KLM package deals are no KLM package deals

A reader wants to close a package deal on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines‘ website including a flight to Chicago. However, the site is not clear about the possibilities of a package deal if you fly further to another US city.

He wants to book flights Chicago-St. Louis-Amsterdam in combination with 3 nights in Chicago. Thus, he asks KLM by email whether it is possible. KLM tells him he should call them because it is too complicated to discuss it by email.

When he calls KLM, an associate tells him after quite some time that he can’t find it on the website either. Therefore, he puts him on hold to consult a colleague. After 15 minutes he tells our reader it is not possible and cannot say anything else about it.

Our reader files a complaint, but receives by email a response to a question he had not asked. The email states that a package deal is no longer possible after a flight has been booked.

We ask KLM about this interaction, but the carrier declines any comment. The reason is that KLM Package Deals are no KLM products, but rather Airtrade products. (Airtrade is registered in the Dutch trade register, while 10 establishments have been struck out.) Thus, we also asked Airtrade for their view. They don’t deny that our reader’s story is right, but they don’t want to comment either.

If you search the KLM site for a package deal, you get the following announcement: “You book directly at KLM, so that you always get a competitive price.” This is misleading because the reality is that you don’t book at KLM, but rather buy an Airtrade Package Deal. Small wonder that KLM declines any comment.

If you search meticulously, you can find on the website that you enter into an agreement with Airtrade. A small pop-up screen will appear with the text:
“You have entered into an agreement with Airtrade under certain conditions. We draw your attention to this during the booking and you need to agree with the information that is mentioned or referred to.”

It is true that at the end of the booking process – when you need to pay - you need to tick a box with the fine print that you agree with the conditions. Obviously, KLM hates transparency as much as other airlines.

When you visit the KLM site 18 cookies will immediately be put on your computer. If you continue a number of other cookies will be added, including tracking cookies from third parties like social media networks. They are able to follow your internet behavior. You can only avoid it by not using the KLM site at all.

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