Thursday, 22 September 2016
Andy Gillion: How #KLM lost his guitar ruined Andy's European tour... and still no apology!
Just thought I'd share my experience flying with KLM!
After arriving at Dusseldorf airport following my flight, I waited patiently at the baggage area for my guitar. I asked for assistance from various staff members and was met with a distasteful shrug of the shoulders and a scornful look. I was told to simply wait, so wait I did - for 2 hours. I was also joined by no less than 5 others from the same KLM flight who's baggage had also somehow not made it onto the flight. The man behind the "Lost Baggage" desk asked me which airline I flew with and when I said, "KLM", he sighed - "that doesn't surprise me" and began to explain how KLM loses people's belongings "All the time".
I filed my claim and gave an address for my missing guitar to be sent. I stated very clearly that I was on tour with my band and therefore change location every day, so the guitar would have to be delivered on Tuesday (5 days from then) to one of the venues in Germany. When I called KLM two days later to check the delivery progress, I was told the guitar was "on its way".
When I called again that evening, I was abruptly informed that there had been a mistake and KLM had accidentally given my guitar the same baggage code as another missing bag...and the guitar was still "missing". Finally, after 3 days, it was found still sitting in Amsterdam airport.
Despite calling KLM a dozen times over the course of the next couple of days, no-one was able to give me any information on the delivery of the guitar, but I was repeatedly promised it would arrive on Tuesday. I asked repeatedly for a tracking number or simply the name of the delivery company, but KLM refused to tell me anything saying it's not in their policy to tell me these things...
However, I was promised, yet again, that it would definitely be with me on Tuesday. When Tuesday came, I called KLM and was told the guitar was on the delivery van and would be with me any time before 10pm, but the driver would call me 2 hours before to confirm. I received no such call, but continued to wait outside from noon-10pm until finally giving up hope. I tried to call KLM but conveniently, the phoneline had closed. As I am a touring musician, by this point, KLM were now responsible for a loss of 5 days earnings.
I woke up on day 6 of the tour and called KLM at 7.30am. They had no idea why my guitar hadn't been delivered the night before and couldn't even tell me where it was, only apologise soullessly from the same script I'd been read a hundred times. They actually sounded bored of saying sorry and I was bored of hearing it. I told them that the last and final chance would be to deliver the guitar the same day to Hamburg, where myself and the band were now located. KLM told me they "updated the system with the new address" and that this time it would definitely be delivered. I found their confidence to be quite remarkable given that they didn't actually know where my guitar currently was.
Again I waited patiently, trusting my guitar would this time be delivered. By 9:30pm, I called KLM once more asking for information. After being put on hold for over 10 minutes I was told that the guitar was in fact sat in Dusseldorf airport and hadn't been anywhere near getting delivered to me, despite KLM insisting on two occassions that it was "on the van and would be with me tonight" - all lies. I was fed with another apology and the operator asked again, "where would you like the guitar to be sent?"
"Home," I replied reluctantly, accepting that any other option from this point would likely result in me never seeing my guitar again. 10 more concerts from this point are to be ruined as a result.
Flying with KLM has not only been one of the most stressful experiences of my life, but has renderred me unable to work and put a 3-week musical tour in jeopardy. Thousands of tickets have been sold and I can only explain to these people that KLM are responsible for letting them down.
As a KLM "Flying Blue" member I'm frankly disgusted with the incompetence of the company. Managing to forget to put someone's luggage on a flight is one thing, but the lack of responsibility to own up to this mistake and put it right is disgraceful. I can only assume KLM's "Flying Blue" membership refers to flying blue in the face, holding your breath waiting for your luggage to be found.