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Weird (unfortunately usual) experience at Schiphol

Weird (unfortunately usual) experience at Schiphol

Old Sep 11, 07, 8:17 am
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Join Date: Jul 2001
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Weird (unfortunately usual) experience at Schiphol

I was flying back the other day on NW 53 from AMS to DTW. Upon checkin at the front of the airport I asked the agent if the plane was full. She said that it was oversold by 18 in coach and there were only 9 passengers up front. To a Platinum traveling in Economy, these were wonderful numbers (WBC on the 330 seats 34). I therefore got to the gate early, showed the gate agent my Platinum card, said that I heard they were oversold in coach, and asked about the likelihood that I might get an upgrade. She said that they were also oversold in WBC, and that there would be no upgrades. I was now confused about how WBC got filled so quickly, but I went on the next question: "So, you will be asking for volunteers?" She said no. I thought that she misunderstood, so I asked the question more clearly, "You will be asking for passengers to volunteer to fly later today or on other routes?" She said "NO, we choose who will not fly. It is a matter of security."
I then boarded in coach, and within 10 minutes of boarding the same gate agent that I had spoken with came on board and gave me a boarding pass for my new seat in WBC. I just thanked her (what was the point of saying more).
To me, this highlights the differences between KLM ground agents and NWA. At NW, an agent might have said initially that my chances looked good for an upgrade, or it was too early to tell, but at KLM the rule seems to be to just lie.
ehe123 is offline  
Old Sep 11, 07, 8:23 am
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That was definitely handed poorly, but sometimes I think NW people's run ins with KLM staff mainly reflect cultural differences. The Dutch are a very straightforward and no-nonsense people. Their, for lack of a term, "abruptness" can often be intrepreted by americans as "rudeness", whereas I think they are just giving the service (Quick and efficent, if "cold")that the dutch appreciate.
humanoid94 is offline  
Old Sep 11, 07, 8:29 am
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Originally Posted by humanoid94 View Post
That was definitely handed poorly, but sometimes I think NW people's run ins with KLM staff mainly reflect cultural differences. The Dutch are a very straightforward and no-nonsense people. Their, for lack of a term, "abruptness" can often be intrepreted by americans as "rudeness", whereas I think they are just giving the service (Quick and efficent, if "cold")that the dutch appreciate.
Unless the rules in Amsterdam are different on soliciting volunteers, then, the agent lied. This is not a matter of providing nice vs. rude service, or quick and efficient vs. friendly. This is a matter of lying to the customer.
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Old Sep 11, 07, 9:06 am
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The GA's in AMS definitely have a different approach. I've never been able to score a TATL opup or bump, even on oversold flights. Sweet-talking doesn't go very far there. They do lie sometimes, but NW staff lies just as much (let's not forget about "F IS CHECKED IN FULL!"). It's just a matter of the way answers are given, and I totally agree with humanoid94 that this is a cultural difference. Instead of "yeah, sure, maybe... have a seat and we'll see", they'd rather say "no!".
florin is offline  
Old Sep 11, 07, 9:38 am
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In feb I had the opposite results with KLM at AMS. On a full Y flight from AMS to YVR they did solicit volunteers (I volunteered) and instead of the bump I received a WBC seat. They did not upgrade only platinums for opups - just those that volunteered (no complaints since I got it anyway). I know it helped that I had no checked bags.
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Old Sep 11, 07, 10:04 am
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I too have found the AMS agents rather "cold" but it could be partly due to cultural differences.
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Old Sep 11, 07, 10:18 am
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Last week on NW33 AMS-SEA I got bounced around in coach throughout the day of the flight and asked 6 people about getting my original/better seat or upgrade... it wasn't until the gate agent that I got something along the lines of give me your boarding pass and I'll see what I can do... ultimately got a WBC seat and I am only elite on Alaska.

I wouldn't say that they're rude or that that they lie, but that the mannerism is fully a euro/dutch thing. Their approach is more of a: if you wanted business class, you should be paying for it...
brarrr is offline  
Old Sep 11, 07, 11:03 am
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Oversold to the US=no volunteers
Oversold to Canada= 700 cash + hotel...

I've come across the same situation.
AMS-YUL, oversold, asking for volunteers...
1 week later, AMS-ATL, oversold, I ask to volunteer and am told that it is not allowed because of security and checked baggage. I had just arrived at the gate from my connection and my bags didn't make it on the flight anyway

See the thread I started from this experience here.
GBadger is offline  
Old Sep 11, 07, 11:15 am
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Originally Posted by brarrr View Post
Their approach is more of a: if you wanted business class, you should be paying for it...
And yet this thread has numerous responses of people paying for Y and getting a free bump to WBC, including yourself.
SchmutzigMSP is offline  
Old Sep 11, 07, 11:21 am
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Surprised by an intra-Europe op-up just today.

Flew KL1281 AMS-EDI this afternoon on an award ticket. AMS-EDI gets a mix of 737s and Fokkers depending on time of day (and by corollary, demand level). Midday is pretty light, so 1281 is on a little F70.

I was connecting from LYS-AMS (which was also an F70, although the plane in line behind us for takeoff at LYS was a wee bit bigger) and at checkin in LYS I was assigned seat 12C, which was fine with me as it was an aisle, around the wing.

At AMS, nobody said anything about anything until we were going out the gate (D6D) to the bus. GA was putting BP's in the reader, and a bunch of people were getting different seat assignments at that point - pretty late in the process if you ask me!

Anyway, the machine beeped and spit back the BP of the guy 2 ahead of me in line, and the GA said that oh, he had been upgraded due to a change of equipment. (Huh? It was an F70, like my itinerary from NWA.com said it was supposed to be.) At that point, I thought, "Gee, I'm ST E+, I wonder if it's gonna do that to me, too?"

Sure enough, it did! BEEP! I said to the GA, "Ooh, what did I win?" She laughed and gave me 2D.

A couple came on after me and sat in 2E/2F, and the husband jokingly complained about "business class" being 3-across in the same seats as the back. 1A/1C were still empty when the door closed, and the FA said sure I could move across there, so the couple got the correct 3:2 seatax ratio for Europe Select, and I had an empty seat next to me, too. ^

And this time, I actually got the Euro Select food, unlike last time when I was "upgraded" into a jammed ES section and got no special food.
DanTravels is offline  
Old Sep 11, 07, 5:13 pm
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Yeah, they quite often oversell on AMS-EDI and vv. I had a 100% operational upgrade success rate on EDI-AMS in 2005 when the KLMuk one-class product was first replaced by the two-class. I regarded it as payback for all the years spent paying full price for an all-Y cabin

As for operational upgrades on long-haul out of AMS, consider yourself very lucky to have got even one in your lifetime of dealing with KL gate agents. Ask on the KLM forum and you'll find plenty of folks who still have a 0% rate after more than a decade as a top tier. The whole process is much less transparent, more random and more badly-managed than it is in the US.
ajamieson is offline  
Old Sep 11, 07, 9:34 pm
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i'm confused.....the original poster (OP) is mad with the tone from the gate agent (GA) whilst getting a free upgrade to business class on an amsterdam to detroit flight?

i would be so happy that the agent could have said "go to he*l" whilst handing me the boarding pass and i wouldn't have cared.

fly co to see the yanks is offline  
Old Sep 11, 07, 9:38 pm
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KLM: "It's not possible..."

I think it's cultural differences.
ATP Pilot is offline  
Old Sep 12, 07, 12:17 am
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As an "Americanized-Dutchman," I would chalk this up to a cultural difference. We tell it like it is, whats the point of skirting around the issue?

Would you rather have been told "No", and then be surprised by the upgrade, or be told, "well maybe, we'll see what we can do," get your hopes up and then not get the upgrade?
Big_Dutch is offline  
Old Sep 12, 07, 6:36 am
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What's wrong with a little hope every now and then?
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