TODAY: KLM Flight Headed Back to Amsterdam After It Had Already Made It To North America

KLM’s Amsterdam – Mexico City flight turned around back to Amsterdam when it had already made it to North America on Thursday, sending passengers back to where they started.

According to KLM the reason for the diversion back to Amsterdam was flying conditions around Mexico City as the result of a volcanic eruption.

Mexico’s nearly 18,000 foot tall Popocatepetl volcano erupted earlier in the morning, wish ash rising into the sky.

KLM made the decision that they didn’t want to approach, and the decision to return to Amsterdam rather than a point closer to Mexico City deemed safe, while many other aircraft did successfully complete their journeys. If I were a passenger on the flight I certainly wouldn’t second guess the judgment not to take risks. However I’d hope to land somewhere closer to where I was headed.

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Comments

  1. Pretty obvious the flight returned to AMS due to US/Canada visa restrictions. If it were a flight emergency that would have been a totally different situation.

  2. Not only do you have the vsa issue but you also have a crew and aircraft issue if it were to land In one of the other cities. it could possibly get stuck there and that would cause a major disruption to operations.

  3. No doubt the US visa and immigration issues caused this decision. It is already no fun to land in a US airport with valid papers, let alone when documentation like visa and onwards tickets are not in place. Passengers would likely have been deemed the highest security risk and locked up for interrogation immediately .

  4. Gary, you frame this as a question, as if you don’t know the answer.

    Returning to AMS is one heck of a choice if they had better options.

  5. Not to second guess KLM, but Mexico is a big country and there are lots of other cities that could have accommodated the flight. Their SkyTeam partner Aeromexico could have handled onward arrangements. My guess is that landing in, say, Cancun would have overall cost more than returning to Amsterdam, so KLM opted to do that instead.

  6. Local Dutch news reports that one of the reasons was that there was a large number of horses on board (28 I believe) and it was not possible to make arrangements to take care of them at another airport at such short notice. I would be annoyed if I were a passenger.

  7. Much a do about nothing.
    It’s not like they were close to their destination.
    They still were far from Mexico City.
    They turned around over Québec.
    Slow news day Gary?

  8. Returning to AMS was clearly the best choice for the passengers and KLM. Visa issues notwithstanding, I’d rather wait it out in the city of origin rather than some random intermediate destination. Besides the AMS return would allow more time in KLM’s new Crown Room 52 lounge with its Sensiks VR/SR room. The lounge is fantastic (perhaps now the second best lounge in SkyTeam after the VS LHR Clubhouse) and the VR/SR pods are one of a kind for a lounge in my experience.

  9. Posted here before but for some reason the post disappeared.

    So, two things:

    1) there were also 28 horses on this 747-400 combi. They were expecting them in Mexico City, and when diverting to another airport there would not have been resources to take care of them or even to put them somewhere. If there were no horses on board they might have been able to go to another Mexico airport as long as it could accommodate a 747.

    2) for john: most people on that flight will probably not have credentials to access lounge 52 without paying for it. Most travelers are not that privileged. They’d be stuck at the airport until another flight with enough room would be able to leave. If the volcano is quiet enough that is.

  10. Posted here before but for some reason the post disappeared.

    So, two things:

    1) there were also 28 horses on this 747-400 combi. They were expecting them in Mexico City, and when diverting to another airport there would not have been resources to take care of them or even to put them somewhere. If there were no horses on board they might have been able to go to another Mexico airport as long as it could accommodate a 747.

    2) for john: most people on that flight will probably not have credentials to access lounge 52 without paying for it. Most travelers are not that privileged. They’d be stuck at the airport until another flight with enough room would be able to leave. If the volcano is quiet enough that is.

  11. Given origin and destination there might have been passengers who did not wish to land in any North American city….

  12. This is not the complete story. They had 16 or so horses onboard which had to be taken care of. Just landing anywhere without knowing what would happen to these horses was not an option.

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