Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day six of trying to cope with the coldest winter in German on record and doing it without any luggage. My advice to any traveler is avoid KLM Dutch Airlines if at all possible, especially traveling through Amsterdam. Now suddenly everyone seems to know that KLM is notorious for being hard to contact, and Amsterdam is a notorious for canceling flights and losing luggage, especially in the winter. Where was this information in the weeks before when we were booking this trip. While KLM's in flight service was very nice, once on the ground they become invisible. As flights were cancelled and we became separated from our luggage, we were told to "simply" call Customer Service and they would deliver our bags anywhere we needed them. Unfortunately, the phone numbers do not ring through, or are constantly busy, and not open 24 hours, nor weekends. When we finally did get through, on day five, the automated system instructed us to consult the website and disconnected. The website crashed and then we were told to contact the airlines through Facebook or Twitter. I am not joking, Twitter.
I finally resorted to calling American Express Global services to get some help. They could not get through to KLM either, but did find out that we needed to go to the Berlin Airport in person to file a report. We traveled the hour to the airport. After an hour wait and with our son there to translate we were given a form to fill out and told to fax it. Then we would be given a tracking number for our case. How would we get the number? We would have to call.
After several days of the same phone treatment we decided to go back out to the airport and actually find a human.
Another hour trip and we were directed to the Global Berlin Baggage service down stairs in the airport, where there was a line with a two hour wait to see a human. After an hour we discover that the line we were instructed to wait in was for Luftansa not KML. We switched lines to start the two hour wait clock all over again.
Hours of waiting time later we were allowed to meet with a human who substituted the Z sound for an S when she spoke. She said they had never received the fax and we needed to start all over. We finally got a tracking number, no luggage and no idea on when we would get it but we got the magic number. The only thing that was determined was that when we leave Berlin in two days, they would stop trying to get the luggage to our address here and send it to California.
Here is the bottom line. The inconvenience of not having our luggage is nothing compared to the stress, inconvenience and anxiety of trying to get KLM to look for our luggage. My wife and I both wanted a holiday we would never forget, well, be careful what you wish for.... We will certainly never forget this one. The saga continues.
As you were,


Tonda said...

So sorry it has been a journey filled with such stress and aggravation. We are thinking of you and love you.


Pete Biro said...

Yikes... luggage nightmare and worse communications not. Do your best... be cool. Happy and Prosperous New Year.