KLM advise please

Jan 27th, 2007, 06:03 PM
  #1  
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KLM advise please

Hi...was skiing today in new york state and one man on the chair lift ( who was originally from south africa but now lived in canada as we do) mentionned to stay away from KLM as their flights are almost always very late, connections in amsterdam often missed - even knew a couple who had to spend 2 extra days in AMS awaiting a flight to nairobi. I'm terrified as that would really mess up our safari itinerary. I fly alot here and recognize that there is often a delay But.....any experience out there?

Mollymich
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Jan 27th, 2007, 09:07 PM
  #2  
 
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Funny how timely things can be. Just before reading your post, I finished re
reading the journal I kept on my September 2006 safari. We boarded our flight to Amsterdam at JFK, only to sit on board for two hours before we took off. Fortunately we had planned to overnight in Amsterdam before continuing on to Tanzania. If we'd had a close connection, we may have had a problem.

On my first night in Africa I couldn't sleep immediately and wrote some random thoughts. They included the following:
Things I love about KLM: *Movie library - on demand, *Video games, *Personal monitor for each seat, *Headrest with wings to support floppy heads, *Lots of free liquor.

Things I hate about KLM: *Totally uncooperative about helping with seating problems, * Lousy configuration 3-3-3

Things I love/hate about KLM: * They serve lots of mediocre airplane food.


I am not a big KLM fan.
nevermind is offline  
Jan 27th, 2007, 09:16 PM
  #3  
 
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Breathe in... breathe out...

I've had minor delays on KLM returning from Africa but never enough to miss a connection (now I've just jinxed myself).

Of course, there's always the possibility that you may misconnect and have to arrive a day later. Other than planning a buffer day, I don't know what you can do to assure that you don't miss a day of safari.
Patty is online now  
Jan 28th, 2007, 03:10 AM
  #4  
 
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It is amazing how perceptions are affected by single experiences. We flew KLM to Amsterdam through to Nairobi in July '06 and back again just a week after the incident in London that prompted the change in carry on. Despite this our flights arrived on time (actually 1/2hr early) and the flights among the best( great crews) I had ever taken to Africa. We raved about KLM for months...so there you have it ...a different perspective. I would take KLM again in a heart beat.
Eric
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Jan 28th, 2007, 04:10 AM
  #5  
 
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I flew KLM a few weeks ago out of Nairobi. It did take off over an hour late. However, I had a 3 hour connection time to the states, so it was okay. I will say that they gave everyone who had close connections their gate information in advance, they let them off the plane first, and had staff to help direct them to their gates. I thought this was great, as well the service of the staff on board and the amenities. I would take them again.
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Jan 28th, 2007, 04:19 AM
  #6  
sandi
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With few exceptions, as I stop in Tanzania (JRO) first, I fly KLM and depart from NBO. Never missed a connection. There have been times we've been late getting off the ground State-side, but then every flight/carrier was late. KLM has no control over that.

On our last trip, we were 1.5/hrs late departing, but arrived AMS 15/min early. I couldn't ever recall a flight hauling across the Atlantic that quickly.

You can just as easily be on a BA flight out of London where you're likely to be delayed by fog (or a strike). Delays or poor in-cabin service can happen with any carrier.

Always that "buffer" day as Patty mentions, but few do that. For peace of mind, decide what the cost difference and do what works for you.

 
Jan 28th, 2007, 04:53 AM
  #7  
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Thanks everyone for your replies - very helpful. That's one of the things I really enjoy about this forum - there's always good people willing to help.

Molly
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Jan 28th, 2007, 05:07 AM
  #8  
 
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I had one very bad experience on KLM. When I arrived in NBO for my return flight, I was told that they had flown a much smaller plane than originally scheduled, and they bumped off dozens of us from the flight to Amsterdam. No compensation, just a night at the Intercontinental Hotel. If the flight had departed from the US or Europe, I expect we would have received more reasonable compensation. They also didn't share any reason for flying a smaller plane, other than hinting it was more profitable at that time. Still, they have the only SkyTeam flight to Nairobi, so I will fly them again.
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Jan 29th, 2007, 08:57 PM
  #9  
santharamhari
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Yes, unfortunately most airlines these days are just "Glorified buses"......

As long as they stick to the flight times, we should be happy......
 
Jan 30th, 2007, 06:59 AM
  #10  
 
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I have flown KLM to Africa a good bit, most recently in October/November, 2006, when I flew Richmond---Detroit---Amsterdam---Nairobi . . . Dar es Salaam---Amsterdam---Detroit---Richmond, with a half dozen flights within the continent. The only glitch was departing Richmond, when the flight to Detroit had to be cancelled due to electrical problems. All of us heading out to Africa or India were put up for the night in a local hotel and we started out again the next day with the same schedule. There was never any problem thereafter. Flights were on time both ways. Yes, you sometimes have to hustle in the Amsterdam airport to catch your ongoing flight, but, if I were you, I'd relax a little. Anything can happen, but we always get through it. ZZ
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Jan 30th, 2007, 07:20 AM
  #11  
 
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I've flown KLM many times and connected through Amsterdam many times. They are no more off schedule than any other airline I fly. I would not hesitate to book them.

One disaster with an airline makes an enemy that lasts a long time. I've run into people who "hate" certain airlines and it seems to always come down to an unfortunate event which screwed up their travel.

I've had my share of disappointments with all of them. I've also had my share of agents who went extra lengths to help. It seems to me that each flight crew can have a certain personality as well - independent of the carrier.
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Jan 30th, 2007, 07:32 AM
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I should have said "one unfortunate event". Especially among those who don't fly much.

The law of large numbers takes over the more you fly and you realize that good and bad things can happen on all carriers.

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Jan 30th, 2007, 08:05 AM
  #13  
 
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Allow me to clarify -- my vague distaste for KLM isn't based on one experience, reading my journal just dredged up the most recent.

That being said, I've flown on at least a dozen other carriers and have had both wonderful and miserable experiences. There are so many variables on any given trip - who knows what will happen.

I have one airline that is, without a doubt, my least favorite -- and it isn't KLM.
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Jan 30th, 2007, 09:41 AM
  #14  
 
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My experiences on KLM:
1) On time: no better and no worse than other airlines.
2) Seat comfort: below average
3) Movie-on-demand in coach: fantastic
4) Food: Edible.
5) Booze: Free.

The reasons I will fly KLM to Africa this year are:
1) I can earn full elite points on Continental (as of this writing anyway)
2) It is extremely easy to get from gate to gate at Schipol.
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