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COMPLAINT: Hong Kong Airlines should be renamed Holiday Wrecker Airlines

 
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 8:16 AM
yfaulks yfaulks is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
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I have unfortunately discovered the hard way that they are the TIGER Airlines equivalent of Hong Kong. Please note: this is not a compliment - TIGER have a reputation in Australia for being unreliable, unsafe, lacking in integrity and not caring at all about their customers.

In this great nation where all modes of mass transport are synonymous with efficiency and reliability, it is a fallacy that they are able to use ‘Hong Kong’ in their branding as it implies that their service will also be dependable.

It amazes me that an airline can be aware of a ‘technical problem’ that requires the cancellation of a plane in 5 days time, but are unable to muster appropriate resources to resolve the problem in that time frame. I’m sure that if their flights to/from Harbin had been fully booked on Monday 25th they would have found a way to get this ‘problem’ fixed. While I fully support airlines cancelling planes for genuine safety reasons, I find their concern for profit over passengers coupled with their lack of care and urgency to offer suitable alternative arrangements for our return flight to be callous and negligent. My experience with many other airlines when they experience technical problems is that they work diligently until they are able to re-book passengers onto suitable alternate flights, even if that means booking with another airline.

In addition, my experience in dealing with HK Airlines customer service team has been extremely dissatisfying and has not reassured me that the company possesses even a modicum of integrity. Let me outline my customer ‘service’ experience and hopefully you will understand why I will NEVER attempt to fly HK Airlines again:

I received a voice mail message at 2.07pm on Wednesday 20 February advising me that my return flight from Harbin on 25 February was cancelled due to technical problems and that I had been rebooked on a flight on 27 February instead. I was advised to contact the customer service centre but no contact phone number was provided.

At approximately 2.30pm, after I located the phone number, I called the call centre and was advised that they had been trying to get contact me since the previous day. Please do not insult my intelligence by lying to me – I had no missed calls on my phone for the previous 48 hours, no VMM, no SMS, no email – there was clearly no previous attempt to contact me.

The staff advised me again that my return flight had been cancelled but that I had been booked onto a return flight 2 days later. HK airlines has made a number of MASSIVE assumptions:
• That I had no other commitments and could stay away for an additional two days
• That I was able to find an additional two nights accommodation
• That I would be happy to pay for an additional two nights accommodation

When I explained that this option was not acceptable to me, the operator was not able to assist me but had to refer me to the corporate office. I stressed that I needed to resolve this matter today (20 February) as I was not going to board the plane on 22 February not knowing IF I would be able return to HK as planned.

My colleague also called HK Airlines and again advised the staff that I needed to receive a phone call to resolve this matter by 9pm at the latest on Wednesday 20 February.

At 5.31pm, I missed a call from a number that I now believe to be their corporate office. No message was left. I tried to call the number back at 5.35pm but it is not a valid number.

At 5.43pm I again called the customer service centre and advised them that I was waiting on a phone call and confirmed with them that the missed call was probably from the corporate office. I asked to be transferred through to the corporate office and was told that they could not do this. I asked them to ask the person in the corporate office to call me back again as I was now available and they also said that they could not do this but I would have to wait for them to call me.

I received no further communication from HK Airlines on 20 February. As my travelling companion was flying from Australia to HK on 21 February so that we could travel on to Harbin, we had to make a decision by 9pm on 20 February if we were to cancel our trip so that she could cancel her flight from Australia without incurring additional costs. As we had not received any communication regarding our options as to how we could return to HK on our scheduled date (25 February), we made the difficult decision to cancel the entire holiday.

I called the customer service centre again the following morning (21 February) at 10.30am after waiting what I assumed to be a reasonable amount of time for the corporate office to call me. After waiting on hold for over 15 minutes, I advised the employee that I wanted to cancel the flights and receive a full refund on our flights. He was not able to guarantee me a full refund and said that he needed to refer the matter to the corporate office. He could not tell me when I could expect a call from the corporate office, just that he would send an email to ask someone to call me.

I then called the corporate office number and the phone rang out in 5 occasions. I tried to call the phone number for the Customer Relations Department as posted on their Facebook page and again the phone rang out on more 20 occasions. If this is the standard for “Customer Relations”, it concerns me what my flying experience would have been like if I had gone ahead with my holiday.

At 11.24am, I received an email from the call centre advising me that I needed to complete a form to apply for a refund. In these circumstances, I should not be expected to have to apply for a refund. There is an inherent inequity in this situation. If I had contacted the airline yesterday to advise that I needed to cancel my flight, they would have charged me a penalty to do so. It seems that they can cancel a flight but that I am also expected to bear the additional financial impact of their decision. If we had chosen to go ahead with our holiday our options were to either incur an additional two days of accommodation and fly home on the alternate flight with HK Airlines, or for us to book an alternate return flight with another carrier, again at significant additional cost to us. After choosing to cancel our holiday, it feels that I now have to beg to have my money rightfully returned.

I have made numerous calls to try to resolve the situation, but have only received 2 from the company – the initial call to advise of the cancellation and one feeble attempt by someone in the corporate office to speak with me yesterday. At what point prior to my scheduled departure do you think it would be reasonable for the Customer Relations team to contact me about this matter??
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