Even KLM Employees Are Confused Over Amsterdam’s Checked Baggage Ban: Know Before You Go

Amsterdam’s baggage systems broke down and KLM informed passengers that connecting passengers couldn’t check bags on Thursday, July 21.

It was unclear – and KLM was no help in clarifying – but my read of the message has been that this applies to connections within Europe (traveling from one European city to another via Amsterdam) and not to transoceanic travel.

Reader Don shares his experience this morning checking in for a trip to the U.S. via Amsterdam. A check-in agent tried to tell him no checked bags would be permitted, but he persisted and was allowed to check bags since he was flying to the U.S.:

We just checked in at [Oslo] for our KLM trip [Oslo-Amsterdam-Atlanta]… The first thing the check-in agent said as we walked up to her with our luggage was, “I’m sorry you can’t check your luggage today,” and then began to try to explain.

I immediately cut her off and said, “Yes, I read that notice on your webpage last night, but to my reading it only applies to flying from Europe to Europe via [Amsterdam], and NOT to America via [Amsterdam].”

She frowned but decided to call her supervisor who confirmed that what I said was correct. So she allowed us to check 3 bags.

He secured a copy of KLM’s more detailed memo showing that the luggage ban actually applies onto to connecting travel within Europe.

We’ll see if Don’s bags make it – but a front line KLM agent believed the ban on bags applied to all passengers, while a supervisor believed (correctly, it seems) it applies only within Europe as I suggested.

But what does a passenger do here if they bring bags to the airport and they’re told those bags cannot be checked? KLM should have to rebook the passenger on another airline through a different hub. That doesn’t appear to be on offer. Instead KLM is simply saying ‘reschedule your trip or take a voucher’ – not even a refund. How do you feel about those vaunted European consumer protections now?

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