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Butch

Airline customer service during the current (or any) crisis.

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Posted (edited)

EVA are awful. no method of contact, phones permanently engaged, no email address on the website and the only way to get a refund is via an online portal. Shocking CS in a time of crisis.

Edit in, email found for EVA, for all the good it will do;

feedback@evaair.com

Thai, they have email addresses, but never answer them, no acknowledgement either. Same goes for the phones, always engaged. Terrible.

 

BA Again, phones always engaged, but at least an email acknowledgment.

during the volcanic ash disaster several years ago, BA (well, Cathay actually) were very good in the SEA end, but that's probably more to do with having decent staff in HK than the usual gang of wankers in the UK.

PAL The TA we used answers the phone and PAL offer a free rebook. Email confirm has been sent. Not bad.

Not sure about the others.

In summary, I hope both Thai and EVA get their CS acts together, either that or they are shown to everyone that their CS is abysmal.

Edited by Butch

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40 minutes ago, Butch said:

during the volcanic ash disaster several years ago, BA (well, Cathay actually) were very good in the SEA end,

My eldest son was here during that time and we spent most of our time up in the village. When it was flying home time everybody was told to report as usual to the airport because things were changing rapidly. When we got there it was bloody chaos but my son flew with Aerolflot and they were very organised and efficient. There was a long queue but everybody was dealt with very quickly with a choice of either flying to Moscow on the scheduled flight and wait there or rebook on a flight in a week's time. My son decided to take another week in Thailand and I drove him down to Pattaya...Needless to say we went bloody mental in town...!!!

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Omans customer service needs a lot to be desired as well. Long story short someone broke into main bag London Bangkok on 27th January. I must have sent 15 emails to various departments photos description the lot.

It took until 19th March that Head of Station at Heathrow authorised a payment. He himself had only been forwarded one of my emails 7 days previously

Just hopeless

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Seems like it is across the board then. I've been reading flyertalk and Trip advisor, most airlines are an absolute shower of shit in times of crisis, and many are just an absolute shower of shit anyway.

Cathay has always been second to none for CS, which is why we fly them all the time. We opted for direct PAL this year for a change and also because we nearly missed our HKG-LHR flight last year due to a heavy rainstorm in MNL. Cathay were absolute mustard during the volcanic ash issues , because we had booked a codeshare Cathay/ BA flight, they helped us out, the Duty manager took us into his office at NAIA, made a call to HKG and booked us onward. BA met us off the plane in HKG and escorted us through security onto the Aircraft.

Second time they came up trumps was when Mrs Butch needed to get there in a hurry, one call, no faffing around they had her going out within 24 hours, it was an econ fare and unusually, it wasn't really much more than we normally pay. I was expecting at least 2 grand for a short notice ticket, came in at less than half that.

I'm a bit surprised at Oman being rubbish. I was under the impression they are a relatively new and small Airline, so one would have thought they would have their act together, but it proves that customer service these days is becoming less important.

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Cancelling our EVA frequent flyers memberships after this months fiasco. Might be cutting off my nose etc, but feel that we have to make a gesture.

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Posted (edited)

I think you are expecting a lot from these carriers in these times. Quite possible they have staffing problems themselves and likely a shit load of complaints, refund requests and stuff to deal with.  All the while looking bankruptcy in the face themselves. Somebody in lock down at home with too much time on their hands sending email after email about a refund of a few hundred quid they haven't got, or to cancel and move a booking for the 12th time,  seems petty, when looking  at what is happening around the world. 

They deliberately have an MO that deters complainants to the point of exhaustion and are continuing the process. 

Edited by jacko

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, jacko said:

I think you are expecting a lot from these carriers in these times. Quite possible they have staffing problems themselves and likely a shit load of complaints, refund requests and stuff to deal with.  All the while looking bankruptcy in the face themselves. Somebody in lock down at home with too much time on their han

oking  at what is happening around the world. 

Th

ds sending email after email about a refund of a few hundred quid they haven't got, or to cancel and move a booking for the 12th time,  seems petty, when loey deliberately have an MO that deters complainants to the point of exhaustion and are continuing the process. 

 

4 hours ago, jacko said:

I think you are expecting a lot from these carriers in these times. Quite possible they have staffing problems themselves and likely a shit load of complaints, refund requests and stuff to deal with.  All the while looking bankruptcy in the face themselves. Somebody in lock down at home with too much time on their handng  at what is happening around the world. 

They deliberately have as sending email after email about a refund of a few hundred quid they haven't got, or to cancel and move a booking for the 12th time,  seems petty, when lookin MO that deters complainants to the point of exhaustion and are continuing the process. 

Some reality considering the present situation the Airlines find themselves / No income yet millions paid in aircraft leasing fees for example.  Any normal business

would try to keep payments and avoid any refunds just to stay Solvent.

Edited by Brown1950

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5 hours ago, jacko said:

I think you are expecting a lot from these carriers in these times. Quite possible they have staffing problems themselves and likely a shit load of complaints, refund requests and stuff to deal with.  All the while looking bankruptcy in the face themselves. Somebody in lock down at home with too much time on their hands sending email after email about a refund of a few hundred quid they haven't got, or to cancel and move a booking for the 12th time,  seems petty, when looking  at what is happening around the world. 

They deliberately have an MO that deters complainants to the point of exhaustion and are continuing the process. 

I understand and agree with your point but I think most airlines try to offer the same service during an Emergency as they would normally do on a day to day basis and it just doesn't work. My example of my son's Aeroflot flight during the "volcano crisis" is an example of good crisis magagement. Make a decision and keep it simple. Everybody in the queue had the same two choices and were told of the choices before they even got to the desk  to give them time to mull things over.No fannying about.

I  really feel the pain of those on the desk or on the phones trying to deal with individual problems in an individual way.It is not their fault that they have a spineless senior management team incapable of making quick and clear decisions.

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12 hours ago, Butch said:

 

 

I'm a bit surprised at Oman being rubbish. I was under the impression they are a relatively new and small Airline, so one would have thought they would have their act together, but it proves that customer service these days is becoming less important.

They dont sing from the same hymn sheet Butch that incident is just one of many these last few years

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I flew back from Bangkok to Amsterdam with KLM on Wednesday and the evening before I got an email that if I had made other arrangements could I please let them know as there were a lot of people desperate to get back and they could use the seat.I replied I would be on the flight.

Saw a report that the cabin staff of KLM were understandably worried about the virus and then got another mail saying there would be limited service on board,no alcohol,hot drinks and one hot meal, " bring snacks" and I did no problem.thats how it was.

Once we took of they repeated what was in the mail no booze,tea,coffee one hot meal.....and no service water,juice,soft drinks bits and bobs would be in the three galley's and it was self service,no problem I thought I have my own snacks and water.

BUT it was a non stop people coming and going to get liquid and my seat was on the aisle by the middle galley and half the people on the plane passed by my seat multiple times,I am home and waiting with trepidation for the fever to hit me.That flight did not have a free seat and they took two other flight and cabin crew back as well.

 

 

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42 minutes ago, yselmike said:

I flew back from Bangkok to Amsterdam with KLM on Wednesday and the evening before I got an email that if I had made other arrangements could I please let them know as there were a lot of people desperate to get back and they could use the seat.I replied I would be on the flight.

Saw a report that the cabin staff of KLM were understandably worried about the virus and then got another mail saying there would be limited service on board,no alcohol,hot drinks and one hot meal, " bring snacks" and I did no problem.thats how it was.

Once we took of they repeated what was in the mail no booze,tea,coffee one hot meal.....and no service water,juice,soft drinks bits and bobs would be in the three galley's and it was self service,no problem I thought I have my own snacks and water.

BUT it was a non stop people coming and going to get liquid and my seat was on the aisle by the middle galley and half the people on the plane passed by my seat multiple times,I am home and waiting with trepidation for the fever to hit me.That flight did not have a free seat and they took two other flight and cabin crew back as well.

 

 

That was very much like my Emirates flights on Monday.

Like you, I am waiting with dread.... I've got a sore throat, but always have that on my return, and my temperature is 35.7, so I think I'm ok at the moment. I'm just keeping myself to myself...

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Some very interesting points here. I'm going to sound self contradictory in this post, but what I want to do is offer both sides of a discussion we had today.

In response, I can see the point regarding expecting too much from the Airlines given current events, but as bullfrog points out, they perhaps have a substandard system during normal service which goes to absolute shit when hit with a crisis. Crisis management is what it is all about, and given that the warning signs were there the moment China and Italy went into lockdown, they should have mobilised their Emergency plans and made preparations. They all have Crisis management procedures, and I would have thought that the closure of Global airpsace / closure of borders would have sat fairly high on the agenda.

One of my issues is the fact that they cannot be contacted at all, be it for rebooking or repatriation. no phones being answered, no emails being responded to, tickets being cancelled ad hoc and pax being left stranded with no comms. People are having to go to alternative airlines and then pay a fortune just to get home, this is a massive and unacceptable failing in a time of crisis, and seems to be a trend among the larger carriers. That's an observation of my own, however.

 

Sadly though, pretty much all the blame lies at the feet of Managment. Cost cutting and trimming staff is all part of the bottom line, and this directly hits customer service. People rely upon airlines to get them home, as there is often not much of an alternative.

Or maybe we have taken flying for granted?. Perhaps we look at long haul flight, and the fact it is so reliable despite having massive logistical needs just to get one plane from A to B, when the shit really hits the fan, we blame the airlines for not being able to "magic" a plane out of nowhere to bring us and all our kit home safely?.

We were chatting at work today (2m apart) that just because an Airline has 200 planes, they don't necessarily have 200 crews to fly in them. (I chatted to an EVA Cabin crew once, the logistics in getting an "out of place" crew back into their roster is a real headache, it's not just a case of sticking them on a plane to Taipei). No CC = No flight. simple as that, there may be 200 pilots but they can't fly if the safety req's are not met, and that includes (I imagine) a minimum CC count.

Do we hold the Govt responsible as well?, Did they give enough warning that this was going to leave thousands stranded?.

From what I've seen there has been a lack of information put forward, Airlines have a responsibility to their Customers, whether it is to keep information updated or to issue a refund for a pre paid ticket (consumer law comes into effect here as well as the T&C's of the ticket rules) or even to acknowledge and email. In the case of many, this responsibility is not being met.

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I had a bit of an adventure getting home so I thought that I would write to both of the airlines that I flew with. 

Malaysia to its credit was prompt and as usual told me to take a (polite) running jump as far as compensation. They did however offer me 5000 air miles with a value of about bugger all assuming that I get the chance to fly with them before they go bankrupt. 

Then there is my nemesis airline. Air New Zealand. I really detest this lot but have no option for national flights so they are IMHO an arrogant bunch of no hopers and on an international basis I avoid them like the Corona virus. In a way this is so sad as perhaps on my last 100 international flights I have flown with them half a dozen times so the loss is theirs. 

I have had OK service from some and totally zero response from others over the years but as far as I can recall the only one that I got zero response from was Qantas but as its possibly six or seven years since I have flown with them they again were the losers. Airlines are no difference as Pattaya gogo's and clubs. Vote with your feet and dollars. 

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5 hours ago, Butch said:

the warning signs were there the moment China and Italy went into lockdown, they should have mobilised

 

5 hours ago, Butch said:

People are having to go to alternative airlines and then pay a fortune just to get home, this is a massive and unacceptable failing in a time of crisis, and seems to be a trend among the larger carriers. That's an observation of my own, however.

And to a degree Butch, people had the same failings as the carriers did! I would like to know when some of the stranded people started to make some effort. And how many people were rescheduling outward journeys, when common sense tells them that no journey should be made at all, for the foreseeable future.  In my case, I think the carrier was to blame. Their software did not even allow me to cancel the booking ( I was not seeking a re-booking nor even a refund, I knew that was not available). Their website didn't give me that option and I became a no-show, when that seat may have been of use to someone. 

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Gulf Air have been brilliant. Their offices open in bangkok and they got me flights home direct with Thai tonight free of charge.

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Been email /calling my Agent Travel up uk 

and the Airline Qatar over 3 weeks 

should have flown 26th no reply’sFrom Travel up  up only automated emails 

similar from Qatar ...left it with my credit card provider now ....

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59 minutes ago, accyboy said:

Been email /calling my Agent Travel up uk 

and the Airline Qatar over 3 weeks 

should have flown 26th no reply’sFrom Travel up  up only automated emails 

similar from Qatar ...left it with my credit card provider now ....

Absolutely shocking customer service!

At the moment I can't spot a trend towards better service booking with agents or booking direct onto an airline's website..

 

Where are you now..????

 

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Only thing that comes to mind and this is no way absolves the airlines but we simply have no idea the amount of emails they are getting and calls.

Am on a Spanish (holiday) forum and was trying to explain that Ryanair and Easy jet have some 600 motors between them virtually all grounded for the forseeable future and could they just understand the level of enquiries they would be getting

95% of them are just utterly stoopid and saying we'll they should answer mine totally glossing over what they've just been told. Again I'm not defending the airlines Oman were pretty shocking before the current crisis ever started even. Unprecendented times now

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1 hour ago, Rawhide2 said:

Only thing that comes to mind and this is no way absolves the airlines but we simply have no idea the amount of emails they are getting and calls.

Am on a Spanish (holiday) forum and was trying to explain that Ryanair and Easy jet have some 600 motors between them virtually all grounded for the forseeable future and could they just understand the level of enquiries they would be getting

95% of them are just utterly stoopid and saying we'll they should answer mine totally glossing over what they've just been told. Again I'm not defending the airlines Oman were pretty shocking before the current crisis ever started even. Unprecendented times now

Of course you are correct, but a simple crisis management binary algorithm put in place would mean customers understand their position....."All in the shit but only the depth varies" was a military expression back in the day...but in today's world, with today's technology, what is happening to customers is unforgiveable. It must have been great to be a Corporate Crisis Manager..raking in loads of dosh , setting up imaginary processes and procedures only to shit yer pants when something real happens..

 

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So sat at home awaiting to know results of furlough at work , credit card company are backed up too with Covid19 ....

What a year 2020 is turning out to be !!!

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1 hour ago, accyboy said:

So sat at home awaiting to know results of furlough at work , credit card company are backed up too with Covid19 ....

What a year 2020 is turning out to be !!!

As long as we're all still alive and well this time next year thats all that matters.

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1 hour ago, Rawhide2 said:

As long as we're all still alive and well this time next year thats all that matters.

I look forward to using up my hoarded stock of KY jelly in case we are the only ones still alive.... but bring your own wigs...

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16 hours ago, Fanticmotor said:

Gulf Air have been brilliant. Their offices open in bangkok and they got me flights home direct with Thai tonight free of charge.

They cancelled my flight a day before i was flying last week and got me Oman air which was good of them !

I booked 2 flights for my wife and son a week ago with Qatar Air to get them over to the UK on Thursday {Earliest day she could fly stated in her UK visa} communication with them was good!..Her first flight to Doha was full but the second leg to Heathrow was half empty! 

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6 hours ago, Bullfrog said:

I look forward to using up my hoarded stock of KY jelly in case we are the only ones still alive.... but bring your own wigs...

Problem is Bullfrog is that it seems to be wiping out more blokes than women. 71% in Italy male to female mortality and possibly double in Spain...

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/26/men-are-much-more-likely-to-die-from-coronavirus-but-why

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1 hour ago, Butch said:

Problem is Bullfrog is that it seems to be wiping out more blokes than women. 71% in Italy male to female mortality and possibly double in Spain...

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/26/men-are-much-more-likely-to-die-from-coronavirus-but-why

That's a good thing if we look at it cynically,  a few extra women for each of us.  They already outnumber us slightly. 

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