“Customer Service”

Back to Forum
Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 28 total)

  • Anonymous
    Guest

    AllOverTheGaff
    Participant

    Right – before I begin, if I may, might I quickly put a disclaimer in.

    **Yes, I know when I booked the fare there were restrictions in the T&C’s** (You know, the T&C’s that the airlines write to suit their business and not their customers)

    Anyhoos, rant time. (Again?)

    I’m flying with KLM shortly on a decent J class fare attained by a certain Travel Counsellor on this forum who shall remain nameless. (Thanks TF) Route is LHR -> AMS -> EZE -> ASU. Long story short, I am in the South of France and it’d save me a heap of aggro to fly NCE -> AMS and pick up the long haul leg, keeping the rest of the fare. So I want to NOT take one flight from LHR to AMS, simple right? Of course not……

    I call them, and am told that it can be changed for a fee but that the fee is classified information and can only be attained by my Travel Councellor but only if he unlocks the hidden treasure by uttering the phrase “dataprotectionmyarse” when he calls.

    So, back to my chosen TC (TF) who instantly sighs and tells me he’ll call, but that there’s two hopes of getting it changed. Bob & No. Sure enough, nope they won’t change it. Big difference between can’t and won’t eh?

    I can think of no other industry, none, which operate in this manner offering the customer zero customer care but keep making obscene amounts of profit. Imagine, now just imagine, that there was an airline who actually gave half-a-toss about their revenue stream (customers) and looked at each customer call with a level of common sense and did what was right for the business and what was right for the customer.

    Now, before the inevitable – “they pay peanuts to the call centre staff so you’re never going to get them to do anything”, the great shame is that we, us, the punters, we’ve allowed the airlines to condition us to their way of thinking. Imagine your own business now, and imagine you have a customer of yours on the phone and he’s asking you to make a change to something he’s ordered, and the cost of change to your business is zero, and in fact, the thing he wishes to change you could resell at 100% profit, would you (a) Explain to said customer “computer says no” or (b) Explain how valued said customer is, make the change, try to resell the product he no longer needs, and if not, worst-case-scenario, it’s cost your business zero but you’ve kept a good customer happy and you know you’ll get more business from him.

    On a related, but opposite topic: I called hotels.com gold rewards line the other day, had a hotel room booked (expensive one at that) for 5 nights and only needed 4, hotel wouldn’t budge as it is during an event, hotels.com refunded me the money as a thank you for my loyal custom. I will spend a huge sum of money with hotels.com this year and I don’t care if one of the other brokers can do me a room cheaper, I go to them all the time.

    Now, back to using your imagination – imagine an airline that would treat their customers like hotels.com, you’d likely sacrifice the cost of the fare being higher, and maybe the routing not being ideal to ensure you have this imaginary airline covering your back…….you know, the one in La-La-Land who cares about YOU and not their T&C’s.

    I have the name and the slogan: “Imaginary Airlines”, – no longer a dream.

    Rgds.
    AOTG.


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    Please don’t hate me AOTG, but I am with the airline on this one.

    “A decent J class fare” – will generally have restrictions – in this case they have caught you out, with your proposed departure point change…

    However, where I will agree with you is that the airline could have created additional revenue for themselves by re pricing the ticket.

    If you were a no show for the LHR-AMS sector, would your AMS – EZE disappear or is their a chance you could still board that sector?

    (ps – I also agree with your choice of TC)…


    AllOverTheGaff
    Participant

    MartynSinclair – 19/05/2016 10:01 BST
    “A decent J class fare” – will generally have restrictions

    My point about conditioned by the airlines well made! (I don’t hate you Martyn!) The reason for these restrictions? Because the airline said so and it is in the T&C’s. I have T&C’s for my business too, guess what? They’re pretty much been written to suit my business. My company has been trading 14 years and had to invoke the T&C’s once – and only because of a level of unpleasantness by the customer at the time.

    If you were a no show for the LHR-AMS sector, would your AMS – EZE disappear or is their a chance you could still board that sector?

    I believe it’d disappear, and given KLM’s “customer service” thus far, I’m not willing to risk it. So, at massive inconvenience to me I’ll fly NCE -> LHR -> AMS and waste a day of my life faffing about on planes so I can suit KLM’s T&C’s. You know what? I’d have paid a couple of hundred quid just to avoid the hassle, more revenue KLM could’ve had for doing exactly nothing.

    **Sigh** My point though isn’t so much about my individual case as such, although I rant about it to begin with, more about the industry in general and their apathy, some might even call it disdain, for their customer base. And I know this’ll fly in the face of a lot of other posters (pun intended) (you’re welcome!) but the one airline I’ve interacted with by telephone more than once and have resolved my issue at minimum or no cost? Emirates. I might even begin using them in J for South America, even though it adds 5 hours or so to my overall journey time.

    Rgds.
    AOTG.


    ImissConcorde
    Participant

    Not worth the risk.

    “) A change of the Place of Departure or a Place of Arrival for the journey by the Passenger (for example, if the Passenger does not use the first Coupon or does not use all the Coupons or if the Coupons are not used in their issue order) will result in a change in the Fare Including Tax initially paid by the Passenger”
    .


    AllOverTheGaff
    Participant

    LOL! Did you just quote me the T&C’s?

    Thanks, that brightened my day.

    Rgds.
    AOTG.


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    The airlines are able to make the changes so you don’t “disappear” if you fly out of sequence.

    Some years ago I was unable to position into Milan for the start of the ex-Europe ticket due to snow cancelling the outbound positioning flight… which meant the inbound would also be cancelled.

    BA allowed me to use out of sequence and I ended up using the Milan positioning and MIL-LHR for a weekend away…


    AllOverTheGaff
    Participant

    MartynSinclair – 19/05/2016 11:26 BST
    The airlines are able to make the changes so you don’t “disappear” if you fly out of sequence.

    I’m told, reliably, that the airline cartel business won’t be allowed to inflict their unfair T&C’s much longer as EU law coming into play this year will disallow them from forcing you to fly each sector.

    Rgds.
    AOTG.


    TimFitzgeraldTC
    Participant

    The IATA position is as per the below:

    http://www.iata.org/policy/Documents/coupon-use-paper.pdf

    Make of it what you will. Trying to dig out articles relating to new rules for using tickets out of sequence which I have read before will at some point be allowed – but searching terms just throws up EU261 stuff. So closest I have found is this back to 2013:

    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-13-203_en.htm

    Key paragraph (which doesn’t actually say whether in this instance it would be permitted to board at AMS).

    “2. New Rights

    Rescheduling

    Currently, it is not clear whether a passenger whose flight has been rescheduled enjoys similar rights as passengers of delayed or cancelled flights. The proposal clearly defines this equality of treatment where the flight was rescheduled less than 2 weeks before its original departure time.

    Misspelt names

    Under the proposal, the passenger may request – free of charge – the correction of spelling mistakes in his name up to 48 hours before departure.

    No Show policy (partial use of ticket /return flights)

    Following complaints from passengers, the proposal establishes that a passenger may not be denied boarding on the return flight of his ticket on the grounds that he did not take the outbound part of the return ticket.”

    This as I understand is not yet on the statute of EU rules, I believe (but may be wrong) this will be introduced at some point – which could cause havoc when it comes to current airline pricing strategies.

    **Edited to Add**

    Also taken from 2015 (Point 2 is interesting)

    http://www.academia.edu/14295500/Eliminating_Airline_No-Show_Clauses_in_the_EU

    “BEUC

    makes two central arguments in favour of a ban of the no-show clause: 1.

    No-show clauses are unfair under Council Directive 93/13/EEC on Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts. Counter to the requirements of that Directive, no-show clauses create a “significant imbalance” between the consumer and the airline. This is further demonstrated by their close

    resemblance to many of the terms listed in the Directive’s Annex as “indicative of… the terms which may be regarded as unfair.”

    2.

    Several EU Member State courts have already struck down no-show clauses. Both the German and Spanish courts have ruled that no-show clauses are unfair contract terms, following national laws based on the unfair contract terms directive (Directive 93/13/EEC) reasoning, inter alia, that:

    a.
    The loss of the entire ticket as a result of the choice not to use part of it is disproportionate and lacks plausible justification.

    b.
    Such clauses create a significant imbalance between the consumer and the airline in that the consumer does not receive any proportionate or additional benefit for the curtailment of their right to not travel.

    c.
    Such clauses constitute an impermissible “surprise” for consumers, since no justification for denied boarding would exist absent the clause.


    rferguson
    Participant

    It’s interesting what you say about new EU laws being brought in AOTG.

    All european long haul airlines essentially work the same –
    – charge the most for non stop flights from their hubs
    – try to poach customers from competitors by offering deep discounts to fly one stop via their hub.

    I guess that’s the free market. That’s competition. Price your product accordingly in the market you are operating. It seems daft that the more miles you fly the cheaper the fare gets, but let’s face it – it’s the shorter non stop flights that are the more desirable.

    So if EU laws were brought in that airlines cannot ensue that a passenger flies the sectors that they have booked it would essentially mean that the airlines have to price their non stop flights at the same rate as ex other cities. Because surely no-one would be daft enough to pay a premium on a non stop flight (say from AMS-EZE) and instead just book the cheapest ticket going from whatever random city via AMS with absolutely no intention of flying the first sector. So we’d have all these intra european flights dotting around with empty seats…..and airlines wanting to recoup their losses.

    I guess the reality is that even now airlines generally don’t force people to fly all the sectors in their itinerary. For example, I myself have booked a steal of a flight WAW-CPH-JFK-CPH-WAW on SK and I live in CPH. I will definitely position to WAW to start the journey. But I shall not complete the last sector CPH-WAW to then have to position back to CPH. I know buried deep in T&C’s is a caveat that an airline can reprice your ‘actual’ flown itinerary and bill you for the difference. But I also know that chances of them doing this are very small. I usually would fly the entire itinerary.

    I think sometimes it’s just better to play the game and start where you have booked yourself to start. I’m an absolute lover of these ‘position to random city’ deals and I must admit that it concerns me that the EU would introduce some daft law that it’s your right to just book a random route yet fly the sectors you want – it will only end up with these amazingly discounted fares disappearing as airlines wise up. At the moment they know that limited amounts of people take advantage of these positioning deals because 1) many people don’t even consider researching fares from other cities and 2) Many people just can’t be bothered with the positioning. But should they not have to go to that effort…..


    AllOverTheGaff
    Participant

    TimFitzgeraldTC – 19/05/2016 11:50 BST
    a. The loss of the entire ticket as a result of the choice not to use part of it is disproportionate and lacks plausible justification.

    c Such clauses constitute an impermissible “surprise” for consumers, since no justification for denied boarding would exist absent the clause.

    Thanks TC TF, seems odd that it would take this long for logic to prevail right?

    Back to my earlier point, I can think of no other business, none, which gets away with hiding behind their disgraceful T&C’s with impunity.

    In fairness to O’Leary, at least he’s honest about being a douche. The rest of them pretend to be customer focused…..not been my experience.

    Rgds,
    AOTG.


    AllOverTheGaff
    Participant

    rferguson – 19/05/2016 11:57 BST
    I think sometimes it’s just better to play the game and start where you have booked yourself to start.

    I agree with all you’ve said in your post rferguson, all of it. And as for the above, yes, used BA ex Dublin for a great 1st class fare and flew back LHR -> EDI on my last leg. Isn’t it kinda preposterous that we have to do this though? You could almost forgive the random pricing thing if the airlines were struggling like crazy to make money, but their profit levels are obscene whilst the consumer gets little-to-no care whatsoever. There must be a glaring gap in the market for my Imaginary Airlines right?

    Rgds.
    AOTG


    rferguson
    Participant

    AOTG – all I know about airlines and profitability is lots is never enough.

    At my airline those of us on the ‘front line’ are not bolstered by the fact that £1.4b pa profit will no longer be enough to justify our (grand sum of £400) profit share anymore. Next year we need to make more. And that our pay deal offer after such a profit is a 1.2% increase.

    I do hope to continue to take advantage of these great positioning fares though. Like you i’ve used them a few times ex DUB (albeit with AA) and their value in both pounds, avios and tier points is outstanding.

    We all know that if an EU law tries to stem a revenue waterfall for the airlines (ie the ridiculous amounts they charge for non stop long haul flights in premium cabins) they won’t take it laying down. They will find ways to recoup their losses by increases elsewhere, likely across the board.

    **Personal opinions only**


    SimonS1
    Participant

    Interesting AOTG, sadly you are stuck but I can appreciate the irritation.

    As with EU261 it will take legislation to force the issue for consumers.

    Sadly another example of how the airlines are considered on a par with banks these days and marginally ahead of something nasty you step in on the pavement.


    AllOverTheGaff
    Participant

    SimonS1 – 19/05/2016 16:12 BST
    Sadly another example of how the airlines are considered on a par with banks these days and marginally ahead of something nasty you step in on the pavement.

    Aye, 100% agree with that Simon.

    I didn’t think of banks as the same level of bottom-dwelling shysters as airlines, but yes, agreed.

    I guess as both banks and airlines are “needs” rather than “want” based businesses, they can and do get away with treating you like that nasty stuff you step in. Maybe utility companies should be in that mix as well.

    Rgds.
    AOTG.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 28 total)
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Business Traveller April 2020 edition
Business Traveller April 2020 edition
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below
Polls