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Have You Ever Successfully Complained to an Airline?

Have You Ever Successfully Complained to an Airline?

Old Oct 8, 07, 5:32 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 35
Have You Ever Successfully Complained to an Airline?

Have you ever successfully complained to an Airline when you received terrible service or something? If so, what was the incident? What was the compensation?

This doesn't apply to me, but I'm just curious if I did receive poor service, whether writing to them about it would be an exercise in futility...
SAAER45 is offline  
Old Oct 8, 07, 7:02 pm
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 3
Yeah, right..

If you call getting a $25 to $75 coupon towards full price on your next flight on the same shi**y airline, successful, then yes.

If you mean really making a point or extracting some compensation that would make them think twice about doing it again, then no. Congress needs to step in.
kurtdavistn is offline  
Old Oct 8, 07, 8:42 pm
Join Date: Jul 2007
Programs: Advantage, United, Krisflyer, Continental, Delta, Lufthansa, Thai
Posts: 50
Lufthansa - (almost killed my dog).......100 coupon off future fare....told them to insert it as vet bill was almost 400 Euro

American - found them extremely nice and understanding - very generous with ff miles if your story makes sense

Cathay Pacific - frigg'in tight wads....took a filed lawsuit to get compensation on a nightmare they caused......their lawyer just sent a check in the end

Delta - horrible - but if you insist and have patience......maybe some ff miles

KLM - horrible...........customer service in US handled by NWA....I think a guy in his bedroom got the subcontract.....I took a coffe mug and a fishing lure sitting on my computer as i realized the whole thing was a joke....and never flew them again

Thai - never had a complaint...found them very nice on minor stuff

Sing. Air - never had a complaint...at all....ever......I love them too mutt

Continental - absoloutely no way will you get satisfaction from cust. service......if story is legit it must be handled immediately by gate personell and supervisor....maybe an upgrade on continuing travel if feasible

37 years of flying......about 6 complaints....this is my experience...ymmv.

Last edited by maskedavenger77; Oct 8, 07 at 8:47 pm
maskedavenger77 is offline  
Old Oct 8, 07, 8:58 pm
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NWA...2 days of calling to reschedule a return flight (no computer available) and Mr. Reeper wound up driving home... never used his return ticket. Two days of customer service hanging up because they didn't have any available operators, I complained, they didn't care, I complained, they apologized, I threatened to stop payment thru my CC and they gave a credit for the unused portion of the flight.

Airtran...the infamous 8 minutes to get off a (late) arrival to a connecting flight on the opposite end of ATL airport, complete with insults and snottery...missed the flight.... asked for corporate number/ supervisors supervisors name/number to complain then and there and got a flight pretty much anywhere I wanted to go 10 minutes later. Follow-up with customer service line was a complete waste of time.
redreeper is offline  
Old Oct 8, 07, 9:50 pm
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USAir - A 3 hour delayed flight, they decide at 1AM to divert to Pittsburg to pick up crew and delay us another hour. We arrived at 2:55AM Central to an empty airport, no car rentals open and about 3 cabs for 80 people.
They sent me a $200 for a future flight which still hasn't been used.
kiljin is offline  
Old Oct 8, 07, 10:28 pm
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I certainly have and (unfortunately) expect to again.

While I've had many run-ins with customer service, there are two resolutions which stick out in my mind.

[ Warning: Long rants below: ]

The first was on a UAL flight about 3 years ago from STL-DEN-SNA. Boarded the first flight and waited... half hour later they announced a mechanical issue. We spent a good 4 hours on the plan, no a/c (you know the drill) just waiting. They finally let us off for about 30 minutes then back on for another 45. During that time 2 other flights left for DEN, both were light. Finally made it to DEN and the last flight of the night to SNA was sitting there but they wouldn't let us board. Another delay on a flight to LAX and a shuttle ride later, I made it home. Under 5 hour trip that took over 12. My letter to CSR ended up with a fairly well crafted and almost personal sounding apology with a good accompanying offer – not a great resolution but a resolution. For better or worse I still primarily fly United.

My second interesting incident was fairly similar but with a much better ending... I was scheduled on the last Alaska flight out from OAK to SNA which should be all of 80 minutes. The flight was delayed at it's previous terminal and late to leave. SNA has a hard close every night at 11. No flights make it in after 11. Of course the OAK ground crew told us we'd make it fine... even as they kept pushing the time back. Finally they informed us we had to board a plane completely in under 15 minutes, which we did. Full flight, everyone on and secured in 15 minutes (all flights should board like we did). Another 45 minutes on the ground and they told us we'd been bumped (it was nearly 11 already) to LAX. We get to LAX and the "representatives" that are suppose to be "waiting" are a few gates over chatting. They have virtually no info and no directions to where our "shuttle" busses will be. Most of the PAX make it to baggage where there is no one. Finally myself and another passenger head over to Alaska baggage claim area to get someone out. The “supervisor” there tells us we’re all suppose to wait to get our bags and then the busses will come. Of course this is an 80 minute flight on a Sunday, so virtually no one has bags, but when that’s pointed out she shrugs. We also mentioned that many passengers had headed towards cabs when the busses failed to show – she says she’s going to make an announcement (in the baggage claim area only of course) and it’s their fault if they don’t hear it. That was that.

Another 20 minutes and busses show up with a few customer service reps to help get us to them. By this point at least a third of the pax have left the group, some with alternative transportation and some simply got lost. The last bus had barely a soul on it. When we arrived at SNA the airport was about as dead as you can get. The cabs they promised would be waiting for people? There was 1, for 30 people and if you’ve never been to SNA, let me tell you, there are not a lot of late night cabs in the area. I spent another 20 minutes waiting for the long term shuttle driver to show up. Finally a sheriff, as in someone charged with protecting our airports and citizens, forced an employee parking lot shuttle driver to take me and another pax to our cars.

Silly thing is, I could have driven from OAK to SNA in less time

This time rather than writing to customer service I wrote to a few VPs at Alaska. I didn’t expect any response from them, just a customer service letter saying they were “forwarded” my message and $50 off a future full fare flight that I’d never normally book. Boy was I surprised when I got a voicemail a week later from one of Alaska’s Executive Vice Presidents. When we spoke a few days later he gave me a very nice personal apology and flat out stated that Alaska was aware there were areas they could do better in. No denying it, no excuses, just an apology and a promise to forward my letter on to the Vice President in charge of airport services. Whether it did something or not directly it sure got heard and heard by the right people. They sent me a certificate a few days later but frankly the money wasn’t the goal and not of concern. I was, and still am, amazed that he took the time to read and respond to my letter given that I wrote it under no company name and with no particular status on his airline other than having made 21k in flights in the past year.

The call was ended with a promise to follow up again in 5 or 6 months to see if my experience with Alaska has improved. Not a call back from someone in customer service but from him. I had left my plane certain I’d never use Alaska again, unless I was literally going to Alaska, now I’m booked twice more this year and a vocal advocate of them everywhere – not because their perfect but because I know they’re willing to at least listen. It’s amazing how a simple phone call can change so much.

I don’t consider myself someone who complains over minor details but if something goes far enough South I like to be heard by whoever wants to list. 30 minutes (generally in flight) to get my point out and some sort of compensation seems worth it to me and after all, if we don’t speak up, can we really expect the corporate offices to know there is something they need to fix?
Ted S is offline  
Old Oct 8, 07, 10:55 pm
Join Date: Jan 2006
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YES, but only when I complain in writing. Then they send $100. travel vouchers for future travel.
jmsoros is offline  
Old Oct 9, 07, 3:38 am
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Originally Posted by maskedavenger77 View Post
Continental - absoloutely no way will you get satisfaction from cust. service......if story is legit it must be handled immediately by gate personell and supervisor....maybe an upgrade on continuing travel if feasible.
I do not doubt that you believe this in your situation(s); however I have a completely different opinion when dealing with CO. CO has been very good to me on all levels from front line staff all the way up to VP's. I find them all easy to reach and responsive.

The absolute best was a station manager who was excellent at dealing with things. Almost never had to go above him and when I did it was because the issue wasn't in this rea. Unfortunately he got promoted recently. Fortunately, the one replacing him is just as good.

Other airlines... now that is where I have problems with. KE is the thorn in my side (right now even, still fighting with them). Cathay not too bad for me they actually took OK care of me on a small issue. Philippine Air TERRIBLE but atleast I know how to deal with them, China Southern I had a run in with a long time ago that was not resolved at all, Thai I not have an issue but their customer service could be improved. The US Carriers, I just try to avoid the last five years except CO.
KosraeTV is offline  
Old Oct 9, 07, 10:19 am
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: San Francisco, CA
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Virgin Atlantic was pretty decent. At least they were responsive in writing and by calling me as well, which was nice. They didn't offer all that much, but they were wise in at least making an effort to communicate.
mattkorey is offline  
Old Oct 9, 07, 10:37 am
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If you check out the specific airline forums, you will find many threads on compensation... even down to what you may or may not expect to get for certain issues.
wharvey is offline  
Old Oct 9, 07, 10:38 am
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Singapore Airlines -

flying home from SIN to MAN about 10 years ago. Rang the airline early on the day of the flight to get my seat to be told they had no record of me on the flight (or any other flight). Rang my UK travel agent who rang me back 2 hours later and said it had all been sorted with the airline and they would be flying me home business class.

Turned up at the airport only to be told there was no record of any such arrangement or any record that I was on any flight. The flight was full. After a few calls to the UK they said they would see if they could get me on the flight. Had to wait until the flight closed, when they found a seat at the very back of the bus in the middle of a row of 4.

Wrote a letter of complaint to both the travel agent and Singapore Airlines on my return - moaning that I had been effectively stranded and had to argue my way home.

The UK travel Agent said it wasn't their fault but offered me 150 cash

Singapore Airlines admitted they had forgotten to process the booking made by the UK travel Agent and sent me 100 cash and a Fortnum and Mason picnic hamper (valued at about 200)

All in all I was very satisfied at the compensation
Kettering Northants QC is offline  
Old Oct 9, 07, 11:04 am
Join Date: May 2007
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I am still in the early stages of trying to resolve my request to AA. The experience is stated in http://flyertalk.com/forum/showpost....6&postcount=66.

Summary: 11 hours into a 14.5 hour ORD-DEL flight, the plane was diverted to LHR due to windshield damage. This was business decision by AA, not safety one, as the plane could have landed safely in DEL too, but would take longer to repair. At LHR there was chaotic system of dealing with passengers. No manager ever came to see us, no beveragae/food/phones were offered. Our request for a hotel room and a nonstop connection next morning was [b]denied[b] because almost 24 hrs after our departure from ORD, they could find seats on a flight to Qatar to wait another few hours for a flight to DEL. All in all, our 14.5 hr trip took close to 40 hours. In addition we lost approx $600 in forfeited hotel room and connecting flights in Delhi.

So far AA sent an unsolicited email offering 10K frequent flyer bonus miles.

We were on a "platinum challenge", in which you earn points during a 90 day window to earn elite status, and bought this flight with that in mind. So, I have asked them to give us whatever elite qualifying points we would have earned on that flight.

So far, AA's FF customer service desk has referred us to Cutomer Relations, while Customer Relations feel FF costomer service desk is the right one to contact.

I don't have much experience with this. Does anybody have contact info for AA's top officials to whom I could forward my experience and let them decide which office is best for handling such cases?

Last edited by aktchi; Oct 9, 07 at 11:39 am
aktchi is offline  
Old Oct 9, 07, 11:15 am
Join Date: May 2005
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Ranged from getting a free roundtrip plus $250 in duty-free after being downgraded on a full-fare rev business class ticket, to getting an airport agent fired who really needed it because she was in the wrong line of work and made sure everybody else suffered for it.
KMHT FF is offline  
Old Oct 9, 07, 1:46 pm
Join Date: Apr 2006
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Received 2 150.00 vouchers from US when a ticket agents mis-information caused my daughter and father to miss their flights. I wrote saying that the misinformation had caused them to be involuntarily denied boarding. They agreed
kellio33 is offline  
Old Oct 11, 07, 11:27 am
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2 - $50 or $75 vouchers. Wife was traveling with 9 year old daughter. Sat in RJ for an hour with no Air Conditioning, ran through ORD with daughter in tow to catch connection, gate agent delivered 3rd degree about missing flight.
lintemut is offline  

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