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COMPLAINT: Allegiant Air

 
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Old Nov 15, 2009, 6:24 PM
cinrenhea cinrenhea is offline
 
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Let me begin by saying that I have flown with Allegiant Air several times. I have also flown numerous times with Southwest, Continental, Delta, American Airlines, and others, and up until two days ago have never had a problem with any airline. I have never missed a flight, and I am well aware of the common "be there 2 hours early to check-in" recommendation. This complaint is not about me believing I should receive a refund and being angry that I didn't. I would have been over the 80 dollars that we paid and received nothing for by now, however the way we were treated was just unacceptable to me. It is the worst customer service I have ever experienced, to the extent that when I think of it I am still extremely offended. On with the story:

When I booked my fiance's flight, I did not elect anything that would be an extra cost (other than paying for 1 checked bag), and therefore did not purchase the option to pick where he sat. At the end of the purchase it showed me his itinerary, and also emailed myself a copy. At the top of both there is a blue bar, which in yellow font states:


“HERE IS A COPY OF YOUR ITINERARY. PLEASE USE THE CONFIRMATION NUMBER FOR 24 HOUR ADVANCE CHECK-IN”


There is no asterisk, nor is there little illegible text under that statement which informs you that you cannot do this unless you paid to reserve a particular seat. The last time I flew with Allegiant Air they did not have online check-in. Having been that I have flown many times and checked-in online via different airlines, never having had to pay an extra fee for it, it never crossed my mind that this may be the case.



Since my fiance didn't reserve a seat and he really could care less where he sits as long as he gets where he wants to go, checking in as soon as he was able to was not on the top of his list of to-do's. Could he have attempted to check-in at the 24-hour mark? Sure. Was it required? No.



The airport is 20 minutes from our house. His flight was at 7:30 AM, and since we thought he could check in online, we decided on leaving at 5:30-5:45 AM, which would have put us there at least 30 minutes before the 45 minute cut-off time for his checked bag. The 2 hour rule is for checking-in, which it states at the bottom of the page in little writing on almost every page through the reservation process. When he tried checking in before we left, after filling out 2-3 screens, it tells him he can't check in online because he didn't pay for a specific seat. So now we're running late. I'm going to go ahead and say that I look for the asterisk and whatnot to make sure I know the rules. At no time during the reservation process did I see anything saying that I we had to purchase this or that in order to check in online.


You can probably guess what happened next. He got there at 6:00 AM, and although there were only 13 people in line, and there were 6 agents at the desk, somehow he didn't get attended until 6:46. How convenient. He went up to the first lady and she tells him he's late and to go talk to the woman in a "green shirt." Her shirt was hardly green, which is besides the point, but it took us a minute to figure out who was supposed to talk to. She was helping someone else, who was supposed to be on the same flight. I didn't overhear much, simply that they were going to Laredo also, and I heard her tell them, "There is nothing I can do, the flight is full." In effort to attempt to make the flight we went up to the lady standing next to her to try to get some help. She did not acknowledge us for at least a minute and when she did she just brushed us off and said, "You need to talk to HER." Okay, so we waited for her to be done with who she was helping. When she was we went up to her, and again, no acknowledgment for at least a minute. I try to be understanding and assume they are doing something important when they are typing away, but she flat out looked like she was Facebooking. Regardless, all it takes is, "I will be with you in just a minute." When she finally looked up at us the first thing she says is, "Well, you heard what I told them." I explained our situation to them to which she said there was nothing she could do, and even if there was we would never make the flight because the gate was 2 miles away. She tells me that I could switch to the next flight but I would have to not only pay the difference but also a 50 dollar fee, and that it is our fault because we were late. I was not willing to do that because like I said the original ticket was 80 bucks after all fees, I wasn't going to pay 3 times that. The lady to the right of her walks over, turns her back to us and whispers something in her ear. She then proceeds to type away on her computer again without saying anything to us. So, I assume she's looking something up, checking the price of another flight, you know...still helping us? But no. A minute later she looks up at us with a blank stare as if wondering why we are still there. So I ask, "Is that it, you're done with us?" and she scoffs and says "You want corporate's number or something?" I said yes and wrote her name down.



Now, the most offensive part.



We went over to my brother and he asked us if we asked to speak to a manager. I said no, so he has me walk back over with him. When we get to the desk they are talking about us, flat out laughing (really) that my fiance could not get on the flight. My brother is a tall overweight guy, they couldn't see me behind him so did not know that he was with me, but that doesn't excuse speaking of customers in front of other customers. He ask to speak to a supervisor, and without saying anything but taking a deep breath she picks up the phone and calls someone. She hands the phone to my brother and he tells her that he heard them talking about us, and then handed the phone to me. The lady on the phone was very nice and polite at first. I explain my situation to her, she says she understands, but all she can do is waive the 50 dollar change fee. I said no thank you. I asked to be refunded or be given credit to fly some other time that would be cheaper, citing the fact that we were made to believe we could check in online. She tell me she is "sure" that it said I had to pay for a reserved seat "somewhere," and that she couldn't do that. My brother overheard what she said and says to me, "Let's just go, if they're not willing to work with you we can go to my lawyer and see what we can do." The lady on the phone overhears him and says, "Tell your brother not to threaten my agents." Excuse my language, but what the hell? I am so shocked at this point that I'm speechless and she ask to speak to my brother, so I hand the phone over. She tells him, "I'm trying to help you people, and if you don't calm down I will call security." While my fiancé, my brother, and I were upset we were all considerably calm and were not raising our voice to anyone. I am a very reasonable and understanding person, and I truly, no matter how many times I try to understand it, do not see how my brother telling me that we could go see his lawyer is in anyway a threat to any persons health or well being. I would not only understand, I would have also been incredibly embarrassed if any one of us was being aggressive or raising our voice, but none of us were at all. We have class and are very respectful of people; that is not who we are. If I had said I would file a complaint of their service with the corporate office, would it have been okay for them to call security on us then also? No, because it is my right to seek legal advice or file a complaint if I feel like doing so.



I had always recommended Allegiant to my friends and family. I know that you get what you pay for, and I never had a problem having to pay extra for peanuts, a soda, or a particular seat. Whatever kept the ticket cost down was okay, I thought. I was not aware that it affected their customer service as well. I guess I am fairly low maintenance and I hadn't had to deal with them until that day. From the agents at the desk not acknowledging us with as much as a simple hello, to their inability to smile at us a single time - even before they knew what we were there for, to their inability to politely end a conversation with a customer. This could have been a simple "Can I get a refund? No? Okay, I understand, on with my life" experience, but their agents made it so much more than that. Regardless of if they could not or did not want to satisfy our request, customer service (to me at least) is about treating someone with common respect and a smile. I would actually like to thank the three Allegiant Air employees who we dealt with. If not for you, I would not know how important customer service is to me. If I have to pay extra money at a different airline to have someone treat me with respect, I will certainly do so from now on.
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  #2  
Old Nov 15, 2009, 10:18 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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I once mentioned an attorney on this board and was banned from posting for a while. Some people, even though it is totally within your rights to seek the advice of an attorney and to tell someone that you intend to do so, see that as a threat. Just my $0.02 on your situation.

As for your encounter overall, you stated:

Originally Posted by cinrenhea View Post
This could have been a simple "Can I get a refund? No? Okay, I understand, on with my life" experience, but their agents made it so much more than that.
But you were told, in a word, that was the situation (no refund, pay a fee and additional fare for the next flight) yet you were the ones who pursued it further. Why didn't you just walk away the first time and phone another airline and then phone your attorney? You don't sound that "low maintenance" to me.
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Old Nov 15, 2009, 10:37 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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Originally Posted by cinrenhea View Post
Let me begin by saying that I have flown with Allegiant Air several times. I have also flown numerous times with Southwest, Continental, Delta, American Airlines, and others, and up until two days ago have never had a problem with any airline. I have never missed a flight, and I am well aware of the common "be there 2 hours early to check-in" recommendation. This complaint is not about me believing I should receive a refund and being angry that I didn't. I would have been over the 80 dollars that we paid and received nothing for by now, however the way we were treated was just unacceptable to me. It is the worst customer service I have ever experienced, to the extent that when I think of it I am still extremely offended. On with the story:

When I booked my fiance's flight, I did not elect anything that would be an extra cost (other than paying for 1 checked bag), and therefore did not purchase the option to pick where he sat. At the end of the purchase it showed me his itinerary, and also emailed myself a copy. At the top of both there is a blue bar, which in yellow font states:


“HERE IS A COPY OF YOUR ITINERARY. PLEASE USE THE CONFIRMATION NUMBER FOR 24 HOUR ADVANCE CHECK-IN”


There is no asterisk, nor is there little illegible text under that statement which informs you that you cannot do this unless you paid to reserve a particular seat. The last time I flew with Allegiant Air they did not have online check-in. Having been that I have flown many times and checked-in online via different airlines, never having had to pay an extra fee for it, it never crossed my mind that this may be the case.
I went to Allegiant's website and lo and behold found this on the third page of the booking process: (link to screen capture here)

Quote:
Allegiant Consumer Tips
  • Preferred seats are reserved for advance seat selection customers
  • Select the aisle, window or exit row seats of your choice
  • Guarantee you are seated with your family and friends
  • To remove a seat selection, click CHANGE then REMOVE
  • Priority Boarding may also be selected for a nominal fee with seat selection
  • Only passengers who purchase a seat may utilize Online Check-In
(BOLD emphasis mine)
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Old Nov 15, 2009, 11:47 PM
cinrenhea cinrenhea is offline
 
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Yes I was told that was the situation, in a word, but like I said at the beginning of my original post, my problem with them was not the lack of a refund. What I was trying to express in that sentence is that if they had been nice and respectful about it (i.e. exhibited good customer service), I wouldn't have ever posted on here. I'm not the kind of person who complains, ever. It's the first time I've spoken to a supervisor about anything, which is why I didn't ask to speak to them myself. I always tip at restaurants regardless of the level of service, if they get my food wrong I just eat it anyway, etc. I guess a flight that was purchased to get my fiance to a job that he starts Monday, when he has been laid off for 6 months, and the fact that it was topped of by horrible customer service, makes it worth it to me to express my concerns. We did speak to other airlines. Both Southwest and Continental did an excellent job of helping us. Even though we chose Continental because they had a fare we could afford, compared to Allegiant I felt that the Southwest agents went above and beyond to try to help us. Despite the fact that we couldn't afford their fare they still said thank you and smiled, even apologized for not having something cheaper, and through it all seemed genuine. I don't feel that just because I don't really care about a refund that I should keep mum about the people they chose to hire and how they treated us. If something you read makes me "not that low maintenance" in your opinion that is fine with me. Like I said we are happy that we know now what they are like; the purpose of this posting was to give others a point of view and hope that no one else has to go through the same thing. Thank you for your opinion.
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Old Nov 16, 2009, 8:45 PM
cinrenhea cinrenhea is offline
 
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In regard to your second post, I didn't read that because it had to do with priority seating. Like I said in my OP, I had zero interest in paying for a reserved seat, so why would I read the rules or benefits of it? Regardless, they put that statement on my itinerary. It didn't say "If you meet the requirements..." or "If you are eligible..." or "If you purchased a reserved seat...", it stated the exact words I put in my OP (no asterisk, no links). If they are going to make it so it shows up on every itinerary regardless of what a person purchased, I think they should change their wording.
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Old Nov 16, 2009, 11:20 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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Originally Posted by cinrenhea View Post
In regard to your second post, I didn't read that because it had to do with priority seating. Like I said in my OP, I had zero interest in paying for a reserved seat, so why would I read the rules or benefits of it? Regardless, they put that statement on my itinerary. It didn't say "If you meet the requirements..." or "If you are eligible..." or "If you purchased a reserved seat...", it stated the exact words I put in my OP (no asterisk, no links). If they are going to make it so it shows up on every itinerary regardless of what a person purchased, I think they should change their wording.
From Wikipedia.org:

Quote:
Somebody Else's Problem (also known as Someone else's problem or SEP) is an effect that causes people to ignore matters which are generally important to a group but may not seem specifically important to the individual. Author Douglas Adams's description of the effect, which he playfully ascribed to a physical "SEP field", has helped to make it a generally recognized phenomenon. The label is now widely used to focus public attention on matters that might have been overlooked and, less commonly, to identify concerns that a depressed individual should ignore. It has also been employed as trivial shorthand to describe factors that are "out of scope" in the current context.
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