Germans Don’t Know What KLM Is, So the Airline Opened a Restaurant and Bank

SkyTeam member airline KLM, based in Amsterdam and acquired by Air France in 2004, sees Germany as its most important market but discovered that 46% of Germans don’t know what a KLM is.

Founded in 1919 this is the oldest airline in the world still operating under its original name. KLM stands for Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij, or Royal Aviation Company.

Copyright: flaperval / 123RF Stock Photo

The airline created a German ad campaign: We are an airline. But since their research showed that people assumed KLM was either a bank, radio station or restaurant, they opened those things.

  • The restaurant gave away inflight meals for free
  • The bank had an ATM that gave people a chance to win free flights
  • They sponsored The Flying Dutchmen over the radio, with music, airline news and quiz items, and pitching the benefits of the airline

“We are an Airline” by The Flying Dutchmen will be available on Spotify this week.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Well if they don’t know what kLM is that’s pretty good
    That way there are more award seats for others to redeem
    Less seats on Lufthansa though 😉 🙂

  2. I don’t blame them. I bet most Americans couldn’t tell you if they were an airline. Unless you’ve seen them come up in a flight search engine or play the frequent flyer game they probably couldn’t tell you.

  3. I ‘m not surprised that a lot of Germans doesn’t know what KLM stands for …you dont even see their Logo a lot at Airports 🙂

    Pretty sure you will find that in every Country not only in Germany and thats not a reason to dislike Germans or Germany @ Robert Milton

  4. An entire nation believes what they read, posted by 1 Frequent Flyer?!?! (go figure, no wonder that nation is now stuck with a President as they mostly always believe everything they hear) Well, i have to make you aware, Germany is an important market for the Dutch neighbors, but like to start from scratch when “trying” to educate the US market: see the KLM link below! It will stun you!! The German idea was perfect and entertaining while the US version …… well, see for yourself and PLEASE, don’t always believe everything you just read and think it is always the truth, especially when it comes to the Plane truth!

  5. What a brilliant idea!! Although I am very surprised that the Germans were not familiar with KLM. I have known the KLM airline for a long time. My Austrian husband loves the company because of it’s superb service.

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