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KLM ‘to hike baggage fees by 25 per cent’

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Published: 13/03/2015 - Filed under: News »

KLM intends to hike its checked baggage fees by 25 per cent, according to reports.

The Dutch carrier was the first conventional airline to introduce the charge for short-haul passengers two years ago (see news, February 2013).

Full details of the rise are still awaited, but understanding KLM's current baggage fees is not for the faint-hearted. Visit the airline's website and you'll see what I mean.

It is believed the new fees, which will apply to passengers flying within Europe who purchase tickets on or after April 1, will see the lowest charge rising from €15 to €20 per piece.

Charges may be higher if fees are paid at the airport rather than in advance, and KLM may make some exceptions if you are travelling on a full fare ticket or have high frequent flyer status.

As at present, the fees are unlikely to apply if you are connecting between short- and long-haul flights or vice versa.

KLM's introduction of such fees in 2013 was followed by British Airways. The difference is that BA was cleverer in marketing these tariffs as "hand baggage only" fares.

But KLM and BA are not alone. From this autumn, the Lufthansa Group, namely Lufthansa itself plus Austrian and Swiss, will introduce similar hand baggage only fares.

Indeed, Brussels Airlines (another Lufthansa subsidiary) has been offering similar fares since September to "respond to consumer demand" and Swiss has been selling these tariffs for its Geneva flights.

Lufthansa announced its new tariffs would be applied across the board at the ITB trade show in Berlin last week and yesterday Swiss followed suit. We now await official confirmation from Austrian Airlines.

KLM's move, if it goes ahead as planned, shows that once such a fee has been introduced there is nothing to stop a carrier from changing its price or conditions.

For example, as we reported last week (see news, March 2), BA will no longer provide advance seat selection to Executive Club members travelling on hand baggage tariffs.

All European carriers either lose money or just break even on their short flights (because short flights are mainly intended to feed long-haul services rather than carry point-to-point passengers).

So, ancillary fees such as these are a perfect way to raise revenue without increasing the headline price and so they can better compete with budget carriers.

klm.com

Alex McWhirter

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Aren't there considerable discounts for all Fyling Blue members - even basic ones? So it's worth joining just for that.

Hello CromartyScot

It's still free for some Flying Blue tiers. But, as KLM says, "to continue keeping our tickets nicely priced" Ivory members have been paying a fee since last October.

http://www.klm.com/travel/gb_en/about/news_press/travel_news/new_baggage_rules_for_ivory_members.htm

At the present time, it is unclear what the situation will be like after April 01 as KLM has yet to make an official announcement. But the reaction from readers of today's De Telegraaf (which broke the story in Holland) is entirely negative.

This will cause conflict at check in and KLM will lose business simple.
They made so much publicity about charging for baggage yet balancing this with lower baggage free fares, and also one way fares at around £70, with one way Business fares dramatically decreasing. These simply disappeared after 3 months, so it it really deceiving their customers. AF is the problem in profits, not KLM. It ow WILL be cheaper as low cost Airlines are offering more that KLM did, and KLM are offering less than the low cost do. Bad move KLM, you will lose out not u, as we shall opt for other carriers!

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