Sunday, January 10, 2010
The KLM Nightmare!
The Royal Dutch Airline. Supposed to be a good one. If like me, you travel from the North America to the Middle East [or even Europe] a lot, you’re probably quite familiar with the airline, given that it’s usually easy to find tickets for any time of the year. But honestly, I think my trip to Iran and back, was probably my last KLM experience EVER. I’ve had it with them. The flights always end up nightmare-ish, and there hasn’t been a single time when I’ve been in and out of the Shiphol Airport [Amsterdam] without some sort of a horror story.
Coming back from Iran, as I wrote in the last post, I was in pretty rough shape. I was really hoping for a painless trip, which unfortunately is exactly the opposite of what I had. The flight from Tehran to Amsterdam wasn’t “that” bad, just the usual hassle with the terribly tightly placed seats of KLM. In the Shiphol Airport [aka the bane of my existence] as usual we checked the info boards for our flight time and gate a few times, last of which was about 30 minutes before we headed to the gate.
When we arrived to the gate, the check in line was pretty huge, as expected for that time of the year. SO we stood in the line. First the security checked our boarding passes and passports, and then we entered the 2 kilometer line for having our hand luggage checked. As usual for this bloody airport, they had us empty our backpacks on their checking tables, take off our jackets, earphones, …, all the way down to my boots. The point is, we were in that bloody line for nearly an hour and a half. So then came the final security check before boarding… and that’s when the officer gives us this weird look:
- “Oh uhmm… says here you’re going to Toronto?”
- “Well yes?!”
- “But… but that’s not possible, we’re going to Washington!!”
- “Exactly WHAT are you talking about??”
- “The gate was changed!”
So, well, my eyes went round. Apparently the gate had changed while we were standing in the bloody line [we have a habit of going early!] and NO ONE had made an announcement. Worse than that, the bloody security had CHECKED OUR BOARDING PASSES AND LET US IN!!!!! We ran back to the new gate, but the flight had already left, and NO ONE HAD CALLED OUR NAMES OUT. Imagine that. I mean how incompetent can people be??
Given my past experiences with the bloody airport and the sodding airline, I knew what we needed to do then. We went to the transfer desk, and I had to explain to the less than smart people in charge how they had messed up. They said that there was another plane leaving for TO about 4 hours later, and they’re going to put us on the waiting list for that flight. Of course since it was holidays time, it was quite possible we’d not be able to get on that plane. So then I asked them what we were supposed to do if we can’t get in that plane, and they said we may have to think about a hotel.. ah well, my tiredness mixed with full annoyance and the gas poisoning left me no patience for staying at a hotel for God knows how long… we really had to get on that plane. I was thinking to myself, that quite possibly, I’ll have to start shouting at them like the last time [about which I will write next!], for them to understand the mess they’ve made and put us on the next plane….
Anyway… we were in that airport for nearly 7 hours, after which we finally did get on that next plane. That is of course, after repeating the bloody irritating process of getting checked. The entire trip was about a good 20 hours. When we arrived to Toronto, I was only 10% conscious. Ah well, at least we arrived…
But hey, the back to Iran trip wasn’t even my worst experience with KLM. I had one even worse than that. =P A couple of years ago, when I was going to Switzerland for the Christmas holidays, my plane from Toronto to Zurich was stuck on the ground for more than 7 hours, with the passengers actually sitting in it! Supposedly it was due to the bad weather, except all other flights from other airlines left with no trouble… The 7 hour delay of course resulted in me missing my flight from Amsterdam to Zurich. Me, and everyone else on the plane! So it was a real mess. First I had to walk the length of the Shiphol Airport 50 times back and forth to find out where I should go and who I should talk to, in order to get myself on another plane. And once I got there, it looked like they had NO idea what they were going to do with the crowd of irritated people standing in front of them. What’s funny is that there was NO talk of putting us in a hotel or something, and since again it was crowded and all seats in all planes were fully booked, they seemed to not even have any hopes of getting us to hour destinations any time soon.
Finally I lost it. I was tired, irritated and annoyed as hell. And of course worried about what was going to happen to my luggage. So the next person who gave me the impression that they simply didn’t know what they were talking about, got me shouting. Yeah, that doesn’t happen very often…. I had to scream at them, in order to get them to put me in the next flight and send me to Zurich. My entire trip was more than 24 hours… yeah, fun!
A rather odd coincidence was that there was this old Polish lady with me on the plane to Amsterdam, and when I was flying back from Amsterdam to Toronto I saw her again, she was on the same plane… again! What are the chances of that anyway? Well, she told me that there were people from the Toronto to Amsterdam flight that I was on, who actually got stuck in the bloody Shiphol airport for days, before they were put on a plane to anywhere or given a hotel room to. Very uncool eh?
So that’s what KLM is like. Their security people often shout and scream at you if you so much as look at them wrong, their stewards and stewardesses often won’t bring you a sodding glass of water even after you ask for it 5 times, their seats are soooo tightly arranged that won’t let you an easy breath, and their food is just… well… I’m not even going to start with that….
Even though I don’t like bashing and badmouthing… I had to write this. Actually a couple of my friends suggested I should do so too.. I guess I’m hoping it’ll save someone some trouble, if they read this and not go for KLM. =)