Okay, calm down I’m not swearing, honest. That is not like me. But I really must say KLM you little Fokker and not in a good way. I’ve flown on a little Fokker before, in fact many times. You can’t get enough of the fokkers with the KLM fleet, apparently they have 23 of them. However my most recent trip on a little Fokker revealed some inconsistency in how I was treated by KLM.
Virtually anyone flying from Amsterdam Schipol to the UK will be familiar with these fokkers. They are a fleet of smaller aircraft used by KLM Cityhopper to service many of the regional airports in the UK. I’ve been flying on Fokkers very frequently over the last 14 years. In fact I’m sure my flight to Amsterdam in around 1998 was probably on a Fokker too.
So how did this little Fokker annoy me?
I was flying home from a week’s business trip. I’d taken one European KLM flight into Schipol and now I was to take the short flight across the North Sea to my local airport.
I was a bit miffed anyway for a variety of reasons so my mood wasn’t good.
First off I was quite late to my first airport in Norway to catch my flight to Amsterdam. It wasn’t really my fault and I much prefer checking in 2 hours before. It just wasn’t possible this day and as soon as I passed security at the airport I was boarding the aircraft.
I’d also accidentally left my iPod in my check-in luggage (schoolboy error I know). As a result I was without musical interference to block out background noise.
I was unsure if the iPod was definitely in my check-in luggage or actually stolen. Whilst going through airport security in Norway the security staff decided to have a good rummage through my carry on bag. They then took it away to re-scan the bag so it was out of my eye sight for a while.
Now don’t get me wrong, I know most security staff are good, honest people. However I’ve travelled too long, been a victim and heard of others suffering to develop my own level of scepticism and not trust strangers, irrespective of uniform.
Then after some respite in the KLM Crown Lounge in Schipol I went down to gate D06 which is where virtually all the KLM flights to the UK go from.
It was manic!
Rather than the usual stroll or 2 minute wait people were literally queuing back beyond the stairs. This is not normal and various people, including myself knew that queue meant I might not make my flight.
After anxiously waiting and calling in my Sky Priority boarding status I eventually got through the security check.
I arrived at my boarding gate to find a long queue in front of me.
Then by the time I got to the front and showed my boarding pass and the passport I was met with this greeting:-
“I’ll just give you this ticket to place on your bag and we’ll put it in the hold.”
I was a little thrown by this.
Admittedly I was not overly happy but I respect the airline staff (TIP. Always respect airline staff, they are just doing their job.) However I did enquire saying “I’ve been catching this flight for years and never had to give up this bag (I’ve used this bag for a while). Have you changed the aircraft for this flight?”
The response was simple and hurried “It is a Fokker 70, it is a Fokker 70.”
I’m not sure why she had to repeat the point immediately but clearly this woman was a little narked off since I dare say she’d had this query already.
So off I went to board the shuttle bus to the aircraft.
Fokker 70 I thought. Yet we’ve nearly always flown on a Fokker aircraft when we’ve flown this route over the years. I couldn’t remember the model number but I wouldn’t forget a brand name like that.
Maybe since she emphasised the point it was a right little Fokker? Yet, somehow this shuttle bus was as full as usual maybe it is a right big Fokker with small overhead cabins? What could it be?
Then our shuttle bus arrived at our aircraft and guess what? Yes, it was the same Fokker as usual. Looked exactly the same as the aircraft I’d flown many dozens of times over the years.
I was then a little more annoyed as I watched a lady in front of me go up the stairs of the aircraft with a very large red bag over her shoulder. That was clearly larger than my carry on and no one stopped her taking it onto this Fokker.
Or did they? Maybe she tore off her label and refused to give up her bag?
Then other ladies with a large hand bag and a carry on bag were going up the stairs. No one stopped them. They get 2 bags and I get none!
That is where I’m going wrong, I need a handbag to get on this Fokker
I watched as around a dozen of us parted possession with a small/mid-sized carry on bags at the bottom of the stairs to the plane.
I took my seat just behind Business Class. Yes, I wasn’t flying KLM Business Class today yet as Platinum Elite I was privileged to get a seat near the front.
Once boarding was announced as complete I gazed around. Yes the plane was fairly full but the overhead cabin storage areas were not overly jam packed. In fact across the row from my seat was a clear space in the overhead cabin storage bin which would very easily accommodate my carry on bag. But no, it was not to be.
I then looked at my feet and the space in front. Would my carry on bag fit in the space in front? Maybe.
Would this space be more than adequate for all those people with shoulder computer bags, absolutely.
So why did this incident with a Fokker annoy me?
Well I’ll tell you.
- this has never happened to me before. I know my hand luggage is adequate in size, that is why I use it. It has always been sufficient for this flight
- I had one piece of hand luggage when others had two. (Okay I know ladies have hand bags and I’m not been sexist, but some of those bags were huge. You’d fit my bag contents in there and they still had another carry on!)
- I know of people who have given up their carry on bag at the hold only to find once arriving at their destination that their laptop or other valuable items have been stolen. I’m not saying this happens often but it does happen. The reason we have carry on is so that our most precious/valuable items remain in our control
- on leaving this Fokker there was a mix up between my case and that of another passenger. It is the first time I’ve seen it but he had the exact same design and style of bag as myself. It was only on checking the label that we managed to correct the error of picking up the wrong item of baggage
- other people got on that flight with larger items of luggage
At the end of the day KLM my message to you is simple, be consistent.
Either a bag is too big or it is adequate. Apply your policy fairly and consistently. Yes the flight was virtually full but there was room for my carry on bag and that of others. Plus a one bag policy should be applied to all when the flight is full.
Yes I know it is not a major big deal. However I was denied access to my possessions whilst on this flight when others with less appropriate baggage were not. I didn’t lose anything (I have a lock on my bag) but the principle remains.
I was not in the best of moods that travel day and this little Fokker didn’t help.