Multiple ticket reissue delays/failures/overcharges. What's wrong with Swiss?

Old Jul 27, 20, 3:37 am
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Multiple ticket reissue delays/failures/overcharges. What's wrong with Swiss?

Recently flew ZRH-SPU roundtrip, booked as Swiss and operated by Edelweiss. I requested ticket changes on both outbound (30 hours before departure to change from Y to C because I noticed difference was very small) and return flights (12 hours before departure to change date).

Both times:
  • The tickets were not ready when I got to the airport and it was after multiple phone calls reminding them to speed up reissue.
  • I was quoted one price, then charged high price, which I agreed to fearing to miss flight.
I must be spoiled by flying Delta and Alaska before moving to ZRH and I am used that ticket reissues take minutes most of the time with US airlines. Only really complicated multi-airline / stopover tickets required special handling and even then it could be done while on the phone.

On outbound the ticketing agent in ZRH airport spent half hour recalculating new ticket manually and just could not figure out 7CHF price difference which was quoted by 2 different phone agents. In the end she said you pay 24CHF or she needs to find supervisor to overwrite it, but I would risk missing the flight.

On return I received email to call Swiss urgently while I driving to the airport. The agent said ticket could not be reissued because I was quoted 207CHF instead of 270CHF and they needed to confirm new price before reissuing. She assured me that my ticket would be in "emergency" queue and reissued in 20 minutes. Needless to say that 2 hours later when I got to the airport there was no ticket.

I still can not believe it was for real.
  • Total time spent on phone and in airport ticketing = 2-3 hours, about the same as total flight time.
  • Total overcharged = 80 CHF.

What's wrong with Swiss?
  • Why phone agents can not do simple ticket reissues? Why reissues are not automated? In a country where manual labor is expensive, having agent calculated price difference then another agent doing actual reissue hours later looks like extremely inefficient.
  • Why mistakes are made? Is it really all manually? It's not a rocket science, new ticket - old ticket + change fee.
  • Why mistakes are not honoured? They take my credit card details, then hours later tell me that price is different when I am on the way to the airport. In Switzerland verbal agreement is usually contractual. Can I get 80CHF back in overcharges? While I agreed to new price, it was done under pressure of possibly missing the flight. Is there something like small claims court in Switzerland where I can dispute the charges? It's not about 80CHF, but more about making it right.

Last edited by AntonS; Jul 27, 20 at 3:56 am
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Old Jul 27, 20, 5:46 am
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Simple answer: Swiss wants you to forfeit your original ticket and buy a new ticket.
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Old Jul 27, 20, 6:00 am
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Originally Posted by warakorn View Post
Simple answer: Swiss wants you to forfeit your original ticket and buy a new ticket.
You must be joking, right? Flex ticket purchased a week before departure, nothing to do with COVID cancellations.
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Old Jul 27, 20, 6:17 am
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Originally Posted by warakorn View Post
Simple answer: Swiss wants you to forfeit your original ticket and buy a new ticket.
That is nonsense.

OP, Swiss has revealed itself during the Covid-19 crisis as being unable to handle a large amount of ticket changes in a smooth way, notably because way too much of this work is still done manually. If I were to speculate on the reasons, I'd point to years of underinvestment in replacing legacy technology (unlike DL, which has spent billions on this) combined with outsourcing call center and backoffice jobs to cheap off-shore locations. There, training is poor and staff turnover is high.

Of course, none of the above constitutes a valid excuse for the way LX treats their customers.
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Old Jul 27, 20, 6:29 am
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Originally Posted by airoli View Post
That is nonsense.

OP, Swiss has revealed itself during the Covid-19 crisis as being unable to handle a large amount of ticket changes in a smooth way, notably because way too much of this work is still done manually. If I were to speculate on the reasons, I'd point to years of underinvestment in replacing legacy technology (unlike DL, which has spent billions on this) combined with outsourcing call center and backoffice jobs to cheap off-shore locations. There, training is poor and staff turnover is high.

Of course, none of the above constitutes a valid excuse for the way LX treats their customers.
Exactly this...
can also be seen in other areas - e.g. the Phone App.
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Old Jul 27, 20, 7:55 am
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Simple answer: Swiss wants you to forfeit your original ticket and buy a new ticket.
That is nonsense.
Why? This is how Swiss is acting.

OP, Swiss has revealed itself during the Covid-19 crisis as being unable to handle a large amount of ticket changes in a smooth way, notably because way too much of this work is still done manually
I do not agree. In my eyes this an intentional strategy of Swiss to deny cash refunds and to "encourage" people to buy new cash tickets, instead of having them properly reissued.
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Old Jul 27, 20, 9:17 am
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Originally Posted by warakorn View Post
Why? This is how Swiss is acting.
It is not the objective of any airline to have their front-line airport staff having to deal with last minute scrambles for intentionally incorrectly (re-)issued tickets. And airlines know that it is not a viable business modell to take customers' money, not issue tickets, and then expect them to buy on-the-spot replacement tickets with that same airline at the airport. Really.

Now - did LX make the right choice during this crisis, and before it, by not prioritizing investments into smooth ticketing and IRROPS handling, and therefore jeopardizing customer satisfaction? I suggest customers such as the OP vote with their feet.
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Old Jul 27, 20, 9:22 am
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In this particular instance, it is simply that LX lacks the technology, innovation and adaptability to cope with the pandemic and its back office shortcomings are magnified.

The larger picture is that it has engaged in refund issues which are not acceptable. But, that does not seem to be the case here as whatever minimal cash it might have preserved is far offset by the cash expenditures it incurs on staffing and other assorted issues.

While other carriers were either prepared for the pandemic or adapted in a few weeks, LX has not. The chances that it finds the resources to adapt this far into the situation are slim to nil and thus you should expect this degree of service (or lack of) to continue for the forseeable future.
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Old Jul 27, 20, 11:02 am
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Why would you even bother trying to upgrade a short ZRH-SPU flight? It was asking for troubles IMO - just my cents.
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Old Jul 27, 20, 11:02 am
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Then maybe govermemt should let Swiss go bankrupt and free up space for new possibly low cost airline?

Swiss people have money and even during pandemic there is demand. I took 4 flights last month and all were full.

If goverment keeps bailing out inept airlines, nothing will change.
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Old Jul 27, 20, 11:04 am
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Originally Posted by SK AAR View Post
Why would you even bother trying to upgrade a short ZRH-SPU flight? It was asking for troubles IMO - just my cents.
1. More social distancing. Flights were full in Y.

​​​​​​2. Price difference only 7 or 24 CHF depending on calculations.


​​​​
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Old Jul 27, 20, 3:05 pm
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7 CHF to change from Y to C? Seems for me like a mistake or wrongly understood. 24 CHF is still deadly cheap.
Why didn't you book C right from the beginning, if Social distancing is so important for you?
​I agree the re-issueing of the tickets, is "suboptimal".
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Old Jul 27, 20, 3:28 pm
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Originally Posted by athome View Post
7 CHF to change from Y to C? Seems for me like a mistake or wrongly understood. 24 CHF is still deadly cheap.
Why didn't you book C right from the beginning, if Social distancing is so important for you?
​I agree the re-issueing of the tickets, is "suboptimal".
Economy was pretty full and only upper booking classes available at the time of booking. I forgot to check difference between Y and C at the time of purchase. My eocnomy about 600 CHF or something like this. Business Z was just a little more. I checked the price before calling and it was very small, but do not remember exact difference. Two different phone agents quoted me 7 CHF. The ticketing agent at the airport who was doing actual reissue (because my ticket was still in the queue) could not figure out 7 CHF and was getting 24 CHF. I agreed to pay 24 CHF because it was still small and I did not want to delay more and miss flight because of a few franks.

While suboptimal, such simple reissue should take a couple of minutes. Please note that on return flight I was only changing date and still could not get ticket reissued and quoted wrong fare difference when requested 12 hours before departure.
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Old Jul 28, 20, 6:12 am
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Originally Posted by AntonS View Post
Then maybe govermemt should let Swiss go bankrupt and free up space for new possibly low cost airline?

Swiss people have money and even during pandemic there is demand. I took 4 flights last month and all were full.

If goverment keeps bailing out inept airlines, nothing will change.
Not really in scope of this thread, but I suspect the Swiss Government contribution to the bailout of the Lufthansa Group would have been better used nationalising and then later re-privatising Swiss. The mismanagement and now subsequent loss of reputation and credibility is down to the antics of the LH Group. And now the Swiss Government has contributed with loans and guarantees while the German Government will cash in on a 20% capital share of the group. I seriously doubt these times are to the benefit of either Swiss, Switzerland or Swiss people.
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Old Jul 28, 20, 6:44 am
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Originally Posted by Tafflyer View Post
And now the Swiss Government has contributed with loans and guarantees while the German Government will cash in on a 20% capital share of the group.
To the best of my knowledge, and according to this article, Swiss has not yet tapped into any Swiss government aid. Swiss government aid is contingent on certain conditions and obligations, and the new LH Group management, including the German state as a shareholder, is still debating whether they need the Swiss money, therefore having to accept the Swiss conditions as well.
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