Percentage of Status holders on KLM/AirFrance flights

Old Sep 30, 2021, 3:08 pm
  #1  
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Percentage of Status holders on KLM/AirFrance flights

Long time lurker, first time poster. Thank you all for the insights and advice that Iíve found invaluable over the years.

Question (which Iím sure isnít simple to answer): What percentage of passengers on a KLM or AirFrance typically would be expected to be status holders (also curious of the split between platinum ultimate, platinum FL, platinum, gold and silver). I realise this must vary hugely depending on the routes but I wonder if thereís a rough estimate on long v short haul, standard business routes (AMS-LCY etc). Perhaps this is a ridiculous question to post but Iíve often wondered about it.

TL;DR: How many flying blue status holders would you expect per KLM or AF flight?
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Old Sep 30, 2021, 3:31 pm
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Not sure AFKL would be too happy if anyone who really knows told. However if you have a lot of time to waste at an airport, you can look at skypriority lines to get an idea.
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Old Sep 30, 2021, 11:28 pm
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Anecdotally, from having seen the lines where silver is separated out from skypriority (as opposed to being asked to queue after SP but in the same lane, which is never done): silver seems to be a surprisingly small group.
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Old Sep 30, 2021, 11:41 pm
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Originally Posted by CyBeR
Anecdotally, from having seen the lines where silver is separated out from skypriority (as opposed to being asked to queue after SP but in the same lane, which is never done): silver seems to be a surprisingly small group.
I think most Silver status holders aren't aware of their benefits. My colleagues at work are only aware once they hit Gold.
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Old Oct 1, 2021, 12:12 am
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I doubt you will get an accurate answer here, or anywhere else.

Here's one single data point: a month or so ago I wrote to KLM to point out that having to wait 45 minutes in the single SkyPriority check-in line was a bit excessive. They responded that they had checked with the station manager, who said that they had opened just one priority desk because there were only 19 status pax booked on the flight (738, so 189 seats and it went out nearly full). That comes to a bit over 10%, but out of those, some of the pax traveling in J may not have had any frequent flyer status whatsoever, and others may have been members of various other SkyTeam programs.

Johan
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Old Oct 1, 2021, 3:45 am
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Originally Posted by FlyingBlonde89
What percentage of passengers on a KLM or AirFrance typically would be expected to be status holders (also curious of the split between platinum ultimate, platinum FL, platinum, gold and silver).
It costs nothing to ask a cabin crew to check the number in their Ipad of a said flight.
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Old Oct 1, 2021, 4:31 am
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Definitely AFKL has such data , about all skyteam FFP members who entered their ID in the booking , however i (and maybe others here) dont know what they do with these information , we would need an insider source

Two ways you can guess/estimate by yourself the number of elite/elite plus pax in a flight
.
  1. those who are in KL SP queues but are not seated in J
  2. those who are in AF boarding group number 2 or 3
But of course this is a rough way to get just an idea about it , not an exact figure

Otherwise i've seen such information many times , when i board early and discuss with the purser , to ask
.
  • if emergency seat will be free
  • if seat near mine will be free
  • how much for last minute upgrade to Y+ , PE , or J
Then he/she will usually take the tablet to check and i can stealthily see how many status pax are on board

Last edited by fifty_two; Oct 1, 2021 at 4:42 am
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Old Oct 1, 2021, 12:58 pm
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Originally Posted by fifty_two
Definitely AFKL has such data , about all skyteam FFP members who entered their ID in the booking , however i (and maybe others here) dont know what they do with these information , we would need an insider source

Two ways you can guess/estimate by yourself the number of elite/elite plus pax in a flight
.
  1. those who are in KL SP queues but are not seated in J
  2. those who are in AF boarding group number 2 or 3
But of course this is a rough way to get just an idea about it , not an exact figure

Otherwise i've seen such information many times , when i board early and discuss with the purser , to ask
.
  • if emergency seat will be free
  • if seat near mine will be free
  • how much for last minute upgrade to Y+ , PE , or J
Then he/she will usually take the tablet to check and i can stealthily see how many status pax are on board
Or simply ask the purser, pilot, or any deadheading crew sitting next to you with an iPad?

They are human, usually very work-centered, and happy to share anything about their industry. No need to trick them or peek over their shoulders, genuine interest is usually enough.

A data point: this is a question I asked from time to time over years. On short hauls, Gold+Plat was between 5-10% of cabins. That shouldnít have changed much if SP lanes lengths are to be trusted.
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Old Oct 1, 2021, 1:03 pm
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Originally Posted by maalloc
A data point: this is a question I asked from time to time over years. 8On short hauls, Gold+Plat was between 5-10% of cabins. That shouldnít have changed much if SP lanes lengths are to be trusted.
A number I have heard from a KLM purser is 4% of the passengers, providing 25% of revenue. Not sure how accurate that is, or who is included in the 4%. I imagine they meant Elite Plus.
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Old Oct 1, 2021, 1:16 pm
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Originally Posted by maalloc
That shouldnít have changed much if SP lanes lengths are to be trusted.
And it probably won't in the near future with the great Covid-19 measures implemented by AF/KL.
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Old Oct 1, 2021, 1:17 pm
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Originally Posted by HalconBCN
A number I have heard from a KLM purser is 4% of the passengers, providing 25% of revenue. Not sure how accurate that is, or who is included in the 4%. I imagine they meant Elite Plus.
That sounds about right. The average FF spending around 10x as much as random flyers must be the right order of magnitude
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Old Oct 1, 2021, 2:49 pm
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Originally Posted by maalloc
Or simply ask the purser, pilot, or any deadheading crew sitting next to you with an iPad?
I asked the purser on board AMS-NCE a couple of days, ago, she came back with the number of 97 status pax on a 737-800 (186 seats). I told her that would be quite a lot, she came back later to clarify that she could only see the total number of "FF", meaning anyone enrolled in the frequent flyer program (she didn't know if that was only Flying Blue or also SkyTeam partners). She manually went through the pax list afterwards and estimated some 20+ Flying Blue / SkyTeam elite or higher members on board. Just one data point of course.
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Old Oct 2, 2021, 7:14 pm
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Originally Posted by maalloc
Or simply ask the purser, pilot, or any deadheading crew sitting next to you with an iPad?
Originally Posted by maalloc
No need to trick them or peek over their shoulders, genuine interest is usually enough.
who said i wanted to see this data ???? i mean i saw it few times by accident while looking for something else but i do not know if such data should be made available to the public , if it is the case then i guess AFKL or ST would gladly do it , so asking can work unless you find a CC that says no
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Old Oct 5, 2021, 5:34 am
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I find these insights interesting, so roughly 10% of passengers with status averagely speaking
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Old Oct 7, 2021, 10:37 am
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Originally Posted by HalconBCN
A number I have heard from a KLM purser is 4% of the passengers, providing 25% of revenue. Not sure how accurate that is, or who is included in the 4%. I imagine they meant Elite Plus.
This is waaaay too low.

Let me start by trying to explain when and where the general public gets to see loyalty statistics.

1.) Some airline loyalty programs are or were run as separate businesses. So they filed their own financial statements/annual reports and such. In it, they published things like the number of elites, how much they fly and so on. As an example, LH M&M used to be run as an independent entity until 8 or 10 years ago.

2.) Sometimes airline loyalty programs are put up for sale. Detailed statistics are usually published to convey the value of the program to potential buyers.

3.) In bad economic times, some airlines put up their loyalty program as collateral. In doing so, they have to disclose details about the program. This happened last year with AA, UA, and DL.

4.) On occasion, airline's top management elects to share details about their loyalty programme with the public. Could be during an investor conference call or during a loyalty conference.

---

Without any proof or citations, I believe when such numbers are leaked, they are much, much higher than the 4% you suggest. Of course, it depends on the airline, the route, the day of the week, season, and so on. But overall, I'd say among major network carriers, one in four or one in five passengers transported was an elite of any kind pre-covid. So it could be an own elite, an elite with the alliance, or an elite with a non-alliance partner (such as VS in case of AF/KL).

I have also heard loyalty execs claiming that the shares of elites has dropped considerably with covid, as leisure travel has rebounded more swiftly than business travel. (And, of course, elites are by-and-large business travellers.) However, even today, expect at least one in eight or one in ten flyers to be an elite.

Lastly, note what drives up the share of elites on any given flight is the fact that elites travel more than non-elite program members and flyers not even a program member. To illustrate this: Suppose I tell you (I'm making up these numbers) 5% of FB members are elites. I also tell you 20% of the passengers on any given AF/KL flight are elites. That is not a contradiction per se as, once again, elites travel more than other passengers.
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