 3916 times:

I understand how frustrating it is for you to go through something like this, considering KLM is often known for their excellent staff and service. Yet, I suggest you complain via their Facebook or Twitter pages, in my experience they are always quick to reply and also very friendly. Compared to many years ago, this is where KLM excels in customer service, but it was clear they didn't want to accommodate or at least try to help you which is quite disappointing, especially being a business class passenger. Good Luck with the complaint. Keep us posted!

User currently offlineCrimsonNL From Netherlands, joined Dec 2007, 2151 posts, RR: 26
Reply 3, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 3807 times:

Hi Fyodor. I'm sorry you had to experience the embarrassing phenomenon "snow", which scares Dutch people more then anything and cripples the entire country, including the airports. Mind you that this actually begins before the first snow flake hits the ground.

I find it very strange that KL wouldn't bring the trolley to the gate upon arrival. I work a lot on the ramp at AMS and carry more trolleys/strollers to and from the gate then I care for. I don't work for or with KL, but with all the different airlines I work with you'd get the trolley back in any weather condition. I personally find the safety explanation to be ridiculous as all that has to be done is walk up some stairs, which are always easily accessible even if there's snow on the steps.


Always comparing your flown types list with mine
User currently offlinelevg79 From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1013 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 3795 times:

I transited through AMS twice on the same itinerary and both times it was a major disaster. I've decided to avoid KLM as much as possible now. While en-route JFK-AMS-RIX the first flight got delayed by 4 hours due to a maintenance issue so the connecting flight was missed. In my life I have never seen such incompetent people as KLM employees in AMS. After waiting on line to get new boarding passes, KLM staff told me they were unable to assist because the second flight that we missed due to KLM fault was codeshared and operated by BT and KLM could not provide us with any information as far as when the next flight is, whether there's room, and how this will work. They did have a suggestion though. They told us to go into the departure hall and ask at the information desk there. So we had to clear customs just to get to the departure hall and realized there was nobody there who knew where to direct us. After going back and forth around AMS we finally ended up in the ticket office where we were told that they had us rebooked on a flight that leaves in 4 hours and then we couldn't get back inside because they weren't checking that flight yet. And going to the city wasn't an option either with a 1 year old, at least we had our stroller. So we went to where a normal a.netter would go in AMS... the rooftop observation deck. At least they were nice enough to give us 10 Euro food vouchers and a calling card. Too bad that if you actually want to use their calling card you have to walk to the other side of the airport to find a special phone. So once they finally let us check in, security confiscated my infant's water bottle which was taken through security at JFK with no problems and we arrived in RIX on an uneventful BT flight only to find out that our luggage never made it there and apparently was found in AMS the next day.

On the way back, during check-in at RIX we were told to obtain the second boarding passes in AMS. Since I already learned the layout at AMS the hard way a few days prior I did not think that was an issue. Yeah.... KLM did it again. Upon arrival at AMS the machine said there was an issue and sent us to customer service area again. Over there I was told that they could not find my infant's ticket in the system. The fact that I had a confirmation printed out and 3 other boarding passes from the same 4-leg itinerary did not seem to convince anyone that we were legitimately booked for the flight. So after about a 90-minute deliberation with KLM they finally admitted there was a glitch and gave us all boarding passes. End result? Missed Amsterdam city tour we were looking forward to but got to enjoy the airport again. So if you ask me, I'll try to avoid KLM as much as possible due to the major lack of customer service skills on their employee's part.

By the way Fyodor, look forward to your SXM pics!


A mile of runway takes you to the world. A mile of highway takes you a mile.
User currently offlineTK787 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 4995 posts, RR: 11
Reply 5, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 3746 times:

Sorry to hear,
But I always had good experiences with AMS and KL, mind you last time was 2 years back. I always thought it is a great place to make connections.

User currently offlinetoobz From Finland, joined Jan 2010, 886 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 3719 times:

Why is it that you deemed the regular trolleys that they recommended unsafe?

User currently offlineFYODOR From Russia, joined May 2005, 716 posts, RR: 12
Reply 7, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 3700 times:

Quoting toobz (Reply 6):
Why is it that you deemed the regular trolleys that they recommended unsafe?

Jani, I don't know if you have kids but if yes you will just look at it to uderstand it. It doesn't have any fixation and even one uncareful move is enough for kid to fell down from such trolley. And 11 months old kids make a lot of such moves every minute. So such suggestion ws bad even like as joke.

Quoting levg79 (Reply 4):
was codeshared and operated by BT and KLM could not provide us with any information

That was our another problem for this flight. We had not missed anything but in SXM they gave us border passes from AMS to SVO only for me and senior daughter and as they told because of my wife and kid are on the same seat - they couldn't made direct check-in for her and son. In AMS in KLM counter they told us that this is Aeroflot flight ( we had KLM tickets with KL flight N but perfomed by AFL) and they couldn't see it at all. On my question how people in SXM was able to see it we got: 'We don't know.' And as I was able to see they even didn't want to try to solve the issue. They just redirected us to general AMS transit. There they told we have to wait for AFL people - i.e. for 4 hours. Luckely they advised us to go to KLM business lounge with our previous boarding passes from SXM. Again - that was already no KLM servants - just AMS people. From KLM desk we've learned nothing. Just clear wish to send problem somethere further.

Quoting levg79 (Reply 4):
Over there I was told that they could not find my infant's ticket in the system.

Mate, it has to be systematic failrue. As I got the same. First it was in Curacao there we had a stop. In business lounge they didn't find my son in the list of BC paxes. But we've solved it in a minute - lady there just said she will count him as a guest.  

Couple of words about stop in CUR. It is real disaster - if you can plan you route try never repeat it. Good for aviation photographer indeed but if he travels with family... I can't find any explanation why if I leave the plane for an hour or so I have to pass through security control, wait in the long queue... just to get back to the same plane. And you do it not after you were in the lounge, no. Just stright after you leave the plane. Could anybody explain the reason of this order? Rather I started to note that the oreders without sense is the new world's hobby...

Returning to flight. My wife with kid were in BC, as we with daughter were in economy (I have access to the lounges as I have AFL Gold Card). Cabin crew was not happy I came to take the kid to give my wife some rest (I had to say we had no single problem like that on the way to SXM). As a result of conversation I was blamed as a schoolboy that I made a trick sending the kid to BC to my wife as they do not see him at the list. Well, I just showed to her our boarding passes and said that if she is so formal in her position I also can be formal asking for the clear answer who is responsible for this mistake and why I was need to listen all that. Could you believe what has happened? Everyting has changed in minute. They become so friendly, so assistive... So if you think KLM staff is bodies-for-function or people-computers it is not really so.   Yet.

As we also had positive experience with the first flights (LED-AMS and AMS-SXM) I can't say the problem is total however I guess problem is. Few years ago Aeroflot had changed their call-center system and for the few months after that new staff was able just to repeat AFL web-site info - nothing else, no complicated requests or ask for problem solutions. Now it works better. Opposite to that KLM looks is going to the standard there ground staff can read for you airport signs and cabin crew can just bring you food it time.

I totally sure KLM aviation managers all had read 'Airline Marketing and Management' by Stephen Shaw. At least I hope. He have lot of good ideas on forming loyalty. One key point he has that mathematic approach to customer is not right way, it is importnt to show company's individual interest to client. Might be there is certain gap between managers and staff? Might be reason is different. What I was feeling flying from SXM and wandeing in AMS - old soviet air transport spirit. Service in socialist model - famous slogan: there are many of you and I'm alone! EU way to the USSR? But we have a risk to go deep into other discussion from this point.  

One necessary comment. KLM cockpit crews are still great. Very friendly, nice and open people. Old good school - my traditional respect to them. I just wonder how they work in such combination with some of their colleagues  
Quoting levg79 (Reply 4):
By the way Fyodor, look forward to your SXM pics!

Already in DB, mate - you are welcome to see them!  

User currently onlineMortyman From Norway, joined Aug 2006, 4986 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3642 times:

Sorry to hear about all your troubles. I have never really had any problem with KLM or AMS. Shorthaul or longhaul. One of my favourite airlines and an airline that seems to be populare with Norwegians in general ...

User currently offlineFYODOR From Russia, joined May 2005, 716 posts, RR: 12
Reply 9, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 3586 times:

Mortyman, I think KLM is not so bad as a big company. You may be happy with it while you are regular traveller with regular requests. If I'd travel alone fot this time I'd be happy as well. However if you have half-step aside of the 'main line' (kids, trolleys, complicated route etc.) - it seems can rise a problem for the company or better to say - for its customers.

User currently offline9MMPQ From Netherlands, joined Nov 2011, 370 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (3 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 3399 times:

I think your stroller might have accidently been taken out with the rest of the luggage onboard and made it's way into the baggage cellar before anyone noticed. When you asked for it they may genuinely have had no idea where your stroller was at that time or it was already transffered to another baggage handler, assuming of course you continued to Moscow with SU rather then KL who employ a different baggage handler. In the end they tried to pass of some excuse to make the situation seems more reasonable to you. In this case they could have come up with a better story though.

As others have already said, when there's something just a little bit out of the ordinary things get difficult. There are defintely gate agents who will put in the extra effort but just as easily you can come across some who will pass you off. It's not exactly KL specific.

As for any complaint, well you want an honest opinion .. i'd suppose the question is what would you want to see as a reaction ? Their Facebook & Twitter pages are nice for some on the spot apologies but i'd consider that more cosmetic then anything else, it doesn't appear to be the spot if you want/expect someone to really dig into your complaint. I doubt putting it in writing would get you much more. Yes, your problem was annoying & it should not have happened but compared to the claims for things such as lost luggage or flight delays .. well, you get the picture i suppose.

My advice, put it in writing if you want to but don't expect too much from it. That way if you do get a response you might find yourself pleasantly surprised & who knows, seeing as you apparently travelled business class your complaint might have a better chance of getting some kind of notice & response.

I believe in coincidences. Coincidences happen every day. But I don't trust coincidences.
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