Changing my flight – yes, maybe, no, no, maybe, yes

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This topic contains 11 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  FDOS_UK 28 Nov 2017
at 06:03
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Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)

  • TominScotland
    Participant

    Yesterday, I arrived at Tallinn Airport, hoping to fly TLL-HEL-LHR-GLA with Finnair (except final leg) but on a ticket purchased through BA with BA code-share flights. I had booked the lowest fare with no changes permitted. Connection times in HEL, as ever, were tight (I have done this routing many times).

    On Saturdays, the inbound from HEL should arrive some two hours before it turns around for a reason I am not privy to. Yesterday, I saw it was delayed and, sure enough, a check on the Helsinki Airport site showed it was operating 2 hours behind schedule – could only be for technical reasons. A short time later, I noticed on my phone app that Finnair had changed my flights so that I was now due to arrive back in Glasgow 2 hours 50 minutes later than planned.

    Arriving in Helsinki too late for my original LHR connection, I decided to chance my arm to see whether Finnair would change my routing to their direct flight to EDI, due to leave 25 minutes after my re-scheduled LHR flight. At the transfer desk, we started with a “Sure, no problem”, then a big frown, realisation that my ticket had been issued by BA and, after consulting the supervisor, “No, only BA can issue a re-routing like this”. I pleaded the illogicality of this (nicely) and pointed out that, if my final leg via London was just 11 minutes late, EC261 might kick in. I had also checked that there was availability on the EDI flight. To no avail. BA’s agents are located landside so I was directed to see them.

    I found the third party agents where they were not particularly interested. In any case, they cannot change BA tickets. you need to see Finnair for that….. So, landside now, I went to the Finnair Service Desk. A charming lady (of my age vintage) took charge, verified that my delay from Tallinn was, in fact, legit and issued me with a boarding pass for EDI within about 3 minutes. No quibble or concern. In the end, I drove past Glasgow Airport on my way home some 20 minutes before my original connection via LHR was due to arrive……..

    The moral of the story is that, even in the world of inflexible tickets, yes can turn to no and no can turn to yes. Persistence pays and a smile goes a long way. Oh yes, and it certainly helps if you travel with hand luggage only – even with the discomfort of your roll-on under your seat on an ATR – as if I had checked my bag, no way was I going to get re-routed!!


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    @TominScotland – well done for getting the flights changed. You are a seasoned traveller and knew which “buttons” to press. However, it is quite understandable, why tempers may become heated in these situations, when the airlines (or their representatives) involved, interpret the rules differently and/or have different levels of authority to find solutions – even when they are situated in the same airport.

    Surely its about time that airlines have the systems to manage code share flights in a more proactive manner.


    openfly
    Participant

    The landing PA on BA clearly states that “if you need assistance see any of our One-World partners”….yeah right!!


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    I think what this tale illustrates is the confusion caused by codeshare flights, supported by outsourced service provision, whose agents do not know as much as and are not empowered to the same degree as airline employees.

    As soon as the OP found an airline rep, everything was sorted.

    On the other hand, I’m flying to Nice tomorrow, returning Friday, with a 20kg bag, extra legroom seats and priority boarding. Cost £135.40 – try doing that back in the days of IATA regulated flights and without a Saturday night – would have cost about £350 (not adjusted for inflation).

    Something has to give and as the OP admitted, he travelled on the lowest priced ticket – the truth is that the airlines cannot afford to provide the same levels of support, these days and outsourced agents are the price WE pay for our choices (and I speak as someone who buys on fare value).


    GivingupBA
    Participant

    A good story, Tom, and instructive. And I like “a smile goes a long way” – I agree. Several times in my life I have kept my cool under considerable pressure when stranded/ left out in the cold when travelling, and kept smiling and been polite, and thereby (I believe) set off very helpful behaviour from various people even when it’s against the rules of booking.


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    “As soon as the OP found an airline rep, everything was sorted.”

    “Something has to give and as the OP admitted, he travelled on the lowest priced ticket – the truth is that the airlines cannot afford to provide the same levels of support,”

    @FDoS – remember it was the second Finnair rep the OP spoke to who managed to resolve the issue. The first rep at the transfer desk went to a supervisor, who said no

    The fact the ticket was a restricted ticket is somewhat of a red herring (IMHO). The inbound aircraft was 2 hours late, causing the OP to miss a connection, meaning he could have been stranded overnight. As there was room on the direct flight meaning the OP would arrive virtually on schedule & there were plenty of spare seats, I do not see why the OP was denied what seemed to be a logical and fair solutuion, this should have been offered automatically.


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    “As soon as the OP found an airline rep, everything was sorted.”
    “Something has to give and as the OP admitted, he travelled on the lowest priced ticket – the truth is that the airlines cannot afford to provide the same levels of support,”
    @FDoS – remember it was the second Finnair rep the OP spoke to who managed to resolve the issue. The first rep at the transfer desk went to a supervisor, who said no
    The fact the ticket was a restricted ticket is somewhat of a red herring (IMHO). The inbound aircraft was 2 hours late, causing the OP to miss a connection, meaning he could have been stranded overnight. As there was room on the direct flight meaning the OP would arrive virtually on schedule & there were plenty of spare seats, I do not see why the OP was denied what seemed to be a logical and fair solutuion, this should have been offered automatically.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but the post read to me as if the transfer desk was run by the airport or some other agency – thus the lack of a positive outcome.

    The comment about the restricted ticket was not in the context of whether it should be changed to the direct flight (as the OP was suffering from IRROPS, it should have been), but more of a reflection that by buying low priced tickets, we create the service we pay for – me included.


    capetonianm
    Participant

    The airline employee would have had the option to issue a new boarding pass or e-ticket against a FIM (flight interruption manifest), or reissued as an involuntary reroute, whereas the external agency employee would in all probability not have had that option.

    As is often the case this illustrates two things.First the uselessness of third-party employees and contractors in so many cases, and the lack of consistency in service levels across alliances.


    TominScotland
    Participant

    Must be my lack of clarity but to avoid any further confusion the Finnair transfer desk at HEL is definitely run by Finnair….


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    I don’t accept the price of a ticket allows an airline to provide poor customer service or a lack of it.

    As a regular traveller, I was somewhat shocked when I first started seeing airline desks turning away passengers who needed changes, where the tickets were purchased through a TA. I know fare structures can be complex, but it is ridiculous that passengers can be asked to phone a travel agent, especially when it is the middle of the night in the home country.

    Surely third party agents and code share ticketed airlines, must have the ability to make changes and not direct passengers blindly.


    MarcusGB
    Participant

    I agree especially within One Alliance, and a common FFP, that such issues should be dealt with as “One Group” as they pupport to be in their Marketing to us…”Seamless travel”!
    Phone calls could be made to other desks or personnel if needed, and you should not have to walk from place to place.

    These days often Airlines themselves, offer the best fares, and i really fail to see the use of travel agents as once was.
    I have been in many situations in different time zones, where Airlines have turned round to “refer to your travel agent” with other passengers, when they would not be contactable at odd hours. They have dealt with delays or problems right away when my booking is with them.

    I always book direct with an Airline. They then have sole responsibility for you, and all is within their capability.
    I also am very clear and sure to carry my paperwork in entirety, and for complex long haul Worldwide trips, keep pre and post copies of everything in one folder. This helps when your Non- Airline agent in isolated stations cannot link in with the Airline system, or there is some technical difficulty. Back to the old paperwork and manual boarding!
    Luckily just a few weeks ago, when the system stated i had “Already flown” on Garuda in Indonesia mid evening, my paperwork proved otherwise.
    It was only due to this, and having booked directly with the Airline, i was permitted and enabled to fly, even though technically i was not allowed too!

    Often this can be required by Immigration, in Australia / New Zealand, some Emirate states for eg. Often at Check in departing say LHR with connections through to these destinations, where you must produce proof of return flights and length of stay.

    Alliances should respect codeshare tickets especially, and provide the “seamless service” they promote in the Alliances as a strong advantage. But your paperwork copies are vital on long or mutli destination trips, for Immigration, as well as different Airlines, codeshares, and FFP’s.
    The reality is still, we are obliged to carry our own copies of the paperwork.


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    I don’t accept the price of a ticket allows an airline to provide poor customer service or a lack of it.

    Sadly, the evidence is all around us and evident to observe.

    The annoying aspect is that those people who pay a premium for their tickets (be they in Y. W, J or F) also suffer.

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