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KLM Declines To Book Accommodation For Its Stranded Passengers

KLM Declines To Book Accommodation For Its Stranded Passengers
Jackie Reddy

The Independent reports that Dutch carrier KLM is neglecting its responsibilities in respect of travelers who are in need of accommodation due to canceled flights. The revelation has come to light due to a letter given by the airline to a British passenger who was stranded at AMS airport this month.

It is reported that Dutch carrier KLM is claiming that it is not able to book accommodation for passengers who have been stranded, The Independent has revealed. This policy has been made public thanks to a letter given by the carrier to Isobel Colleton, a passenger who was stranded at Amsterdam Airport Schipol (AMS) earlier this month.

In this document, as seen by the outlet, KLM states that it is unable to make reservations on behalf of its passengers.

Rather, the carrier says that customers must individually book their rooms. In an excerpt of the letter, as quoted by the outlet, KLM states, “Hotels do not allow us, an airline, to book rooms for our passengers. We are left with no other option but to inform you of ways to book accommodation yourself.”

It also included website links for those who wished to make their own bookings.

Colleton’s flight was initially delayed and then canceled by the carrier on the evening of March 10th. The outlet states that, along with this letter, the flight’s stranded passengers were given only chocolate and a bottle of water.

Offering his expert view, the outlet’s Simon Calder clarifies that, “…KLM, like any airline, is perfectly capable of booking rooms for stranded travelers. Indeed, it is obliged to do so under European air passengers’ rights rules for passengers who are stuck overnight.”

“At this stage, the airline is obliged to provide them with a flight booking for the following day, a hotel – and transport to get there – as well as meals until they are due to leave,” he adds.

Speaking of her daughter’s experience, Leigh Colleton, Isobel’s mother, told the outlet, “My daughter and her friends had no money and were very upset at the prospect of spending the night in the airport.”

She also added that her husband had attempted to reach out to KLM, but was unsuccessful in making contact with the airline. She said that she eventually booked a hotel for her daughter online.

Isobel and her friends eventually made their way back to the UK on another carrier.

Offering its comments to the outlet, KLM said that it “is compliant with our obligations,” but said that, “In the interest of good customer service, KLM offers its passengers information on ways to book accommodation. This is a genuine effort to be helpful to passengers.”

“Rather than having its passengers staying in lengthy queues, KLM prefers to give its passengers an opportunity to book hotels themselves,” it added.

[Image Source: Flickr/ Amanda Bouwer]

View Comments (10)


  1. kkua

    March 19, 2019 at 6:07 am

    What’s the big fuss??? The airport has 2 hotels on-site under the same terminal roof. Just walk to the Mercure or the Yotel. Get the agent to notate the reservation that they should be reimbursed for the hotel stay.

  2. tangey

    March 19, 2019 at 9:22 am

    So you land at an airport you have no idea about. You now have to find out that whether there are hotels nearby or indeed on site. You have to find out if they have availability. You have to pay in advance. You have to find out who you need to write to in order to make a claim, and exactly what form you need to fill in, and what they accept as proof. You have to wait, who knows how long, for the airline to possibly reject/query/or drag their heels to respond.

    As oppose to the airline giving the customer a confirmed hotel booking.

    Yeah, what’s the big fuss.

  3. tbuccelli

    March 19, 2019 at 9:45 am

    kkua – what if you have never flown through that Airport and do not know that there are 2 on-site hotels? That is the issue and why the airlines are supposed to help. In addition, what if you don’t have the capacity to pay for the room 1st and be reimbursed. If you book the hotel yourself, do you think they will trust the “just bill the airline” message?

  4. Ksmax

    March 19, 2019 at 10:26 pm

    That was how BA treated me and all the stranded passengers in December 2017 at LHR because of half-an inch of snow. Monopoly + airline friendly regulator = screwed passengers

  5. billyoldham

    March 19, 2019 at 11:11 pm

    KLM have had contracts in place for years with Van der Valk hotels and put passengers in this one even today. This is the hotel they use.

  6. kkua

    March 20, 2019 at 6:13 am

    Just look up for the signage… they are well indicated with pointed arrows

  7. f0zzyNUE


    March 21, 2019 at 5:31 am

    Last time I was stuck in AMS with KLN the self service kiosk spit out hotel voucher, meal voucher and boarding card for rebooked flight.
    But I had the option to choose between hotel, meal voucher or a travel voucher..

  8. davistev

    March 22, 2019 at 11:12 am

    Not enough details here. Sounds like it was the beginning of a return journey therefore they were not stranded at a transit stop.

  9. SuperFlyBoy

    March 26, 2019 at 10:24 am

    KLM sucks – they wouldn’t endorse their ticket on to many *A airlines (and all others, except KLM) who were ALL FLYING their aircraft in/out of AMS when KLM decided to cancel almost 90% of their flights that day due to “windy” conditions!


  10. Counsellor

    April 2, 2019 at 6:49 am

    Unfortunately, in my experience although KLM service in the air is marvelous, the service on the ground does not always rise to that level. They seem to want to get by on the cheap too often.

    As an example, I was flying KLM, connecting through AMS to Africa, when the continuation flight was cancelled and I had to stay overnight to wait for the next flight to my destination. Although KLM did find (and pay for) a hotel, when I got there I was told that the stay did not include breakfast at the hotel, which I would have to pay for separately. I asked the hotel why breakfast was not included, and they said that was what KLM had contracted for — they would not pay for the “with breakfast” rate.

    When I got to the airport the next morning, I asked about that and whether KLM would recompense the breakfast fee I had to pay, and they said they would not, that their responsibility was only to provide lodging.

    I suppose I could have sued under the European regulation, but frankly it wasn’t worth the hassle. I wonder if that is a deliberate policy to save money, and they figure not enough people will take the time and trouble to formally sue, and those that do they’ll pay ff. Sort of like encouraging breakage. Penny wise and pound foolish in my opinion.

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