Astonishing customer service by KLM

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  • Edski777

    I had a delayed flight, KL 1134, last Wednesday from Copenhagen to Amsterdam Schiphol. The flight left at around 23:00 and arrived at Amsterdam at 00:15.
    The cabin crew was apologetic, friendly, professional as always. We, travelling in Y, got our sandwich and a drink and everything went normal.
    After disembarking and almost running to the train station I found out the last train had already left. Result: a taxi home for € 75,- in stead of a 20 minute train ride for € 5,-.

    We have probably all suffered this on occasions, just one of those days when everything seems to go wrong. Just let it happen.

    On Thursday morning I filled in the EC261 claim form on the KLM website and actually expecting to never hear back from them or, at best, get a polite standard email that my claim had been rejected because the delay was caused by circumstances beyond their control, or something similarly vague.

    On Friday morning, while in a meeting, KLM tried to reach me 3 times and subsequently send me an email stating I was entitled to compensation. They offered me € 250,- in cash or a voucher for € 350,-.
    Somewhat baffled I replied them I would accept the voucher.
    About an hour later KLM Customer support called me and requested my bank account number(?!). The explanation for this request: “You had to take a taxi due to the delay. We will of course reimburse you for this as well, but will do this in cash!”

    Everything settled within 30 hours(!) of making a claim. And getting much more than expected without any haggling. Just astonishing customer service.


    I am not at all surprised. This is the level of customer service that I have enjoyed with KLM and is why they are in my top three preferred carriers.


    This should be a non-story meaning good/great service should be the norm but how things have changed. All to often in many industries notable banks, telecoms, utilities and sadly travel expectation levels have been heading south for a long time Then you get a story above and we savour the moment. To many third party contracting out in travel and with the generally low salaries you get what you pay for or rather from the company perspective more to the bottom line at the customers expense. It must be frustrating for the really diligent customer caring staff whom we all come across let down by colleagues who could not care less and management/leadership which is anything but.


    Pleased to hear it. I have always refused to fly with them since they lost my luggage in 2003 on an outbound flight to Lima and I have to spend a week of my holiday in Peru without it. On my return they sent me the standard compensation under the Warsaw convention, which I think was £75. I wrote back and said that as I was a business class passenger I thought I might be entitled to something else given the inconvenience, so they sent me two bottle of (cheap) wine.

    14 years is a long time so perhaps I should try again!


    carrying on the Dutch theme of customer service…… I was in Rotterdam today, in the area of Blaak.. needing to get back to RTM…

    The guy at the metro had helped me earlier with directions and remembered me when I came back to ask him for directions to the airport and where can I buy a ticket. He said there is no need for a visitor to buy a ticket and got out an RET Servicekaart, filled it in and said “on us”.

    I know it was only Euros 3 – but it just made me feel very welcome..

    Can you imagine this happening in the UK…..???


    There have been several similar Topics on KLM over the last few years, but they are very pro-active when it comes to being honest and open. This is clearly reflected in Dutch Culture, conflict is avoided, and if you have a fair point, obligations are met.

    I also received for a very poor Long haul Vegetarian meal, an offer of E 180 Voucher for future flights, from The Senior Purser mid flight. She had photographed the meal, sent the report to Senior managers as well as other Departments, all from her ipad, so came to me to say what she had done, and what she was offering me. These are indeed followed up with phone calls from the Managers of these departments, and are acted upon.
    Same with disruptions, missed connections not even KLM’s fault (eg flights delayed from LHR = very common), where they have already re-booked you for the next alternatives, or accommodations.
    This happens with many aspects that may well be expected with much travel, things do go wrong, but KLM deal with it, open and honestly.

    Having flown KLM for over 25 years, they remain the most pro-active, in terms of your rights, their obligations, and hence have an excellent reputation throughout The network, for their reliability. They appear to excel when compared to any other Airlines, especially within Europe.
    Hence their profits, 35% up so far from 2016, load factors around 93%, and share prices having achieved 320% increase since about a year ago!
    the best performing Airline stock in Europe, according to Bloomberg!

    It’s this that will sustain, and re-gain custom and loyalty, for the KLM brand (AF are not the same!) with the completely renewed fleet, for a very bright, secure future. Thanks should go to the attitude and efforts of “The KLM Family”, as they regard themselves, for the efforts, and for the enabling of Manager’s to provide such a service.
    Compared to the grumbles against BA on here, it shows two opposites, and the winning not losing of customers, as well as not operating as a semi-low cost Airline, which BA has chosen to become, in every aspect of their experiences. KLM continue to try to add to the travel experience, not charge for and provide less like others.
    Thank you KLM Teams!


    Since I am living in Canada, I don’t get the opportunity to experience KLM very much but am glad to hear the above. It continues with what I hear from everyone I know who has flown them in the last few years. I must admit though that I have had exceptional similar service, when things have not gone perfectly right, from both Qantas and American Airlines. When things do go right most airlines are fine in Economy/Coach but when things go wrong it is good to give them credit such as Edski777 did.


    Well done. I am now in a 3 month compliant to BA who keep trying to close it down with no compensation but they keep opening it up by sending me surveys about well they did!!!! The have not done well. As I live in Norfolk KLM provide my only link to Europe (thank goodness). So wish AF would try Paris route too.


    And KLM paid the taxi fare on December 1st. Everything settled within a week!
    My only gripe with KLM these days: their flights within Europe are fully booked nowadays. Not a single seat left between Amsterdam and multiple destinations in Scandinavia.
    Probably helped by this level of customer service. On the one hand I would say: keep this level up! On the other: buy bigger planes! 😉

    What to think of this: is this the result of a deliberate policy of KLM or the result of EC261?


    True of KLM, many of their European flights are often completely booked out.
    Many reasons why they are keeping their reputation so high, as mentioned on BT over a few years now.

    Their European fleet is renewed with Fokkers retired and new delivery of Embraer’s 170// 190 continuing, and the 737 -7/8/9’s serving Europe wel

    They maintain their Aircraft very well, and these are in excellent condition, compared to many BA European Aircraft, tatty disheveled and tired looking inside and out. They continue to offer a complimentary food and drink service even on the shortest of routes, which is well valued, and always of good quality,
    Their crews remain pleasant and content, and are always motivated and make the KLM brand shine out in these current times.

    They feed through to the medium and long haul network, hence their overall load factors 94% everage this year. and over group 40 % profit surge for 2017.


    Several years ago, Business Traveller elected my letter as “Letter of the month”:

    “ I have been a subscriber to your magazine since a long time ago, and I find it very interesting.
    I would like to report two pleasurable experiences I had concerning the service of KLM and Schiphol Airport personnel.
    One day I arrived at Schiphol at about 6 pm, in time to return the car I hired the previous day. My flight to Hamburg was expected to leave at 8:30 pm, but at the car rental desk I learnt that there was a KLM flight to Hamburg leaving at 6:10pm. I run straight to the departure gate (on the other side of the airport), arriving at 6:07pm, but there were no staff there and the gate was shut. I asked to the ground staff if it was possible to catch that flight and, at that point, he opened the gate and led me to the plane, which was several meters away; he asked me to wait for a while, saying “Nothing is impossible for KLM”, and I finally managed to board the plane. After this episode, we could only say: “What surprising Dutch!”.

    The second event was a couple of years ago, when at the Duty Free shop in Schiphol, I was tired after an international flight, I paid for my purchase with a 100€ note. The shop assistant who took the money returned me saying that I had already paid for the item a few moments earlier. After checking my wallet, I was convinced that I had only paid once but, as I was about to board the flight, the cashier asked for my address, since he was sure that I had paid twice, and told me that he would had checked if there had been a double payment.
    Finally, only a few days later, I received a cheque covering the amount that I had evidently overpaid. Once again, we can only say “What surprising Dutch!”

    This self-explanatory article, confirmed the great service and availability of both the KLM’s cabin crew and the ground staff at Schiphol Airport.

    After many years I can assure that, from further personal experiences, nothing has changed and I reconfirm with pleasure my previous statement “What surprising Dutch!”



    My experiences in the Netherlands have been the same as others have mentioned, based on the honesty and sense of fair play of the Dutch, combined with their efficiency and pride in what they do.

    I got caught in a torrential downpour in Haarlem. I had my arm in a plaster due to a broken wrist, and my warm padded jacket, which was about 20 years old, had got soaked through and on my own and with one arm out of action, I couldn’t get it off. I went into a shop that sold outer clothing and explained to the two lovely ladies that I needed help to get the jacket off, that it could be thrown away, and then to buy a new one to replace it. After getting the jacket off we tried to find one that would fit over the plaster cast and eventually found one which I liked but was too big, so they found another which was more expensive, but fitted perfectly. They insisted on helping me to dry my plastered arm with a hair dryer that one of them had borrowed from a nearby hair salon, and then when I paid for the jacket they charged me only for the cheaper one. They also offered to dry the old one and so that I could it the next day. Talk about service!

    Later the same afternoon, cold and wet, and I went into a little coffee shop for a hot drink and a pastry, they were getting ready to close and I said I just wanted a quick drink and I’d be on my way. Their reply was to sit me at a table by the heater, and they said : “We will stay open as long as you are here.”

    Earlier this year I had a short connection on KLM to CPT through AMS. My luggage didn’t make it. I filled in a PIR at CPT and was told I could spend up to €100 on ‘essentials’. I ended up spending about €150 and it wasn’t all essentials but I put the whole bill in expecting them to pay just the €100. I submitted the claim before going to bed, and when I got up the next morning there was an email confirming that they were going to pay ……… the whole amount!

    My Dutch friends are kind, generous and hospitable, far from the common perception of the Dutch as ‘mean’. However, they will always search for the best deal!

    When I worked for KLM and stayed in Leiden for a a couple of months, I do not remember ever having cross words or a problem with anyone. Commuting to work one morning on the train there was a girl sitting opposite me who didn’t have a ticket, and of course the ticket inspector came along, so I asked him if he could clip my 10 coupon ticket again on her behalf. He said : “I am not supposed to do this” as he took the ticket and clipped it, returning it to me with a smile. She said she had no money on her but offered to pay it back the next day – we’re talking maybe €3 – and I said not to worry. But she found me the next morning on the crowded platform at Leiden and insisted on giving me the money back. That is how they are.

    I love the Dutch and the way they do things.

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