Quicktip: Avoiding KLM booking fees on all flights…but with a big caveat

Two months ago I posted a quicktip on how to avoid KLM's booking fees on transatlantic flights by booking on Delta. Thanks to reader Ralph who commented in the post to provide the missing information I needed — how to extend this to all flights.

This arbitrage simply involves book your flights using Air France's Irish website. Unlike my original method which booked into a partner's airline, this Air France / KLM's own website.

Here's a random flight I picked from Amsterdam to Rome in November I picked. First from ITA. Looking at flights KL1597 out and KL1602 back.

Keep an eye on the price of Fare 1 and Fare 2 for later!

Keep an eye on the price of Fare 1 and Fare 2 for later!

Now looking at KLM's Netherlands website at the same ticket. Here's the full price breakdown. Notice how the fare “ticketprijs” is the same, plus all the taxes combined. Except there's an additional €10 from the booking fee.

The booking fee is called "boekingskosten" in Dutch. Important one to remember!

The booking fee is called “boekingskosten” in Dutch. Important one to remember!

Now finally Air France's Irish website.

Notice the price discrepancy between the three sites?

Notice the price discrepancy between the three sites?

As you can see the fare and tax components all match up, but KLM Netherlands has that annoying €10 booking fee (well “going Dutch” does sort of mean being stingy!). Now here's the caveat: Air France Irish website only lets you book the return fare which has the same or higher fare bucket than the outbound. In practical terms this will mean though you might save the €10 from the booking fee, your ticket price may still end up higher.

This is why I always advocate checking your ticket on Matrix ITA first to ensure you're getting the cheapest flights available. Note that some airlines like Cathay Pacific don't publish all their discounted economy class tickets on there. KLM do though so you're covered on this front. If you still want to know how to use Matrix then I have a step-by-step tutorial on how I book my own flights.

So if you tend to fly KLM, here's my take-home advice from this post:

  1. Check your flights on Matrix ITA first. Keep an eye on the fare cost and whether the return leg (“Fare 2”) is cheaper than the outbound (“Fare 1”).
  2. If you're flying transatlantic, proceed to Delta's website.
  3. If you're flying anywhere else and Fare 2 is more than €10 cheaper than Fare 1, then carry on booking with KLM.
  4. If Fare 2 is less than €10 cheaper than Fare 1, then proceed to Air France's Irish website.

I'm sure there's a work-around the fare class  somewhere out there but I'll have to find it first. But for now, enjoy the extra few Euros you can save!

 

Other related posts:

Avoid KLM booking fees on transatlantic flights

Getting started with Matrix ITA 

Introduction to Flying Blue Petroleum Club

How to avoid KLM's new baggage fees

Aerolineas Argentinas status match

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