KLM's Reply,       7 March 2007




Dear Mr. Fung,


Reference is made to your complaint letter to various departments of our Head Office which has been forwarded to our Hong Kong for reply.


We are sorry to learn that your recent contact with our airline, concerning your journey from Hong Kong to Lisbon via Amsterdam on December 26, 2006, did not meet your expectations.  On behalf of management, a sincere apology is offered to you and your wife.


An incident report has been received from our Airport management and we would like to share our findings and at the same time offer explanations to some of your enquiries.


As per our record, you and Mrs. Fung checked in at 0945 hours and turned up at boarding gate at 1058 hours.  As per the copy of your boarding pass, the boarding time was 10.30 hours.  This was to inform passengers to be arrived at the boarding gate at that time.  We notice that difference airline has its own handling operational procedures.  Therefore, we have arranged a special bilingual note sticker which is to draw passengersˇ¦ attention.  Please refer to your boarding pass copies.  It stated that ˇ§Please board your flight at least 20 minutes before scheduled departure timeˇ¨.  Since our flight was scheduled to depart at 1110 hours, passengers are required to be at the boarding gate by latest 1050 hours.  The hand-written schedule of 1040 was another reminder to passengers.  The check-in staff usually will circle and remind passengers the boarding time and gate.  For special added remarks, the staff would verbally mention to passengers for their attention.  It was surprised that nothing was explained to you during check-in.   KLM, likes most of the airlines in the world, our boarding passes will show key information i.e. name of passenger, flight number, boarding time, gate number, seat number etc.  It will not show the closure time of the airplane door.  After the closure of the aircraft door, there are many operational and safety procedures for the cabin crew and ground staff to proceed in order to prepare the take off of an aircraft.  It really takes more than a few minutes time.  We do require passengers to be at the boarding gate at least 20 minutes before departure time in order to ensure the punctuality of the flight ˇV thus is very important in the airline operation.  Also once the passengers do not turn up to the relevant boarding gate at 1050 hours for our flight, our staff had to offload the concerned checked baggage ˇV this is as per security reasons.  Once the cargo door of the aircraft is closed, we could not load back the baggage in short time.   These operational procedures must be adhered strictly by each of our ground staff and manager as well.  We would like to draw your attention to the fact that December 26, 2006 was one of the peak travel days in Hong Kong.  The landing and take-off activities were very busy and tight.  Once our aircraft was delayed for 10 or 15 minutes, it certainly would cause longer total delay.  The flight KL888/26 December was not full.  However, there were still over 200 passengers on board and most of them had their tight onward connections in Amsterdam.  Another 15 or 20 minutes delay would very likely cause misconnection of those passengers. 


Regarding  the rebooking of your flight to next day, as your tickets were under special promotional fare with a lot of ticketing restrictions, changing of travel date was not possible.  Therefore, if our staff had to rebook you on KL888/27 December, you were required to pay the following:


(1)    Buy up fee to upgrade your ticket booking class :  from V-class to H-class, the standard fee is Euro 250.00 per ticket.

(2)    The fare difference between these two booking classes.

(3)    Administration fee of HK$130 per ticket.


Therefore, in total each ticket was required to pay extra HK$4450.  From the passengerˇ¦s point of view, it was very expensive in changing their tickets.  It is understandable that special promotional fare tickets usually are guided by more rules and conditions.  Any passenger who wishes to change their travel arrangements after issuance of the ticket or prior to their travel, the above mentioned charges have to be levied.  As per your ticket conditions, those tickets were not allowed to be rerouted.  In order to offer other alternatives, Mr. W had authorized to reroute your tickets to Taipei - Amsterdam without any penalty and also requested the Station Manager at Taipei to make pre-seated arrangements prior to your departure from Hong Kong.  These were the possible arrangements within his scope could offer.


For the attitude of our staff, we fully agree with you that if the staff would be able to render more services in a professional and courtesy way that the problem could have been solved.  We highly appreciate your opinions and comments.  Please be assured that your complaint has been forwarded to the manager of the concerned department for their follow up actions and areas of improvement.  We do expect our staff to provide professional services in a helpful and polite way.

It is inexcusable for our passengers to confront with discourtesy and impolite attitude from our staff. 


We noticed that you had contacted our Town Office and had phone conversations with our two staff.  Indeed, we do not have a specific staff in Hong Kong for full-time Customer Care.  However, Ms. L is the one handling the initial complaints from passengers.  It is our company policy that we request written complaint from passenger in order to avoid misunderstanding during verbal conversation.  Also it was complaint regarding the airport operations which we have to refer to their manager.  


Mr. Fung, we offer our sincere apologies to you and your wife for the discourtesy encountered.  Kindly be assured that the handling was in line with our standard operations.  We regret that it is impossible to accept passengers who arrive late at the boarding gate.  Punctuality is one of the key elements of our operations and also flight handling involves more complicated handling procedures than expected.


We really look forward for another opportunity to welcoming you and your wife again on board of our flight so as to provide you our services and to restore your confidence in our operations.


With kind regards,

Miranda Lau

Customer Care Hong Kong


The above reply was sent by email.

This was sent again by surface mail on 27 April 2007 upon my request, the undersign was:

                       Herman Wan, Trade & Leisure Sales Manager, Hong Kong & Macau.

*Remark:  To protect privacy, the names of the staff mentioned above are hidden on the internet.