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KLM creates a problem that Delta solves

On February 22, 2018 we posted an article about an American passenger’s experience with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, which you can read here. He makes a long trip from Durham Teesside Valley Airport in England via Amsterdam and Seattle to Kalispell in Montana, USA. After check-in KLM takes his bag off the plane and would “dispose” of it, while it is unclear what this means.

On arrival in the USA he calls a local KLM office to ask about his bag. Amazingly, they not only apologize for the flight clerk’s error, but also tell him – most likely unauthorized - that she would be disciplined. Also, they tell him they will recover his luggage and have it returned to him.


On arrival in the USA he calls a local KLM office to ask about his bag. Amazingly, they not only apologize for the flight clerk’s error, but also tell him – most likely unauthorized - that she would be disciplined. Also, they tell him they will recover his luggage and have it returned to him.

Nevertheless, he sends an email that includes our article to KLM. The airline responds by asking for “more information in how we may assist you in regards to this matter.” KLM seems to be asking a customer to tell them how to recover his bag.

When he points out again that he wants his bag to be reunited with him, they tell him to fill out an E-claim form. KLM forwards the form to Delta Air Lines that handles correspondence for passengers residing in the USA.

Delta asks him to list all the items in his baggage. As it is 5 months after he packed his bag, it is difficult to recall every item, but he sends a list to Delta. The carrier appears to handle the case professionally, the difference with KLM could not have been greater.

Our reader receives soon a message from Delta telling him who has been assigned as his claims agent and giving him a Delta Case Number. From the day he reported his luggage missing tracing agents are searching for his baggage via electronic tracing applications in addition to physical searches of numerous baggage service locations.

Eventually, Delta appears unable to recover the bag that KLM had disposed of. However, within 3 weeks Delta sends him a check worth $1,646 (€1,340) as compensation. Although it does not fully cover his loss, it seems a reasonable amount. Hopefully, Delta can declare it with KLM.

The lesson is that travelers should be aware that KLM may treat them unprofessionally and may dispose of their bags, while the airline refuses to explain what it means. Our reader was lucky in that he flew only 1 segment on KLM and the other segments on Delta and Alaska Airlines.

Delta solved the problem that KLM had created. But if you fly only KLM, you may miss out on any compensation at all. In that case you would need to go to court or the Dutch aviation watchdog - the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) - in an attempt to get some compensation.

Tags: bag loss, compensation, KLM, Delta Air Lines

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