Tales of Woe – Airline Service

By | March 15, 2009

Mr T at LHRMr. T, we’re sure, would say, “I pity the fool airline who mistreats their passengers.” Once again, here are some recent tales we’ve noticed of travel experiences.

  • When a man tried to check in for his flight on Spirit, he was told the flight was oversold. When he tried to fly the next day, Spirit told him he was a no-show and thus would have to buy a new ticket. When his partner tried to call, the staff over the phone was rude and dismissive. She ended up having to email a customer service executive to get resolution. While there was a happy ending, it shouldn’t have been this hard to fix a mistake.
  • The Courts made Lufthansa pay compensation to a man for the apparent rudeness of his flight attendant over requesting a non-vegetarian meal on their flight. Allegedly, she rudely threw down his plate, announcing, “Vegetarian, sir.” Then she did not bring him a corrected plate till she finished serving others.

    “She was trying to mock me. I complained to customer care. After I mailed them thrice and did not get a reply, I wrote to them that I am going to court. That is when they reimbursed 5,000 miles. But they were not ready to accept their fault. So I decided to go ahead with the case.”

  • One passenger, calling United’s Reservations line, was promised repeatedly by two different representatives that he could cancel his tickets within 24 hours of purchase without penalty. A week after he cancelled, he was charged a $150 fee that one United rep admitted was a new policy that wasn’t in writing…and United refused to reverse it. Even initiating a chargeback through his credit card didn’t seem to work. Finally, he emailed Dennis Cary, the Chief Customer Officer at United and got resolution.
  • Employees of a pet store in Philadelphia got a dead man’s body instead of a shipment of tropical fish. The body was supposedc to go to a research laboratory in Allentown, a 70-mile drive away. US Airways says it is deeply sorry and attributes the mistake to a verbal miscommunication between driver and cargo representative. The fish were shipped in three boxes. The corpse was shipped in a wooden coffin wrapped in cardboard. On another sad note, the fish probably died.
  • A man paid about $400,000 to fly first-class anywhere in the world with a companion for the rest of his life is suing American Airlines for revoking that right. American Airlines no longer sells lifetime passes and he claims the cost of purchasing first-class airline tickets for the rest of his life would cost about $7 million, the amount he is suing for. He claims the airline illegally revoked the passes in December after alleging he fraudulently used the flight passes by making “speculative reservations” for companions. We thought people were allowed to make speculative reservations. Many airlines allow a 24-hour hold. Most first-class tickets are fully refundable, and can be cancelled at any time. We’re eager to hear what American says he did wrong, other than try to take advantage of a pass he bought in good faith.
  • Perhaps one of the worst…and most detailed airline stories we’ve read of late came from Michael J. Totten, a journalist whose blog has won several awards. In a recent post, which can be found here, Totten details his experience trying to get from Beirut to Chicago just before this past Christmas, using Alitalia and being stuck in the middle of an extreme airline meltdown. We enjoyed reading it, as Alitalia insisted he check his carryon full of valuable electronics, to lying to him repeatedly, rebooking him on service that wasn’t available, ignoring him…It’s an odyssey we’re lucky we didn’t have. If you were going to fly Alitalia especially, you should consider checking it out.

recombobulationPerhaps after stuff like this…we need to gather our thoughts at the Recombobulation Area….like this one at Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport. Our most recent travel hardship was spending an extra day trying to get home after a trip, when there were no seats available on any flight. But, despite the fact they weren’t putting us on a plane, the airline employees were nothing but polite and friendly. Even another carrier offered a seat to a city only two hours away from our destination at a not unreasonable price(We didn’t take it though).

But compared to abuse, harsh treatment, and days of not knowing what to do(we at least had kind relatives to stay with overnight in aforementioned city), we’ve gotten off rather easy of late.

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