Uh Oh: KLM Not Allowing Checked Bags On Flight Out Of Cairo

Last week an Airbus A321 belonging to Russian charter airline Metrojet crashed shortly after takeoff from Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Tragically all 224 people aboard were killed, and the exact cause of the accident remains under investigation.

Many are speculating that the plane may have had a bomb aboard, and it seems like that’s at least somewhat of a credible theory, as airlines are taking drastic security measures as a result of this crash.

KLM has just issued what must be one of the more unique travel advisories I’ve ever seen, as KLM will not be allowing any checked bags on their flight from Cairo to Amsterdam tomorrow:

KLM is currently informing passengers in Cairo that traveling with KL554 Cairo-Amsterdam on November 6, will be allowed if traveling with handluggage only.

Based on national and international information and out of precaution KLM will not allow checkin luggage.

There are no restrictions regarding flying to and from the airport of Cairo. Flight KL553 will be executed according to flight schedule. KLM offers passengers the opportunity to rebook their trip and travel with another airline if opportunities are available.

KLM is monitoring the situation closely.

For what it’s worth, this route is operated by a KLM Boeing 777, and the flight is scheduled to depart at 4:05AM. That means this advisory was issued under six hours before the flight is scheduled to depart.

KLM-Business-Class-747-31

This is fascinating on many levels, as clearly KLM has access to some information we don’t:

  • Is there a reason this restriction applies just to the flight on November 6, and not the flight a day after (announcing this in advance would help people plan better)?
  • Is there not a way bags could be screened extra thoroughly, or do they not trust the ground agents to do that? Maybe they’re concerned it could be an “inside job” from someone at the airport?
  • I haven’t yet seen a similar precaution adopted by other airlines, so is KLM just being extra cautious, or do they have reason to believe that specific flight is in danger?
  • If they don’t feel safe with checked luggage, do they really feel safe operating at all? Having been through security many times at Cairo Airport, I can’t say that I felt it was the most “thorough” process…

Big picture these sure are scary times we live in! It’ll be interesting to see what unfolds here, and if other airlines adopt a similar policy.

What do you make of KLM’s restriction on checked baggage?

Comments

  1. I think it is necessary especially where a major even just happened. Good for KLM taking extreme caution

  2. A lot of the U.K. Flights from sharm are following this rule when bringing back the holiday makers. They are saying luggage will be held securely and shipped back in due course. Not sure I’d trust my luggage in airport holding for long. Check out some of the British press for more info.

  3. Maybe they’re concerned it could be an “inside job” from someone at the airport?

    My understanding is that they think it was one of the ground crew who placed the bomb. I assume that by no checked luggage they also mean that no one will be permitted to access the baggage compartment while on the ground in Cairo.

  4. Just a few days ago you said that Metrojet was completely wrong in speculating that a bomb had been responsible for the crash… Now we’re living scaring times… Interesting

  5. Last time I passed through Cairo in 2012, the airport security guard at passenger screening wanted (and got) $1 USD to allow me to carry my bottle of water to the secure side. He hit me up for the baksheesh when I was on the secure side.

    I can only imagine what someone with real $ would be worth.

    Not saying it’s right, just saying.

  6. Egyptian security is a joke and corrupt. I have been there several times and experienced it firsthand. At Sharm El Sheikh a few years ago, at a time of allegedly heightened security, the airport security I passed through did not alarm when I brought my mobile phone through. When I wondered why, I realized that they didn’t plug in the magnetometer because the staff didn’t want to be bothered by the alarm going off! Also, we found some abandoned bags outside the security checkpoint. When we alerted officials, they just laughed and told us that if they weren’t our bags, we shouldn’t worry about them!

  7. I have been to Ciaro twice in the past year, and passing the security with a belt is a normal thing, they dont get too excited if the metal detector sounds.

    And I have also heard from my colleagues that for a small amount of money you can bring anything in. So, yes, I am not supprised with this decision by KLM.

  8. Do you think they are doing this just one day until they can fly their own people in to monitor the security process? I imagine that is as scary as it gets.

  9. I was there today morning, they were allowing the luggage of the cabin crew even the big pieces, i took photos of the crew while checking in, while they refused the passengers luggage.
    What do u call this ??

  10. Belgian tour operator Jetairfly is flying their own security personnel with search dogs over to Sharm el Sheik to perform the security check themselves.

    That seems more customer friendly than not allowing luggage on the plane.

  11. I fly in and out of Cairo frequently. I would say your second bullet point is most accurate. Many of the security agents are on their phones or asleep at the screens. It takes 3 x-ray machines, at least 5 people to check your passport, and what do they freak out about most? Water bottles…. and they don’t sell water after security! They could very easily be more comprehensive in their security, evidenced by how vigorously they try to find bottles of alcohol being carried in from abroad through customs. But that’s obviously more important to them than safety.

  12. Not really surprised. All Belgian charter airlines are doing the same thing by the way.
    I’ve traveled through a few Egyptian airports and security is really bad. I even never take off my belt or empty my pockets anymore because they just don’t care.

    2 days after the crash I had to fly back from RMF to BRU and then the security was over the top , they added ‘mobile’ security stations everywhere which made us almost miss our flight. (Also airport staff in Egypt don’t really seem to like their jobs , which doesn’t help)
    But hey , better safe than sorry 🙂

  13. Wait, is AF doing the same thing? Because if not that would be strange, considering they’re both by technicality, the same airline.

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