Lonely Planet Writer

The drinks are on KLM as they help layover passengers to find a friend in Amsterdam

Dutch airline KLM is to modernise the age-old concept of pen pals by giving it a makeover with an app called Layover with a local.

KLM revises routes to Africa. Image by Lord of the Wings© / CC BY-SA 2.0
KLM is offering layover passengers at Schipol Airport the opportunity to meet locals in Amsterdam in a modern spin on pen pals  CC BY-SA 2.0 Image by Lord of the Wings© / CC BY-SA 2.0

The Dutch carrier’s initiative will offer its passengers facing a six-hour or more layover in Amsterdam the opportunity to meet up with a local in the city. And just to break the ice, KLM will buy the first round of drinks.

Travellers.com.au reports that the new program can be enjoyed by tourists from the carrier’s three biggest markets – the US, Italy and Canada. None of the passengers from these countries require a visa for such a visit to the city centre.

Air Passengers on a layover of six hours or more are given return rail tickets to Amsterdam by KLM where they will be meet locals with similar interests
Air Passengers on a layover of six hours or more are given return rail tickets to Amsterdam by KLM where they will be meet locals with similar interests Image by Andrés Nieto Porras / CC BY-SA 2.0

Travellers flying with a stopover in Amsterdam will get an email from KLM urging them to sign up to the project. They will be shown how to download the app and will have to answer a few other questions.

Once that is returned, they will be paired with a resident from Amsterdam who has the same interests and has shown a willingness to meet up with a total stranger from a different land. It is envisaged that a large amount of the participants will be language students keen on brushing up their language skills by speaking to a short-term tourist.

KLM will give the passenger free express train tickets from Schipol Airport to central Amsterdam. The airline will ensure that the meeting place will be close to the train station.