KLM Connecting Flights


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This is a KLM connecting flights guide.

This guide contains information on how to book connecting flights with KLM, KLM baggage policy and air passenger rights. KLM is the flag carrier airline of the Netherlands. Together with Air France, KLM created a merger, Air France–KLM Group. KLM is a member of the SkyTeam airline alliance, and, together with its partners, operates flights to 70 countries.


Did you miss a connecting flight? File a compensation claim online.


Photo by Wayne Jackson from Pexels

1

Is It Protected?

Yes, it’s a protected connection.

Traditional airlines sell airline-protected connecting flights. It’s more convenient and more safe than self-transfer flights. You don’t need a visa for connecting flights like this.

Unless you book flights separately.

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2

Baggage Rules

Airline takes care of your baggage.

Mostly, you will check in baggage only once — you won’t have to recheck baggage for every flight. This is how it works with traditional airlines and airline-protected connecting flights.

Baggage allowance depends on the ticket, destination and occasionally some other factors. 


3

Travel Insurance

Make your trip more safe.

Add travel insurance right away. Protect yourself against possible itinerary changes later right from the very beginning. Insurance must be for the duration of the trip.

Make your trip safe from day 1.

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1. KLM Connecting Flights

KLM is a full-service traditional airline.

Full-service airlines sell airline-protected connecting flights. Having airline-protected connecting flights is the main difference between full-service and low-cost airlines. Low-cost airlines only offer point-to-point flights (as opposed to traditional airlines’ hub-and-spoke service). Airline-protected connecting flights are considered to be better than self transfers.

Airline-protected connecting flights are:

  • Safer. Your airline takes care of flight problems.
  • More convenient. Baggage transfer is automatic.
  • Easier to book. You book several flights as a single journey.

KLM offers airline-protected connecting flights.

1.1 Connecting Flights, One Airline

In some situations, your connecting flight will be operated by KLM only.

However, there are situations when one leg (or more) of your KLM connecting flight will be operated by another airline. Yes, that can happen, even if you have booked a KLM connecting flight through KLM official web-page.

1.2 KLM Codeshare Partners

Sometimes airlines share their flights.

And that’s why you may end up on a flight operated by a completely different airline. But it’s nothing to worry about. Connecting flights with different airlines is a common practice in aviation industry. It’s nothing unusual. Connecting flights like these are called codeshare flights, and the airlines collaborating that are collaborating — codeshare partners.

What you should know is that:

  • If you miss a connecting flight (due to delay or cancellation of the previous flight), it’s KLM’s responsibility.  If this happens, contact KLM. They must take care of this issue by offering you an alternative flight. As long as it’s a KLM connecting flight booked from KLM, they are responsible for finding solutions. In this case, KLM is so called “marketing airline”.
  • If your flight is heavily delayed, cancelled or overbooked, compensation is paid by the airline operating this particular flight. If it’s operated by some other airline, not KLM, then they are called the operating airline — they have to pay compensation when it’s due.

See a list of KLM codeshare partners here.

KLM Airplane in Sao Paulo Airport
KLM Airplane in Sao Paulo Airport

2. What If KLM Cancels a Flight?

Why KLM flights are getting cancelled?

Flight cancellations aren’t uncommon. Flights get cancelled due to a number of reasons. Technical problems, bad weather, air traffic restrictions, airport congestion, staff shortages, security issues. These are just some of the most popular reasons why airlines cancel their flights.

2.1 One of Your Flights Is Cancelled

KLM is a European airline.

According to the EU Regulation 261/2004, they must:

  • Offer you a choice between a new flight and full refund.
  • Offer you assistance at the airport (you have a right to care).

This applies to all their commercial flights.

If KLM cancels flights, it has to follow these guidelines.

If you miss your connection because your previous flight was cancelled, KLM must get you to your destination. It is their responsibility to offer you an alternative flight to your final destination. Unless you choose a full refund. The rules are the same with all KLM cancelled flights.

You may have a right to compensation (more on this below).


Did you miss a connecting flight? File a compensation claim online.


2.2 All Your Flights Are Cancelled

Overall, for you as a passenger, the options are the same.

According to the EU Regulation 261/2004, KLM must:

  • Offer you a choice between a new flight and full refund.
  • Offer you assistance at the airport if it’s a last-minute cancellation and you are already at the airport (you have a right to care).

This applies to all their commercial flights. 

Because ocassionally KLM cancels long-haul flights too. You have the same rights on all KLM cancelled flights. Refund must be paid within seven days.

You may have a right to EU flight cancellation compensation.

2.3 KLM Refund for Cancellation

Yes, you have a right to ask for a refund.

Your flight was cancelled, but you don’t wish to travel anymore, because the new flight doesn’t fit your travel plans. In this situation, you can ask for a full refund. Keep in mind that you don’t have to accept any vouchers or coupons, unless you want to. Refund must be paid by bank transfer. The money must be transferred to the same account from which the purchase has been made. Unless you’re fine with a different solution offered by an airline.

Hong Kong airport layover
Hong Kong airport

3. KLM Missed Connecting Flight

Why people miss their flights?

There are number of reasons. But the most popular one is — delay or cancellation of the previous flight. Also you may miss your flight because there are long lines at the airport. Or because of airport congestions. Or you just went to the wrong airport, waited at the wrong gate or just fell asleep while waiting for your flight. And that resulted in a missed flight.

3.1 What Happens If You Miss KLM Connection?

If it’s your fault that it happened — it’s your responsibility.

If it’s not your fault, then your airline has to take care of that. If you booked a flight from KLM, it doesn’t even matter if the flight is operated by KLM or not, you should contact KLM. It’s their responsibility to find a solution and provide you with a new ticket free of charge.

According to the EU Regulation 261/2004, they must:

  • Take you to your final destination as soon as possible.
  • Offer you assistance at the airport (you have a right to care).

Read more: Missed Connecting Flight Due to Delay 

3.2 Right to Compensation from KLM

Sometimes you have a right to compensation.

If flight delay or cancellation is caused by events within the airline’s control, you may be entitled to compensation. If you arrive at your destination 3 hours later than scheduled, it’s highly likely you have a right to flight delay or cancellation compensation from KLM. 

Flight cancelled less than 2 weeks before the trip?

You might be entitled to flight cancellation compensation.

GET FLIGHT COMPENSATION

File a Claim Online

3.3 Right to Care from KLM

On all KLM flights you have a right to care.

According to the EU Regulation 261/2004 airline should provide:

  • Free food and drinks in a reasonable relation to the waiting time.
  • Free hotel accommodation if a stay of one or more nights is necessary;
  • Free airport transfer to hotel and back.
  • Plus, two telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails. The airline has to provide you with this, too. You’ll probably need to inform your loved ones about your disrupted flight and changes in your travel plans.

With KLM, it applies to all domestic and international flights. Again, it’s because KLM is a European airline. With non-European airlines it applies only to flights departing from European airports.


When it comes to air passenger rights, unless otherwise stated, we talk about air passenger rights in the EU, EEA and UK. When we say Europe or European, we mean EU, EEA or UK. This is done for the simplicity, since the according laws in these countries are about the same.


Istanbul Airport
Istanbul Airport

4. How to Book Connecting Flights with KLM?

You can do it directly from KLM or via a third-party.

These are two most popular options. Either you can book a connecting flight on KLM’s official website or a third-party booking website.


How to Book?

Airline website (directly).

This is the easiest way to book a connecting flight. It’s also the safest way to book a connection. You make a single booking, have a single reservation code and the booking includes several flights. Sometimes they are all with one airline, other times – two or more. Anyway, in this case, you can be 100% sure that you have a proper connecting flight.

Other Option

Flight booking websites.

Few examples: skyscanner.net, expedia.com, momondo.com.

Pay attention to the details. Because some of these sites are only search engines, and sellers are other websites. Apart from that, they often sell both airline-protected connecting flights and self-transfer flights. If it’s a self-transfer, know that it comes with its own risks, and there are things you should take into account. Self-transfer is not the same thing as airline-protected transfer. 

For extra protection, buy also a travel insurance covering flight disruptions, or book with sites like kiwi.com, who offer extra protection.

With kiwi.com you are more protected than normally.


Read more: How to Book Connecting Flights?

Two backpacks

5. KLM Connecting Flights: Baggage

Since KLM is a traditional airline, everything’s very easy.

Baggage rules on connecting flights with KLM are simple.

In short, KLM takes care of your baggage. You check your baggage at your origin airport, before your first flight. Your baggage is checked all the way to your final destination. You won’t need to collect and recheck it after every flight. The airline will take care of that. Unless you have booked your flights separately (self-transfer). Then you’ll have to collect and recheck it yourself. 

There are also situations when you may need to collect and recheck your baggage, even if you have an airline-protected connection. If you are transiting in the U.S., for example.

If you aren’t sure about whether you’ll have to collect and recheck your baggage, ask airport staff when you’re checking in or dropping your bags off.

5.1 Baggage Transfer: Different Airlines

What happens if there are several airlines?

What if one of your flights is operated by different airline, not KLM? As we already talked, you may experience this, because KLM does share some of its flights with its codeshare partners. In this situation the rules are the same — your baggage is being taken care of by an airline. In most cases, you won’t have to worry about your checked bag.

Read more:

5.2 KLM Free Baggage Allowance

Baggage allowance varies — it’s not the same on all flights.

When booking a ticket, pay attention to baggage allowance. If you are booking the cheapest ticket, there’s a possibility that you won’t be entitled to free checked baggage allowance (yes, it is like that even with traditional airlines). In that case, you may only bring a free cabin bag. Baggage allowance varies from airline to airline. Also it depends on your travel class and destination.

If you have a KLM flight booking, you can check that online. Alternatively, check your KLM booking confirmation in your email, to see what is your baggage allowance on this flight or flights.

5.3 Economy Light

This is the cheapest option for long-haul flights.

Economy Light comes without free baggage allowance.

We see this all across the industry. Full-service traditional airlines are offering also tickets without free checked baggage allowance. The wording is also often the same — Economy Light. So, if you see this, most likely it’s without checked baggage (carry on baggage only).

When you see cheap KLM flights, make sure you pay attention to baggage allowance. Because KLM also offers “Light” tickets. If you need to carry more than a carry-on bag, this travel class is not for you.

Paraty, Brazil

6. Connecting Flight Examples

Here are two connecting flight examples with KLM.

6.1 Protected Connecting Flights with KLM (Most Common)

For this example I’ll be using the website of KLM.

For example, I want to fly from Frankfurt (Germany) to Sao Paulo (Brazil).

I search for flights for January 9, and these are my options:

Frankfurt - Sao Paulo, Brazil connecting flight with KLM
Frankfurt – Sao Paulo connecting flight with KLM

On their website, www.klm.com, KLM sells airline-protected connecting flights. However, as you can see not all FRA-GRU flights to are operated by KLM. Most of these flights are operated by Air France and Air France Hop. And one of the connecting flights is partly operated by Gol Air, a Brazilian low-cost airline.

If this matters to you, make sure you pay attention to this. If you want to be on a KLM airplane, you must pay attention to details like these.

As you can see, trip duration, number of transfers and price also vary.

6.2 Self-Transfer Flights with KLM

What if your itinerary included a domestic flight, as is slightly more complex?

For example, you are flying from Frankfurt to Sao Paulo, and then onwards to Foz do Iguaçu, to visit Iguazú Falls. But before that you want to spend a day in Sao Paulo, one of the largest and most important cities in Brazil.

  1. Book a connecting flight to Sao Paulo, just like in the example above. Let’s say, you’re taking the cheapest option, third to last, which arrives in Sao Paulo at 18:35 (6:35 pm).
  2. And then you go to skyscanner.net, kiwi.com, or some other flight finder, and choose a flight from Sao Paulo to Foz do Iguaçu. Leaving yourself, let’s say, 30 hours in Sao Paulo. It’s best to use flight finders only to find flights. Book a flight directly from the airline.

You are traveling to Sao Paulo on an airline-protected connecting flight, even if it’s not wholly operated by KLM. If your first flight is delayed or cancelled, and you miss your next flight, KLM will take care of this issue. They will put you on another flight for free. However, the last leg, Sao Paulo – Foz do Iguaçu, includes a self-transfer layover. Keep this in mind when booking such trips. Leave yourself plenty of time, and don’t risk with short layovers.

What is your experience with KLM? Have ever missed connecting flight with KLM? How did the airline solve this? Did you receive compensation from KLM?

Featured photo by Wayne Jackson from Pexels


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