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One of my favorite parts of flying Business Class is the collectible, Delft Blue miniature houses filled with Dutch gin that are passed out in flight. I’ve collected several through the years and will get another in a few weeks when I fly the Dutch airline. To celebrate its 104th birthday today, KLM has released a new miniature.
Valkenburg aan de Geul train station was selected to be recreated this year. The castle-like building was designed by Jacob Enschedé and opened almost 170 years ago. It’s a national heritage site owned by NS Dutch Railways and ProRail and lies in the town of Valkenburg aan de Geul. KLM chose a train station this year to demonstrate the vital role that trains combined with air travel plays in the Netherlands.
Lucky at One Mile at a Time wrote a good post on the history of KLM’s Delft miniatures. The story goes:
The history of KLM’s houses is probably the single thing that makes them the most intriguing. Prior to the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, the United States’ Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) regulated most aviation policies, including fares, routes, and schedules.
This was intended to create a level playing field between airlines, and one of the regulations prohibited airlines from providing passengers with tangible incentives for booking them over a competitor.
Well, in 1952, KLM found a loophole. As a gift for people choosing to fly with KLM, the airline started passing out little blue-and-white ceramic houses filled with Bols Genever gin. But wait, isn’t that a tangible incentive?
KLM argued that it wasn’t a gift, but rather the airline was just serving to-go drinks. At the time, KLM replied to the critics with “is there a law that tells us drinks have to be served in a glass?”
That’s how the KLM miniature house mania started, and the rest is history.”
The houses have become so popular that KLM even has a Delft Blue houses app so passengers can keep track of their collections and learn more about the buildings featured.
A birthday celebration was held at the train station with about 250 people in attendance. KLM is working to replace some short-haul flights with rail connections as part of its efforts to reduce CO2 emissions. The airline wants a 30% savings by 2030 based on 2019 levels.
Anthony’s Take: I have always found these miniatures adorable and can’t wait to add to my collection in a few weeks. Maybe, I’ll get the newest addition. Happy Birthday, KLM!
(Image Credits: KLM.)
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