Our Booking Ref # was 7BEHDG. My wife and I were looking forward to our trip to Africa aNd Amsterdam for a year. approximately 1 month Before the trip, my wife herniated four discs in her back. In order to make the flights more endurable, I went online to upgrade all of the seats I could to Comfort Economy. I couldn't finalize it online, so a KLM agent helped me on the phone. I spent about an addition $1000 to upgrade 6 seats, 3 flights, for about $189 per seat.
When we arrived at JFK, the nightmare began. At the Delta check-in, the agent said we only had the old seats in the back. I showed her not only the email confirmation with my upgraded seats, but the bank transaction print outs proving we paid for the seats. She refused to budge, and treated my wife and myself as an annoyance. I got angrier, and finally, she got a supervisor, which took about 20 minutes to get for me because the supervisors we in "a meeting". The supervisor was just as arrogant, as if we were giving them a hard time, just because we wanted the seats we paid for, as if WE were the problem. Finally, after so much stress and trouble, they gave us the seats we paid for. Consequently, on the plane, we actually happened upon the couple who paid for the same seats, but were displaced. They weren't as fortunate, and had to sit separately.
If this was the only problem, I would not be writing this letter. The next leg of the journey, Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro, had the exact same problem. The agent was friendlier, and more apologetic, and finally was able to get us two upgraded seats together, though not the 2 I paid for. We also had to stand in a long line at the Amsterdam airport in order to resolve this leg of the journey, and we had extreme stress and unease until the problem was resolved. While waiting for out flight, we, again, met two unhappy KLM travelers, who had paid for upgrades, and had to endure a huge hassle to get what they paid for.
But, our problems did not end there. Kilimanjaro to Amsterdam, we paid for 12 A and B, window and aisle seat. What we got was center aisle and the seat next to that, with me in between 2 people for the 11 hour flight. The people next to us had paid for upgrades, too, but in order to get the seats next to us, the flight attendants had to rearrange the seats of and depend on the benevolence of some random passengers for the husband and wife to sit together. They told us when they got on the plane, their seats were way in the back (they hadn't checked the boarding passes), even though they paid for economy upgrade.
Obviously, this problem is pervasive, and endemic. KLM seriously put a damper on our vacation, each step of the way, causing worry and stress each time, until the seating was resolved. My wife's documented medical condition dictated this to be so. This wasn't just an inconvenience, it is unbelievably terrible business practice.
I am not sure what, but, if ever it was called for, some sort of compensation is definitely in order. In any other business, this would constitute fraud. The attitude that we were the problem conveyed to us by your staff (with one exception) , only added insult to injury in this whole sordid mess.