KLM passengers travelling on budget fares will have to pay an extra €100 to take luggage on long-haul flights from this week as the flag carrier tries to compete with low-cost airlines.
Passengers booking at the ‘light’ rate will pay on average 10 to 15% less to fly if they travel with hand luggage only, but if they turn up at the airport with a suitcase it will cost them an extra €100. Flexible tickets, which include hold luggage and can be rebooked without penalty, cost €150 more.
Harm Kreulen, CEO of KLM, told the Telegraaf the move was a response to the cut-throat competition between airlines for passengers. ‘Within Europe and on flights to the US we have gradually removed hold luggage from the lowest price categories. Now the rest of the world will follow, with a handful of exceptions.’
Members of the Flying Blue frequent flyers’ club will also be able to check in their hold luggage for no extra cost. ‘Hand baggage will remain free of charge on long-distance flights with limits on size and weight.’
Kreulen said half of KLM passengers flying long-haul did not take suitcases with them. The airline is considering bringing in charges for larger items of hand luggage in order to deal with the problem of limited space in the cabin.
‘The no-frills fares have led to a lot of delays and irritation on flights in Europe because we can no longer get all the hand luggage on board,’ he said.
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