KLM to start charging for check-in luggage

Ghetto IFE points out that KLM is adopting a low-cost carrier approach to checked luggage. Whilst that's true I wouldn't go as far as calling them LCC, just negatively influenced by the USA model.

The public announcement is here

So if you need to book a European flight with KLM and need to check in luggage, make sure you do it before 22nd April 2013. Otherwise it's a €15 charge per suitcase for pre-booking and €30 at the airport.

You will have a 1 free suitcase allowance if:

  • You are a Flying Blue member. Flying Blue Elite members too will be able to bring 1 suitcase for free.

  • You are travelling on a corporate or a BlueBiz account.

  • You book a fully flexible ticket (booking class Y or B) within Europe.

  • You are flying to Belarus, Georgia, Italy, Russia, Turkey or the Ukraine. Or on an intercontinental KLM flight – including if you will be flying within Europe as part of an intercontinental journey.

The one that strikes me as odd is the first bullet point. Its ambiguous wording suggests that a Flying Blue member of any level can get a free bag. Whilst I highly suspect they actually you need to have some level of elite status with them, that's not what's written. Still, I'd sign up for an account just in case!

Hand luggage comprising “1 bag and 1 accessory” (bag's maximum dimensions 55x25x35 cm) must have a combined weight of under 12kg. Hand luggage will remain free.

The aviation industry's margins have shrunk to barely anything in recent times, so this doesn't surprise me all that much. For those who do fly LCCs or North America domestically, you will see just how much more people use their cabin baggage allowance compared to Europe. As Ghetto IFE points out, this seems merely a revenue booster, especially since I can't see them reducing fares for light travellers.

What's your take? Are KLM going the way of LCC? Is introducing the fee a bad or smart move?

About Tim

Tim is a Chartered Engineer and a typical nerd who analyses every travel deal, travel hack. He has travelled to around 90 countries and also speaks Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin.

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  1. had an email today, and as an Ivory card holder (=no status except having signed up for a card) I get the bag charge waived. Sounds to me like a great plan to get people to join the FB club.

    • I didn’t get any emails — do you mind if you forward it to me? info[at]pointstobemade.com if it looks interesting I’ll make a follow up post about it (with credit to you of course!)

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