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.
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.
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.