A reader shares his experience with his Flying Blue membership in the USA. Flying Blue is KLM Royal Dutch Airlines’ and Air France’s frequent flyer program. The reader has the highest status in the program, which is platinum for life. But he discovers that it is fairly worthless in the USA.
He flies KLM’s American SkyTeam partner Delta Air Lines on several routes within the USA. KLM advertises with “worldwide access to SkyTeam lounges.” Nonetheless, a lounge agent denies the reader access to a Delta lounge. Therefore, he asks us whether Delta lounges are not considered SkyTeam lounges or whether there is some other reason.
The reader should keep in mind that advertising aims at seducing (potential) customers. By definition, advertising paints a (too) rosy picture of a product or service. So be aware that the terms & conditions may state something that is inconsistent with KLM’s rosy picture.
Business class passenger
Flying Blue advertises on KLM’s website: “As a Business Class passenger, Flying Blue Platinum and Gold member or as a SkyTeam Elite Plus member you can also access many of our partner airline lounges worldwide.” In practice, however, lounge access is very limited. Access will be denied in many KLM partner airline lounges worldwide.
Platinum for life
The reader’s experience illustrates it very well. He is both a business class passenger and a Flying Blue platinum for life member. Yet, he is denied access to Delta lounges. This is due to the fact that he doesn’t have a same day international flight on a SkyTeam airline. The latter is according to the terms & conditions required for lounge access.
Flying Blue is a poor program compared to Lufthansa’s Miles & More when it comes to lounge access. Suppose you are a senator (gold member) of Miles & More and you are in a similar situation. Thus, you fly business class within the USA on Lufthansa’s American partner United Airlines.
Lounge access for senators
Both Lufthansa and United are Star Alliance members. In the USA, a Miles & More senator has unconditional access to all United lounges. This is in stark contrast to Flying Blue platinum members. They have only access to Delta lounges if they fly internationally with a SkyTeam airline on the same day.
Related: “The end of loyalty in the airline industry”
Tags: Flying Blue, Miles & More, SkyTeam, Star Alliance, lounge access