The ancillary revenue streams are becoming more important for the airlines. Most of the network carriers in the United States now charge for checked bag (no charge for elites) and this seems to spreading now to Europe as well. You can read more about these changes on KLM’s web site here.
KLM is part of the Air France-KLM Group. Air France just announced their new shorthaul carrier Hop! that also charges for checked bag.
KLM has just announced that starting April 22, 2013, tickets that are booked for intra-European flights, a charge of 15 euros would apply for baggage charge purchased online or 30 euros if purchased at airport.
Note that this charge only applies for flights that are booked and ticketed after that date. All Flying Blue members are exempt of this charge as well as passengers that are connecting to/from longhaul flights. Tickets booked in Y and B fare classed are excluded as are SkyTeam Elite and Elite Plus members. Fliers on corporate and BlueBiz accounts are excluded too.
Further, flights between Amsterdam and Italy, Georgia, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and Belarus are excluded from this bah charge.
Elites are going from 2 free bags to 1
KLM has had one bag free for all the passengers and SkyTeam Elite and Elite Plus passengers have beel allowed second piece free of charge as a SkyTeam wide benefit. This is now going away as you need to have status for the first bag.
No charge for first bag being just Flying Blue member
It is easy, for now, to be exempt of these charges. You just need to be a member of Air France-KLM’s Flying Blue program and joining is free.
If you don’t have Elite or Elite Plus status with other SkyTeam airline and wish to checked your bag free while crediting the flight to other plan i.e. you are Delta Silver Medallion, you can have your Flying Blue number on file at check in and change that at the gate to Delta one (remember to request a new boarding pass to ensure that they have recorded the number correctly).
Prediction of future?
It doesn’t make too much sense that KLM introduces this free, but at the same time excludes all the Flying Blue members. It wouldn’t surprise that they would require Flying Blue or SkyTeam Elite/Elite Plus status going forward next year for checking in a bag for free.
It really is a race to the bottom with these airlines. I am glad to pay extra to fly a full service carrier instead of one that nickels and dimes you to death. It is really sad to see KLM choosing this strategy for their European operations.