KLM - I think not!

Apr 12th, 2015, 02:12 AM
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KLM - I think not!

With great trepidation I embarked on a round trip to Amsterdam with KLM. I wanted a non stop flight to my destination for a Tulip Time River cruise and thought that KLM would be a good choice, having tired of the agony of the last few non stop international flights I'd been on with US domestic airlines. So, I blithely purchased my ticket and then read up on various reviews of this airline.

Six months before traveling I purchased Comfort Class both ways and had seat assignment of 11E, a two seat row on the 747 which is a separate cabin, with the galley running along that length of the plane with a wide gap at what would be the window side of the plane for storage and the all important breathing space. Upon check in at O'Hare International I was not too surprised to find I had been reassigned to the back of the bus in spite of having paid for and been assigned a seat in Comfort Class. After showing my confirmation and not taking no for an answeR, I was reassigned to seat 11E. It was a very short 6 1/2 hour flight and indeed quite comfortable, as I had an empty seat next to me. So why the reassignment when I could see half the plane was empty in my separate cabin as well as the economy cabin.

On the return plight home I needed seat 11E more than ever, as I had fallen and injured my left leg which needed to be elevated as much as possible. When I checked in on line the day before travel, to my horror I had once again been reassigned a seat in economy. At the airport I spoke to three separate KLM agents only to be to be told my confirmation paperwork was not sufficient to show I had paid for the Economy Comfort seat 11E. I had packed the file with the actual receipt in my checked luggage, not thinking it would be necessary, as confirmation of a Comfort class seat is only possible after payment is made. I could not make the agents understand this point. They were stubbornly maintaining I had not paid and it was at the discretion of the airline to reassign seats at any given time, which as a long time traveler I am certainly aware of, but which seldom occurs.

When boarding I made a last ditch effort and spoke to the greeting flight attendant who referred me to the Purser. I showed her my EC confirmation and she asked that I be seated in the assigned back of the bus seat and she would see what she could do. Those economy seats were horribly tight and I was in a great deal,of pain with my leg, no way was I going to be able to elevate. The Purser came around after takeoff to ask the person behind me if he wanted to upgrade to Business Class or Comfort Class as there was available seating! Yes, reselling my seat! Very frugal, those Dutch. But isn't that illegal? I spoke up and once again showed my confirmation for seat 11E. The purser then asked me to pay for it again. I reaffirmed that the seat had been paid for six months ago. She then finally gave in and asked me to follow her to the CC cabin, where I was given the last seat in that section, seat 12D, on the aisle.

Does KLM wish to discourage US business? Is this what that was all about? Well, they have been successful in my case. I will never fly that airline again. It's too bad because I love the 747's which aren't around much any more and the flight was exceedingly comfortable with great service from the FA's once the fight for my seat was over. Thanks, but no thanks for any further KLM exposure. Once was enough for me!
travelchat is offline  
Apr 12th, 2015, 03:43 AM
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have you complained to them since?

if so, what did they say?
annhig is offline  
Apr 12th, 2015, 06:02 AM
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Middle of the night jet lag rant on Fodor's, thus the couple of typos - plight rather than flight - definitely a Freudian slip there . No, I haven't as yet composed an email to KLM but I most certainly plan to as soon as I can track down a point person.

As fate would have it, the person I was seated next to in the two seat row was a very senior woman on her way back from a spiritual retreat in New Delhi, prostrate with an upper respiratory infection and coughing her brains out.. She claimed to be on an antibiotic given by a doctor before she left India, but also stated she had never undergone any pre-trip inoculations in all her years of travel to that country.
Are you freaking kidding me? Incredible! (

Quite a few of my fellow travelers on the ship were in some stage of viral/cold infections, so one way or another it was inevitable... As it happened, I felt something coming on the morning of departure and was diagnosed with the Influenza A virus when I visited my doctor day after return, also to have the wound on my leg checked.

It is the weekend here and I'm off to Disneyworld for a few days on Momday with my grandchildren. As soon as I return I plan to research whom to contact at KLM. I am very curious to see if I even get a reply.

Stop traveling? Who, me?
travelchat is offline  
Apr 12th, 2015, 08:06 AM
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Sounds awful. I would be upset too if I was treated like this. However please explain to me what CC is. What do you get and how much is it? It's not like premium economy if I understand correctly. It's much less than that for a little extra leg room if I understand correctly.

How is it possible that in this day and age that they could not see you had paid for a R/T CC seat??

When we have been approached to upgrade our seats either at the gate or while on board it has been complimentary. If the FA asked another passenger to upgrade to biz then your CC seat was not being resold. Did you hear a price mentioned?

We had a flight back from Japan last fall to Chicago and two rows behind me was a woman who had a terrible cough, A few days later I came down with a cough so bad my ribs hurt so I sympathize.

With the influenza A and your leg injury do take it easy at Disney.

Sorry to hear of this substandard treatment and I hope you are better. Would post any f/u with KLM please. I hope they can at least explain reasonably why they could not confirm your CC purchase. The records should be there.
jacketwatch is offline  
Apr 12th, 2015, 08:33 AM
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well of course you could have been sat next to people with germs in comfort class as well, but it does sound grim.

I hope that Disney makes up for it all, and good luck in pursuing KLM.
annhig is offline  
Apr 12th, 2015, 08:40 AM
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<> Eaxctly, which is why I don't buy the story.
Odin is offline  
Apr 12th, 2015, 08:58 AM
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Odin, i don't know why you are so suspicious. We had booked [an did extra for] extra leg-room seats on one of our Aus to NZ flights and when we checked in, the clerk started to assign us new seats. it was only when i pointed out that we had already pre-booked and paid that she "remembered" that was the case. Did her screen not tell her that? of course it did.

why the clerk behaved like this with the OP is so far a mystery, but i certainly believe it happened.
annhig is offline  
Apr 12th, 2015, 09:33 AM
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What is your problem? Butt out if you have nothing informational or helpful to offer. There's always seems to be a downer on this site which is why so many have left. I'm hanging in there, so get off my back!
travelchat is offline  
Apr 12th, 2015, 11:00 AM
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Though I am not clear about the FA trying to resell seats as I mentioned above I too believe her story. She is a long time Fodors regular and not one of those one hit wonders who register, slam something and flee, never to post again. To me this rings true.
jacketwatch is offline  
Apr 12th, 2015, 11:51 AM
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To me, too. Sorry it happened. Annhig, thanks for directing attention to this thread from the other one worrying about getting bumped from PE. Looks like it does happen.
annw is online now  
Apr 12th, 2015, 12:24 PM
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Annhig and Jacketwatch
Thanks for your support and kind comments. I couldn't fabricate a story like this if my life depended on it.

Actually, the very sick woman mentioned above was my seat mate in Comfort Class for the eight hour flight. Just the luck of the draw.

And, the person behind me at the start in Economy Class was given the choice of upgrading to Business Class OR Comfort Class with his 113,000 miles on KLM which the Purser quoted him for all to hear. Thank goodness he said no to both, like the thrifty Dutchman he is, or the one remaining seat (mine) in Comfort Class would have been gone, had he chosen that option. That's what I meant about selling the same seat twice.

The new category between Business Class and Economy Class is referred to differently, depending on the airline, but boils down to a little more leg room, sometimes better food service, sometimes a separate cabin, maybe more amenities. Call it what you may, Comfort Class, PremierEconomy, Economy Plus, BA World Class, it's a step above the back of the bus and worth every penny. This is the first time I've encountered an issue traveling in this class on various airlines since these choices came into existence. Before that, I've usually used miles for a BC ticket or been able to upgrade with miles and dollars. Now that the elite flyers have been given precedence, I've been shut out of certain choices, thus relegated to this mid class of flying.

An update will be forthcoming after my communication with KLM.
travelchat is offline  
Apr 12th, 2015, 12:44 PM
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Thanks for answering my question. I appreciate that as it helps me understand things better.

I do look f/w to what KLM will do so I will stay tuned.

In the meantime Mickey awaits!

Cheers, Larry.
jacketwatch is offline  
Apr 12th, 2015, 04:47 PM
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I paid extra for a "special" seat on BA for a London to JFK flight. It was a small fee...$60 to get aisle seat row after bulkhead. When I got there the other two seats were occupied by 2 adults with very large, very active 2 year old boy who was already crying. No seat for him. I refused to take my seat. I wanted a different aisle seat. I have never made a fuss on an airplane before, but to pay extra for this situation was a NO. After long wait, many discussions with various crew members I was upgraded to Premium Economy. Very nice but I am a frequent BA flyer (but still Blue) and have been upgraded quite often without my asking. Sometimes you must insist.
Elainee is offline  
Apr 12th, 2015, 06:04 PM
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I couldn't agree more that you did the right and only thing by standing your ground, given the untenable situation. Sitting in that seat for eight plus hours of torture would not have been an option for even the most stalwart. But these incidents do leave a mark.

I'm still exhausted and upset from the KLM experience and hoping the flight on AA tomorrow to Orlando, FL won't turn into another nightmare.
travelchat is offline  
Apr 13th, 2015, 01:41 PM
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Does KLM wish to discourage US business? Is this what that was all about?

They aren't picking on Americans, KLM is just a pretty bad airline. I have no doubt that they are equally bad for Dutch travelers.
travelgourmet is offline  
Apr 16th, 2015, 10:35 AM
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Your comment duly noted. It makes perfect sense that the KLM "misery in the air" is of course across the board unpleasant for all who embark!

While I was waiting to speak to the Purser on the return segment of my flight, she was telling a gentleman in Economy how sorry she was that he was too wide for the bulkhead seat, but she was unable to offer any help to assist him in somehow wedging himself into the narrow confines of it. He looked like a normal size man, so those seats were intensely narrow for all but the thinnest.

Just sent off my woeful experience in an email to KLM Customer Service. Awaiting a reply...
travelchat is offline  
Apr 17th, 2015, 02:12 PM
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Did you try checking in online the day before your flights? If you had you could have been certain of your seat. KLM do not normally assign seats at booking for CC and EC. You can choose a seat at online check in. Checking in at the airport leaves you with whatever is left.
However that doesn't help with you being bumped. What documentation did you show at check in, that it didn't state your CC option.
Are you certain you booked CC for both legs?
Just asking.
People with lots of points always get to check in earlier than mere mortals, and get offered upgrades before the rest of us, regardless of airline.

I hope you get a satisfactory response from KLM, but what they did is not illegal. Read the T&Cs carefully, it's all there in the small print.
hetismij2 is offline  
Apr 17th, 2015, 04:37 PM
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I did check in on line the day before and had been assigned seat 28C in the economy section, attempt at changing it failed as someone had been given my Comfort Class seat at that point and the system would not allow me to choose another seat in that section.

I had paid for the economy fare plus the two Comfort Class segments when I booked the travel back in October, 2014 by phone with a live agent at Delta/KLM at which point I had been assigned seat 11D both ways.

I presented the email print out stating my reservation information and confirmation of Comfort Class seats which should have been sufficient, as payment is due before any confirmation can be issued by the airline.
travelchat is offline  
Apr 17th, 2015, 04:50 PM
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Oops - hither the wrong spot on my screen before finishing

Yes, I am hoping to hear something from KLM but not holding my breathe. The airline apparently does not have their staff trained properly, nor is their computer system up to speed, thus these snafus occurring on a regular basis to unsuspecting passengers. I don't choose to accommodate myself to KLM's, not illegal but certainly unprofessional, practices, so will take my business elsewhere in future.
travelchat is offline  
Jul 15th, 2015, 09:27 AM
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I had the exact same problem with purchasing comfort seats and the flight crew ignoring that I did even with receipts.

They also later refused to reimburse me for the lost seats. I spent hours on the phone to get it finally done. Never again .
davidjac is offline  

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