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Old Aug 6, 12, 9:33 am   #1
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
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Stuck in South America: LAN's horrible service PART 2 (and Expedia's poor response)

This is deja-vu all over again.

A few weeks ago LAN initially refused to make accomodations when one of the segments in a ticket they issued became useless as the airline (Pluna) had ceased operations.
(see
Stuck in South America: LAN's horrible customer service )

The whole trip was JFK-SCL-MVD-SCL-JFK, and only the MVD-SCL segment was in Pluna. I purchased this ticket on Expedia and, again, LAN issued the whole ticket from beginning to end. There was no Pluna record locator.

Initially LAN wanted to charge me $1100 to reissue the ticket with a new MVD-SCL segment. This was close to the original price for the whole ticket. And this "best offer" was made by LAN despite the fact that they were selling one way tickets MVD-SCL for $340.

Fortunately, after many hours on the phone, Expedia was able to get LAN to do the right thing: reissue the ticket with an appropriate MVD-SCL segment, without extra charges.

Alas, I have a second ticket just like the one described above. This one for December/January. After 4 hours on the phone with Expedia, they have been unable to get the same accomodation from LAN even though the specifics seem to be the same.

My termporary solution: buy a $340 MVD-SCL one way ticket on LAN, and contest $340 of the original ticket purchased from Expedia. We'll see how that works. I would not want to see Expedia lose money due to LAN's poor customer service, but Expedia is the company that took my money in exchange for an airplane ticket that will not work.

When I spoke with the Expedia supervisor I told her I was stunned by LAN Customer Service's lack of responsiveness. I also told her all other airlines I have dealt with over the last few decades have provided much better service than LAN. I said:
"I wish you'd told me when you sold me the ticket that LAN's policies are so incredibly bad for customers".
She said, "I'm sorry, but we didn't know".
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Old Aug 6, 12, 2:47 pm   #2
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Bad LAN service? No. Bad Expedia service. They sold you the ticket. They sold you a ticket that had a Pluna segment. Pluna went under. Expedia needs to make you whole. Has nothing to do with Lan so far.

LAN is willing to sell you Expedia / you a ticket at the going price. You think LAN should bend somehow? The idea that LAN somehow is responsible for Pluna bankrupt ticket escapes me. If I was LAN I'd be thinking, you bought a ticket with a Pluna segment that we fly. You took your chances. You could have bought that segment from us in the first place. We do not plan on going bankrupt anytime soon, especially by covering off the problems caused by a competitor.

Expedia needs to chase Pluna and/or use their slush fund and/or insurance to make you whole. Not LAN.

I know I am going against the grain here. Since I have no dog in this fight, please feel free to ignore.

Afterthought: Oh, and the fact they accommodated last time (and not this time) might because you had already begun your adventure last time and hence the rules are different.

Last edited by bingocallerb22; Aug 6, 12 at 3:40 pm. Reason: afterthought
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Old Aug 6, 12, 4:30 pm   #3
 
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I'm with Bingo on this one. As they say: "dance with the one who brung you", or in this case the one you "brung". You choose who you buy your tickets from; they are responsible once they sell you the ticket. I'm no LAN apologist --- I know all about LAN's shortcomings, but IME Expedia is a nightmare to deal with and I would never ever (again) book an airline ticket with them. YMMV

Last edited by phlashba; Aug 6, 12 at 5:29 pm.
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Old Aug 6, 12, 7:43 pm   #4
 
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Well, I cannot say that I disagree with Bingo or Plashba -- Expedia certainly has a huge responsibility to make good here.

However, I believe that when a ticket is purchased, it is purchased under the ticket stock of one of the airlines -- in this case LAN. LAN likely collected the money directly (Expedia merely acted as an agent -- and got a commission as well as fees from the buyer). I therefore think LAN has a huge fiduciary responsibility to make good on a ticket purchased under their stock and by their credit card processing.

Of course, LAN may not work this way and who knows who processed what charges, but if the ticket was on LAN stock and ticket numbers then I think they have the majority of the responsibility to make good.
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Old Aug 6, 12, 8:28 pm   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timbre View Post
Well, I cannot say that I disagree with Bingo or Plashba -- Expedia certainly has a huge responsibility to make good here.

However, I believe that when a ticket is purchased, it is purchased under the ticket stock of one of the airlines -- in this case LAN.

[...]

if the ticket was on LAN stock and ticket numbers then I think they have the majority of the responsibility to make good.
This was indeed a LAN-issued ticket that included a Pluna segment. The ticket number is LAN's, there is no Pluna ticket number. The other posters' points are well taken: Expedia does have responsibility here and they are not doing a very good job. However, I believe LAN are adding insult to injury by attempting to bilk me out of $1,100 with the excuse that the whole return ticket becomes void if I don't fly the first segment of that return trip (the ill fated Pluna MVD-SCL segment).
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Old Aug 7, 12, 5:11 am   #6
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Ahh. I now see the catch-22. To get you a MVD-SCL replacement for the Pluna bankrupt segment, they have to re-ticket! True enough.

The real culprit and cause of the base problem here is Pluna. An airline going belly up is not that common, so I can understand Expedia/ Lan etc. struggling with it. For the first tix, it was a surprise, and you were already travelling, and rules are in place to not strand pax and eventually Expedia/Lan did resolve it. This time you have a future tix knowing Pluna is gone. I struggle to understand why competitor airlines have to cough up and cover off Pluna tix. Here, we have a travel agents fund that kicks in when a airline collapses, this fund gets people home etc. I wonder if there is something similar there. Either way, I put the ball in Expedia's court. Why do you have to pay more, why does Expedia not cover it off with some fund for this contingency?

But to be useful, you said My temporary solution buy a $340 MVD-SCL one way ticket on LAN, and contest $340 of the original ticket purchased from Expedia. We'll see how that works. I would not want to see Expedia lose money due to LAN's poor customer service, but Expedia is the company that took my money in exchange for an airplane ticket that will not work. Not sure why you are concerned about Expedia, nor why LAN re-ticketing is considered bad service, but I would wonder that by flying a separate tix MVD-SCL what will happen to your original SCL-JFK segment?
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Old Aug 7, 12, 1:35 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bingocallerb22 View Post
Not sure why you are concerned about Expedia, nor why LAN re-ticketing is considered bad service, but I would wonder that by flying a separate tix MVD-SCL what will happen to your original SCL-JFK segment?
Point number 1 well taken. I am no longer concerned about Expedia.

Re-ticketing AND attempting to charge $1,100 for said re-ticketing is absurd when LAN could simply choose to honor the SCL-JFK part of the ticket. I completely understand an airline cancelling a ticket when the px did not fly the first segment because he is trying to game the system. However, in my case I won't fly the first segment because it will be physically impossible. Under those circumstances it is unconscionable for LAN to try to make extra money out of the situation.

Most importantly, I wonder what will happen to my original SCL-JFK segment. An email from an Expedia supervisor suggests it will be OK. Here is the quote:

"We were informed by LAN Airlines agent Manuel that you can get the refund of your flight from Montevideo (MVD) to Santiago (SCL) and you can still take your flight from Santiago (SCL) to New York (JFK) with LAN Flight: 532. All the rest of your flight are confirmed according to LAN Airlines . "

I will keep my fingers crossed.
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