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Thursday 28 July 2022

Meet the airline brave enough to apologise for its failures

While Air Canada simply ignores customers after leaving them stranded without their baggage and Qantas chief Alan Joyce blames his customers for airport chaos saying they are not "match fit", at least one airline has had the decency to apologise for its post-Covid incompetence. 

KLM, the Dutch national carrier, has admitted to failures and sent an apologetic email to customers. Refreshing.

"If you have flown recently or are planning to do so in the coming weeks, you will have noticed that airlines and airports all over Europe were not sufficiently prepared to cope with rapidly increasing numbers of passengers," KLM president and CEO Marjan Rintel wrote.

"This has also impacted many KLM passengers, and I sincerely apologise to those of you who experienced a disruption or lost a suitcase when flying with KLM this summer. We simply must do better, and in addition to earlier actions, we have taken several steps to improve our performance:"

Rintel says KLM reduced its number of flights swiftly "to go back to the reliable service and quality you may expect from KLM".

He said the airline does not sell all available seats and therefore keeps some seats available for passengers who have missed a flight or had their original flight cancelled. Which is eminently sensible and decent.

KLM has also extended transfer times between flights, giving passengers more time to make connecting flights at Schiphol Airport. 

"Solving our operational challenges is KLM’s top priority," says Rintel. "Every day 28.000 KLM colleagues work around the clock in challenging circumstances to get you and your luggage to your destination in a comfortable and timely way - as you may and, of course, should expect from us.

"In most cases, we definitely do. However, in recent weeks the main issue related to late delivered and/or misplaced luggage. We have put additional measures and resources in place to get the luggage back to its owners and solve the necessary aftercare and claims.

"We have hired extra people in our Customer Care Centres to support this effort, but because of some backlog, they are not yet as available for our customers as we want them to be. We understand that this is very frustrating and can leave customers feeling abandoned. But rest assured that we are working on your case.

"In the spirit of honesty and transparency, I felt it essential to reach out and apologize to those of you who were directly affected. We will do our utmost to restore your confidence. Millions of passengers choose to fly KLM each summer, and it is in these difficult times that we must show what we’re made of to continue to earn and deserve your trust in our brand."


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