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View Full Version : First class pricetag with third class treatment


mavjb
01-27-2009, 08:40 PM
The airline canceled our flight, lost our luggage and left us stranded in the airport for 8 hours without food and water. To add insult to injury, they finally put us up in a fleabag hotel called VIK Hotel Arena Blanca where we were unable to obtain food because we weren't wearing pants! (We informed them that our luggage was lost by the airline but they didn't care.)
By the time we got home, one bag had been sliced from the back and the other was crushed beyond recognition and bursting from the seams.

NEVER EVER use this airline. Our tickets cost us 1800 bucks and the service and consideration was less than dime store treatment.

PHXFlyer
01-27-2009, 11:29 PM
The airline canceled our flight, lost our luggage and left us stranded in the airport for 8 hours without food and water. To add insult to injury, they finally put us up in a fleabag hotel called VIK Hotel Arena Blanca where we were unable to obtain food because we weren't wearing pants! (We informed them that our luggage was lost by the airline but they didn't care.)
By the time we got home, one bag had been sliced from the back and the other was crushed beyond recognition and bursting from the seams.

NEVER EVER use this airline. Our tickets cost us 1800 bucks and the service and consideration was less than dime store treatment.

Stranded in an airport without food and water? No drinking fountains? No lavatories from which water could be obtained from the taps? No food vendors of any kind? I find that hard to believe.

As for the VIK Hotel Arena Blanca is in Punta Cana, DR, I saw your scathing review @Tripdvisor.com. While it was a bit harsh as compared to other reviews, I don't doubt that it's not first-rate. But it's in the Dominican Republic, a third-world nation. What do you expect? When I have been put up in hotels by the airlines stateside it was never anything better than a Holiday Inn Express, Days Inn, or Quality Inn. Do you really expect that an airline is going to book you in luxury accomodations? If so, you need a serious reality check.

As for your statement "we were unable to obtain food because we weren't wearing pants!" I think you should clarify that the restaurants on the property had a dress code requiring full length pants (I assume you were wearing shorts?) and US Airways has no control over that. To say you were unable to obtain food is absurd! I'm sure there were other options for food either on the hotel proprty or off.

jimworcs
01-28-2009, 12:24 AM
US Airways did have control over the fact that they didn't have pants... because they had his luggage. Again, PHX, you know better than the customer... you are sure there were other food options nearby. How do you know this? Not always the case in the DR... and I have actually been there.

mavjb
01-28-2009, 12:31 AM
In Punta Cana or any third world nation, good luck finding a drinking fountain anywhere. So, no there were no drinking fountains and to "tap into" their bathroom faucets would have meant exposing yourself to parasites and heaven only knows what else from the dirty hands under the faucets. Sorry a dose of hepatitis isn't in my stratum of desired souvenirs.

Food courts were available but we were not allowed to leave the gate where they were congregating us. Then they shuffled us off to another portion of the airport where there was nothing but walls and rooms.

Being put up in a Days Inn or a Holiday Inn, would have been 5 star compared to this VIK Hotel Arena Blanca. I wasn't looking for luxury accomodations but I certainly DO expect a functional door lock, clean sheets, floors and sinks wherever I may end up.

As far as being refused the meal due to not wearing pants, even the airline stated that they have a CONTRACT with that resort and that was NOT supposed to be a requirement since the luggage was lost, so essentially, it IS within the airlines jurisdiction to follow through for their customers when such problems arise. Obviously, someone who contracted this deal remained asleep at the wheel.

Regarding the dress code, none of us were apprised that there was one. In fact, I don't normally show up to dinner inappropriately attired and had my winter wear on because I had planned on being in colder weather in a few short hours. However, without luggage and nothing in the mini mall sizable enough to fit my travel companion, he was out of luck. I offered to order food and take it back to the room to smooth over the situation and the worm of a manager wouldn't have it.

The bottom line is that the Dominican Republic just kissed away a half a million dollars every two years for a corporate vacation. This group will NEVER be booked anywhere in that country again.

Leatherboy2006
01-28-2009, 03:38 PM
Save your money on Jamaica also, everytime they have a hurricane I root for the hurricane. Have had the worse experiences there and met with the biggest groups of thiefs that would put the south side of Chicago and congress to shame.

PHXFlyer
01-29-2009, 12:49 AM
US Airways did have control over the fact that they didn't have pants... because they had his luggage. Again, PHX, you know better than the customer... you are sure there were other food options nearby. How do you know this? Not always the case in the DR... and I have actually been there.

C'mon Jim 'ol mate, you and I have both been to resorts and we both know that there is at least one casual food outlet where you can eat in a bathing suit and flip-flops if you care to. I was just pointing out how absurd the OP's statement was that there was "no food" because of "no pants." "Water water evrywhere..."

Also I'd like to point out that most times people on this board complain that they weren't given hotel accomodations (delay/cancellation was due to weather/ATC) yet this person was given a hotel overnight and still found something to complain about! The point is, some people are never happy.

The bottom line is that the Dominican Republic just kissed away a half a million dollars every two years for a corporate vacation. This group will NEVER be booked anywhere in that country again.

It sounds like you had other issues while in the DR which had nothing to do with the airline or the hotel they put you in for one night. Although I'm not a fan of the DR either, basing a decision like this on one night at one resort which was free seems a bit hasty.

jimworcs
01-29-2009, 01:17 AM
C'mon Jim 'ol mate, you and I have both been to resorts and we both know that there is at least one casual food outlet where you can eat in a bathing suit and flip-flops if you care to. I was just pointing out how absurd the OP's statement was that there was "no food" because of "no pants."

Well, I am not sure what kind of "resort" we are talking about here, because it sounds like when he wanted room service, he was told he couldn't have food in his room. It very much depends what time he got there.. most resorts shut the casual food outlets at sundown and then it is dress code dining. I just don't see what basis we have to doubt his word.

I also don't think US Air were doing him any kind of favour by putting him in a hotel. They cancelled his flight, stranded him without luggage and you can be sure if they could blame the weather or ATC they would not have been paying for a room. Therefore, we can only conclude that the payment of the hotel was their minimum obligation.

Btw, short of an emergency, I would not drink the water from taps in the DR either... believe me, if you went there, neither would you!

mavjb
01-29-2009, 01:26 AM
I am starting to think that some of the posters on this board must be working as agent provocateurs since it seems incredulous that bad things happen when travelling.

If you are held sequestered in an airport hallway for 8 hours without access to water or food, you don't get any. Simple to understand so far? Good.
Bathroom water that is not filtered is not recommended due to parasites, clear here too?

Because of the delay with being put somewhere, we got to the resort a half hour before their restaurants closed. 15 minutes was wasted standing on line to get into the one restaurant. Another 5 minutes wasted trying to convince the worm of a manager to let us just order something and take it back to the room. Another 10 minutes was shot trying to get assistance from the front desk to no avail. Total elapsed time= 30 minutes, everything shut down.

This has not been my first time to the Dominican Republic as I do free lance writing for travel magazines and my friend is a travel agent. Together, I think we have accumulated enough miles in third world countries to have an inkling towards the in's and out's of various situations. The airline has a CONTRACT with this hotel so essentially, they ARE responsible for whatever transpires under the caveat of their agreement.

This one night stay was far from "free" if you factor in the toiletries that had to be purchased for 100 bucks and the extra kennel stay for the dog.

Since you think that some people just like to complain, by all means, go down there yourself and ask for the bedbug special. One lady from our group was bitten all night long. Or ask for our room with the non existent air conditioner and the filthy floors and sinks. In fact, YOU can get this trip for free as it is a gimmick being used in Canada to get people down there to hit them up for time shares. These "winners" are actually getting 2 full weeks there. I am certain after February you will be reading a lot more reports about this hovel.

In the end, it remains caveat emptor. Those seeking a resort, take all the information in and ASK questions of those who have been there and ignore knee jerk counter reactionary responses from those who weren't even AT the facility but feel a need to defend their mismanagement for some unknown reason.

mavjb
01-29-2009, 01:36 AM
Save your money on Jamaica also, everytime they have a hurricane I root for the hurricane. Have had the worse experiences there and met with the biggest groups of thiefs that would put the south side of Chicago and congress to shame.

Thanks for the heads up! Luckily, I haven't been given an assignment there and have basically been focused in and around the various Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

For the record, if anyone decides to go to Mexico, seek out a Palace Chain resort. They are all inclusive AND actual 5 star service all the way. No one has topped them yet in the customer service yet.

PHXFlyer
01-29-2009, 01:39 AM
Well, I am not sure what kind of "resort" we are talking about here, because it sounds like when he wanted room service, he was told he couldn't have food in his room. It very much depends what time he got there.. most resorts shut the casual food outlets at sundown and then it is dress code dining. I just don't see what basis we have to doubt his word.

I also don't think US Air were doing him any kind of favour by putting him in a hotel. They cancelled his flight, stranded him without luggage and you can be sure if they could blame the weather or ATC they would not have been paying for a room. Therefore, we can only conclude that the payment of the hotel was their minimum obligation.

Btw, short of an emergency, I would not drink the water from taps in the DR either... believe me, if you went there, neither would you!

Been there. And to the other side of the island as well. I agree tap water would be a last resort but if I really felt I was about to collapse from dehydration I would probably, and reluctantly, have a drink form the tap.

Also, I have learned to carry a change of clothes in my carryon if I'm on an extended trip and pack a checked bag. You never know what circumstances you'll find yourself in. One time my seat-mate in first class got a bit tipsy on the free and bottomless wine and spilled a glass all over me. Thankfully my laptop was safely stowed! Thankfully I had that change of clothes and retrieved my bag from the overhead and changed in the lav. Problem solved.

PHXFlyer
01-29-2009, 01:47 AM
Duplicate - please remove

PHXFlyer
01-29-2009, 01:51 AM
This has not been my first time to the Dominican Republic as I do free lance writing for travel magazines and my friend is a travel agent. Together, I think we have accumulated enough miles in third world countries to have an inkling towards the in's and out's of various situations. The airline has a CONTRACT with this hotel so essentially, they ARE responsible for whatever transpires under the caveat of their agreement.

I'm sure the contract is to provide you with a room with a bed and to accept the meal vouchers the airline gives you but subject to their terms, dress codes, etc. It sucks that given your circumstances the "worm of a manager" couldn't see clear to bend the rules for you, especially since the restaurant was about to close, but you really can't fault the airline for his behaviour.

Last year my friend and I took a voluntary bump out of Maui on US Airways. The flight to Phoenix leaves late at night so by the time we got all of our vouchers processed and were transported to the hotel it was almost 3 AM. The sign at the desk clearly stated "check out time is by 10 AM" but were told by the US Air representative that since the next day's flight left @11 PM and it was so late that we could have the room "for as long as we wanted." Wasn't I surprised as were the 2 others who volunteered that we were each expected to pay a $100 late checkout fee since we kept the rooms past 10 AM and that the hotel couldn't bill the airline.

I wrote a letter to US Air upon my return and included a receipt for the charge but was told "nothing we can do - it's the hotel's policy, not ours." You live and learn!