KLM Lies

And then blows you off! Here’s the story. As most of you know, I’m writing a book. I’ve quit the cushy, regular paycheck job to do this. I spent 1100 euros on a ticket to China for my next trip to work on it.

Then something awesome happened. A wonderful Japanese brand asked me over to Tokyo to do a week of freelance. So I call KLM to try to change the flight. They won’t do it. I had to go ahead and book another flight to get to Tokyo in time. A flight to Tokyo, then Beijing, then Shanghai and finally Amsterdam. MY WHOLE TRIP. Nearly 5ooo euros because I flew business over to be able to go straight into meetings.

But I simply do not believe that something you spend 1100 euros on and haven’t used yet can’t be changed with a fee. So I start tweeting.

This is the moronic conversation that ensued.

Clearly calling KLM is a bad idea and goes no where. It only took 6 hours after I tweeted instead for them to say, oh wait a second, this policy that we are so sure about holding everyone to is actually not true. Pay a fee and change your ticket. Oh and have some business class on a flight you’re not taking anymore because we’re not really reading your tweets. Hope you understand!

If “Hope you understand!” is in their social media guidelines, they need a serious overhaul.

KLM – please fix this. Let me change the 1100 euro ticket to something I can use as a thank you for buying a new 5000 euro ticket!

Update: after some back and forth DM’img and even a phone call they made to my hotel in Tokyo (so much for their claim that they will only communicate with you via social media), my China ticket has magically transformed into a round trip to South Africa. If you want something done at KLM, get to tweeting.

6 thoughts on “KLM Lies

  1. OMG, the last comment from KLM was actually quite ignorant and sarcastic. I really don’t understand why airlines are so strict on name changes and itinerary changes. It’s a kartel !!!

  2. It took us nearly two years to drag KLM into the 21st century and understand how an airline is supposed to behave and what is important, but moreover WHO is important… Journeys Of Inspiration has just become a Journey Of You-will-fly-how-we-tell-you-to-fly-and-tough-shit-if-you-don’t-like-it. (And why is a 12 year old KLM rep tweeting in place of human contact to a genuine grievance??) In an economic climate such as today’s where ALL customers should be treated like royalty… the royal airline seems to have forgotten what a loyal customer actually looks like and how important she/he is to the continuous ‘great brand’ feelgood factor. I think we should reverse the reward card system and let KLM earn our points…they would never get beyond blue (language).

  3. I’m missing something… exactly when and how did KLM ‘lie’? I can appreciate the frustration involved, and I hate KLM as much as the next guy, but every fare has its conditions and the less you pay, the less flexibility you have. Really the only thing they could have done better is suggest the buy-up to you earlier (but to be fair, the LAST thing most people want to hear is ‘sure you can, you just have to pay thousands to upgrade to business class…’).

    1. There is no firm policy of no change if they offer to change it within 6 hours of complaining publicly. They have a different story depending on which channel you approach them through. Another example, in January when the shooter was arrested at Schiphol a friend was at the airport trying to change her ticket and waiting in a long queue. I was able to tweet and ask for help. They called and emailed me and we got it sorted. Today they say they are only allowed to communicate with me via social media and not email while writing to me in broken English that makes no sense.

      1. That’s me! The experience at the airport was awful. Zero communication with passengers. I waited for hours and was continuously told by everyone I spoke to that they had no information. I just wanted to know if I needed to make other arrangements. I had to find out from a fellow traveler who had a smart phone that my plane had actually taken off. Luckily, I had Heather to help me sort my situation out via social media. Silly of me to have thought I could’ve found a solution with KLM at the airport.

  4. I’ve been through lots of similar experiences with airlines and I do understand your frustration, Heather! It can be especially frustrating when small print involves spending extra money for flexibility. However, and as much as I’ve hated airlines for doing such things (I have several airline horror stories documented on Facebook), I agree with Robbie –it is true that flexibility costs. And even more so for an airline.

    This whole thing also makes me think that “The customer is always right” motto puts us in an awkward position sometimes. I’ve cursed airlines, banks, insurance companies, supermarkets, government offices, even embassies, you name it. But so much complaining and social media reporting on “bad” service has also made me wonder whether I’m not being overtly critical (in other words, being a bitch) and am using optimal-but-not-outstanding service to whine about something else that has nothing to do with them (but with me and my lack of planning when booking a flight–how’s that for a planner!). Just a rant on being a conscious customer.

    But, I’m game for complaining about airlines and banks and whatever if you’d like 🙂

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