Old Nov 3, 2017, 8:08 AM
Traveler2387 Traveler2387 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 1
Default Etihad won’t help after cancelled flight

EY28 EDI-AUH on 26Oct was cancelled and they kept us at the gate for 15min intervals for information from 8am until evening. When they finally released our bags, we realised there were no actual Etihad employees in Edinburgh and the contracted staff complained to us-the passengers-about how long their work day would now be. I queued for 90min to be told it was impossible to get me to Abu Dhabi for my work presentation. My travel agent finally got Etihad to agree to send me via Paris, but when I arrived at the Air France desk, they could not find the ticket. I went back to the Etihad queue again and was rerouted via London the next day. By the time I reached the hotel (provided by Etihad, another 45min queue), it was 10pm and I had to be at the airport the following morning at 4am. I arrived before 4am and was told the same thing by FlyBe—they could not find my Etihad ticket. I phoned the number the FlyBe agent gave me (0345 608 1225) and the Etihad rep would not speak to me because I was not the desk agent; yet, the desk agent said my only recourse was to speak to Etihad. I called the general Etihad number which was closed for out of office hours. Again, I rang my travel agent who got me on a later flight to London at 8:55. I was told to ask the Etihad gate agents in Heathrow for an Abu Dhabi boarding pass, but they said they could not find it and told me to exit the airport and come back in to the ticket counter. I did this and for the THIRD time, no ticket was issued. They said Etihad had cancelled my ticket overnight. How was this possible when they checked my baggage all the way through from Edinburgh?! They again told me to phone Etihad on a different number and no one picked up the line; it just rang and rang (0097 125 111326) By this time I was in tears and in danger of losing my job. Finally they put me on the three pm out of London, but refused any vouchers for food and of course my gluten free request could not be accommodated. So after 30hrs of travel, getting up at 3am, and further delays and panic, I had nothing to eat and was to board an 8hr flight with no access to food. I went to the Etihad lounge to request vouchers and an upgraded ticket. They were kind and gave me tea and peanuts but said they had no authority to help. Finally a £7 voucher was issued right as the plane was boarding and there was no time to buy any food. After what I went through, £7 was insulting. I called Etihad upon arrival and asked for the complaints process; they directed me to the feedback form which produced no response. Several days later and 48hrs prior to my return flight, I tweeted @etihadhelp and they responded quickly saying I’d be given acase number and contacted. They sent me the case number but never followed up. As my flight is tonight, I DMed them on Twitter reiterating my request to be reimbursed for all of my other meals during the travel delay and to be upgraded for my return flight Sat 02:10 EY17. Finally, I would like assurance that a gluten free meal will be provided. They have responded to say customer service is closed for the weekend and there will be no response. I chose Etihad over other options for this work trip because of Etihad’s positive reputation, but the centralisation of customer service means that no one could help me during this most stressful time. I was humiliated to burst into tears at Heathrow airport after being refused entry again and yet again being told my ticket was cancelled. I couldn’t get help from the desk agents, the call centre, the twitter help desk, or guest services, and my travel agent was unable to successfully convince Etihad to reroute me efficiently. They have an obligation of care to passengers to not put them through the nightmare that I have endured, damaging my professional opportunities, capabilities and my mental health. I control a large travel budget for my staff and am disinclined to allow them to book Etihad tickets in future based on my experience. This would be such any easy fix and yet, Etihad is not prepared to make it right. I intend to share my experience widely and write to the UAE government as well as journalistic colleagues and travel bloggers. Any advice on how to be heard would be most appreciated.
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