KLM’s New App Feature Tells You When Your Suitcase Is Too Big

Sep 12, 2018

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Last week, KLM released a new augmented-reality (AR) feature in its app that allows travelers to measure their carry-on bags ahead of upcoming trips. The AR technology relies on smartphone cameras to virtually compare a traveler’s real-life suitcase against the KLM template.

KLM limits travelers to one accessory measuring 15.75″ x 11.81″ x 5.91″ (40 x 30 x 15 cm), as well as one carry-on piece measuring 21.65″ x 13.78″ x 9.84″ (55 x 35 x 25 cm). 

Unfortunately, the baggage-check feature is only available for KLM passengers who already have an upcoming flight booked, as the technology is embedded in the “My Trips” section of the app, accessible at the bottom of the screen.

To access the augmented-reality feature, click on the little arrow next to the date and time section. This will expand your trip details:

The AR bag check is buried deeper still. To find it, select the “choose extra options” tab beneath the luggage allowance icons.

During a test of the new feature, I finally found the AR bag check hidden under the two-bag tab after clicking through to “view” my bags. Under “baggage overview,” the app clearly spelled out the sizes of each item travelers are allowed to bring, and also gave the option to “go to the AR bag check.”

Since this tool is designed exclusively for items travelers plan to bring into the cabin with them, there was no option to visually measure my checked suitcase. Instead, I was reminded again of the carry-on and personal item (or accessory) size limitations, each with the option of entering the virtual check functionality.  

To test the feature’s functionality, I started with my Away carry-on which, according to the Away website, measures 21.7” x 13.7” x 9”. The app asked me to first scan the floor with the camera for reference. (It probably goes without saying, but you’ll need to allow the app access to your phone’s camera to utilize this feature.)

Clear, simple instructions appeared on the screen to direct me through the next steps. You can minimize the window and bring it back up as needed by clicking on the orange information button at the bottom of the screen. The directions are very simple: Drag or rotate the virtual suitcase until it covers the carry-on in the camera. If part of the real suitcase will not fit inside the outline of the virtual one even when everything is aligned, it is too big to carry on.

You can also use the “flip” function on the app (the bottom right button on the screen) to “flop” your virtual suitcase down to match your real-life bag.

I had some misgivings about the app’s accuracy when my Away suitcase didn’t quite fit after multiple tries, even though it’s supposed to satisfy the parameters almost exactly. (The longest edge is technically 0.118 cm over the 55-cm restriction, but I can’t imagine a reasonable flight attendant or gate agent wouldn’t let me board with this bag. All other metrics are under the KLM size limitation.)

And the app actually seemed to perform better with suitcases set at an angle away from a wall. When I placed my suitcase flush against the wall, the virtual app struggled to align the template suitcase against mine, even after many tries and careful finger swipes and pinches. 

My soft-sided backpack (well within the size restrictions) fared a bit better when I ran it through the “accessory check.” Once again, the app directed me through the process with concise instructions.

In this instance, the accessory template quickly identified my backpack, and after a quick alignment, was able to cover my real-life personal item in no time. 

Unfortunately, travelers won’t be able to use this app to measure their carry-on items for future trips — unless they’re flying with KLM. Even if the feature wasn’t restricted to travelers with existing bookings, the measurements are sized specifically for KLM restrictions. That said, the AR bag check is a useful feature for travelers who frequently book flights with KLM and are concerned about bringing items that might be oversized.

If nothing else, we’re hopeful this incentivizes other carriers to enhance their own apps.

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