The Dutch national airline KLM banned some passengers from checking in any of their luggage on Thursday after an earlier baggage system malfunction resulted in thousands of bags piling up at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.
The disruption-prone airline is battling to clear a massive logjam of delayed bags after an automated baggage handling system at its Schiphol hub went into meltdown for most of Wednesday.
“As a result, thousands of suitcases of our passengers were left behind in Amsterdam,” a spokesperson for the embattled carrier explained. To help get on top of the backlog, KLM bosses decided to prevent more passengers from putting any further bags into the system.
Thankfully, the extent of the ban isn’t quite as bad as the airline first seemed to suggest.
Clarifying the ban, a spokesperson explained that the prohibition on checked luggage only applied to passengers connecting through Amsterdam who were both starting and ending their journeys in European destinations.
“The measures emphatically do not apply to passengers departing from the Netherlands,” the airline said in a statement. It’s hoped the ban will only be in place on Thursday.
“This decision was taken in order to achieve the greatest possible effect with as little impact as possible. It ensures that the number of suitcases to be processed on Thursday is manageable and that KLM flights can run normally for its customers on Thursday,” the statement continued.
Directing its anger at the airport operator, the statement continued: “KLM finds it extremely annoying that passengers have to wait longer for their bags and that certain passengers are now the victims of this problem”.
The last few months have been particularly torrid for KLM and its passengers trying to fly to or from Schiphol. Most of the problems have been at the airport’s security checkpoints where chronic staffing shortages have resulted in painfully slow queues and thousands of missed flights.
The airport has forced KLM to artifically cap capacity on some flights and a series of technical problems, including a runway malfunction, have added to the airline’s woes in recent months.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.