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-   -   Reservations Zero warning of flight change AND seat change AND loss of premium seat without refund (

ABrown Jan 24, 2012 6:49 PM

Zero warning of flight change AND seat change AND loss of premium seat without refund
First, I'll start off that I've been flying Continental for 20 years. I've been Platinum, Gold, Silver and non-elite. I've got over 200,000 lifetime miles. All that being said, I'm just appalled at what I just had to go through.

I won 2 Continental airfare vouchers at a Charity Event supporting a children's terminal disease. My wife, my 18 MONTH old, and I decided to take a trip.
Complaint #1, and this is not even the big complaint: I made reservations in December 2011 expecting there to be some challenges in finding the fare classe required for the voucher. I redeemed the the tickets online, and indeed, it meant a stop-over instead of direct. When I booked one ticket, I was able to easily select to pay for "upgraded" legroom. For some reason, the second ticket didn't give me that option for extra legroom. Next thing you know, I've spent 2 hours on the phone just trying to get the seats with extra legroom confirmed for both my wife and I because we wanted the legroom since our child will be in our lap. I was fine paying for the upgraded legroom, and did end up paying for it ($170)

Complaint #2, the real fun: When signing on to see another flight, I double-checked my reservation. A notice pops up that the flight has been rescheduled. Would have been nice to see an email for this. Come to find out, they've only moved the flight back 10 minutes, but changed the airplane type (737 to a 757). And so now I've been pushed from row 7A of a 737 to row 35C with no extra legroom like I paid for, on a 757. And then I notice that they've put my wife in a different row! Thank goodness, I didn't buy a seat for my 18 mnth old, or he probably would have been in a different row from both of us. I called continental to complain and get it fixed. I will say that I've usually had pretty good luck with getting issues resolved. The first person I talked to couldn't even see anything about my reservation, so I had to be transferred to a special desk. Another 10 minutes on hold, and I'm talking to a very unhelpful representative. She just keeps repeating that schedule changes happen for every airline, and I shouldn't be surprised by that. She also keeps repeating that I should have already been refunded for the extra legroom I no longer had. It took me 4 times telling her I'm looking at all my credit card statements and there is NO refund. At the point, she just gives me an 800 number to call for that. She does nothing to remedy my seat problem. Telling me that I'll just have to wait until I get to the airport (2 months from now) to fix it, because she can't do anything. So at this point, I've been downgraded from the seats I paid for (partially at least) to two back of the plane seats without the extra legroom. And they haven't refunded me for the change in seat either.

2 phone calls later, I find someone who is helpful. She recognizes that I'm upset, and have been inconvenienced, and just gets the supervisor. The supervisor was able to do something no else could do and move me to two seats with extra legroom that everybody else claimed couldn't be assigned out. Summary: I was downgraded from seats I paid for to seats at the back without extra legroom. And they didn't refund me for the change in seat either. I had to beg to get assigned the better seats I paid for. And the second leg of the trip had the seats inexplicably changed (for the worse) as well, and that flight didn't have a schedule change. If I had not checked, then called, I would have had a horrible trip and lost my refund. Here are a couple of ideas Continental...why don't you let me have the seats I reserved in the first place? Why don't you give someone some warning (email) that you've completely messed up their reservation? Why don't you teach all your representatives how to actually help your customers?

Thanks for nearly ruining my vacation and for wasting my time. I'm still mad that I lost my original seats - you think Best Buy can give me the wrong disc in a DVD box and get away with it? No, so why should I lose the seats I picked out and specifically paid for when I fly? Word of warning to other travellers - check your reservations frequently.

jimworcs Jan 24, 2012 7:22 PM

One of the biggest airline problems is that they are simply unwilling to pay for decent staff to put things right. It is a pervasive problem across all airlines to "get rid" of the problem, rather than solve it. As a result, passengers in airports are regularly lied to, ie..yes, the second leg has been booked, your bags have been put on the next flight, etc. the goal is to get rid of you. Indeed, some incentivise this behaviour by paying bonuses based on the number of calls handled, rather than incentivising resolution.

In addition, the staff only solve the problem in front of them, and don't follow through. They will often tell passengers you are booked on the next leg, collect your boarding pass at the gate. Lies, they are on standby. In your case, the seat reservations are cancelled due to equipment change, but the airline has no procedure for ensuring hose passengers who have paid for extra leg are taken care off....they just wait until the customer shrieks! It is outrageous..

Sabra Feb 19, 2012 4:08 PM

You might want to contact travel ombudsman Chris Elliott with this one. It's been a hot topic on his board lately.

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