Thursday, April 02, 2015

one of the reasons why i (still) love klm

I first wrote this post in September 2013 after returning from a business trip in London. I was supposedly upgraded to Business Class on the AMS-LHR leg, but was not served any food, rendering me treated less than even an Economy Class passenger.

It was a much smaller craft due to it being a regional flight, so the upgrade didn't make any difference to me in terms of comfort nor amenities. It was my first time being upgraded so I wasn't sure what I was supposed to get, and didn't want to cause a scene. I looked longingly towards the back as the air stewardess served the other passengers their food and drinks. At that time I wished I wasn't upgraded!

Upon my return to Japan, I decided to send in an inquiry to KLM, and this is what they responded with... (nevermind they got my gender wrong!) :

Dear Mr Lee,

Thank you for your message. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience you mention.

I am sorry to learn that you did not receive a meal on your recent flight with us from Amsterdam to London and can well appreciate your disappointment.

Although catering does not form part of the contract we have with our passengers, and is offered on a complimentary basis, we fully  understand that it is sometimes one of the factors taken into consideration when choosing an airline and as such is considered important by our passengers.

Our airline carefully plans the number of meals required per flight and per cabin, and the number finally delivered is based on the final number of checked passengers; last minute acceptance of passengers in certain situations does not allow our caterers to load the extra meals without risking delaying the flight departure. This is normally communicated to the passengers in question although our crew will do their utmost to offer a solution.I very much regret that this seems to have been your case and apologise again for the negative impression you were left with on this occasion.
However, in recognition of your understandable disappointment, as a gesture of goodwill; we are pleased to advise that a nonrefundable Travel Compensation Voucher to the value of EUR50 (MYR211) will be forwarded to the below address:

The voucher can be used for payment of ticket for carriage on KLM and Air France flights.  Please refer to the terms and conditions behind the cover of the vouchers for more details.  The tickets for Air France and KLM can be issued in any Air France and KLM offices worldwide.

Should you decide to utilise the vouchers through your travel agent, please request your agent to contact us for the procedure.  The vouchers are valid for one year from the date of issuance and can be transferred to another person once. The amount stated can only be used for the passenger indicated on the vouchers.

Please be informed that usage of the vouchers for internet bookings is only allowed in Malaysia.  In this case, please make your reservation online and select the payment option “cash payment”. The issuance of ticket will have to be processed at our ticketing office at the Park Royal Hotel.

Once again, please accept our apologies for the difficulties you had experienced. We hope that our message will restore your trust in our company and that you will give us the pleasure of welcoming you again on one of our flights soon and we look forward to serving you to your entire satisfaction.

Kind regards,
C.Effendi (Ms)

Asia Pacific Customer Care Officer KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

I really liked how they came back with this nicely-worded apology and explanatory email. It gives me all the details I needed to know why what happened, happened, and what they were willing to do, to appease the customer.

Like I said, I did not expect to be upgraded, but if there was no food available I'd rather be back at Economy. But it didn't really matter since it was a short flight.

Nevermind if this was a canned response, I can tell that their Customer Care department had been well trained. I left the email as it is, since the voucher probably reached my parents' home and none of us would have been able to use the voucher!

A little courtesy, good communication and plenty of consideration goes a long way.

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