Update: 06/27/2009 I told my whole story to our friend Marcus at KLM and he escalated the letter to someone else.
Let’s see what happens. Nothing happened. What a surprise, no one from KLM bothered to reply back.
Update again: While I think KLM is stupid beyond belief, I still need to fly them. They’re my gateway airline into continental Europe and into the US and Asia. I just hope they are not always this stupid. And as I am a loyal fool to Delta… I have to stick with KLM. Well maybe I can do Air France too.
I have to rant because at this point there is no where else to go. I hope that some idiot from KLM public relations or customer service sees this post and understands how upset I am.
A lot of readers here also travel so post your stories about KLM, NWA (Northwest Airlines), SAS, or anyone else that gave you terrible service.
I flew from Stockholm to India this past month with KLM and NWA. Unfortunately for Stockholm, there are not very appealing airline options to fly into continental europe and continue to Asia. There’s SAS (THE worst airline since you have to pay for water), KLM, and Air France. My post is about the dismal service, communicate, and receive any recourse for stupid service.
So, the list of complaints:
1) Arlanda Stockholm Airport; check in with KLM. I check in with KLM, only to find out my hand luggage bag is 1/4 inch (about 1/2 centimeter) TOO big to take on board. I’m sorry the wheel was sticking out of that straight-jacket baggage checker! Now, the agent at the KLM counter is on my case to lighten out my bag. I pull out as much as possible, laptop, blanket, snacks, etc. and throw the bag on the belt.
The suitcase and this “hand bag” now weigh 23kg; of course she has to lecture me and tell me I have to pay for the overweight. After a few minutes of begging she lets me go with those 3kgs for free. OMG!
Then, the KLM counter lady gives me a lecture that I have no right to stand in the First Class/Business Class/ Elite Plus line. Wait! I am in Delta Elite Plus member and your overheard counter image has the Skyteam logo. You don’t specify that is for KLM only. But I am wrong, Delta Platinum is in fact not part of the Skyteam like that. Great, so the Skyteam alliance is useless then.
2) Get on the plane to go from ARN-AMS. Flight is delayed. 20 minutes. 30 minutes. 40 minutes. 1 hour. Yay! We take off over an hour late. Arrive in AMS a little bit before 9AM.
3) Make it onto the NWA airlines bound to BOM. Door closes. Wait, we’re not moving; no pushback. We sit. Sit some more. 20 minutes pass. Captain gets on the intercom that we have auxiliary power switch problems so we have to hang tight. Yep, another hour goes by before we leave the gate.
4) Arrive at the Mumbai Airport. My name, along with a dozen others are called on the loudspeaker. Not a good sign. There’s no sign of our baggage. I file PIR (Property Irregularity Report) with KLM. KLM gives me a crappy 25 Euro discount on the flight I purchase. Yippee! After filing lots of paperwork, dealing with Indian customs to have my bags cleared by the airline, I head home.
5) Two days later and some shopping to run around for underwear and tops and bottoms, I get my bags. But, but, the front pouch of my handbag is empty. Did someone steal stuff? Where are my personal business cards? Where is my ipod? Where is my headphone? And the little junk in the front pouch? Gone. All gone.
I file a complaint with the KLM office in Mumbai. They give me a case number that I can use to file the stolen items when I return back to my country of residency, Sweden. Fine. I wait.
6) Get back to Sweden. The useless counter in baggage claim that supports KLM and all those airlines with baggage issues, is well, useless. I get a phone number to call in Sweden, but as usual in a socialist country, no one works on the weekend.
7) Sunday, I email KLM directly (only took a couple weeks since their website is the most horribly built thing since msn.com) with all the details of the baggage situation, case number, etc.
Monday, a response. At least someone is fast to read and respond. Thank god.
Here is the letter from KLM Customer Service:
Thank you for your e-mail dated 3 May 2009 regarding your recent journey with KLM and Northwest Airlines. KLM takes precautions to make sure that passenger baggage is loaded and off-loaded with the greatest care. We regret that even with these precautions some items were missing from your luggage. Please accept our most sincere apologies for any inconvenience or distress this irregularity in our service may have caused you.
In instances such as these, we would recommend passengers to submit a claim to their travel insurance for consideration since the liability of airlines is limited. This letter may be used as proof for your insurance company that you reported the loss at our company.
Should you not have claimed on your own insurance and wish instead to claim directly on KLM, then you are more than entitled to do so, although KLM’s liability, like that of all other signatory
airlines, is limited to terms set out in the Montreal Convention. Unfortunately we cannot offer you any compensation for the missing i-pod as according to our Conditions of Contract, we do not accept liability for pilferage of money, jewellery, electronic and photographic equipment, precious metals or other valuables. For the latter we refer you to the General Conditions of Carriage article 8.6.d, based upon the Montreal Conventions.
To enable us to handle the remainder of your claim promptly and efficiently, we kindly request you to provide us with the following:
*Specification and/or receipts of the missing cards and the first needs items purchsed.
*Bank information [more details he writes]
Once again, we would like to offer our apologies for any inconvenience or distress the missing items from your luggage may have caused you.
KLM/NWA Customer Care North Europe
P.O. Box 69370
Tel: 08 587 99 747
Fax: +31 20 588 8250
Ohh, why thank you but I highly doubt you give a rat’s ass.
Please accept our most sincere apologies for any inconvenience or distress this irregularity in our service may have caused you.
There’s the legal bullshit we are all waiting for:
Unfortunately we cannot offer you any compensation for the missing i-pod as according to our Conditions of Contract
So why the hell do I have case number for stolen items I cannot claim? I don’t know. And why didn’t anyone at the Mumbai KLM Customer Service office tell me that electronic goods will not be covered? Lack of communication.
Where do I go from here? Not sure. Having lost more than 2500SEK due to stolen items, spent over 1000SEK having to buy new clothes, and had the lack of service from KLM, I don’t know. Why should I care about poor little airlines’ problems with fuel issues if they have no responsibility to give customer service and to not rip people off? Why do you airlines think customers hate you because you charge us for ever extra pound on board, or make us buy water, snacks and pillows on flights? Are we just cattle?
Thank you KLM for making me have the worst trip ever. And it is nice to know that Delta Platinum Elite Plus fliers can be treated like shit by the airlines in their own Skyteam network.
I have created a post just for KLM Baggage Information. Please also check it out if you have questions about filing baggage complaints or the paperwork required to file a complaint. Note though, I cannot help you as I don’t work for KLM; don’t me to call you!