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Award Booking on AI - Still cartoonishly bad

Award Booking on AI - Still cartoonishly bad

Old Jan 28, 20, 4:22 am
  #1  
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Award Booking on AI - Still cartoonishly bad

Itís been a while but but since I had a bunch of AI miles expiring next month (thatís how long itís been since I last booked an award flight with AI), I booked a few tickets with them. And boy was it painful.

To start with since I know my way around the most ridiculous FF site ever Iím not going to complain about that here... but I got to the point where I could book my ticket - selected my flights and my payment method as Diners. Now paying through Diners is supposed to be a little different where you donít enter the card details in the same page as the ticket details like you would if you selected Visa/MC but itís supposed to redirect you to a BillDesk page where youíre supposed to get the Dinerís option. It took quite a while but finally I was able to get redirected.

On the BillDesk page there were a whole host of wallet payment options but no option for Diners. So I thought I had probably selected something wrong in the previous page. However there was no way to go back from the payment page... so the payment of course failed.

However I did get a PNR... so I called AI and asked them to help me make the payment either with a link or via phone. After being passed from one call center agent to another three times I finally got to someone who understood my problem and told me ďsorry your ticket has been cancelled by the systemĒ. I noticed the miles hadnít been credit back as yet even though my PNR was cancelled and I was told to write to FR and that the process would take at least 2 days to get my miles back after which I could book again! Absolutely absurd!!!

Thankfully the miles were back in my account a few minutes later so I tried booking the award tickets again online... same Diners selection (I thought I made a mistake selecting the correct payment option the first time)... same BillDesk page that doesnít support Diners. So I was stuck again. However this time I noticed there was a Payzapp option... phew.... so I clicked on that that took me to a brand new Payzapp page where every image and object on the page showed the ďbroken imageĒ pic and the only thing that properly displayed on the page was the countdown timer for completing the transaction! Amazing!

Called AI again with the new PNR to make the payment... was passed around between 4 agents this time. Then was finally told ďsorry we canít help you make payments for web transactions... wait for the ticket to expire in 2-3 hours and then call us to book the ticketĒ! Whaa.... Iíve done this with several several Indian and foreign airlines... never had a challenge doing this.

Anways waited for the 2nd PNR to get cancelled. Then called them again to book the ticket on the phone. Gave my FF#. There was no verification of anything. The agent rattled of my name, how many miles I had in the account. Probably would have given me my mother maiden name, my DOB and password if I asked. Iím just amazed that my miles havenít been stolen yet.

Anyways the phone agent booked my ticket and sent me the payment link. Finally I would be able to use my DC which had been a major reason for this mess to begin with. But in the link they sent me - I could only pay by Visa, MC or Amex. So that was that. Paid by Visa and quickly closed everything.

Wasted about 4 hours trying to book a ticket on AI using a Diners card. That I was unable to to this simple thing and had to go round round in circles with AI, not to mention that thereís absolutely zero security for FF miles and account even today leaves me speechless. Well not completely speechless... this was quite a long rant!

Now Iím pretty sure Iím entitled to compensation for this ordeal... Iím not sure if I should go to AI, HDFC Diners, BillDesk or just my medical insurance folks.
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Old Jan 28, 20, 7:03 am
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Originally Posted by PiperAtGatesofDawn View Post
On the BillDesk page there were a whole host of wallet payment options but no option for Diners. So I thought I had probably selected something wrong in the previous page. However there was no way to go back from the payment page... so the payment of course failed.
[...] Paid by Visa and quickly closed everything.
If you are so stubborn to try to pay with Diners, you shouldn't rant...
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Old Jan 28, 20, 7:14 am
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Well I wasn’t stubborn about it. I thought the first time the payment failed because I clicked on the wrong payment link therefore I tried a second time. And Diners is giving me lots of goodies this month again if I meet some spend criteria so yeah I’m going to try and spend every penny I can this month on my DCB.

But the rant was about 3 things...
1. AI & Diners - why does AI say they accept Diners payments when they very clearly don’t
2. Why can’t AI send me a link to pay for itineraries that have already been booked but not ticketed - esp. since it was done on their website not through a TA
3. Why doesn’t AI have any security measures when you call in to book an awards ticket... instead they proactively give out personal information!
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Old Jan 31, 20, 7:56 am
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typical ai....one time they took 15 days to return the miles to my account for an award booking that failed....
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Old Feb 7, 20, 4:35 pm
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Is there any option to book awards on Air India on their website, or is it always done manually?
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Old Feb 7, 20, 7:50 pm
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Originally Posted by SuperFlyBoy View Post
Is there any option to book awards on Air India on their website, or is it always done manually?
You can book it their website, both AI and *A awards.
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Old Feb 8, 20, 3:34 am
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had a typically bad experience with ai when cancelling an award booking....

i had booked 2 business class del-lhr tickets but had to cancel one of them....now its important to point out that while booking the ticket, the t&c clearly state that if i cancel the ticket 3 days prior to the flight then 10% miles will be deducted as a penalty & the remainder will be credited to my account....here is a screenshot i took:


called ai to cancel the ticket since the website wouldn't allow me to do so....the agent confirmed that 10% miles will be deducted & the balance would be credited immediately....i told the agent to go ahead & do so....the ticket was cancelled but only 80% miles were refunded....i questioned the agent on this & he said he was not sure what happened & put me on hold to investigate....after a brief hold he comes back on the phone to state that the penalty is not 10% but rather 20%....i ask him why he gave me incorrect information before canceling the ticket & why the t&c state that it is 10%....he had no answer to that & kept repeating that its an automated process & the penalty is 20%....so i ask him to connect me to a supervisor....

the supervisor comes on & i tell her what happened....she gets extremely aggressive & starts blaming the situation on me....she says its my responsibility to know what the cancellation policy is when booking the ticket & that the agent told me nothing wrong....i told her that i knew what the t&c said & the agent gave me the same information as the t&c....however, both turned out to be incorrect as double the amount was deducted as the penalty....she says the t&c clearly state that the penalty is 20% & i probably asked the agent wrong information like making a date change which attracts 10% penalty in inr....

she refuses to accept the fact that the t&c say 10% so i tell her to book another ticket for me while i'm on the phone....we go through the process & when we get to the page that has the t&c i ask her to read out what is written....she pauses for a bit & i can hear her colleague stating in the background 'he is right, this does say 10%'....she still decided to hold her ground & says that her screen is showing that its 20%....

at this point i lose my cool & tell her that what she seems to have forgotten is that all these calls are being recorded & that she probably doesn't know but ai has a vigilance team that works with the police to identify fraud....i told her i was going to send a notice to the vigilance team to listen in on this phone call & that she was trying to cheat me out of 10% of the miles....after hearing this, her tone completely changed....for the first time she apologised on behalf of the earlier agent for giving the wrong information & she said she could connect me with a supervisor if i wanted to escalate this further....i questioned her on the fact whether she was a supervisor as she had claimed earlier, once again reminding her that this call will be heard by the vigilance officer....she sheepishly admitted that she was a senior call agent but not a supervisor....

i didn't want to deal with her any further so asked her to connect me to a real supervisor....she apologises a number of times & asks me not to send the notice to the vigilance officer....i tell her to just connect me to a supervisor so she put me on hold for a minute & then came back saying no supervisor was available & she would arrange a call back....i told her i would hold till a supervisor became available but she kept stating that no one was there & it would take a while to connect me to one....she promised a call back when one was available but of course no one has called back & i don't expect anyone will....

its not at all surprising since this is air india....customer service has never been their strong point....

Last edited by Keyser; Feb 8, 20 at 3:42 am
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Old Feb 8, 20, 5:43 am
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That’s very weird. The site very poorly explains it’s 20%. Also checked a couple of recent bookings and they all say 20%.

It could be one of two things I suspect:
1. AI as usual badly f-ed up. In which case you would get nothing from them. Not even an admission of any kind.

2. Do you have elite status with AI and the person’s ticket you cancelled doesn’t have elite status or that status was not reflecting in the booking? So when AI first introduced cancellation fees for awards they exempted elites from this fee. When they realised that it was elites who were responsible for the bulk of award cancellations they changed the rules and elites also had to pay the cancellation fee. Now I haven’t been TMC for years now but IIRC - the cancellation fee was the same for elites and muggles. But they could have changed the rule to lower the cancellation fee for elites - though I never heard that they did. But that could be a possible explanation for this.

Either ways I wouldn’t hold my breath for AI to payout the balance 10%, I’m sure you’re very familiar dealing with them as it is. Good luck.
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Old Feb 8, 20, 7:03 am
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Originally Posted by PiperAtGatesofDawn View Post
Thatís very weird. The site very poorly explains itís 20%. Also checked a couple of recent bookings and they all say 20%.
try making a dummy booking & get to the t&c page....it clearly says 10%....call ai to cancel a booking & they will also tell you its 10%....

Originally Posted by PiperAtGatesofDawn View Post
1. AI as usual badly f-ed up. In which case you would get nothing from them. Not even an admission of any kind.
of course they did....& to tell you the truth, if the girl pretending to be the supervisor had apologised & said they would investigate what happened then i would have just let it be....

Originally Posted by PiperAtGatesofDawn View Post
2. Do you have elite status with AI and the personís ticket you cancelled doesnít have elite status or that status was not reflecting in the booking? So when AI first introduced cancellation fees for awards they exempted elites from this fee. When they realised that it was elites who were responsible for the bulk of award cancellations they changed the rules and elites also had to pay the cancellation fee. Now I havenít been TMC for years now but IIRC - the cancellation fee was the same for elites and muggles. But they could have changed the rule to lower the cancellation fee for elites - though I never heard that they did. But that could be a possible explanation for this.
i have maharajah status & my wife has gold status....the status was definitely reflecting in the booking....

Originally Posted by PiperAtGatesofDawn View Post
Either ways I wouldnít hold my breath for AI to payout the balance 10%, Iím sure youíre very familiar dealing with them as it is. Good luck.
not holding my breath at all....we are talking about only 9k miles so its not the end of the world....hopefully me having wasted 20 minutes of my life on the call will have taught this 'supervisor' girl a lesson to not try this with someone else....but then again, this is ai....she probably pretended to be a supervisor with some 32 more passengers over the last week....
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Old Feb 8, 20, 7:33 am
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Originally Posted by Keyser View Post
try making a dummy booking & get to the t&c page....it clearly says 10%....call ai to cancel a booking & they will also tell you its 10%....
I canít do dummy bookings anymore because I donít have enough miles to reach that page.

But hereís a screenshot from a recent booking...


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Old Feb 8, 20, 7:41 am
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Originally Posted by PiperAtGatesofDawn View Post
I canít do dummy bookings anymore because I donít have enough miles to reach that page.

But hereís a screenshot from a recent booking...


domestic or international????domestic booking have been 20% for a number of years now....international has been 10% ever since ai joined star alliance....
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Old Feb 8, 20, 7:46 am
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Originally Posted by Keyser View Post
domestic or international????domestic booking have been 20% for a number of years now....international has been 10% ever since ai joined star alliance....
Ah that might be it... I didn’t know it was different for INT. So AI fup.
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Old May 13, 20, 5:15 am
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I have faced issues with AI website too, never got around using my miles though. Have you had any recent experience using your AI miles?
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Old May 14, 20, 7:50 am
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ua cancelled my flight next month....had made the booking using ai miles....i called ai to find out what my options are & the agent first told me the flight wasn't cancelled....when i told her i had received an email from ua telling me it was cancelled then i was put on hold while she checked further....she then comes back & says the flight is indeed cancelled but i'm not entitled to a refund since its not ai's fault that ua cancelled the flight....i can either re-book for another date for free or cancel according to the orginal t&c of my reservation....
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Old May 15, 20, 2:27 am
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Originally Posted by Keyser View Post
ua cancelled my flight next month....had made the booking using ai miles....i called ai to find out what my options are & the agent first told me the flight wasn't cancelled....when i told her i had received an email from ua telling me it was cancelled then i was put on hold while she checked further....she then comes back & says the flight is indeed cancelled but i'm not entitled to a refund since its not ai's fault that ua cancelled the flight....i can either re-book for another date for free or cancel according to the orginal t&c of my reservation....
So, no refund of the miles then ?
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