KLM is taking the train more often

Challenge. KLM is increasingly turning to international trains as a sustainable alternative for short-haul flights that connect to
longer, intercontinental flights.

Approach. Using a combination of WhatsApp, individual interviews
and observations, we mapped out the entire Customer Journey in
real time.


KLM is increasingly turning to international trains as a sustainable alternative to short-haul flights. We closely followed the participants in a trial run by KLM and Thalys, mapping out the entire Customer Journey.


In 2022, KLM together with Thalys carried out a trial on the Brussels-Amsterdam route. Passengers with a connection to Schiphol used an ‘air-train ticket’ for their journey to or from Brussels.

Air France-KLM’s Hans Zijlstra: “Naturally, we want to offer travellers the same standard of service as on our flights. Only then will passengers start to see train travel as an attractive and sustainable alternative.”


The research project consisted of three phases:

  • WhatsApp journal. The passengers in the trial came from all over the world. Via the WhatsApp Only expertise from Miles Research, they could share their experiences with us instantly and easily throughout their journey.
  • Observations. We observed travellers at Schiphol Airport, Brussels Midi Station and during train journeys with Thalys.
  • In-depth interviews. With 18 passengers, we also went through the entire journey step by step in an online interview.

What insights did the research yield?

The combination of travelling by plane and train shows a lot of potential, yet travellers still encountered a few significant and unexpected obstacles during the trial.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was that travellers were more concerned with ‘info’ than ‘infra‘. Good information and guidance during the journey turned out to be the most important thing for travellers.

Hans:Beautiful Lives ensured that the customer could share their travel experiences with us very easily and in real-time. That provides so much more insight.” 

Our customer case study at MIE’23

KLM and Beautiful Lives co-presented this customer case study at MIE’23. Read the interview with Hans Zijlstra on Daily Data Bytes.

Do you like what you see?

Reach out if you think we’re a good match. Specific questions? Let us know, we would love to hear from you!

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