Why, you ask? Well...
My mom is my most loyal supporter. And a fantastic mom (sorry, guys, my mom is the best). However, she also suffers from a severe case of diabetes. And is assigned with a seizure alert dog (service dog) because of that. Her service dog literally gave her her life back. And has saved her life on several occasions.
What we did? We called KLM last January (11 months prior to the date of the flight) and asked them if it was okay to take the service dog with us in the cabin. 'No, problem! KLM is service dog friendly and knows she's obliged to take service dogs on the plane.'. Okay, so, we booked the flights. Only to find that it wasn't as 'easy' as KLM had told us. The service dog has been approved on the flight. However, there are only 3 or 4 Economy Class seats on that plane that provide enough leg room for the dog to lay at my mom's feet. And KLM won't (not can't, 'won't'!) guarantee that my mom will get one of those seats. And yes, we've booked 11 (!) months in advance.
KLM Customer Care (caring about whom?) literally told her that if a Premium Member comes along, that passenger will get the seat. To make matters even worse, if she doesn't get one of those 3 or 4 seats with her service dog, she won't be allowed on the plane. Because it won't be safe for the dog. But yet, KLM won't guarantee that they can give her one of those seats. And yes, she has already paid for the flight. And is willing to pay extra if that is what it takes to give her any guarantees. And yes, because of international laws KLM is obliged to give her - and any passenger travelling with a service dog - one of those seats and to let her/them on the plane.
Even after hiring an attorney (hiring the firm I work for as an attorney) and letting her (moi and several colleagues) work on it, KLM wouldn't change the way they handle this - now or in the future. 'KLM won't change her policy towards disabled passengers with a service dog.'. After 30+ phone calls, a news paper working on it, and writing them, I received a phone call from KLM Customer Care saying that they could (could, yes, could - not would) make an exception in this case and reserve a seat, but they still wouldn't guarantee anything. That leaves us with...nothing, right? Again. Yes, sounds nice, but we're left with the same 'no guarantees for service dogs' situation. Plus, they won't guarantee anything for future flights, and - as said - won't change their policy towards passengers traveling with service dogs. What makes me feel even more awful, KLM told the journalist that contacted them on this matter that they had done nothing wrong, and that it was just my mom. Basically KLM states that they won't obey the international laws mentioned above. Disturbing, very disturbing. Equal rights? Apparently not.
Why this is such a shame? I have always loved flying with KLM. Their cabin crew is superb! What they're doing now, changes everything. I honestly can't believe that these things still happen in this day and age.
So, no New York Marathon for me, I guess. I can't even begin to describe how this makes me feel.
And now I'm beyond angry, mad, pissed off. And I believe I have every right to. This calls for an angry run.