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COMPLAINT: More CXL Fees

 
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  #1  
Old Dec 27, 2008, 10:55 PM
EdwardseanRyan EdwardseanRyan is offline
 
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First of all I will say I am the online reservation director for a major Electronic Reservation Company that will remain nameless here. I am also a IOTA card holder. I have worked as a regional director for one of the largest Hotel Chains in the World.

I understand the GDS, I have flown over 47 flights this year alone (which is low) compared with previous years. Now with that being said I will start my story.

Last year I made my reservations to fly on United to a conference in San Francisco. Due to my Vice President taking ill and passing away I was forced to change my flight and then cancel it. I was first charged a change fee and then a cancellation. Then I called today to rebook my flight and was told I was going to be charged an additional $100.00 per ticket as a rebooking fee.

THIS IS ABSURD!!! And when I finally got a hold of a "Indian Based" supervisor he in a polite way called me "Stupid". His specific quote "I will speak in simpler terms so you can understand where you are wrong."

I will never be flying UNITED every again. How dare they take our money, raise our fees and then provide jobs to countries that have a low impression of the United States.

I maybe only one voice but this one voice will be very loud and I will complain loud and hard until I get satisfaction.

A copy of this email in addition to a letter has been sent off to our new Senator Jean Shaheen, and both our State of NH Congress reps.
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  #2  
Old Dec 28, 2008, 12:41 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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Did you really conclude that the Indian people have a low impression of the United States on the basis of your conversation with this one representative? I am no defender of the airlines, but his man did not call you stupid and nothing you have reported could justify your suggestion that a whole nation has a poor impression of the United States.

Presumably, you would also like the rest of world to stop buying American products (giving jobs to US citizens) on the basis of Americans low opinion of the rest of the world. Or have I made a ridiculous sweeping generalisation on the basis of very little information.
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  #3  
Old Dec 28, 2008, 1:04 AM
Butch Cassidy Slept Here Butch Cassidy Slept Here is offline
 
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Some time ago I also had an occasion to request a refund from United. Fortunately, the ticket in question was a refundable first class ticket. I reached that call center based in India. Also, fortunately, I was at home. Had I been in a noisy terminal I might have had trouble understanding half of what the man in India was saying. Contracting-out to call centers in countries where the official language is NOT English may save the airlines some money. But it is, yet, another area where the airlines lose good will. To my understanding it's very hard to master a given foreign language to the point one does NOT speak with an accent which causes problems with the listener understanding. Prior to its merger with Delta, Northwest opened a call center in Iowa primarily to respond to this problem. One can only hope Delta does not, now, decide to close that center.
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  #4  
Old Dec 28, 2008, 6:07 AM
EdwardseanRyan EdwardseanRyan is offline
 
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Originally Posted by jimworcs View Post
Did you really conclude that the Indian people have a low impression of the United States on the basis of your conversation with this one representative? I am no defender of the airlines, but his man did not call you stupid and nothing you have reported could justify your suggestion that a whole nation has a poor impression of the United States.

Presumably, you would also like the rest of world to stop buying American products (giving jobs to US citizens) on the basis of Americans low opinion of the rest of the world. Or have I made a ridiculous sweeping generalisation on the basis of very little information.
Jim,
Let me make one thing clear. I have worked in the travel industry and have worked with many off shore reservation centers. United has chosen to go with a company that does not provide the support needed to deal with American or Canadian consumers (or any other country). I did not feel it was necessary to go into the specifics of they very poor customer service experience. Plus they should make sure before they speak in a foreign language the person on the other side does not understand Hindi. The agent should make sure they have the consumer on hold before they make specific unflattering remarks in any language.

Other companies have moved their call centers back to Central of North America because of these specific situations that have taken place. But United would rather save money, charge fees and provide poor customer service.

No wonder they are in financial state.
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  #5  
Old Dec 28, 2008, 9:28 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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I have no problem whatsoever with criticism of the trend to outsource call centre support services to countries such as India. There are clearly problems with accents and they are sometimes unable to understand slang or vernacular, or struggle with some cultural differences. I think this is a valid criticism and there is a trend both in the UK and US for the call centre support to be brought back for precisely this reason. What I found offensive in your post was the sweeping condemnation of India as in ....

Quote:
then provide jobs to countries that have a low impression of the United States.
I am not sure what basis you make this assertion. India is the largest democracy in the world and I found this remark unnecessary. The US is one of the largest trading nations in the world. If other countries followed your logic and decided not to buy from the US on the grounds that the US has a low opinion of them, your economy would be even more in the tank.
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  #6  
Old Dec 28, 2008, 2:21 PM
azstar azstar is offline
 
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where the official language is NOT English

The official government language of India IS English. You may not understand their accent and/or manner of speaking, but they certainly speak English as well, or better, than many Americans.

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  #7  
Old Dec 28, 2008, 5:59 PM
Leatherboy2006 Leatherboy2006 is offline
 
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My only comment to the original writer who works for a large hotel chain is that they complain about paying a change/cancellation fee. Is do you know how many times I have had to pay a fee to a hotel due to last minute changes or not making it to the hotel and had to pay for a FULL night(some cases as much as 250-300) due to last minute meeting changes. Sounds like the whole travel industry is guilty of this greed and needs to be regulated
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  #8  
Old Dec 28, 2008, 6:10 PM
Corbel Corbel is offline
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Originally Posted by Leatherboy2006 View Post
My only comment to the original writer who works for a large hotel chain is that they complain about paying a change/cancellation fee. Is do you know how many times I have had to pay a fee to a hotel due to last minute changes or not making it to the hotel and had to pay for a FULL night(some cases as much as 250-300) due to last minute meeting changes. Sounds like the whole travel industry is guilty of this greed and needs to be regulated
Agree!! I have lost more money with hotels than with the airlines with cancelling reservations
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  #9  
Old Dec 28, 2008, 7:04 PM
Leatherboy2006 Leatherboy2006 is offline
 
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people talk about costs of food and drinks on planes, restraunt and room service cost (15.00 for a nasty hamburger and fries) I am just glad I am on an expense account.
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  #10  
Old Dec 29, 2008, 1:09 AM
Eagleguy Eagleguy is offline
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Sounds to me like you had no problem communicating with the call centre representative in India, just that you did not understand the situation and why you were being charged again.
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  #11  
Old Dec 29, 2008, 6:09 AM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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Originally Posted by EdwardseanRyan View Post
First of all I will say I am the online reservation director for a major Electronic Reservation Company that will remain nameless here. I am also a IOTA card holder. I have worked as a regional director for one of the largest Hotel Chains in the World.
Isn't it IATA?
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  #12  
Old Jan 8, 2009, 4:59 PM
countrynewsman countrynewsman is offline
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Here we go again..."I will never fly United, Continental, Delta, Aeroflot, Lloyed Aero Boliviano, etc. etc. ever again!" Damn...as I had stated on other posts, if I were to keep that promise, I would be stuck with Amtrak. Of course, Amtrak is sure to **** me off sometime...so I'll go Greyhound. Finally, I will be left with one form of transportation (I won't buy a Ford, Chevy, Yugo etc. ever again) and that will **** me off 'cause no one sees my thumb while I'm standing on the freeway on ramp. Yeah...I am in a fight with Continental at the present time, but I'm trying to handle it (after I lie on the living room floor, kicking and screaming like a two-year old) through contact with the airline's customer service, DOT, Consumer Affairs, Small Claims Court, this site...whatever works. In the end, when I travel by air as much as I do, something is bound to happen. P.S. Anyone got a decent bicycle for sale? Oh wait...screw Schwinn.
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  #13  
Old Jan 8, 2009, 6:56 PM
ChrisH ChrisH is offline
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LOL!! That is pretty much the way it goes. The whole, "I am not flying this airline again", claim usually doesn't work. By the time it is all over, you will have run out of airlines to fly, because having issues while flying are subject to all airlines, not just United. Trains and buses are late, and have mechanical problems too, so I don't think choosing those routes will be without risk of issues, either.

Congratz on getting your issue worked out with Continental. I am sure the fare difference for those first class seats were not cheap.
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  #14  
Old Jan 8, 2009, 9:31 PM
countrynewsman countrynewsman is offline
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A bit cheaper than I originally thought...it was a total of $638.00 more to upgrade to first class. Now I'll have more $$ to spend on my boat (AKA "Black Hole").
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Old Jan 8, 2009, 9:33 PM
Butch Cassidy Slept Here Butch Cassidy Slept Here is offline
 
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Originally Posted by ChrisH View Post
Trains and buses are late, and have mechanical problems too, so I don't think choosing those routes will be without risk of issues, either.


True. Except you overlook some critical points: Trains, like planes, have been known to have extended "tarmac" delays (standing on the tracks, and not at a station.) However, with Amtrak, the dining car continues to operate; as does the observation or lounge cars. I go for the extra bucks, and pay for a bed (on Amtrak.) So, I can, actually, stay in bed while the train is in its "tarmac" delay. Delays on the train? Absolutely--big time! Except, unlike the airlines, the connecting time, at Amtrak's "hub"--Chicago--is usually 3 to 4 hours--not 30 minutes, in which you are expected to run, for about a mile, or even, change terminals! Hawaii and international (excluding Canada) is where airlines are unavoidable. Fortunately, in the case of international, just about any other country's airline is better than a US-based airline. Although, when it comes to Latin America, and the Carribbean, I'm not so sure!
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Old Jan 8, 2009, 10:57 PM
countrynewsman countrynewsman is offline
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I can understand traveling Amtrak if the journey is just as, or more important than the destination. We will experience both next week as the destination becomes important getting to our cruise departure city. Then, the journey becomes the only important thing...the ports of call are not even secondary. And, the journey is relatively inexpensive considering costs of hotels, meals, etc. (naturally I hope there's no damn virus on the ship). But, when it comes to just the destination, all things being equal (read: weather), I will opt for that cramped coach seat on the plane.
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  #17  
Old Jan 8, 2009, 11:02 PM
ldl007 ldl007 is offline
 
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Would the original traveller pay hundreds of dollars more for a US call center person to call him/her an "idiot"? How does the writer know that the person he spoke to was an Indian.
When you show prejudice, you get one thrown at you.
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Old Jan 9, 2009, 4:14 AM
Butch Cassidy Slept Here Butch Cassidy Slept Here is offline
 
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How does the writer know that the person he spoke to was an Indian.

You're absolutely right. He DOESN'T know. Indeed, for me, an Indian accent is almost indistinguishable from the accent of an eastern European speaking English. What that writer DID know was that he was dealing with a strong accent which rendered all, or parts, of the conversation difficult to understand. Thus, a US-based airline setting-up a call center in Ireland (where English is one, of two, official languages) will probably experience the same number of complaints (about understanding the agent) as would be the case if the call center was in Poland. I think I read, on this board, that one of the US-based airlines has a call center in Poland. Speaking for myself, I would GLADLY pay up to $10 extra, to speak with a USA-based call center if the alternative was someone in Poland or India.
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Last edited by Butch Cassidy Slept Here; Jan 9, 2009 at 4:18 AM.
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Old Jan 9, 2009, 4:37 AM
Butch Cassidy Slept Here Butch Cassidy Slept Here is offline
 
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In the previous post, I gave myself an idea: Since the idea of experiencing shame, concerning bad dealings with your customers, is something that went-down the toilet over 10 years ago, for the airlines, this is yet another "profitable" route for the US-based airlines to express their amorality: ANY customer, not just the "triple platnum" kind, could speak, on the phone, with a US-based agent, for a $10 fee. One would pay the fee, online, then be given a "pass code" to provide when the actual call is made. The $10 fee would, of course, be in ADDITION to the fee now charged for talking to an agent over the phone. Accordingly, the $5.00 just gets you to talk to something with a pulse! The $10.00 allows you to talk to someone who you can, not only, understand, but someone who, actually, will not be sarcastic, or hang-up on you! Hopefully, this will allow the airline to pay their phone agents a high enough salary so that borderline psychopaths do not have to be hired!
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Last edited by Butch Cassidy Slept Here; Jan 9, 2009 at 4:41 AM.
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  #20  
Old Jan 10, 2009, 12:28 AM
countrynewsman countrynewsman is offline
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I don't think the airlines will go for that, Mr. Butch. What they might do is charge you $10 to make a reservation to talk to a friendly, intelligent agent on..let's say, Tuesday. But, if you fail to call Tuesday and want to talk on Wednesday, then there will be a $5.00 change fee. Now that's more like what they would do.
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  #21  
Old Jan 10, 2009, 2:34 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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Does an Eastern European accent really sound the same as an Indian one? I am astonished, and I work with people with an "indian" and "Eastern European" accent every day. To me, they are chalk and cheese
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