Petroleum Club, Flying Blue’s membership for its oil and gas industry customers have long had access to KLM’s Crown Lounge at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. But some changes effective from March 2014 brought the value of the programme to a grinding halt for many of its most valuable customers.

flyingblue

It’s been a very long time since I flew KLM and went to the Crowne Lounge, certainly before March when this change appears to have kicked in, and therefore I had not noticed any changes. But this rant on Facebook with the associated comments confirms that…

Unless you are transferring at Amsterdam and flying on AF/KL, you will no longer be granted lounge access. 

So if you are starting your itinerary in Amsterdam, then you will be denied access too. If you have two separate tickets which connect in Amsterdam, you’ll probably have to plead nicely as my guess is they’ll say no.

Here is KLM’s Facebook representative’s wording:

Our Gold and Platinum members still have access to the lounge. For all our other members the lounge is only available unless they are on a stopover in Amsterdam. This is because most people departing from Amsterdam do not have long waiting times at the airport. We hope to have informed you sufficiently. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask us!

Well…what utter rubbish that most people do not have long waiting times. How long is “long”? How long is a piece of string?

The wording on Petroleum Club’s website (in Dutch) has been updated to reflect this change. The rough translation English, courtesy of Google:

Relax or work in our airport lounges

During your transfer with AIR FRANCE and KLM, you can use our exclusive lounges at Amsterdam-Schiphol and Paris-Charles de Gaulle. Show your Flying Blue Petroleum Card gives you access to:

  • KLM Crown Lounge at Amsterdam-Schiphol
  • The Flying Blue Petroleum private lounge at the Pullman Hotel at Paris-Charles de Gaulle

All in all a rather customer unfriendly move by KLM, especially since Netherlands is home to one of the world’s largest oil and gas giants (Shell), and hundreds more consultancies and contractors. I’m sure KLM will have significant amounts of negotiated rates with them too.

You could potentially bypass this by doing a status match to China Airlines, though the caveat is that you need to already have elite status with another airline.

Just another reason to loathe AF/KL…if you’re in the Oil and Gas industry.

Posted by Tim | 7 Comments

7 Responses to “Flying Blue removes Petroleum Club lounge access at Amsterdam”

  1. matt says:

    You seem rather bitter, with a bit of a vendetta against AF/KLM.

    What better offering are their competitors making in this case?

    Are infrequent fliers in the oil industry some of the most valuable customers?

    • Tim says:

      Depends how you define ‘infrequent’. Most people I know in O&G are flying fully-flexible tickets, even if only to Silver level. For something like Amsterdam to Stavanger/Aberdeen which has several flights per day, planes always full and costs around 500-700EUR each ticket…yes I’d say they are pretty high value.

      You wouldn’t be able to argue a case against individuals in a case like this….more likely the demographics.

  2. matt says:

    Yes, for sure the value is in the demographics (and is no doubt very substantial overall).

    Taking your Stavenger/Aberdeen example – if you want nonstop flights there…you will be flying KLM. They’re commanding such fares due to demand for the transportation product rather than people wanting to get to the airport early and hang out in the lounge. I expect KLM thinks that for nonstop flights they’ll control the bulk of the market based on providing that nonstop option. For connecting flights through AMS or CDG they add some additional value in the lounge access to better compete.

    As the petroleum benefits are given to a class rather than individuals (and thus not “earned” by booking behavior over time) they’re really just there to incentivize individual bookings. KLM must think nonstop flights are enough to do that – the demographic values frequent, reliable service, quick transit times, and flexibility over being able to grab a quick coffee and sandwich before a flight.

  3. Barry McCausland says:

    I’m not sure where you (or those posting on Facebook) get the idea that this is something new for Petroleum Club members. Lounge access with a Petroleum Club card was only open to those transiting Schiphol when I joined the club (more than a few years ago now).
    I did try more than once to see if I could get lounge access with it when only flying AMS-ABZ, but without luck.

    The website was always really clear on this.

    • Tim says:

      Barry, there are loads of anecdotes of people who were allowed to go into the lounge with no Skyteam status but had Petroleum Club card only. If you ask those in your own company of their experience, it would not surprise me if many more said the same.

  4. FTKLM says:

    Local (Dutch) oil pax pay more for a ticket to SVG, BGO, ABZ etc etc than transitting folks to these destinations because of competition. However, foreign folks have 4 flights for a return trip, so they generate a lot more flights which will enhance their FB status, can access the lounge twice for free, (inbound and outband journey) vs only outbound for local consumers. So we locals pay more, get less and less and less. This is typical a politicians way of dealing with the good people, good people get less in a country and shite people are treated better, what a coincidence KLM has got an ex politician as CEO. A CEO with no business experience, what a f***ing joke. So I am flying those days SAS, have lounge access, Gordon’s vs Bombay, so not as good as KLM but still better than nothing. As a Dutchman hope KLM will fade away. I rather fly Norwegian than those crappy surrogted French moguls.

    • Tim says:

      Amen brother! I really should have employed you to write this post actually, your opinion sounds much more fun than mine.

      It’s just a sad state of affairs that KLM are cost cutting on Petroleum club lounge access despite the likes of the O&G big boys ploughing millions of euros each year into KLM’s pockets. Time to renegotiate those corporate contracts I think!

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