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Old Apr 7, 2013, 10:40 AM
jqdoumen jqdoumen is offline
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 1
Default Guest program enrollment process - how to chase away customers

We have been flying a couple of times with Etihad and were up till now relatively satisfied.

Recently on a flight, we were asked if we were not interested in enrolling the Guest program. We happily filled in the form handed over to us, with all possible personal and flight details. It was clearly mentioned that the miles for the flight we were on, would be automatically assigned to the card. A few weeks later we indeed receive the cards at home. So far so good.

Then we notice some small letters telling us we have to pass through the on-line enrollment process to activate the card. Now that seems to be a useless step ... a second enrollment? But anyway, if that is necessary ...

And then nightmare one starts ... the enrollment took us several weeks. For one or another reason, there is a typo in the email address in their system. In order to change it, we need to sent them loads of data, including photocopies of our passports ! They receive emails from me, with the correct email address, they see the typo in their system, they could just change that one letter, but no, that is too easy ... let's annoy this customer by requesting him loads of data.

Once the email address was changed nightmare two starts ... getting the flight data. You would actually think they haven't got anything in their computer system, or they assume that per default a customer is a cheater. They request copies of the flight orders, the electronic tickets and the boarding passes ! (Aren't air companies supposed to have passenger lists per flight? Why do they ask me to prove I was on that flight?) Hell, normally boarding passes are thrown away as soon as you are off the flight - most of us even have electronic boarding passes. But ok, almost there, so everything is delivered into one nice PDF.

Nightmare three starts ... I get requested to sent the data in a PDF format. Ehm, wait, that is exactly what I had done, so I asked if they even tried to open it. I myself successfully opened the PDF document on both Apple computers and Windows computers, but Etihad doesn't seem to be able to open it.

Small note in between ... at every email, I'm notified that I only have six months to reclaim miles. At first I thought I had loads of time, but judging from the way Etihad stretches the process, I started to suspect them of trying to actually reach the six months.

And then today, I get another email ... it seems they finally managed to open the PDF. The verdict? I'm too late for miles claim ... the six months count after the enrollment, and the flights was before !

In resume :
- they do everything they can to make the enrollment difficult enough for most people giving up during the process
- for the brave who manage through the enrollment they have another quest to collect impossible data, data they should have in their computer systems
- and for the ones who make it through the marathon, they have a little surprise at the end that the rules have changed in the meantime and that the miles can't be reclaimed after all

Etihad seems to treat their customers by default as liars and cheaters, their processes are either made my morons or they are made to discourage as much customers as possible, and the result is that they seem not to be willing customers to fly with them again.

I'm eager to found out their internal definition of 'customer'.

ps: the above is a shortened version of what actually happened - each nightmare consisted of severals emails back an forth that were each on itself hilarious
ps: we have given up doing this for the two card simultaneously, so the above is for one card only ... still need to start for the second card ...