Frequently Asked Questions About Delays

You’ve got your bags packed and you’re ready to go. You’re about to head out on holiday, a business trip, a family visit. Just enough time to check your flight one last time. What?! No! Your flight has been delayed. Or worse still, cancelled. What now?!  

There are all sorts of reasons why your flight may depart later than planned. The weather might be dodgy or the aircraft needs repairs. Every day our social media agents get questions from passengers who want to know what caused a delay and what they need to do. I’ll try to answer some of the frequently asked questions about delays in this blog.

busy airport

My flight has been cancelled, but everything seems in order at the airport. Why?

It happens. Especially within Europe, where the knock-on effect of delayed or cancelled flights can last for some time. The aircraft we deploy in Europe operate several flights a day, flying back and forth from Amsterdam to Copenhagen, Berlin and Gothenburg, for example. That means a delay in Amsterdam or Copenhagen can affect the schedule for the rest of the day. Even if the weather is wonderful in Berlin, we may decide to cancel the flight so that we can operate the Amsterdam-Gothenburg flight. If so, the passengers in Berlin are rebooked onto alternative flights.

Intercontinental flights may also be delayed for similar reasons. Imagine you’re travelling from London to New York via Amsterdam. Because of a delay in London, there’s a good chance you’ll miss your connection to New York in Amsterdam. If so, you will be kept at your “home destination”, London in this case, and rebooked onto the next flight bound for your final destination.

Schiphol tijdens de zonsondergang op de dag van de vulkaan uitbarsting in IJsland.

What if my delayed flight only departs tomorrow?

It’s possible that your delayed flight may only leave Schiphol the next day. In that case, KLM arranges hotel accommodation for you. With a pick-up and drop-off service, of course!

How will you keep me informed?

If your flight is delayed or cancelled, we do everything in our power to inform and, if necessary, rebook you as soon as possible. We do this by phone, email or text message. For every passenger, we check which is the best possible alternative flight or route, depending on connecting flights and various other factors.

KLM snow plane

Why is the weather such an important factor in delays?

In the event of snow, stormy weather or fog, visibility is low and there is a greater risk of slippery conditions. That means fewer aircraft than planned can make use of the runways. So, instead of having 60 flights arriving and departing every hour, only around 20 can be accommodated. That leaves 40 flights. Every hour. And there are 24 hours in a day, as you know. As a result, flights sometimes have to be delayed or even cancelled.


Why is it that you often wait till the last minute before giving me of my new flight details? Why does it have to take so long?

We try to arrange the best possible alternative for you. Sometimes we decide to use a bigger plane, so that more passengers can be accommodated out of Amsterdam. This can be quite a logistical challenge and it may take a while to arrange. If your flight out of Amsterdam is delayed and you have to catch a connecting flight, we only rebook you once your flight has left Amsterdam and is approaching the airport where you have to catch your connecting flight. That way we know what your arrival time will be. There’s always a chance that your flight may arrive later because of headwinds, for instance, or if there’s a medical emergency on board, demanding an intermediate landing. That’s why you’re only given your new flight details on arrival.

What is the chance that I’ll be rebooked to a different airline?

Our first priority is to get you to your final destination as soon as possible. If we cannot offer a proper alternative on a KLM or Air France flight, we will check the options with one of our partner airlines, or any other airline when needed.

What will happen to the baggage I checked in?

As soon as you’re rebooked, our baggage handling department is notified to ensure that your baggage is transferred to your new flight. We wouldn’t want you arriving at your holiday destination without your favourite slippers.

Tweet 14504

Who will answer my questions?

If you’re at Schiphol, you can go to the KLM transfer desk or ticket office. You can also call our reservations department. Things may be quite hectic because, as you can imagine, there will be a lot of other passengers with questions. And of course we want to assist everyone as best we can. Needless to say, our social media webcare team is also available 24/7 to deal with any questions.

If I’m rebooked, will I still get my Flying Blue Miles?

Of course! You’ll receive the Miles allotted to your original ticket, regardless of the airline or route you’ll be flying.

No matter how hard we try to prepare, there’s always a chance that circumstances may arise demanding improvisation. Delays and cancellations are always a drag, of course, but we assure you that we always do our damnedest to find the best and fastest solution for our passengers.

In closing, here’s a handy tip: all the latest travel information is listed on and on our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages.

I hope I’ve answered some of your questions.

If you have any others, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Posted by:   Djamilla Bogaard  | 
Join the conversation Show comments

Colin Wills

Some years ago I was due to take an early morning flight from BHX to AMS. Long story short – the flight was cancelled – a small plane carrying organs for transplant had crashed on the runway, shutting down the airport (thank God the 2 pilots were OK and the organ was successfully transplanted).

The KLM staff at the airport then spent around 15+ hours trying to sort alternative flights for it’s customers and they stayed many, many hours beyond their shifts to try to help. They were brilliant and with hundreds of people to try to rebook, they did a fantastic job.

For me, it was too late to travel and after 17 hours I went back home – KLM were great and refunded my costs and the staff were absolutely first class is dealing with the problems!

This goes to show that some delays are unavoidable and from my personal experience, KLM pulls out all the stops to help!


Thank you so much for your complimentary words, Colin.
It are these words which make us take the extra mile and work an extra hour or so. :)


You say “of course” too much. What may seem obvious to you, of course, may not be obvious to others. You, of course, have a greater understand of the industry since you work in it. We, of course, may not and therefore may find the overuse of the term belittling and even offensive. Why? Because, of course, it seems like you are talking down to your audience.

Just some food, of course, for thought.


You are right, of course, Alex


Wow! Way to go, lecturing her on how to speak to others. Your sarcasm is a shining example of how most people wish to be addressed.

She used it 3 times in the entire blog. Clearly to reassure the audience that they offer service that people would obviously be expected whether you frequently fly or not.


Dear Alex.
Of course I am very thankful for your feedback. Which I, of course, appreciate very much! I would like to start by saying that, of course, it was never my intension to make you feel this way . Probably it is my way of saying things… And of course, I will use your food for thoughts when writing my next blog.

Lajos Antal

Lot of passengers don´t know when begin the delay. Many people think that departure time is take off time, but it is not true…Delay begins, when the plane in the planned departure time is on block. (Stands at the gate and did not start push back.)

Fons Tuinstra

Perhaps good to add that – depending on the delay – passenger are under EU rules also entitled to a financial compensation.

Ray Sun

Sounds like one of the best adverts for why you should have stayed at Manston (not your fault we know, someone’s greed). Huge airfield (A380 size) HSI rail & Euro Star, Ramsgate Port so close (<2km), dual carriage way to the rest of UK at the end of the runway, outside of the London Air Stack, local attractions for when people are delayed or want to spend a little time nearby and not travel in a blazing rush all the time. All in all a quicker journey time to central London when all factors are taken into account! Don't think the possibility is over, the UK Government are slowly waking up and trying to save it, hope to see you soon.


Hi, So what happened to me twice is that I booked a flight for a weekend away. We the flights where delayed/canceled. Instead of a weekend I had just an evening and a day. Are there any forms of compensating when your vacation is cut in half because of this?

Kind regards.



Sorry to hear your weekend was cut in half, Alex. :(
I truly hope that the part you could spend there was more than awesome.
To answer your question concerning the request for compensation; yes, we have such forms. You can fill out our Customer Care form on the web via If you would like us to contact Customer Care on your behalf, please send us message through Facebook or Twitter.


What I miss in this blog is the way KLM will compensate a traveller for the delay and arriving late or not at all at one’s destination. Compensation not only moneywise but what about food/drinks and accomodation. Missed appointments?


You are so right, Maria! The reason I didn’t mention this subject, is because of the fact there are too many different situations. And per situation, different compensation applies… So therefore it is difficult to explain this topic in a ‘short’ way.
If you have a specific question, please let me know, Maria. I will let our Customer Care department look in to it.


You have not covered the issue of the delays caused by the lack of security people to clear you through the checks. This in itself can cause the missing of a flight. I have been in queue’s in Amsterdam that take 30 – 45 minutes to clear using the ‘priority’ lane and have witnessed someone missing their flight due to the length of the queue for the short connection lane…which was only because their flight in was delayed.

What influence, therefore, do KLM have with the airport to have the ridiculous security improved…especially the nonsense of doing the check at the gate.


I see your point, Tom. KLM is aware that security checks may take some time at the airport. One of the main priorities of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and KLM is the security of their passengers, with a minimum queuing time for. The overall security process is being adapted at this moment and will soon be finalized. When this has been the case, we will inform our customers about the improvements in the security process of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and the authorities.


Nice blog KLM, though travelling a lot through AMS airport I do totally agree with Tom. Please get the security check of hand luggage moved back to the entrance and removed from the gates. You have hundreds of security staff at all these gates together, so if you move them to the front that will go very fast. Of course (!) this is a Schiphol decision and not KLM’s


Thanks Freek!
Maybe my answer to Tom also answers your concern?


This information is totally wrong:
“KLM arranges hotel accommodation for you. With a pick-up and drop-off service, of course!”

At the exit of Schiphol are some kiosks/desks not belonging to KLM, where you can arrange over-night accommodation and transfer (if you ever have the chance to get there because of the queues and opening hours of the kiosks/desks) and after you pay for the service you can bring the invoice to KLM for reimbursement. That is the only help you can get from KLM in such cases.

If KLM would arrange the accommodation as mentioned, I would have expected that you receive the hotel voucher at the transfer desk of KLM when you are announce of the new flight you are booked in the case of over-night re-routing.


Thanks for your reply, Raz.
Normally, when your flight is delayed or canceled and KLM offers you a hotel, you will be referred to the desk at KLM Arrival Services (Schiphol). Our team there will accommodate you with your hotel and transfer voucher. May I ask about your situation, to see if we could have helped you in a better way?


KLM went screaming down hill when they joined up with Air France. Prior to that I would qualify for Gold membership by default due to the amount of flying I do, but all of a sudden the world shrunk and what used to be enough miles to gain the Gold card, was no longer enough mileage…..Maybe someone moved the Middle East a little closer to Amsterdam, wouldn’t put anything passed those Israelies. :)

Roseli Aparecida Wostog

Ola.Boa tarde a todos da KLM (Blog), viajando muito, e tudo de bom, visitando
diversos Pais conhecendo a cultura de cada lugar, isto e incrivel.
Voar e uma sensaçao liberdade, + Responsabilidade do Trabalho e de todos KLM.
Uma das Companhia de Viagens, mais antiga do Mundo, que viaja 162 paises.
E Companhia de Aviaçao, mais conceituada a nivel de ser o melhor atendimento, entre
Segurança e Tranquilidade. Venha para o melhor Negocio KLM Agencia. Boa Viagem.
Abraços a todos. Atenciosamente Roseli.A.Wostog@Outlook. Brazil.


Olá, Roseli! Ficamos muito felizes com a sua mensagem!
Concordamos com você, viajar é uma das coisas mais prazeirosas da vida. Cada lugar visitado é um novo mundo que se abre para o viajante e isso não tem preço.
Agradecemos o carinho e esperamos poder tê-la muitas vezes a bordo! :-)


If getting me to my destination as soon as possible is your first priority, why do you only check other airlines AFTER options with your airline have ran out?


Good question, Colin.
Our concern is to get our passengers to the destination as quickly and seamlessly as possible with KLM or with one of our partners. As the networks of our partners in the SkyTeam alliance are seamlessly connected, we always look for connections with the partners in this alliance. If there are no availabilities or connections with SkyTeam partners for our passengers, we look for opportunities outside our alliance.


Thank you for explaining what could be the factors of delay or cancellation of a flight. It was very. I am also happy to read the care KLM takes for the passengers when a flight is cancelled.

Still I wonder this service is provided to all KLM customer. I have noted that KLM distinguishes different kinds of customers in its service: (1) tickets directly from KLM; (2) tickets from another website like; (3) web-only ticket.

Would you be able to elaborate On this? Many thanks!

Tony Mahoro

Like it

Tony Mahoro

In the delay take over night are you guys going to provide the hotel or not?

edgar Seijas

I spent Xmas on board from Caracas to Madrid via Paramaribo , Dakar ,Lisbon to our final destination Madrid.On a Constallation, I was presented with a box of plastic planes, i wa ten years old, in first class , my mother was presented with french fine perfums, the crew was excelent, my firt international flithg, Africa stop was fascinating, Dakar where ate dinner some was amazing. Arrival at Barajas in time and Xmas on the air , never to forget.Later I flew from Madrid back to Caracas via Dakar on modern Jets and attention the same, one felt safe on KLM planes, use this fairy tale if you want , feel free., today I rejoyce this experience and feel sorry at seventy one year old no to repeat a flithg with this incomparable people.

Jagath Rupasiri

I read the blogs with a great interest.I understand that KLM is capable of looking after the passengers in any situation.That means the cutomer care of KLM is at high standard.


M farmes

I am a gold member and have missed several connecting flights at AMS over the years.
KLM GROUND STAFF REFUSED TO BOOK HOTEL. SAYING NONE AVAILABLE ….. Basically, Sort yourself out on an airport bench until morning. !
Be aware all KLM responses written here are clearly not true. KLM are affordable price. But forget any real customer service when things go wrong.


My husband’s flight from birmingham tonight has been delayed to Amsterdam so he will have to wait 15 hours at the connecting airport Amsterdam for the next KLM connection. will accommodation and meals be provided ? who does he need to ask ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *