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Old Aug 14, 2018, 6:23 PM
mendels mendels is offline
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 1
Default It's 2018: Flying Blue is far worse, its customer service an effort to avoid customer's claims

I'm an elite Flying Blue traveler who has found the loyalty program is utterly unwilling to live up to its promises, which its customer service makes clear.
For every traveler save the most elite, the actions of the program and Delta that I relate below are a bright yellow warning light about their service–a serious one because it shows an unwillingness to honor their compensation program even when they’ve stated it outright.

The short of it is that Flying Blue has created a systemic problem that delays response to customers, defeats consumer efforts to claim their privileges, and provides no one to call them to accountability.

And here’s why I state that (I apologize in advance for the length of this):

1) I’m a US resident and citizen but a silver level Flying Blue after only 9 months of membership, a full-on dedication to flying them and their partner Delta. I’m nearly silver status this year after 8 months only.

2) In January I booked a premium economy cross-continental flight on Delta for late March, from JFK to SFO, but I was denied complimentary upgrade in spite of it being a stated Flying Blue privilege to be honored within 24 hours of the flight; in spite of my having that confirmed in writing–an email from an FB/Air France rep at Delta months in advance (Because their website didn’t indicate I had the privilege, so I wrote them); and confirmed by phone within 24 hours of the flight. The denial came at the gate and at the service desk of Delta, the latter telling me I’d have to take this up with Flying Blue but it wasn’t going to happen for this flight.

3) What followed was nearly 5 months of repeated emails and phone calls after refusal to address the issue, done in a way that suggests the systemic problem I suggested above.

4) I contacted Flying Blue immediately onboard the outgoing flight in the hopes the issue would be addressed in time for my return flight in 8 days. I did so using the Flying Blue chat element of its website onboard. The chat person directed me to email and then to follow up with a phone call when I made it to San Francisco. This was to send me down the rabbit hole, as I discovered in the ensuring months.

5) In SF, the Flying Blue phone person I contacted on the day I arrived said they do not have access to the emails until their email people respond (I now know from a phone service person that the phone and email folks are in the same office, visible in the room but forbidden to contact each other. Yikes.)

6) Eight days later, I’d heard nothing. I called, was told that the only thing they could do is have their phone supervisor look into it. The supervisor would not get onto the phone but confirmed they had my email. I was denied the privilege on the return flight.

7) After weeks back in New York, I called again and was told I would have to wait on the email personnel, but I should resubmit the email. I did (with all documentation and the history of what had transpired so far.

8) Weeks later, now in May, I received a cryptic email reply stating that my complaint would be forwarded to Air France. Huh? This was about Flying Blue.

9) Nothing happened for weeks more, in spite of my calling repeatedly and the phone people throwing up their hands because, they said, they could do nothing. Only the email people could respond–the very people they sent me to. Their supervisors would not get on the phone; and when one supervisor said he could do nothing without evidence–relayed that response–I offered it but he refused to give out an email for him.. By then I’d spent hours of my time. I began to reconsider my loyalty to Flying Blue.

10) On July 12, nearly 4 months since my flights in late March, I received an email from Flying Blue, stating that they were sorry for the lack of service and the long delay in responding; they would forward the matter to “the relevant” authorities.

11) I responded that this is really beyond the pale. This was their responsibility. They’d instituted a system of phone service and email service that defeated customers from contacting them continuously and from anyone taking full responsibility. I was considering spending out my Flying Blue miles and dedicating myself to flights other than Air France, KLM, and Delta. I asked for compensation for my time–a fair amount given the amount of time and the breach in trust and denial of stated privilege (along the way, I had some who denied this was ever a privilege. It was and is: it was listed on the FB website until it was scrubbed for their April 1 change in the program. It was confirmed with me last week in writing from a Delta person.) I gave FB until the end of the month, August 1, to make good, at which point I’d email you folks and others, hoping you’d take this matter up on your websites, Facebook, twitter, and instagram postings–about the service, not about my case.

12) When August 1 rolled around, nothing happened save one thing: on about August 2, someone from Delta called and then emailed me. The email confirmed this was my privilege and I was denied it. The agent, Samantha C., and I spoke last week: She’d been given, it turns out, partial information by Flying Blue, told only that on one flight I was denied a privilege, not two; and told nothing of what had transpired. She added FB miles to my account, said that if she were me, she “would have been livid.”

13) She said the more serious need for redress and compensation was not something Delta could handle. That was on Flying Blue, and she encouraged me to pursue it vigorously. (I think this is likely not as black and white as she states, that Delta’s involvement with Flying Blue in the US is greater than this, but frankly I do not know.)

13) In sum, this is a systemic problem that delays response, defeats consumer efforts to claim their privileges, and has no one to call them to accountability.

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