KLM pulls some US routes amid stricter travel restrictions

The carrier has dropped flights to three leisure destinations this winter.

KLM will not operate routes to Las Vegas (LAS), Miami (MIA) and Orlando (MCO) this winter after the Dutch government designated the US a “very high-risk area.”

All three airports were scheduled to receive service from Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) between Oct. 31 and March 26, 2022. However, the SkyTeam alliance member said it has been “forced” to remove the planned flights following the introduction of stricter travel rules for inbound passengers.

Under the latest regulations, passengers arriving from the US will only be able to enter the Netherlands if they are fully vaccinated or fall into one of the exemption categories for the European Union entry ban.

As well as showing a negative COVID-19 test result, travelers must also quarantine for 10 days even if they have proof of vaccination or proof of recovery. The quarantine period may be shortened if passengers receive a negative day five test result.

KLM described the new measures as a “big step backwards.” In a statement, the carrier said: “Health and fighting COVID-19 are paramount but the measures taken must be effective and proportionate. 

“It looks like other EU member states, such as Italy, France and Belgium are not putting a triple lock on the door for travelers from the US.”

The tighter rules in the Netherlands come after the European Council on Aug. 30 recommended removing the US from the EU’s “safe” list of countries. The safe list allows travelers to enter with a negative test result or proof of vaccination, without having to quarantine.

The US is a major market for KLM. In 2019, the country was the airline’s fourth largest international market behind the UK, Germany and France.  

The carrier currently serves nine destinations in the US, flying to Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Minneapolis/St Paul (MSP) New York John F Kennedy (JFK), San Francesco (SFO) and Washington Dulles (IAD).

For the week commencing Sept. 6, KLM is offering 60 flights to the US and almost 39,000 two-way seats. This compares with 87 flights and 55,000 seats during the same week in 2019.

Photo credit: Joe Pries