What is the responsibility of the airline and its partners — ticket agent companies — to ensure that customers know exactly what kind of ticket they a

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May 25, 2018
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#1
I have found myself in the most horrific position of having booked two tickets for a return flight for myself and my son from the UK to the USA with a zero baggage allowance. Yes, I booked through an online travel agent. And No, I had no idea of the ticket options Light, Standard, Standard + until after this shocking incident occurred, and no idea of the implications of having booked a Light ticket.
The agent I bought from gave this customer no indication whatsoever that she was purchasing this kind of low grade ticket.
I would never, ever book an international flight without what I have become accustomed to after 35 years of international travel — one check-in bag at the very least — as part of the standard economy fare. Now that fares have been subdivided and downgraded, that is how the customer of economy has been made to feel. Downgraded
In all my years of traveling and often times traveling with KLM, I have almost always booked through a travel agent. This is the first time I have had such an horrific experience, and I promise I will NEVER book through them again. If it was clearer I would never ever have booked these seats at all.
What I would like to know is when did Light, Standard and Standard+ come into effect? The only people in my circle of friends who knew anything about it were my two friends who are travel agents! The ordinary traveller less knowledgeable if at all! And also, importantly, what is the responsibility of the airline and its partners — ticket agent companies — to ensure that customers know exactly what kind of ticket they are purchasing? There was no clear information regarding a zero baggage allowance at the time of booking. I am seriously considering taking this up with the appropriate regulatory bodies.
In the meantime I am beyond upset at the extraordinary cost this flight could escalate to if I have to pay for all of our luggage. The company want to charge me 110 UK pounds for each bag now on top of the price of the ticket! I want to take 2 bags and my son would take one or two bags. That would be an extra 440 UK pounds just for our baggage! If we were given two complimentary bags I would pay for our two other bags. That would seem such a fair and simple courtesy under this circumstance, which I consider to be extremely unfair and utterly horrible business practice.
I am trying to get KLM, under these circumstances, to make an exception and make a courtesy to myself and my son and allow us each one bag at no extra charge?
I would be ever so grateful. And I will have learned my lesson without getting thoroughly laundered in the process.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#2
Unfortunately - when you book your own tickets, you act as your own travel agent and need to know all the rules you are booking under and exactly what you are doing. If you book via an online agency - they are merely order takers. What you order them to buy when you make your choices and choose an airline and flight - that is what you are getting. They do not provide guidance - that is what a real travel agent does.

You really have to research if you don't understand what you are looking at or booking = it's not always as simple as choosing and hitting the buy button. You needed to have gone to the airline website and researched what these meant - or asked the agent on the phone if you booked it on the phone. The lowest prices are almost always for bare bones tickets since many airlines now have basic tickets they sell. You need to know enough to ask questions.

https://www.klm.com/travel/nl_en/pl...light/new_fares_structure_corporate/index.htm

Just because online travel agencies are there doesn't mean everyone should use them. They are strictly do it yourself.

Can't you pay to upgrade the ticket to the standard economy ticket?
 
Apr 10, 2017
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#3
I found this on the KLM website and it explains the differences:

Planning a trip between Europe and the United States and/or Canada? For Economy Class, we offer three ticket options. Choose the one that best suits your travel needs. After selecting your ideal ticket type, you can choose to add various extra services. So you can create a travel experience tailored to your wishes.
Light

  • Hand baggage only
  • Flight change EUR 150 (+ possible fare difference) - flight change not permitted for travel commencing in France, the United States and Canada
  • Free drinks and meals/snacks
  • Flying Blue Miles
  • Cancellation is not permitted

Standard

  • Hand baggage
  • 1 piece of check-in baggage max. 23 kg
  • Flight change for travel commencing in Europe: EUR 150 (+ possible fare difference)
  • Flight change for travel commencing in the United States or Canada: USD 300 (+ possible fare difference)
  • Free drinks and meals/snacks
  • Flying Blue Miles
  • Cancellation is not permitted

Standard +

  • Hand baggage
  • 1 piece of check-in baggage max. 23 kg
  • Flight change at a fee (+ possible fare difference)
  • Cancellation at a fee
  • Free drinks and meals/snacks
  • Flying Blue Miles
 
Apr 10, 2017
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#4
I just did a mock booking and before you actually buy the ticket you see a screen that shows Light, Standard, and Standard+ with an explanation of each. They also tell you if there's an additional charge and if so how much it is. You must select one of those before hitting Continue.
 
May 25, 2018
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#5
Unfortunately - when you book your own tickets, you act as your own travel agent and need to know all the rules you are booking under and exactly what you are doing. If you book via an online agency - they are merely order takers. What you order them to buy when you make your choices and choose an airline and flight - that is what you are getting. They do not provide guidance - that is what a real travel agent does.

You really have to research if you don't understand what you are looking at or booking = it's not always as simple as choosing and hitting the buy button. You needed to have gone to the airline website and researched what these meant - or asked the agent on the phone if you booked it on the phone. The lowest prices are almost always for bare bones tickets since many airlines now have basic tickets they sell. You need to know enough to ask questions.

https://www.klm.com/travel/nl_en/pl...light/new_fares_structure_corporate/index.htm

Just because online travel agencies are there doesn't mean everyone should use them. They are strictly do it yourself.

Can't you pay to upgrade the ticket to the standard economy ticket?
Thanks for your comments, and as for paying for an upgrade that is a very good question, Neil.
Using Elliot.org, I was able to access the email addresses of the CEO and MD of KLM, and I escalated my concerns to them directly.
I recieved a phone call from an executive advisor this morning and I discussed my problem. I was not given anything concessionary, but I was able to have a civilised conversation which explained the new tiered ticketing to me. I have a direct line to her and she kindly offered to help me should I have any questions or queries. I I will most consider asking her whether that is an option. One thing is for sure, I have learned how ruthless ticket agents have become.
The company I used is one I actually have used on several occasions in the past so I was fairly confident I knew the ropes of their site. That is why this occurrance came as such a shock to me. I was caught completely off guard by these new changes in ticketing, and the espcially hard core approach the online ticket agents seemed to have employed.
 
May 25, 2018
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#6
I just did a mock booking and before you actually buy the ticket you see a screen that shows Light, Standard, and Standard+ with an explanation of each. They also tell you if there's an additional charge and if so how much it is. You must select one of those before hitting Continue.
Thanks, that is through KLM direct, I take it? When I spoke to KLM direct they told me that they did explain their ticketting very clearly. My booking was through a partner ticket agent, where there was no such explanation. That was a big part of my gripe.
 
Feb 28, 2017
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#7
Another reason to book directly on the airline's website instead of through an online travel agency. The airline does disclose them clearly. And frankly, while I don't much care for these "light" (or "basic") fares for international travel, seeing them described as a "horrific" experience and "horrible business practice" makes me roll my eyes. I would advise not using such terminology if you do write to the airline.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#9
Unfortunately, there is no ‘agent’ in ‘online travel agent.’ That is a misnomer. It should be called online ticket seller.
I think of them as online booking engines; basically it is a computer program.

Was this a real "online travel agent"? Is there any interaction with an actual person or just a program?
 
Likes: Neil Maley

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
13,294
13,014
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#11
Call and see if you can upgrade to the regular fare. It’s not going to be free and your agency you used may charge you as well but it will probably be cheaper then paying for all those bags. But ask and see if it’s possible instead of wasting time going to KLM Executives who may tell you if you had booked directly you might have seen the differences.

Don’t wait either- if the cost of the flight has changed you will have to pay the fare difference too.
 
May 25, 2018
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#12
Another reason to book directly on the airline's website instead of through an online travel agency. The airline does disclose them clearly. And frankly, while I don't much care for these "light" (or "basic") fares for international travel, seeing them described as a "horrific" experience and "horrible business practice" makes me roll my eyes. I would advise not using such terminology if you do write to the airline.
I was just describing how it made me feel.