KLM Platinums, how would you handle this ****?

Old Mar 16, 03, 5:31 pm
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KLM Platinums, how would you handle this ****?

Last Friday I had my most recent KLM flight experience, and unfortunately I again cannot say that I was impressed or even close to satisfied. I do realize that all of my postings of the last few months have been negative towards KLM, so let me first say that while I seriously have not had any good experiences to post about, I can't forget that the status and account match that got me here in the first place was absolutely the best "gift" that I have ever received from any company, especially considering that I had never even flown a single KLM flight before. I am unendingly grateful to them for that, and that is the reason why I keep giving them "another chance".

Now, that said, here is a quick description of what happened last Friday (JFK-AMS) that had me so pissed off that I actually waited an extra day to post it so I could calm down a little more....

I was very happy when I first boarded the 747 and saw that I had one of the best coach seats on the plane, 9C. The flight was completely full, so I had hoped for an operational upgrade, but it didn't happen, and so this coach seat was about as good as they get with about 6 feet of leg room. In front of me standing against the bulkhead were 2 stewardesses and 1 man that appeared to be a customer. They were watching people board and talking in Dutch. After everyone was in their seat, one of the stewardesses approached me and asked if I would "mind switching seats with the gentleman in 11E". Certainly I didn't want to, but I asked her why, and she said that he had a "knee problem" and had to stretch it out. Looking back at 11E, I saw of course that it was the man that had been chatting with her earlier. Now I am not completely dumb, so I know there was about a 1% chance that he really had a bad knee. But not wanting to piss of the stewardess that would be serving me for the next 7 hours, I reluctantly said okay. And while 11E was a much worse seat, it was not really a big deal to me. Until...

About 2 minutes later a male flight attendant came up from the back and went to seat 9C looking for me. The man with the "knee problem" pointed me out to him, and so the flight attendant stepped back to me and said "Mr. Srodr, I'm short one seat, so I think I'm going to move you up." Of course I was ecstatic and unbuckled my seat belt and started to get up. But before I could move, the stewardess from the bulkhead leaned in and whispered something in the flight attendant's ear, at which point he turned around, stepped up to the man in 9C, and said "Mr. X, I need your seat so I'm going to move you up." And that was that. He took the man up front, and never even looked back at me or said another word to me. And then to top it off, he put the extra person in 9C while I stayed in 11E, and the stewardess's friend got my upgrade.

I'm sure I don't have to say how I felt. And to be honest, I am not sure why I didn't say anything to any of them. I guess because I knew that in reality I had no legitimate claim to the upgrade. But holy ****!!, I can't believe them being that rude to the person (me) that obviously appeared in their system to be their most important customer in coach. Now I know that I was "gifted" my platinum status, but as far as they knew, I fly more than 75k miles per year on KLM. It really is unbelievable.

So I'm curious to see what you other plats out there have to say about this, especially the real plats that do fly 75k/yr.




[This message has been edited by srodr (edited 03-16-2003).]
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Old Mar 16, 03, 6:38 pm
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How do you know that the other passenger wasn't PE as well? And maybe this other passenger was a *real* KLM frequent flyer, and known to cabin crew as a regular on that route...

And who knows, maybe the notes in passengers' bookings really do distinguish between real KLM frequent flyers and those who got in via the back door.
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Old Mar 16, 03, 7:43 pm
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I would assume that if the other man was a platinum, his name would have come up for the upgrade instead of mine. And even so, if that, or any other reason existed, is it really too much to ask for the guy to say "Sorry, I made a mistake, that man is also a platinum and above you on the list".

Even if it were a complete lie, it would be much better than turning his back on me and completely ignoring me.
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Old Mar 17, 03, 2:21 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2"> I would assume that if the other man was a platinum, his name would have come up for the upgrade instead of mine.</font>
Not necessarily. I don't actually know what criteria they use when they decide which of several PEs on a flight to pick for an upgrade, but I don't think there is a "priority list" as such.

I have not been upgraded very often, but last time it happened I suspect my partner and I probably got picked because KLM had caused us some grief earlier that day and wanted to say "sorry".

And who knows - maybe the conversation that took place was this guy telling the flight attendant some tale of woe about some grief that KLM had caused him.


<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2"> And even so, if that, or any other reason existed, is it really too much to ask for the guy to say "Sorry, I made a mistake, that man is also a platinum and above you on the list" Even if it were a complete lie, it would be much better than turning his back on me and completely ignoring me.</font>
I agree with you there - and they should also have given you your original seat back. But this was one person handling a situation badly (the "ignoring you" was quite possibly due to embarrassment - human nature!), and I wouldn't necessarily blame the whole company.

Why don't you write to KLM Customer Service, describe what happened and ask for an explanation? You may or may not get one (they are pretty good at writing standard letters that don't really explain anything), but you'll probably get some extra miles or something.

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Old Mar 17, 03, 3:36 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Aviatrix:
How do you know that the other passenger wasn't PE as well? And maybe this other passenger was a *real* KLM frequent flyer, and known to cabin crew as a regular on that route...

And who knows, maybe the notes in passengers' bookings really do distinguish between real KLM frequent flyers and those who got in via the back door.
</font>
If that was the case then the situation should never have arisen- it should have been dealt either before check-in (advance seat assignments), at check-in or during pre-boarding at the gate.

This doesn't sound like a planned event based on lots of customers profile information and relative status. It was simply some last minute on-board seat assignment tweaking which was handled very poorly.

-- Dambus
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Old Mar 17, 03, 4:36 am
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Hey you paid your money and you took your chance. Cant see what you are belly aching about here. If you sent me this letter I would file it in the bin. They agreed in contract to fly you from A to B at a price for economy. You want BC you pay the extra or use your miles to upgrade. In view of the fact you got a free PE I would keep your mouth shut and enjoy what benefits most of us have paid a fortune with KLM to earn
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Old Mar 17, 03, 5:30 am
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Do I assume, that each time that I've been moved 'up front,' that I too, must have upset somebody behind me ? The best one that I've had recently, is seeing NW ask one of their First Officer's to vacate his First Class seat in favour of me, on a space available upgrade....on a coast to coast red eye flight as well....pretty satisfying I might add.
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Old Mar 17, 03, 5:30 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Ewan Mebabe:
enjoy what benefits most of us have paid a fortune with KLM to earn</font>
Yeah, sure. Out of our own pockets, right?

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Old Mar 17, 03, 6:35 am
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Forgetting the upgrade thing, not getting your original seat back was terrible. I would have raised holy hell. Once years ago a Gay flight attendant pulled something quite similar for his boyfriend (The A did not like him and let me know EXACTLY what the score was when I complained to her).

A month later he was no longer working for Delta.
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Old Mar 17, 03, 8:49 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by hfly:
Forgetting the upgrade thing, not getting your original seat back was terrible. I would have raised holy hell. Once years ago a Gay flight attendant pulled something quite similar for his boyfriend (The A did not like him and let me know EXACTLY what the score was when I complained to her).

A month later he was no longer working for Delta.
</font>
No its seems he got a job at KLM

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Old Mar 17, 03, 10:25 am
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As you may have noticed from previous postings I am not the greatest fan of the system that gave comped Platinums a huge number of free miles.

I am slightly perplexed as to why you did not use some of your many miles to upgrade?

You were given one of the best Y class seats to begin with, and although I can understand your upset at thinking you were going to get a free upgrade; in my eyes you are probably really less entitled to one than a silver elite etc.

I once witnessed a pilot on MH sneakily upgrade a group of 4 of his friends on board despite us being told before the flight that MH never upgraded. However how many of us in the same position would not do the same for family or friend; there are not that many perks to many jobs now. I am sure we have all done it in different ways!

[This message has been edited by simonsmith (edited 03-17-2003).]
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Old Mar 17, 03, 1:08 pm
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Rows 9 & 11 are the best seats in Y on a KLM 747-400 - see other threads on this site for further evidence.

So, let us put this in an objective perspective, srodr:

1] You got comped to PE despite having never flown KLM;
2] You got your miles matched by KLM;
3] You got offered the best 2 rows on the flight in Y [I personally prefer row 11 to 9 as it is quieter & one can use the space next to the seat for one's briefcase, reading matter, etc];
4] You paid Y but wanted to fly C [Like simonsmith said, you probably got given bucketloads of miles for free in the comp - why did you not just use some of them for the upgrade?].

You asked us KLM PE's how we would handle this - As a Platinum Elite who has earned every single one of my miles [most of them paid for privately these days], and who does not always get the seat of my choice despite that, my response would have to be, srodr: If you are that unhappy, then please do not fly KLM again, and let us real PEs have a greater chance at getting the good seats that we deserve.

------------------
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Old Mar 17, 03, 1:56 pm
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First of all, all those comped Plat Elite members did not get their status and miles for free.They had to fly exactly the same amount of miles every other "regular" Royal Wing had to fly, actually 50 % of the total in a shorter time frame. As far as I can remember 12000 FD points within 6 months.
All regular Royal Wings were required to fly 24000 miles in 12 months to qualify or renew their Royal Wing status, so no freebies at all.....

Maybe I am one of the few members here, who was a Royal Wing before, but nevertheless was able to get some miles comped as well, but I think some attitudes shown here in previous months and in this thread are way too arrogant and do not belong here....

And it does not make any difference, if your status was "paid" by your company or by yourself, right ??
If someone is not happy with KLM`s decision,even after all these months, please open a seperate thread, but do not spice up every single discussion with sarcastic remarks....

To add some comments to the original question...

As posted earlier, if someone wants to fly C he has to pay some more $$$ or burn some miles, there is no guarantee to get upgraded, even if you would be on top of a
virtual "to be upgraded list" based on your Plat Elite status...

I second your opinion that the whole situation was handled poorly and that the purser should have taken over the situation.
The situation was somehow embarrasing, but
those things happen and you gave up your seat after all.Beside that someone originally seated in row 11 is either an elite member as well or paid some serious $$$ to get there in 99 out of 100 cases....

Maybe worth another discussion, but you posted that the upgraded person was able to speak Dutch, so I assume he is a Dutch national.So I guess KLM would upgrade a Dutch national first in these situations again in 99 out of 100 cases and that is probadly the same handling you will find on LH, IB or any other airline...., certainly based on the fact that all have the same status.
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Old Mar 17, 03, 3:00 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Beside that someone originally seated in row 11 is either an elite member as well or paid some serious $$$ to get there...

I guess KLM would upgrade a Dutch national first in these situations ... and that is probadly the same handling you will find on any other airline.</font>

Very true observation Threy!

I agree the diplomatic aspects were poorly handled, and might have asked for my original 9C assignement back, were it not for the transfer to the more private, and roomy enough row 11 (my favorite on KL 744's in coach).
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Old Mar 17, 03, 5:02 pm
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[quote]<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Threy:
so no freebies at all.....
_____________________________________________

Threy, I accept your point about the fact that those comped did have to 'work' to get the comp, but don't agree that there were 'no freebies at all' - all those comped miles were free!!
_____________________________________________
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Threy:

I think some attitudes shown here in previous months and in this thread are way too arrogant and do not belong here....

If someone is not happy with KLM`s decision,even after all these months, please open a seperate thread, but do not spice up every single discussion with sarcastic remarks....
_____________________________________________

We were specifically asked what our opinions were on a specific situation, and we were merely expressing those opinions. I see nothing arrogant nor sarcastic in being honest about it, and it does not appear to me that 'every single discussion' has been so 'spiced up' as you put it; However I accept that it is only natural that being human, our opinions are often clouded by our personal perceptions of the circumstances.

As for letting KLM know, I have.
_____________________________________________
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Threy:

As posted earlier, if someone wants to fly C he has to pay some more $$$ or burn some miles, there is no guarantee to get upgraded, even if you would be on top of a
virtual "to be upgraded list" based on your Plat Elite status...
_____________________________________________
Agree entirely with you Threy - been there! Have not managed to get C seats on occasions, with Miles or $$$; Actually think there aren't enough C seats on KLM these days.
_____________________________________________
Originally posted by Threy:

I second your opinion that the whole situation was handled poorly and that the purser should have taken over the situation.
The situation was somehow embarrasing, but
those things happen and you gave up your seat after all.Beside that someone originally seated in row 11 is either an elite member as well or paid some serious $$$ to get there in 99 out of 100 cases....

Maybe worth another discussion, but you posted that the upgraded person was able to speak Dutch, so I assume he is a Dutch national.So I guess KLM would upgrade a Dutch national first in these situations again in 99 out of 100 cases and that is probadly the same handling you will find on LH, IB or any other airline...., certainly based on the fact that all have the same status.[/B]</font>
Again I agree - it's that human thing again...

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[This message has been edited by WKS (edited 03-17-2003).]
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