Other Airline Complaints If we receive 10 complaints about an airline, we will create a specific section for it above.

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  #1  
Old Aug 19, 2009, 12:45 AM
TravellingTiger TravellingTiger is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1
Exclamation Bangkok Airways Scam Warning

I believe that my travelling companion and I were scammed out of the cost of our tickets from Bangkok to Phnom Penh (12,740 Baht) by Bangkok Airways.

We were denied boarding on PG935 (last flight of the day from BKK to PNH) on 26 July 2009 on the pretext that my companion's passport was "no good" and told that we could book onto another flight once he had a new passport, if we immediately paid a further charge of 4,000 Baht. We were told that if we did not immediately change the flight and pay the "service charge" of 4,000 Baht then we would lose the cost of our tickets.

We assessed the situation and decided not to reschedule and pay the fee as this would simply be throwing good money after bad. My companion knew that his passport was "good" and had no intention of buying a replacement (it is 100% genuine and does not expire until 2012) just to please Bangkok Airways!

In fact my companion's passport was perfectly adequate and we not only travelled from Bangkok to Phnom Penh the next day (NOT on Bangkok Airways!) but even used our originally booked return flights from PNH to BKK on Bangkok Airways. Very strangely, the validity of my companion's passport was NOT challenged in any way by Bangkok Airways at check-in on the return leg.

As there was clearly no problem with my companion's passport, I suspect that the real reason why we were denied boarding was because the flight was overbooked (a busy Sunday evening flight) and they needed to "bump" someone off the flight. We all know that this happens, but for an airline to do this AND keep the passenger's fare is dishonest.

The following is the actual complaint email sent to Bangkok Airways. This was sent on 31 July and to date (18 August) I have not received any substantive response:

Dear Sir,

In relation to the attached booking, my colleague, Mr X and I attended check-in, on time, at Bangkok Airport (BKK) on Sunday 26 July. Both I and Mr X have British passports. On arrival at check-in our passports were inspected and we were told that we could not board as Mr X's passport would not be accepted by Cambodian immigration.

Despite our protests to the contrary, we were denied boarding, and despite having paid for our tickets on Mr X's Mastercard were therefore forced to travel by other means to Phnom Penh the following day, necessitating an unwarranted overnight stay in Bangkok.

On our return flight from Phnom Penh, and despite having reconfirmed our return flight with your Phnom Penh office on Wednesday 29 July, we found that our pre-booked (please see below) vegetarian meals were not available. We were offered Chicken instead and informed that our meals “had not been loaded at Bangkok”. We declined the kind offer of a chicken meal, and so went without. However, towards the end of the flight, and after the seatbelt etc signs had been illuminated in preparation for landing, a caring hostess supplied me with a small salad pot conjured from somewhere, and which my colleague declined.

As frequent travellers, having only recently switched to using Bangkok Airways, we were utterly astonished to be treated in such an unprofessional fashion.

It would seem that The Kingdom of Cambodia need not expend time and energy employing immigration staff as clearly Bangkok Airways staff deem that they can better undertake the task than the trained Cambodian Government officials.

It is apparent that there was no issue with said passport as we were clearly both able to enter Cambodia and return to Thailand at the end of our unpleasantly and unexpectedly truncated holiday. We returned from Phnom Penh to Bangkok on our originally booked return flight on Bangkok Airways on 30 July 2009, PG 0934.

I gained the impression at check-in that your staff were looking for an excuse to deny us boarding. Indeed no suggestion was made, nor any solution proffered which would perhaps have allowed my colleague and I to travel to Phnom Penh that evening. An additional return ticket could easily have been purchased if the need arose, if it then transpired that Mr X was unable to enter Cambodia, then he could simply have returned to Bangkok on the next available flight.

One could perhaps be forgiven for suspecting that in fact the Sunday evening flight to Phnom Penh was full, and in fact overbooked, and that there was a need to “bump” some passengers off the flight. We are both frequent business travellers and understand that this is not unknown.

For an airline to find an excuse to “bump” passengers off the flight and then to tell them that they cannot change to another flight without either paying a penalty, or in fact simply losing the fare, is quite unacceptable, and is behaviour more expected of some lesser “low cost” airlines.

Mr X and I were forced to spend an unplanned night in Bangkok, with the added costs of travelling to Bangkok that evening, purchasing hotel rooms, returning to the Airport the next day and additional fares to Phnom Penh. More importantly, the loss of one night of our holiday coupled with the disruption and distress so caused.

Additionally, as by then it was too late to cancel, we were of course charged for our unused pre-booked hotel rooms in Phnom Penh for the Sunday night.

Before receipt of the relevant Mastercard account invoice I look forward to your receiving your constructive suggestions for resolving this situation to the satisfaction of all parties.

Yours faithfully,
  #2  
Old Aug 19, 2009, 7:12 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197
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Keep us posted on the outcome.. it sounds outrageous. Did they give any specific concern about the passport?
  #3  
Old Aug 19, 2009, 7:40 AM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
Former Airline Employee (NOT OFFICIAL REP)
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,109
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Thailand is well known for scams. I just a did a search for "scams" on Google and of the first 10.....3 had to do with Bangkok.

Good luck with the outcome, TT. I honestly don't have high hopes though. I live in Thailand at the moment and see things like this everyday and they normally favor the Thais in the end.
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  #4  
Old Aug 19, 2009, 4:28 PM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 745
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Bangkok is to flying, what Nigeria is to email.
  #5  
Old Aug 19, 2009, 9:22 PM
Butch Cassidy Slept Here Butch Cassidy Slept Here is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Nearest Airports: COD, BIL, WRL
Posts: 577
Default Are there exceptions???

Bangkok is to flying, what Nigeria is to email.

To a large degree maybe that's true, maybe not. Perhaps you have some inside information. What about THAI AIR, the country's flag carrier?
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