KLM advice for travellers to the United States

Wednesday 15, September 2010


KLM advice for travellers to the United States


When you fly to the United States, special rules apply. If you are not required to have a visa, you will need an ESTA travel authorisation. Also, airlines are required to collect personal details from passengers.


New baggage rules

Due to the need to inspect baggage for explosives, you are not permitted to lock your hold baggage.


Please note that our baggage rules have changed. Read more about baggage on KLM's website


When booking your flight

The ‘Secure Flight policy’ of the United States government requires airlines to register some personal data at the moment of booking your flight. This ‘Secure Flight data’ includes your gender, date of birth and your first and family name exactly as stated in your passport.


We are required to pass this information of all our passengers to the United States’ Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at least 72 hours before departure. If you book your flight within 72 hours before departure, we will send the ‘Secure Flight’ information at the time of booking.


To prevent additional costs and to make sure that you are allowed to board your flight, we ask you to provide this ‘Secure Flight’ information to us in time. If you book your flight via a travel agent, be sure to provide this information to your travel agent in time. We also need to have your ‘Secure Flight’ data if you want to check in online, or at a self-service machine at the airport.


You might need to request electronic travel authorisation (ESTA), and you will have to supply Advance Passenger Information (API). Please find out more below.


ESTA travel authorisation

Under the Visa Waiver Programme, residents of certain countries may travel to the United States without having to request a visa. However, travellers from these countries will need to apply for a supplementary travel authorisation (ESTA). Without ESTA travel authorisation, these travellers will not be allowed to board their flight to the United States. 


Important: Starting 8 September 2010, a fee of USD 14.00 (around EUR 10.50) will be charged to apply for ESTA travel authorisation.


Passengers from all countries need to have ESTA travel authorization to be able to check in online or at a self-service machine at the airport for their flight to the United States.


Read more about ESTA and Visa Waiver Programme countries 


Faster border passage (FLUX)

If you travel between the Netherlands and the United States, you can now save substantial time at the airport. By applying for the new programme known as FLUX, you can eliminate standing in line for passport control and filling in immigration and customs forms.


FLUX is an arrangement between governments that simplifies border passage. The Dutch and American governments were the first to enter into a FLUX agreement. You can apply for FLUX if you are a Dutch or American citizen. Until 8 October 2010, KLM Flying Blue members get a discount on FLUX membership.



All travellers to the United States must have an e-passport that can be read by a machine (also known as an MRP or machine-readable passport). Depending on where and when it was issued, such a passport must have a digital photo and a built-in chip.


Babies and older children have to have their own passports; they may not travel on the passport of one of their parents.


If you have a temporary or emergency passport that is not an e-passport, you can no longer travel under the Visa Waiver Programme. You must then apply for a visa for your trip to the United States.


Advance Passenger Information

If you travel to the United States, we are required to collect various personal data. We recommend you provide this Advance Passenger Information (API) to your travel agent or during online check-in (from 24 hours up to 1 hour before departure).


If checking in online is not possible, you can also enter the necessary data at a self-service check-in machine at the airport. If you depart from an airport where you can only check in at the desk, our staff will register the data on your passport. You may also download the API form before you travel.


The API data includes:


  • Family name and first name
  • Date of birth and gender
  • Passport number
  • Country that issued the passport
  • Passport expiration date
  • Nationality
  • Country of residence


Temporary address where you will be staying. This address must include the house number, street, city/town, abbreviation used for the state, and the zip code.


 You do not have to provide the temporary address information if:


  • You officially reside in the United States.
  • During your inward journey, you will transfer in the United States to a destination outside the United States and this transfer is within 8 hours. When filling in your address, please enter ‘Transit to Non-US country’, and the flight number of the final part of your journey. 
  • You will go on a cruise. When filling in your address please enter: ‘Transit to Cruise Line’, adding the name of the ship and the city and state where your cruise will start.
  • You will travel through the United States in a motor home. If possible, please give an indication of your planned location.



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