CO - KLM Marketing Partnership


Mar 19, 2003
Last week, I tried getting a summer reward travel ticket from Chicago to Stockholm on KLM using OnePass miles. The OnePass agent was incredibly friendly and patient, and after much sleuthing got me to Stockholm via DTW, JFK, and AMS. On the return, the agent thought she could get me ARN->ORD with just one change of planes in AMS. Although her system showed plenty of availability, KLM would not release the seat to her. She said that KLM award bookings require a 48 hour wait for confirmation from KLM. She thought KLM might release the seat to her (and thus me) within that 48 hour period.

That didn''t happen. When I called back, I got another friendly agent who told me that KLM did not release the seat. In the peak summer travel period, it was amazing I got as many legs as I did, and it was frustrating that KLM wouldn''t release a seat on that one leg. That particular flight is wide-open, and there are plenty of reward seats available on that flight for intra-European travel, but they won''t give you one if you''re connecting to a trans-Atlantic flight. I thought that was odd.

The agent went on to tell me that the CO - KLM marketing agreement is up for review (I was surprised to hear that it was only a one-year agreement), and CO is very frustrated with how difficult it is to book reward travel on KLM. She said that KLM often will not release seats, even when their system shows availability, and then won''t provide an explanation as to why.

I''m looking forward to CO''s upcoming relationship with SkyTeam. I enjoyed being able to book reward travel on Air France a few years back when they had a partnership with CO, and I look forward to doing that again.