KLM is my BFF.

On the last week of March 2013 I was about to plan a short getaway that changed my life completely. First of all, no need for a Wacky Race. The idea of getting a backpack and visiting one city every two days was out of the question. I’m too old for that. Just give me a good restaurant, a book and a bottle of some grape joy juice and I’m entertained for hours.

The chosen destinations were Amsterdam, Brussel and Prague.

Normally when people choose their destination, it’s common to worry about the sightseeing, hotel choices and the whole list with plans for each day. My first concern, though, was the airline company. I’ve travelled a lot in my life due to business, but I’m still a little afraid of flying. Some movies and recent TV shows didn’t help diminishing my fear, although Lost has lost me forever after season two.

Therefore, the airline choice was key. Apart from that, I needed to rest. I wanted to arrive with energy, at minimum levels of jet lag. And no, there was no money for business or first class.

I’m a tall woman and airplane trips make me wish I was made out of Lego pieces. But, there is a silver lining for people like me: If you look for it, some airlines offer a different kind of chair, especially for us, cute little giants. KLM is one of those companies. The God sent chair is called Premium Economy. For a few extra money you can spread your legs for a whole flight. No chairs in the front breaking your knees. No sleeping on vertical position.

If that doesn’t convince you, try choosing your favorite type of food for the flight while you book your online ticket. Some flights offer Sushi for Economy Class. Don’t like Japanese? How about Italian? Don’t worry, if you forget to do it, you can enjoy the standart meals with no stomach pains. As you receive it, prepare yourself for a private lesson on Branding. KLM never forgot its roots: the Dutch culture is in every single detail, carefully placed in every centimeter of that food tray.

What to say about onboard entertainment? Some movies are still playing in theaters. You can even take some languages course while you are up in the air. A friend of mine exercised some Mandarin once.

Also important: If you get the chance to check-in from Amsterdam, by all means, go for it. It’s an almost complete automated system, but not to the point where people lose the human contact. So innovative it gets you in and out under 20 minutes. No wonder prizes on that subject keep on coming. They are simply ahead.

Not just ‘a-head’ in technology, but by creating a fantastic combination of factors: Being friendly as well as efficient, being reliable, but also gentle, never cold. Being democratic, offering comfort to every class, yet still thinking about individual needs. They are thoughtful in every aspect. What’s not to love?

This creates a customer experience that gives me the feeling of flying in complete peace. It’s more than flying safe. In fact, it’s like flying in a nest, trust me. Needless to say, they have a true ambassador here.

However, generating a flight experience over expectations is only one leg of a well planned and executed concept. KLM focus on choosing actions that truly prove their Brand Positioning. They have gathered a list of cool events throughout the years. From making kind surprises to passengers before taking off using social media to locate them, up to hiring a cute sniffing dog to manage the Lost and Found Department.

The list goes on. In 2011, KLM organized a special trip on their Amsterdam-Miami flight debut. A few of the most notorious DJs in the world where spinning their beats at 35000 feet, putting all the passengers to dance the flight away. When it comes to using creativity to make people feel special, they are truly kings.

Thus it was easy to pick KLM to take me to my destiny on that vacation trip in 2013. And when I say destiny, boy, not just any destiny. I didn’t know that I was going to meet my husband during a dinner with friends on my last night in Belgium. There was one tiny little problem to that love story: I was still living in Brazil and had to go back.

So, apart from being a thoughtful Airline Company, KLM was the most important connection during a long distance relationship. And in every occasion, they didn’t let me down. Within a little more than a year, my soon-to-be-husband and I combined more than 10 travels crossing the ocean. They made sure we would arrive safe to each other, no matter the port.

On December 2014 we got married in São Paulo. A few of his relatives and friends came from Lowlands using KLM flights, by the way. And I am happy to say that some double nationalities couples blossomed in our wedding, so I guess KLM will continue to take lovers into their blue skies. My husband and I, well, as soon as we have money for a honeymoon, those seats will be booked.

by Ana Luisa Negreiros (Van de Werf)

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