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Byron Comninos
11-29-2010, 08:35 AM
Allow me to recount a totally horrible experience my partner and I and just a few hundred others recently had courtesy of Thai Airways when trying to get home from Athens last month.

A couple of 10-second messages from the captain told us very little other than there would be a delay because they had to test a fault in the communications system. (They must have forgotten to do the test before boarding everyone.)

Fair enough but the flight was due to depart at 4.15pm it was now nearly 3 hours later and we were being told to get off. Go out back to the airport and then go to the transit lounge and for the arrangements for hotels - courtesy of the airline.

Off we trudged – the elderly, parents with small children, wheel-chaired ones, those whose English was poor, those whose Thai was worse… someone would surely be out there to ask us to follow them, show us where to go and what to do, tell us what would happen next, whether to collect our booked in luggage, call home, tell them what had happened and when we would now be home….

Sorry but no such luck. We were thrown to a queue-less mass of fatigued, frustrated, enquiring others and we were told to be patient. Proceed to a point just 20 metres down the road where a coach would take us to our hotel. (Sometimes everything in Greece is 20 metres away or a 20 minute wait – you just need to times that by 3 – we Greeks invented multiplication – and division.) The coach eventually came. Minus any ramps for the wheel chairs or information as to which hotel where and when. Don’t take away any representative from the airline – there never was one to start with.

Lovely hotel by day I’m sure – just 20 minutes away (remember x 3). Trouble is there were not enough rooms. Maybe there were when Thai Airways had checked with them a couple of hours ago but gosh how quickly others had taken them up. That’s ok we’re used to sharing one bed room with complete strangers in the adjacent bed. Cosy.

We all gathered at the car park next morning about 10 am or so - again not knowing what time or if we would be picked up at all. Coach arrived magically at about noon.

Back at Eleftherios Venizelos Airport to check with the airline what was happening. Sorry no Thai airlines person around and nothing on any notice board or Departures Board. Patience!

Check-in opens at 1.30pm and announcements will be made – “ Apologies, hope you all slept well together, your flight will depart at (4.15pm) and you’ll be in Sydney ????”…No such luck.

.”they told the others there are no flights to Sydney”/”they told the others there was an 18 hour wait in Bangkok”/”they told the othes we’ll be flying to Singapore then waiting over night..”

Plenty of rumours – no facts. Everyone found out their news as each reached the Check-in counter. Despite please, anger, tears, they (Thai Airways) weren’t brave enough to tell everyone by way of a general announcement. Public Relations and Communications procedures totally absent.

Its quite a feat getting from the queue at Check-in at 4.00pm all the way down and around, past the security screening and into the gate area – Gate 09, on board, seated, hand luggage in overhead locker etc for a flight that takes off at 4.15pm. But then be patient – there’s no plane in sight anyway. Patience.

One arrived just after 5.20pm and we were soon on board ready for take-off. Just one thing before we go – a test on the communications system. (They must have forgotten to do the test before boarding everyone.) We wanted you all to be here for this because it might not work again and you know exactly what to do if it doesn’t don’t you?

Take off at 6.45pm. Bangkok Monday …. Sydney maybe Tuesday – who knows till Bangkok. Patience.

Sydney Tuesday night. We’re finally here. Pity about the luggage!

Letters to the airline company. Their response says at the bottom, “we do hope that you will give us another opportunity to be of service to you when we feel sure you will enjoy the level of comfort and convenience that you have come to expect from our Royal Orchid Service.”


They will need to be patient.
:confused: