As you are probably aware, a big cloud of volcanic ash is disrupting air traffic in big parts of Europe. Just now a former Spil Games Asia colleague (who now works at Spil Games in Hilversum) gave me a call. He is on holiday in China and planned to fly back to Amsterdam today. But because of the ash cloud there are no flights to Europe, so he had to rebook his ticket. And guess what: the earliest plane KLM can put him on will leave in 10 days time! He told me he first thought he misunderstood what KLM was telling him, but all earlier flights are fully booked and they could not rebook him on other airlines either (I assume they are also fully booked).
I understand that the airline is losing tons of money because of this extraordinary situation, but leaving stranded passengers for 10 days in Beijing seems a bit too much to me. My colleague asked and was told that the KLM does not want to add additional flights to fly passengers back to Europe.
I don’t know yet how other airlines handle this situation, please let me know in the comments if you have information on this. They should face the same problem, but I wonder if they also let their passengers figure it out themselves and just tell them wait for 10 days… You may as well take the Trans-Siberian train back, that should be faster.
On Tuesday I plan to fly to Amsterdam myself – if the ash cloud has disappeared of course. I plan to ask the staff on board about this as well: Is the KLM really not able to find a better solution for its customers?