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Avoid KLM’s new short-haul baggage fee by opening a Flying Blue account

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From April 22nd, Dutch airline KLM is taking the somewhat-bold step of introducing baggage charges on all short-haul fights.

(I know that BA has de-facto done this at Gatwick, by giving you a discount on your ticket if you agree not to bring a suitcase.  This is still a rare move by a ‘legacy’ airline, though.)

1 piece of hand baggage and 1 handbag (or other ‘accessory’) will remain free.  The suitcase fee will be €15 per case if booked online, and €30 if you pay at the airport.

There is, however, a way of avoiding this fee.

Flying Blue

There are four scenarios under which you don’t pay the baggage fee for your first suitcase:

  • You are a Flying Blue member
  • You are a SkyTeam Elite Plus member
  • You are travelling on a corporate or a BlueBiz account
  • You book a fully flexible ticket (booking class Y or B) within Europe
  • You are flying to and from Belarus, Georgia, Italy, Russia or the Ukraine. Or on an intercontinental KLM flight – including if you will be flying within Europe as part of an intercontinental journey.

The first bullet point is the key one.  If you have a Flying Blue account – even the basic free one – you will not pay the baggage fee for your first case.

If you ever fly KLM, there is no excuse not to join Flying Blue (see here) and ensure that your membership number is in your bookings.

Note that basic level members of other SkyTeam programmes (Delta etc) do NOT get a free suitcase.  This means that Delta and other SkyTeam base level members need to choose between receiving miles for the flight or taking a free suitcase.  Although, if you’re lucky, you may be able to get a ticket desk to switch the frequent flyer number in your booking after you’ve checked in.


Earning Flying Blue miles from credit cards

How to earn Flying Blue miles from UK credit cards (November 2020)

Air France and KLM do not have a UK Flying Blue credit card.  However, you can earn Flying Blue miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cardsThese are:

Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Flying Blue miles which is an attractive rate.  The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Flying Blue mile. The Gold card earns double points (2 per £1) on all flights you charge to it.

Comments (7)

  • Ninmurai says:

    It’s now been pushed back to 14th May 2013 according to your link

    • Rob says:

      Oops, didn’t spot that. Wrote this one a while back and lined it up for the day before launch …!

  • Sir Stamford says:

    The following statement was recently released by KLM – I have reproduced from the Flying Dutchman forum in Flyertalk:

    In februari heeft KLM aangekondigd per 22 april 2013 haar ruimbagagebeleid voor Europese vluchten te wijzigen. Vanwege de IT-technische problemen van vandaag, wordt de ingangsdatum van het gewijzigde bagagebeleid uitgesteld. Het gewijzigde bagagebeleid is van toepassing op tickets uitgegeven vanaf 14 mei 2013.

    To summarise in English, the implementation was delayed until 14 May 2013 due to IT technical issues.

    Very typical of KLM – the rest of their websites are still currently referring to 22 April 2013 e.g.
    http://www.klm.com/travel/gb_en/prepare_for_travel/baggage/baggage_allowance/index.htm

    Sir Stamford

  • James Ward says:

    I’m curious to understand what the third option means:

    “You are travelling on a corporate or a BlueBiz account”

    Is that as simple as adding a BlueBiz number to your booking? If so , this would mean you can still earn miles in a partner program (eg Delta SkyMiles) whilst getting a free bag.

    Or have I misunderstood?

  • Sir Stamford says:

    I think your understanding is correct.

    As per KLM’s website – note the word “double”:

    “If you and your colleagues are members of our frequent flyer programme, Flying Blue, MilleMiglia or SkyMiles, BlueBiz offers double the rewards. That’s because on every flight you will earn Blue Credits for your company and Miles for your personal Flying Blue, MilleMiglia or SkyMiles account.”

    Therefore, make sure your BlueBiz number is included in every booking you make to avoid the luggage charge and add your other FF number as normal.

    Sir Stamford

  • James Ward says:

    Good news.

    For my sins, I’m collecting SkyPesos (a.k.a. Delta SkyMiles). I’m travelling DL metal a lot at the moment so having their own elite status gives me a greater chance of domestic upgrades with them. Plus, on discounted economy tickets DL still award min 100% mileage, compared to as little as 25% in FlyingBlue.

    And – despite their poor reputation – I’m about to redeem LAX-SYD return in biz class for 150,000 miles plus £80 tax. Not bad value for a $6,500 ticket!

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