Epic-fail, HA Style

Old Nov 25, 11, 11:05 pm
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Epic-fail, HA Style

This experience really tested my Aloha spirit - mainly due to the almost mind-numbing ineptitude of the Manila call center where HA contracts their reservation ops. I would think that a Hawai'i based airline would try and support the local economy and keep their ops 'ohana', but I guess contracting cheap labor whose vocabulary only consists of "can't", "won't", "don't", and "not able" is better for business?

I thought this trip was getting a rocky start when a Manila agent canceled our seat assignments instead of changing the seats as requested, and it took 2 hours of phone calls and an escalation to a supervisor to get the seats back...because the regular agents kept repeating "can't", "don't", "not sure", "won't". At least the supervisor finally "did".

So, the morning of our departure from SEA to HNL, I get a phone call from an agent at SEA telling me my 920A departure is now delayed until almost 1AM the following day. Great. My requests to check other airlines for space fall on deaf ears (nothing is available, we called) - and although I insisted there was space on Alaska, the agent was not interested in checking further and just told me nothing was available and there was nothing that could be done. Call reservations, let them handle it. End of story.

Of course calling HA reservations results in:

Agent 1: I can't do that. We don't do that here. You need to talk to the re-issue department.

Re-issue dept: never answers the phone

So, off I go to alaskaair.com and find the last 2 seats from SEA to LIH (our destination) and I actually have to purchase them at full fare (they can't be held). After a wild few minutes getting this setup with the AS agent, we race up to SEA airport to find a major cluster at the HA counter - a line so long, people from the other HNL and OGG flight are probably going to miss their flights and I won't have a chance to get my FIM done before my AS flight leaves.

So, I ask an agent directing traffic if it was possible to have someone issue a FIM real quick so I can go and rebook my AS flights - he gets us the next agent, who then decides she is unable to issue a FIM and has another agent handle it, who after awhile informs agent 1 that the FIM was 'pushed' electronically to AS and we're all set....of course I suspect this is not the case, as our situation is quite complex, needing our new AS tickets refunded and then re-issued with the HA FIM.

Sure enough, after getting to the AS agent, we find out that absolutely nothing was done for us - and the AS agent, quite annoyed, complains to me that HA does this all the time (tells their customers everything is taken care of just to get rid of them). At least our AS agent is nice, and she calls the HA counter and walks them through the FIM, and our AS tickets are re-issued and the trip is saved.

So, my chief complaint here is the general attitude that nothing can be done and no one really seems to care when things go wrong. When flights are on time and operations normal, HA is a joy to fly - but when things go wrong, even simple problems, the experience is hellish and most of the blame lands on the shoulders of the Manila call center...although some of the airport folks are not exactly helpful either.

With a return to KOA coming up in a month, I think we're going to stick to AS.
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Old Nov 27, 11, 4:27 am
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Wirelessly posted (beckoa's PWP wondrousdevice3.0: Mozilla/5.0 (BlackBerry; U; BlackBerry 9810; en-US) AppleWebKit/534.11+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/7.0.0.261 Mobile Safari/534.11+)

Wow interesting story indeed. Glad you wwre able to secure space to LIH, didn't realize HA would make it such a pain to xfer the ticket. Was this a mx delay?

Ironic the lift that AS offers to HI vs. HA these days- although in the winter I'm sure AS will put some pax or bags at least on HA with strong headwinds.
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Old Nov 27, 11, 11:05 am
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Originally Posted by beckoa View Post
Wirelessly posted (beckoa's PWP wondrousdevice3.0: Mozilla/5.0 (BlackBerry; U; BlackBerry 9810; en-US) AppleWebKit/534.11+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/7.0.0.261 Mobile Safari/534.11+)

Wow interesting story indeed. Glad you wwre able to secure space to LIH, didn't realize HA would make it such a pain to xfer the ticket. Was this a mx delay?

Ironic the lift that AS offers to HI vs. HA these days- although in the winter I'm sure AS will put some pax or bags at least on HA with strong headwinds.
Was definitely a MX issue...and reminding the HA agent of "Rule 240" didn't help much. There was just a lack of interest in putting out any extra effort to help - most of the customers I saw in line just accepted their fate and food vouchers and walked off to spend the day at SEA.
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Old Nov 27, 11, 11:01 pm
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Sorry to hear about the MX problem with HA. Think it would be a good idea if they either trained their Manila call center more thoroughly to properly handle situations like this, or brought the call center back to Hawaii. Glad you found options on AS even though you had to jump through hoops to get them.

Luckier at LIH right now. On an end to end ticket going back to BDL(HA is frequent flier stock). HA LIH to LAS via HNL. Then LAS to BDL via ATL on Delta. The HA check-in counter combined the two tickets into one, printed off the 2 Delta boarding passes (I already got the HA boarding passes online), and checked my one bag straight through. Quick service with a smile
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Old Nov 29, 11, 5:59 pm
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I find the HA staff on the neighbor islands to be much much more helpful than the HNL or mainland staff.
Luckily I have status and a corporate account so that can make things a bit more bearable on the phone and at the airport.

I miss the old HNL call center. When it moved overseas I thought "time to start flying AQ more". Oh well, so much for that plan. Nowadays even a call to redeem my US miles can be refreshing because its someone who is based in the US! Of course, after talking to about 3 or 4 agents the feelings of joy can sputter out.
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Old Dec 12, 11, 1:47 pm
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Does HA use a contractor in mainline cities? I know at SEA they used to use Delta, but now have a check-in at the International ticketing counter -- which often indicates a use of contract ticketing agents.
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Old Dec 12, 11, 2:27 pm
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Originally Posted by formeraa View Post
Does HA use a contractor in mainline cities? I know at SEA they used to use Delta, but now have a check-in at the International ticketing counter -- which often indicates a use of contract ticketing agents.
I couldn't really tell if they were contract or employed - with 3-4 767 flights a day, I'd think they would use employee agents at this station and not leave things to chance with such high passenger and freight volume...although from my experience and feedback from the other airline employee, I have a feeling they are leaving things to chance.

I'm at Ranch 99 frequently when in town to get my Hawaiian papayas (wrapped with the Honolulu Star Advertiser for added authenticity and date-freshness confirmation). I trust these are delivered by HA, so they better have a solid station team working there - I can't be without my papayas when on the mainland
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