KLM apologizes for discriminatory note prompted by coronavirus fear

KLM Boeing 747 lands in Amsterdam
A KLM Boeing 747 arriving at Schiphol Airport from Shanghai, China. July 21, 2016portosabbiaDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

KLM issued an apology on Friday after a note posted on a toilet door on a flight from Amsterdam to Seoul caused an online uproar earlier this week. The note stated only in Korean that the toilet was only for cabin crew use. When a passenger asked about this, they were told that the note was hung as a precaution against the coronavirus 2019-nCoV, NU.nl reports.

The passenger snapped a picture of the note and posted it on social media, after which the hashtag #BoycottKLM was trending in Korea. 

A KLM spokesperson told NU.nl that cabin crew members often reserve a toilet for themselves, so that they don't end up standing in line. The spokesperson could not say why the onboard staff indicated that the coronavirus was the reason that the toilet was closed to travelers.

It was a mistake that the note was only posted in Korean, the spokesperson said. "The English translation was omitted unintentionally."

According to KLM, apologies were immediately offered to the passenger who complained about the note. "In our view, this incident is very regrettable; the crew's action was not intended to discriminate," the airline said. 

KLM will conduct an internal investigation to see how such incidents can be prevented in the future.