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What's the deal with the KLM cityguides?

By Kaeli Conforti
updated September 29, 2021
blog_klmcropped_original.jpg
Courtesy <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/bribri/4636336032/" target="_blank">BriYYZ/Flickr</a>

I love KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines). The flight attendants are always pleasant, the drinks always free, the entertainment options wide-ranging, and the in-flight perks for coach travelers rival those of business class on other airlines (lavender scented hot towels after meals, anyone?) So when I heard about their new KLM CityGuides I was instantly intrigued.

The product, unfortunately, has me (and most of my colleagues here at Budget Travel) pretty baffled. The website is attractive—you're greeted by a futuristic-looking globe with a preview of all of their worldly destinations, and you're invited to "create your own KLM CityGuide."

I selected Paris from a lengthy drop-down list and was instantly presented with a message: "So you would like your KLM CityGuide to cover Paris. Is Europe also your favorite continent?" Huh? That's quite an assumption (not that I don't love Europe).

I should have known then that things were about to get funky.

From there I was taken through a maze of questions—I selected three main interests (nightlife, nature, culture), types of vacations that interest me (city trips, culture trips, beach trips), and I checked popular attractions in Paris that I'd be interested in learning more about. The whole process took about 10-15 minutes.

Finally—I thought—my cityguide awaits! Except that it didn't. I was kicked to a screen with a most disappointing message:

"You have successfully created your own KLM CityGuide. Enter your personal details below and we will send your KLM CityGuide to your home address at no cost within 4 to 6 weeks."

Snail mail? Really? After all the tech-y pop-ups, graphics and questions I certainly didn't see that one coming (nor did I want to wait 4 to 6 weeks for my guide).

I reached out to KLM to try and get a clickable version of a City Guide so we could at least try to show you what a finished product looks like, but there wasn't one readily available. I guess we'll find out in 4 to 6 weeks what these guides are all about. Or maybe all of this is just a clever way to collect data on what kinds of vacations their customers are interested in.

So now I'm dying of curiosity—has anyone ever used or seen one of these KLM city guides? Or perhaps even more interesting—would you trust a travel guide that was delivered by an airline? Do you even use travel guides? Tell us below!

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