KLM’s Meet & Seat Taking Social Media to Dizzying New Heights

Bri Murphy    June 9, 2015


Organization Name: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Industry: Airline

Name of Contact:  Pieter Elbers, President & CEO

Web Reference: KLM

Description of how social media is used for business performance

Founded in 1919, KLM is the oldest airline still operating in the world. Remarkably, they’ve managed to re-invent themselves in order to stay relevant.  An article recently published in Forbes describes KLM as “a company that ‘gets’ social media”.

KLM Social Media

KLM has a designated social media page that is well laid out and user friendly featuring a whopping 7 platforms, plus a blog. An added bonus for travelers is access in multiple languages.

The sky’s the limit

Recently, KLM introduced a new program known as Meet & Seat. Since its inception, it has garnered a lot of positive attention from social media users. The unique program “allows passengers to link their social media profiles to their check-in information and choose a seating partner according to their profile,” states Steve Olenski.

Meet & Seat Details

Passengers are given the opportunity to interact with other flyers by meeting in reality at the airport or on board the flight. Customers are fully engaged with the airline as well as fellow passengers.


Social Media Case Study-KLM Surprise

Another example of KLM’s customer engagement is a campaign that surprises customers at the airport. Passengers using Foursquare or Twitter are tracked down by KLM employees and offered a small gift unique to their profile. This interactive approach can also double as employee engagement.


Social media practitioners can benefit from KLM’s approach. This act of kindness generated more than 1 million impressions on Twitter alone. Statistics show KLM has a strong following and has generated new business through their efforts. In the competitive airline industry, customer loyalty is a prime concern.

In order to improve retention, passengers are invited to share their feedback about their flight experience. KLM encourages this practice; they tailor their efforts based on their customers’ opinions and recommendations. The company truly values the input of its customers, and in turn, are rewarded for their exemplary service. As a result of their continued effort to serve passengers socially, KLM was ranked #1 for best social brands.

KLM Awards

As customer engagement suggests, passengers are given access to an array of helpful information to make their journey smooth. KLM’s transparent guidelines don’t leave passengers guessing.

KLM Guidelines

KLM keeps the lines of communication open by using social media for different purposes. Their strategy extends beyond the “game show host” style of customer engagement which only offers prizes and rewards. They assist passengers on a number of fronts as outlined below:

1.) messages about offers, products, services

2.) help with special requests: reserving seats, re-booking flight, baggage allowances, pets, flight changes

3.) travel tips

4.) job opportunities

5.) history: 90 years of aviation

6.) fun facts: how they paint planes or track and trace missing items

7.) photo contests to win air miles

Forward Thinking 

Moving away from traditional procedures, KLM also provides passengers with convenient check-in options through social profiles. Gone are the days of paper tickets which satisfies ec0-friendly travelers.

KLM Facebook

KLM has assisted customers with their travelling needs through a variety of social media methods instead of using a toll-free number as in the past. This option is still available, but passengers have more choice than ever for inquiries and resolving issues. Passengers are guaranteed a response instead of being put on hold or transferred.

KLM Customer CareKLM10

KLM aims to provide customer service in a timely manner.  Their 24/7 service and assistance doesn’t leave passengers stranded.


To celebrate KLM’s “golden jubilee” in 1969, Dutch jingle writer, Marian de Garriga composed a track that’s still played on flights today, and can be accessed through KLM’s YouTube channel. KLM may be forward thinkers in terms of social media, but they pay homage to their past.

KLM Jingle

Lessons For Others

Having a wide variety of channels that passengers can access 24 hours a day in multiple languages keeps customers engaged and content.

Keys for success:

1.) Multiple platforms & languages

2.)  Up-to-Date info

3.)  Keep passengers in the loop

4.) Timely responses

5.) Innovation

6.) Acts of kindness

Web References

Submitted By: Brianne Murphy, SMBP Student, University of Waterloo

To contact the author of this entry please email at: b5murphy@uwaterloo.ca

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Programme Director, Social Media for Business Performance.