Be warned about swiss offers

Old Oct 24, 18, 5:29 pm
  #1  
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Be warned about swiss offers

I flew SWISS GRU-ZRH, ZRH-SIN AND ZRH-GRU several weeks ago. I used a United Airlines award ticket for that trip and booked it almost one year before. Shortly after my booking, I bought special seats for all SWISS flights and I paid them in advance US$ 100 for each leg because, since I am elderly, had a CVA and have hypertension, my doctor recommended me to get seats where I can expand my legs, especially when I embark in very long flights. SWISS sent me receipts of the seats that I paid and, trusting them, I went to the airport believing that they were to honor my purchase. They only assigned me a special seat for the leg ZRH-SIN and denied me the other legs because "I was not listed in the computer to have a special seat".

SWISS Airlines airport clerks were unable to help and consistently referred me to their online customer service. Their attitude was cold and fastidious as if I was an old man bothering them, or worst, trying to occupy a seat that I did not pay for.

When we arrived in ZRH my blood pressure went crazy and I stayed at the airport's Transit Hotel for hours trying to relax. The leg ZRH-GRU was terrible because they assigned me a seat in the very rear end of the plane and the flight had several periods of turbulence which made things more unbearable.

Finally, I complained to the airline's customer service and sent a copy of it to the company's CEO. I was immediately answered that the problem was related to "a change of equipment", they returned my money and gave me a voucher for US$ 200 to use in SWISS airlines.

However, they did not explain why they did not alert me in advance about the change of seats, why they did not return my money also in advance if they knew that the equipment was going to be changed, why they did not instruct about the change to their airport personnel and why they did not train their personnel to treat their passengers more respectfully and gave them more problem-solving abilities.

So, please be warned about SWISS Airlines offers, they can rip you off if you do not voice it and they can get you sick for their inefficiency.

Thank you for your attention.
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Old Nov 3, 18, 8:02 am
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I do not want to take any sides but you booked a "United Airlines award ticket", hence this has nothing to do with any offers provided by SWISS through their website or any other distribution channel, hence just to clarify this point to avoid any confusions
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Old Nov 4, 18, 9:40 pm
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I understand your frustration. My questions are first, which airline received your additional fees and second, were the fees to cover all flights?

Last year we also had frustrations with Swiss using UA miles. We booked one way J to ZRH from LAX and reserved our seats months in advance. A few weeks before departure I checked again on seats and found my wife and I had been assigned separate seats in J no where near each other. In calling LX, we also told it was due to an equipment change, which was a total fabrication, as the flight was originally scheduled for their upgraded 77W and that is exactly the equipment we experienced. While I generally like LX, the "change of equipment" story is getting old.
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Old Nov 15, 18, 2:50 pm
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Hello CalRef,

The flights were booked and paid with United miles, but the seats were booked and paid to SWISS Airlines after my ticket was confirmed. They sent me three receipts for my purchase, each one stating that I was buying an extra-leg seat, but they did not mention in the receipt, what seat number I was buying. However, in the online booking they stated the seat number for each flight. The problem was that they did not honor two of the three paid seats.

I agree with you that claiming that the problem of not honoring my seats was related to a "change of equipment" is a lie. The woman who wrote SWISS email to me, namely, Yassine Telitel, added "I hope that the above explanation can alleviate some of your disappointment, and that we may continue to merit your support". I should say that, on the contrary, it increased my anger because I felt that I was treated as stupid, I felt abused and hopeless. I was a victim of their incompetence.

I believe that SWISS Airline is a very cheap company. Most probably their personnel morale is very low and that is why I was mistreated by them in Sao Paulo and Zurich.

For al these reasons I posted my experience here, especially to warn the elderly and people in need of assistance, to be thorough and not to trust this particular airline because the reality is that they, in my opinion, do not care.

Thank you again for your attention.
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Old Nov 16, 18, 3:30 pm
  #5  
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Yes sir, I did use a UNITED award to book this itinerary and as soon as SWISS accepted it, SWISS began to offer me different services, which of course most of them carried an added fee. Therefore, I accepted to pay US$ 300 to SWISS Airline only (not UNITED) to get special seats for my journey. I paid SWISS over 8 months in advance for those seats. SWISS Airline confirmed the seats but apparently they sold them again to someone else and assigned me regular seats, which, in turn, affected my health.

SWISS Airline failed to let me know *in advance* of this change, they collected my money and if I did not complain, most probably they would not have returned it to me and, on top of it, SWISS Airline airport personnel ignored me and treated me disrespectfully.

I hope this will clarify your confusion sir.
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Old Nov 16, 18, 7:50 pm
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Sorry for your bad experience

Originally Posted by Milonga View Post
Yes sir, I did use a UNITED award to book this itinerary and as soon as SWISS accepted it, SWISS began to offer me different services, which of course most of them carried an added fee. Therefore, I accepted to pay US$ 300 to SWISS Airline only (not UNITED) to get special seats for my journey. I paid SWISS over 8 months in advance for those seats. SWISS Airline confirmed the seats but apparently they sold them again to someone else and assigned me regular seats, which, in turn, affected my health.

SWISS Airline failed to let me know *in advance* of this change, they collected my money and if I did not complain, most probably they would not have returned it to me and, on top of it, SWISS Airline airport personnel ignored me and treated me disrespectfully.

I hope this will clarify your confusion sir.
As a rule of thumb (and remembering that *alliance is for the benefit of airlines NOT passengers) to get real good service it is preferable to book awards on the airline on whose program you collected miles. Also availability is better in this case.

This said, it is regrettable that Lufthansa group does not honor paid seat allocations. Unfortunately in such cases all what is due is a refund of the paid amount which has happened.

Airport staff at outstations are mostly outsourced and not enough trained to treat customers as per their expectations.

Would suggest you book an award with United next time. Must be a good airline - just can not understand why so much United miles are redeemed with LH group :-). Gladly LX locks its F and even limits C availability.
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Old Nov 17, 18, 2:54 pm
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Well ok, fair enough, but I don't really agree with that. Seamless travel as well as FFP benefits are constantly advertised by Star Alliance, usually written in glowing, promising terms. So I think you should be able to book a ticket with any carrier using the miles of any FFP in the alliance. As proclaimed and promised. But *Alliance, with Lufthansa Group being a particular culprit, is so full of hard to understand inconsistency that it really devalues any point of being in an alliance. By inconsistency I mean the ridiculous, kafkaesque affair of knowing what the lounge access rules are, the nonsense with EW and 4U (some airlines, e.g. UA, recognize them and award miles), the inability for an elite to check a bag on a Light fare (unlike in SkyTeam), and so on.

I find British Airways and BAEC very good in this respect, although it amounts to about the only thing I like about BA. I regularly book tickets using BA Avios, but never on BA. I use them on all the partners (IB, S7, EZ, BE, etc) and enjoy the benefits without any problem. If I need to do something, such as book a specific seat or add an extra bag to the booking, I do it directly with the operating airline. Going back to the OP's predicament, I find LX (SWISS) so extremely inconsistent in their service delivery and treatment of passengers that when considering long haul bookings I totally avoid them and take my business elsewhere. So I have ended up with much better, sometimes surprisingly so, experiences on KL, MU, CZ, VS and EK, to name just a few. It's a shame, because I used to really love LX. But not any more. So thank you, SWISS, for inspiring me to try all these airlines that I would never have previously considered. It's a shame, though, isn't it?
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Old Nov 17, 18, 3:50 pm
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Thank you for your reply behuman.

Well, it was a bad experience but also a learning opportunity for me. I think that people should be warned about experiences like mine to be able to protect themselves.

Sincerely, I am not very interested in exploring the rules and regulations of that *alliance and I appreciate your comment about it. I picked up that route and airlines because the trip was a very long journey and the most convenient for me. In fact, the whole reservation process was made through the UNITED website. I also thought that SWISS Airline was a reliable company.

What I know now is that I will thought many times before flying with SWISS Airline again. I honestly do not like them and I do not trust them either, it seems to me that lying is not a healthy habit for a company. That makes me feel sorry for them because they not only represent a carrier but also a country.

As as said before, SWISS Airline refunded me US$ 200 (money that they originally charged me) and, in addition, they sent me a voucher for the same amount. This happened only when I complained.

Thank you again for your attention.
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Old Nov 17, 18, 4:07 pm
  #9  
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Hello Concerto and thanks a lot for your comment. It clarified me about deals of Star Alliance and Lufthansa Group that I ignored.

And I also agree with you that SWISS is a shame!

Thanks again.
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Old Nov 18, 18, 2:10 am
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Swiss is notorious for selling advance seat assignments and then changing seats around for a number of operational reasons not limited to aircraft swap.

This has NOTHING to do with the OP having his ticket issued via United.

In their T&C of the seat order process they state that you don't pay for the reservation of a specific seat number but just for a general category of seat. In my case countless times I had paid for 12C or 12D exit row on an A320 and was given an aisle seat in last three rows of the airplane and was even refused a refund and did not receive any voucher. I would say the T&C are misleading, not valid, and the process borders on fraud.

We just took our business to other airlines whenever we have a choice.

I am glad you at least got a fee refund plus voucher, I think you were very lucky, and I am sympathetic that your flight was ruined. I was a SENATOR since they started M&M and have dropped down from 100+ to 15 flights a year. The ASR Fraud Scheme and Economy Light discrimination against status holders was the final broken straw to put Swiss on my no-fly list.
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Old Nov 18, 18, 2:44 pm
  #11  
 
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Ah well, it seems my gripes about LX are not unfounded then. I get the impression they are getting arrogant, like the previous Swissair company (and look what happened to it). They just don’t care, it would appear.
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Old Nov 19, 18, 2:06 pm
  #12  
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Thank you f4free and Concerto.

It appears that this airline is running a scam with the seat business; perhaps a profitable one.

Do you know if there is any official agency able to supervise this airline and sanction it if a mismanagement or financial abuse is proven?

Thank you all for collaboration.
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Old Nov 19, 18, 3:17 pm
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I never bothered to think about that. I doubt Swiss Bazl would care, if anything this would be a legal matter in contract law. Is just a really low individual conflict value, which is exactly why they get away with it I guess. I wonder if they treat Americans differently, thinking about AA luggage case and similar class action.
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Old Nov 21, 18, 6:40 pm
  #14  
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Yes, I thought so too. They exercise their little power this way but I wonder how many people are really aware of their manipulations. I also wonder how many more let it be and lose their money. Maybe these dealings with the seat assignments justify some of their employees job security, by proving that they make the airline earn money, who knows. On the other hand, I do not think that SWISS Brazil had too much involvement in this. Most probably they followed directions from Europe and I have a feeling that Brazil is considered a banana country, easy to manipulate and not a place to be concerned of.

Nevertheless, Brazil country law makes SWISS Airline (and others as well) carry up to two free pieces of checked luggage, and one carry-on for free in any international flight leaving or ending in Brazil. I heard that airlines hate that but cannot do anything about it. Or, perhaps, SWISS messes with its seat assignments and get some money out of it and so compensate their loses with their luggage fees. Again, who knows.

I am not aware of the AA luggage case but Americans have consumer protection agencies that advocate for passengers. Neither I am familiar with European laws and since Switzerland is not part of the EU, in addition to people saying that they launder foreign money, most probably regarding air regulations, they get away with many things that other non swiss airlines cannot. I do not want to be disrespectful to swiss people, which I consider to be very nice and honorable fellows. I am sure that they will be as disappointed as I am if they had to face a situation like we discuss in this thread.

Thanks you all.
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