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Trip Report KLM - I think not!

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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!

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