Iberia/Vueling flight changes, poor cust/service & Iberia in breach of contract?

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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 21 total)

  • sparkyflier
    Participant

    This post will quite full of quite few negatives, but apart from sharing my recent experience, I am in fast seeking advice on where I stand on a particular issue.

    A while back I booked at ticket on the Iberia website for a flight from Barcelona to Bilbao in August in the evening . I knew Vueling would be the airline operating this flight, but for a number of reasons chose to book via the IB website. These included getting avios, expected better customer service, and I seem to recall Vueling do not take Amex.

    I happened to be looking at my emails yesterday and saw one from Vueling with my “booking details”. I thought this was odd as my provider was Iberia not Vueling, but what eventually caught my eye was that the flight time was about 12 hours earlier, at 7 in the morning. I thought what was going on here and have learnt to always check everything with travel.
    And so then I tried to reach Iberia to ask what was going on here, why has Vueling been getting in touch and Iberia not, why have they come up with this bizarre time etc which is of no use to me.

    And so something of a nightmare then happened.

    When you call up IB customer service, after the usual press 1 , press 2 etc for if you want to speak English or if you are a travel agent, and then you have this very tedious and rather hopeless voice recognition system, which of course first tells you to go to their website. After trying different options, I was eventually put through to a human being. Remember those.

    I explained my situation, and she clarified things, and then went to check if the Vueling evening operated flight was still operating via their website, although she had confirmed my flight details with my IB coded flight.
    She had seemed competent so you can imagine my frustration when after 10 minutes on hold, the line was cut. I waited for a short while thinking she might call back with her findings, but of course she did not.

    So I then had to go through the whole palava of the phone and voice system before getting through to a different person, with not quite the same level of English, and of course had to explain the situation again.
    It turns out that the flight I had been booked on had been cancelled. I asked why Iberia had not contacted me about this as I had booked with Iberia, as the new timing was totally hopeless for me. I asked if she could book me on an Iberia flight via Madrid, as it was the “same company” (both part of IAG). She was unaware of this and insisted in them being different companies, and also saying that the “money has gone to Vueling” and we cannot take that back. I explained that my contract was with Iberia and moving the flight 11-12 hours was unreasonable, and that as my contract was with Iberia, they had a responsibility to take me to Bilbao, not Vueling, telling her that their provider of that flight has not provided IB with the service that they were contracted to do. She did offer to put my on a flight to Santander that afternoon (which remains an option) , which it seems is further west of Bilbao, but hardly an alternative airport for Bilbao.

    I explained to her that this change totally screwed my plans up and it is not unreasonable to put me on an IB operated flight via Madrid that afternoon. She refused to do so, and in addition I asked for this to be escalated to her manager, but she refused to do so, saying it was not possible and that I would need to complain via the website.

    I am very unhappy with this whole process, but would welcome insight onto what you think is reasonable for Iberia to do in this, especially with regards to my booking was a contract with Iberia to take me from Barcelona to Bilbao, and that as the airline contracted by them (Vueling) has not been able to do that at remotely the same time of day, that Iberia does have a responsibility to do so, by Madrid for example.
    I would especially welcome Alex McWhirter’s views on this, but of course other inputs would also be valued.

    My experience with Iberia has really disappointed me, not only have they failed to inform me of my flight change, but their customer service process was painful, and they have not shown much understanding of my situation, and also it seems that as the rep I spoke to was unaware that Vueling and Iberia are part of the same company, IAG, that these staff have not been trained enough. I am far less likely to want to book with either company as a result of this.

    I look forward to your views and indeed advice!


    conshaldow
    Participant

    Hi SFlyer,

    I’m not sure how you would go about taking this up, as it seems you have already done so and got nowhere as described, but as long as you have an IB ticket number beginning 075 then it is Iberia’s responsibility to rebook/accommodate you in a manner suitable to the situation.

    Iberia may well have passed moneies onto Vueling as the flight operator but that is not of importance in this situation. As you say you have a contracted booking with Iberia and would continue to pursue them because of this.


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    Sparkyflyer, I’m sorry to hear you’re being messed around.

    Is this a standalone flight on a single ticket or part of a series of flights on a ticket?


    icenspice
    Participant

    Hello sparky flyer

    I don’t know if your flight change is a knock-on effect of the recent major disruption suffered by vueling passengers at El Prat.

    If you haven’t done so already, I would try contacting them directly.

    Hope you get it sorted ASAP.


    sparkyflier
    Participant

    Hi and thank you for your replies. I tried to reply before but BT would not let me back in for some (new website)reason.

    This situation is not going well. I have booked a single one way ticket, but flights to from UK on a separate BA ticket.
    I tried using the Iberia complaints procedure on their website, but it simply does not allow me to post my complaint, and I have tried a few times, each time taking a while. I tried to email Iberia but no success there either. And I have also tried to call them again, and found their representative to be defensive and quite frankly the most unmotivated and seemingly indifferent sales agent/representative I have ever come across over the phone. Usually I found people who do that work totally brilliant, but not today sadly. So there is no new news on this, apart from Iberia being difficult/impossible to deal with. and my confidence with Iberia fast diminishing…


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    You might need to consider buying a new flight and cancelling the original for a full refund, bu the cound of it.

    How big is the price differential?


    Transjet
    Participant

    What has happened here is extremely frustrating and I very much understand how you must feel but unfortunately I’m not sure that this can be resolved in the manner you would like. The flight you were originally booked on from BCN-BIO (operated by Vueling) has been cancelled – you have been offered the most equivalent alternative – a direct flight (operated by Vueling) 12 hours earlier. With a substantial time change, as is the case here, you do not have to accept the change and are entitled to a full refund, but I’m afraid that is where I would expect it to end.

    The flight you booked is a simple code-share with Iberia and although you are an Iberia customer it will state somewhere in the small print that elements of Iberia’s service agreement may not be honoured when they are not the operating airline. An additional consideration is that although Vueling are owned by IAG they are not a part of the OneWorld alliance. It is the responsibility of the operating airline to keep you informed of any changes that affect your booking and they have fulfilled this obligation.

    Santander is indeed 60 miles west of Bilbao. Norwegian also operate BCN-BIO with one daily rotation but again this flight is in the morning. The RENFE train (no changes) would take around 6 hours 30 minutes and the bus (e.g. ALSA) 8 hours if either would be an option.

    Please don’t let this very unfortunate experience spoil your time in a wonderful country and two lovely cities.


    SimonS1
    Participant

    There seems to be some confusion here, however the dialogue with Iberia is a complete red herring. Under EC261 the responsibility lies with the operating carrier which in this case (as the OP knew) was Vueling. Iberia had no responsibility and continuing a dialogue with them was unfortunately of no value or purpose. The people to be dealing with were Vueling.

    It isn’t entirely clear from the OP when the notification was given, however it is clear that Vueling had given notice. If more than 2 weeks before the flight then they had discharged their responsibility under EC261. If less than 2 weeks the OP has redress under EC261.

    Assuming appropriate notice was given then really the only course of action would have been to request a cancellation/refund and to book an alternative route. However Iberia had no responsibility to re-route the OP via Madrid or anywhere else and, whilst unsympathetic, they were perfectly entitled to stand their ground.

    I think the other point to be shown here is that whilst it sometimes looks interesting to book via another airline for the purposes of Avios etc, this can sometimes have unexpected consequences when things go wrong.


    TimFitzgeraldTC
    Participant

    Before the flight is scheduled to depart – if issued on IB ticket stock then it is the responsibility of Iberia to sort the schedule change – and either offer a full refund or suitable alternative flights – even if this means a connection in Madrid. So to bass buck to VY in this case is not acceptable. If issued on VY ticket number then responsibility of VY to sort a new alternative flight – or offer a full refund.


    morjohn1954
    Participant

    Iberia’s customer service and digital experience is truly awful and unfair to customers. I had a very similar experience when Skyscanner pushed my enquiry for an evening flight from Madrid to Gatwick to the Iberia website whereupon i managed to choose, but did not notice, a morning rather than evening flight. Having realised my mistake after booking the flight I immediately tried to contact customer services to explain my error AND the fact that the Skyscanner option, became two options when pushed through to the Iberia website. Trying to resolve the matter was a complete waste of time and, despite two letters to Iberia, I received no response whatsoever. Not even a thanks for pointing out a potential problem for other passengers. Rather, customer services blamed the issue on Skyscanner – which was unbelievable and displayed the complete lack of intellect of the customer services people I was dealing with!

    Having taken an Iberia Express flight from Madrid once before and being told that this particular flight was “always late” I decided never to fly with Iberia again. Unfortunately, circumstances meant I had to choose them once again, only to be faced with this appalling service – and all because I made a simple on-line error. Contrast this to EasyJet who in similar circumstances was both sympathetic and able to resolve my issue AND at no cost unlike Iberia who forced my to pay a second fare for my colleague and myself.

    What makes the whole situation a great deal worse is the on-line technology used by Iberia which, frankly, is not fit for purpose. I just tried loggin into Iberia Express with their app only to find that it would not accept the full password in the app (it does on my PC/website). For such an important company, this is so so poor and really should not be tolerated.

    A further annoyance is that when my issue with the website booking first arose I was asked to enter my clubcard details rather than the usual email address and password in order to log into my account. But I don’t have a clubcard any longer nor could I find details of the one I presume I was given for the earlier booking! So I could not log in or then change my password, to log on as Iberia don’t use standard protocols used by most large companies ie email address + password. And finally, when you are able to get into the system you are invariably invited to ‘register’ rather than ‘log in’ even though most users will already have registered …aaaah!

    So I’m not looking to my ‘double paid for’ forthcoming flight with Iberia but hopefully I’ll be able to avoid them in future.


    CathayLoyalist2
    Participant

    In many facets of Spanish business the customer isn´t high on the list of priorities so comments about poor this, that and the other about Iberia/Vueling come as no surprise.


    capetonianm
    Participant

    I wrote this years ago when I lived in Spain and had to travel regularly on their appalling airline. It seems little has changed. On my last flight with IB, to JNB about 15 years ago, I was subjected to major delays both ways, rude ground staff, lost baggage and a general feeling of just being a nuisance to every staff member I came into contact with.

    Favourite story. After weeks if not months of trying to contact their ‘servicio al publico’ department by ‘phone, I nearly dropped the ‘phone in shock when a person answered. Her first tactic was to say “I no speak English”. I aksed her in Spanish why they never reply to emails, faxes, letters, or ‘phone calls, to which her answer was they get so many complaints it was impossible!

    Perhaps Walsh was smart in buying IB, even BA compare favourably.

    As for Vueling, the fourth rate subsidiary of a third rate airline, don’t get me started.

    Iberia. Shabby, dirty, cramped ‘planes, poor timekeeping, and the rudest staff, scruffy and insolent, both on the ground and in the air that I’ve encountered in 30 years of short and longhaul flying. I lived in Spain and speak Spanish, so I have a wide range of experience with them and other carriers. Their employees seem to be specially trained to make every part of the experience as miserable as possible. I should add that this is by no means typically Spanish, and I suspect that Iberia has a training academy to instil the very un-Spanish qualities of nastiness and rudeness into its staff.

    Add to that, that when anything goes wrong, and you’re lucky if it doesn’t, it is dealt with in the worst possible way. Their customer relations department is, by its own admission, too busy to answer complaints within an acceptable time scale.

    They treat passengers who don’t speak Spanish with even more contempt than those who do. When I tried to intervene on behalf of an English speaking family who had missed their connection, the monoglot ticket agent at Madrid Airport told me that they were ‘stupid’ (‘unos tontos de mierda’ was the phrase used) for not speaking Spanish.

    Most of their cabin crew, particularly on the long hauls to South and Central America, where they have little competition, are bitter and twisted battle-scarred veterans waiting to retire. One gets the impression that the airline is run for the convenience of its staff and their friends travelling on rebated tickets.

    It is also not unknown for the staff to have a crafty fag (as in smoke!) in the galley during the night on long flights.

    Only on routes such as the Barcelona/Madrid shuttle where they have real competition do they offer reasonable service. Their Air Nostrum subsidiary is also good, but how an airline like British Airways, which for all its faults does not lack in professionalism, can be in an alliance/partnership with Iberia is beyond me.

    You will find on many long haul routes Iberia are offering fares which are 50% of other carriers, you have to ask yourself why. This airline is a disgrace to a proud and splendid nation, and I know most Spanish people are ashamed of their national carrier.


    cwoodward
    Participant

    The above from ‘capetonianm’ illustrates perfectly why I have avoided like the plague traveling with either company for years now.
    Literally every flight that I ever took with these couple of rouge airlines ended in a disaster of some sort, with absolutely no redress.

    To avoid inconvenience and almost certain disappointment take heed of the excellent posts up-thread and avoid if at all possible these two ‘Arthur Daley’* ( used car salesman and conman) airlines. *old much loved BBC TV series.


    K1ngston
    Participant

    The above from ‘capetonianm’ illustrates perfectly why I have avoided like the plague traveling with either company for years now.

    Literally every flight that I ever took with these couple of rouge airlines ended in a disaster of some sort, with absolutely no redress.

    To avoid inconvenience and almost certain disappointment take heed of the excellent posts up-thread and avoid if at all possible these two ‘Arthur Daley’* ( used car salesman and conman) airlines. *old much loved BBC TV series.

    cwoodward whilst agreeing with everything you said, Minder where Arthur Daley came from was from ITV and not BBC! Pedantic I know but hey when you have useless information in your head you look for reasons to use it 🙂

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    SimonS1
    Participant

    Perhaps Walsh was smart in buying IB, even BA compare favourably.

    As for Vueling, the fourth rate subsidiary of a third rate airline, don’t get me started.

    If IB compare unfavourably to BA they must be pretty grim.

    Walsh has played a good game, taking out costs through efficiencies but essentially keeping them as stand alone airlines. By the sounds of it all of them (BA, Vueling, Iberia….) have successfully been repositioned as mediocre.

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