Sorry for the Inconvenience Caused !Back to Forum
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at 19:09 by MartynSinclair.
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I wish to share with you my experience in August 2009 on Swiss International Air Lines. I had previously written to their Manager in Bangkok, Thailand; herewith is a condensed version
The routing was Bangkok – Zurich – Madrid – Zurich – Bangkok.
Bangkok-Zurich, 7 August 2009
Check-in was fast and efficient, pleasant and helpful staff, with special mention to the comprehensive information on the short connection time between flights in Zurich.
At the boarding gate, the agent offered an upgrade to First Class to either me or my colleague. We both declined as we intended to do some work during the flight, upon which she showed displeasure with a frown.
After boarding, I switched seats with my colleague. I informed the flight attendant and she said it was not a problem. The flight was full due to passengers transferred from a cancelled flight of Emirates.
The major problem began when the passenger on seat 6D sat down with her baby. The child was crying, howling and screaming for most of the duration of the flight except for lapses of 10-20 minutes. I was surprised to be told that the mother and child were upgraded from Economy. This was refuted by the Manager in her reply to my letter, saying that the mother had an economy class ticket which was exchanged by her husband who was also on the flight but had a business class ticket.
As the crew started to prepare the dinner service, a female flight attendant came to us, addressing my colleague thinking that it was me. When he pointed to me instead, she took my order for the main course, looked at my colleague and said “I will be back for you”, and never came back. He was much later served by another flight attendant.
During the beverage service, the same forgetful flight attendant seemed to have the sniffles and was constantly sniffling and wiping her nose with her hands. She served me my drink with the same hands after touching her runny nose. I did not touch my glass nor did I drink from it. When she served the main course, she was still wiping her nose with her hands, then serving the plate. Again I did not eat my main course.
There was a problem with the IFE. It was announced that it would be shut down and restarted. There were no further updates after that and for the entire duration of the flight there were no movies or music to distract from the noise of the screaming baby.
Upon landing in Zurich while waiting by the door to be opened a young man dressed in shorts and tank top exited from the First Class section, we were told he was upgraded from Economy. He was later on our flight to Madrid and, true enough, he was seated in Economy.
Zurich – Madrid, 8 August 2009
The flight was peaceful as there were only 3 passengers in Business Class. Breakfast was initiated by one male flight attendant. He was holding 2 plates and asked which one I preferred while asking me to pick it up. Not being told that the plate was burning hot, I unhesitatingly picked it up and put it down just as quickly on my tray table. I had burn marks on my fingers and blisters for several weeks. He served the plate to my colleague.
I wrote a letter to the Swiss Manager on 19 August 2009. She replied on 10 September 2009, the reply was a standard template of a reply mentioning that all matters will be referred to the relevant departments. There was no mention about what action would be done on the flight attendant who had a runny nose considering this was the time when the H1N1 virus was rampant in the region. Neither a comment on my burned fingers!
I pursued the matter with a letter to the CEO of Swiss in Basel on 26 October 2009 informing him of my experience and requesting for a refund for the one-way sector of our flight itinerary, there was no reply from his office. A letter came from the Manager in Thailand on 11 December mentioning that my request for a refund has been declined.
I sent another letter to the CEO on 21 December 2009 stating that if they are unable to give a refund would they give me mileage credits instead for the Bangkok to Madrid sector. As of today and even more disturbing, there is no reply from the CEO neither from the Manager in Thailand. The amount of time between the correspondences has reached 7 months.
It is very disappointing and frustrating when hard-earned personal money is paid for air travel in a premium section of a long flight and uncaring attention and service is given. Adding insult to injury, “template” or “copy and paste” responses are used in correspondences. It is very unfair, inconsiderate and unprofessional to deal in such a way with clients.
It would have made a whole lot of difference if the Manager of Swiss took some thought on the situation and made an effort to call me and offer a simple box of chocolates (regardless of what company policies they have on refunds) to appease the whole incident. The situation with the baby was regretful and does happen, unfortunately, but what was more disturbing was the flight attendant with the “sniffles” and her handling of food and drinks, and the hot breakfast plate which burned my hands.
All of this for a reply of “apologies for the inconvenience you have been caused”!
I am a Swiss national living in BKK. Whenever I have to fly to Europe I use TG, SQ or EK never LX. The main reason is the very unfriendly flight crew and the entertainment system which seems to me, is never working.
I use to fly SWISS weekly between BKK and SIN.
On the management responses, I recommend SQ and EK, don’t think you get any response from TG.
Reachme747, I fully understand that you have complained about the baby, the unfriendly crew and the blisters but demanding a refund for the outbound sector. I don’t think any Airline will grant your wish.
On a similar issue I had with EK they have credited 10’000 miles in my account. I think this was a nice gesture and Swiss should adapt such a policy.
Thank you Wisi1965, appreciate your comments. I am not expecting a refund but it was a thought to try, as the money paid out for the tickets was a lot for premium service. To which I asked for credit miles instead and it has been silence from Swiss. Actually a phone call would have made a big difference and put things in order.
I am now a convert to EK having flown them on to Hong Kong and as well to Paris last month – “wow” what an airline.
ReachMe 747 very sorry for your experience
but I just want to tell you that such experience with LX flight attendants are very rare. I could not imagine that cabin crews would literally wipe their nose or any body parts obviously and then using those same hands inorder to serve you your food&drink. I know it is not easy to correct someone directly but such behaviours are so unprofessional and should be stated immediately. Especially regarding your health ! There is no excuse regarding this matter. And the fact that you have to decline your food&beverage in such circumstances is just : no go !! You have your rights as pax whatever class you are travelling — and especially regarding hygiene standards from cabin crews. It is intolerable to experience bad conditions from co-pax, but definitely not from cabin crews — that is definitely red card !!
I just wish you good luck for any compensation you get — but it is still hard to believe that such LX cabin crews do have such lapses. I should regard myself as very lucky ’cause I have not experienced such hideous attitudes with LX or any other airline !
Most recently, my wife and I were stranded in Abu Dhabi when AirAsiaX announced they were canceling their Abu Dhabi / Kuala Lumpur service in January this year. They didn’t notify us (their stranded passengers) until Feb 10th. Neither did they offer any accommodation nor answer our emails asking for help. We had to get back to Malaysia on our own. They won’t reimburse our added expense either.
They said they would refund the canceled Abu Dhabi/Kuala Lumpur portion, but only after 30-50 days. What an attitude!
Be careful. Make sure you have a plan B.
Reachme747 – whilst i have no idea where you bought your ticket, in the rare cicrcumstances where a service is so appalling and it can be proven that I have tried to get my case heard by the airline, I have taken the offending airline to the small claims court (in the UK) via an online submission after consulting a solicitor to find out exactly what breach i can claim.
The last instance was when i was “misled”, by one of my favourite airlines and I was overcharged by £700. To simplify my situation a superb Customer Service clerk put in wiritng on headed paper “I agree that you were misled”.
Then the issue of compensation was started.
First space available upgrade – my answer was that i was perfectly happy with my seat thank you very much, if i want an upgrade i will pay for it myself. In other words, i prefered my £700 back, rather than a chance upgrade from club world to first, at the gate.
Second offer was a £700 voucher which i could only use by calling the airline, could not use on line and the airline confirmed i would be charged £25 for booking over the phone and the seat prices would be higher than the online prices. I refused this offer becasue as i was overcharged, i prefered to get my money back and i could then decide how to spend my money that the airline overcharged me.
Then I decided to take the case to court – so I went online, completed the court form and sent it to the airline saying that if i had no response within 24 hours I would let the courts decide.
Within 24 hours the customer services clerk was replaced by the airlines legal department with an offer of a refund conditional on an nda and a statement confirming by making the payment, there was no admission of liabilty….etc
Again I refused to accept. I had a letter confirming i was misled, if i had to sign an nda, i was going to make an additional claim, after all, if my silence was being bought, the airline should have to pay for that privalidge.
24 hours later my credit card was refunded in full – why on earth did they not do that in the first place.
So, my advice is that if you get no joy with your customer services or a director and your complaint is serious enough to fall under a category of contract law that enables you to issue a summons through the courts at little or no cost – go that route and you will be suprised how quickly the airline will jump. As to your burnt hand, I presume you went to the dr and took pictures of the burn marks – that is valuable evidence.
The downside is that i am likely to have a big black trouble maker mark besides my name, despite being a gold card holder. Do i care, not really becasue i never look for upgrades, except of course when i am invited by a friendly crew memebr or pilot who just happens to be a personal friend.
Bottom line with Customer Services departments is that they shoul dnot be politicians who are wonderful fence sitters and wont answer the question and address client complaints properly and professionaly.
Swiss could easily have sent you a letter of apology admiting their faults and providing one of those, contact me next time you fly so we can do something special for you.
Thank you MartynSinclair for your advice and guidance on this matter. I bought my ticket in Bangkok, Thailand which is were I live. Unfortunately I did not take photos of my burned fingers. Only a doctors certificate which I used to claim from my insurance.
The manager of Swiss from Thailand sent me a letter of apology but was a standard format company issue – fill in the blanks type of a letter stating the matter will be brought up with the relevant departments concerned – with the usual ending, Sorry for the inconvenience caused to you ! That is about it with Swiss.
If the manager had said as you say, contact me next time you fly so we can do somethihng special for you, it would have made a whole lot of difference to this situation of mine, but even that was not forthcoming.
I am going to the Consumer Protection department here in Thailand and see how this matter will be treated.
I presume the crew noted the incident in their log. I am in Bangkok next Monday for 10 days. I know my collegue has a contact at Swiss as he perservered with an issue and won his case. I will ask him when I arrive and let you know. In the meantime, i presume you could sue the airline for the cost of your medical bills and distress as well as any consequential losses. I am no expert on Thai legal procedure so thats a procedure for you to establish a way through.
I wil let you know more once i find out.
Make sure the heat is up as I am fed up with the cold weather in London.
On the one hand the world has changed since 2010, but on the other had the same “sh*t” and legal games remain when making legitimate complaints to airlines.
Safe, fair and fairly priced fares to all travellers…