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Customer Service
COMPLAINT: problems with extra charging, rudeness, ignoring... and I am their frequent flyer

 
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  #1  
Old Mar 2, 2016, 10:22 AM
Katarina Katarina is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 2

I am Etihad silver status guest frequent flyer.
Some weeks ago I bought a ticket from Begrade(Serbia) to Thailand and back via Etihad. I chose to travel with Etihad and not other more suiting company that my friends used because they should provide me with services that I as a silver guest have. Before I purchased the ticket I've checked with Etihad about having 2 pieces of baggages 23kg each, using lounges on connecting airports and they confirmed all of that.
When I bought the ticket I choose type of meals and seats for the flights. During my route to Thailand everything was as expected without any problems.
A few days before I was to fly back I've received e-mail from Etihad reminding me about return flight, offering to check-in online and confirming my seats.
My suffering started the moment I arrived at Bankok Airport.
Let me just mention that when I was going to Thailand I double checked again with Etihad about 2 pieces of baggage, lounge access etc.
Flight EY 7585 was operated by Jet Airways(company I know nothing of, beside it is in Etihad network like Air Serbia). At the counter I presented my ticket, passport, silver guest card and 2 baggages marked with silver guest cards(that I got from the kit when I was granted a silver status). Lady handling the check-in said that she doesn't know about my silver guest privileges and called her supervisors. I don't remember their names unfortunately but I would like to complain about their behavior since they were very rude. They said they didn't care about my silver status, that it doesn't apply to their company and that I should fly with Etihad. I tried to explain to them that I AM FLYING with Etihad that all my flights are EY and asked them to call someone from Etihad to come and solve the problem. They refused and insisted me to pay excess baggage ticket if I want to check-in. I called from my phone Etihad call center and operater told me that I am right and asked me to give her on phone to speak with Jet Airways personel. That was useless since they still refused to check me in without excess baggage ticket. I tried to find Etihad representatives in their office on 6th floor of the airport but no one was there. During my running across the airport I was happy to see representatives of Lufthansa trying to help me and call for me Etihad representatives(they didn't even know that I am frequent flyer of Star Alliance as well). They told me that no one from Etihad staff is at the airport and that they'll come much later when they have flight.
After all of that I decided to pay the excess baggage ticket as I had no other option to check-in. At the check-in counter they gave me the excess baggage ticket and boarding pass for the flight Bankok-Mumbai and told me that they will provide me other boarding passes at boarding, I just asked to have window seat on flight to Belgrade since I couldn't choose that one.
Imagine my surprise when I was given boarding pass for flight BOM-AUH 33E instead of previously confirmed 60A, and 7C for AUH-BEG flight that is eisle instead of window as I requested.
Problems don't stop there-on flight there was no sea food meal as requested and that was provided for me on both flights when I travelled to Thailand. On Mumbai airport they didn't let me use the lounge without saying why.
Finally, when I met Etihad representatives at Mumbai airport I was hoping my problems will end but unfortunately I could only conclude that not only Jet Airways has rude and unprofessional personel but Etihad as well! They didn't care about my problems, said they can't help and asked me to move away from the counter for the next traveller. They didn't try to change my seat to previously booked(when I complained in Bankok they said it can be changed in Mumbai by Etihad staff).
Only one helping and polite was your junior staff Mr Kenan Kawany(I hope I got his name right because I want to recommend him). He was the first to say that he is sorry for my inconveniences, told me that he cannot help me as he is junior staff but he called the manager to come and help me which others did not. After an hour 2 ladies came, one wearing Etihad flight attendant uniform and other dresses as others operating the boarding. Lady with Etihad uniform was kind and helpful, gave me information how to complain and get refunded, she got me back my 60A seat. Only one nice to me beside Mr Kawany. Others didn't want to look at your e-mail confirming me seats and just saying they cannot do anything.
So, Etihad calls itself the best airline in the world!?!?!? with that service and staff!?!?!?
Let me write something - I work in hospitality industry-it is A MUST if you fail to provide the service you are obliged to- you should upgrade it. I needed to push Etihad staff constantly to get basic service, no one offered upgrade and when I asked about it they said it isn't allowed?!?!? At the end I left Mumbai on my seat 60A and got advised to contact transfer desk in Abu Dhabi to help me with the issues, upgrade me in AUH-BEG flight.
I thought once again my problems were ending.
Unfortunately I was very wrong!
At the transfer desk woman handling my complain didn't even hear me out completely but after glancing at my ticket told me I have no rights and asked me to move so that she can serve next traveller. I told her that I am not going to move and started explaining her my problem from beginning, presenting her my passport, boarding passes, silver guest card etc. She still ignored me and I asked her if she understands the English language. I could not believe that after hearing all about my problems and recommendation from the manager from Mumbai to address them she said-I'm busy-next. So, I asked her if she is insane or is she making me insane and told her to call me her supervisor. She got offended moved to the other counter and told me that she will see that I GET NO SERVICE AT ALL!!!! I can't believe anyone has employees like that, that kind of person should not work in service providing! I said I will not go until they call me manager, and ask her for the name so that I can complain about her attitude and behaviour. She refused to present herself so I took photo of her wearing ID card around the neck. Then she got really angry-yelled at me to delete the photo and when I refused she said that she is going to call the manager(and before that she refused to call him to come and help me). After a while Mr Samer came, listen to me(I told him the same as I did to her), he said to me the same as the manager in Mumbai, advised me how to complain to get refunded, he also couldn't upgrade me but since I have lost so much time arguing with rude personel he offered me to use the first class lounge since it was next to my gate and I had only 15 minutes to boarding. He asked me to delete photo of woman I spoke with first which I did after he told me her name which is Manare and I want to make official complain about her behavior and handling my situation.
Again-no one managed to change my seat to be near window but luckily it was Air Serbia operated flight and they did their best to make me feel as pleasant as possible. Provided me 3 connected seats so I could accommodate myself. As the rest of the staff on Belgrade airport that were assisting me. Etihad should try to learn from Air Serbia or other European airlines how to approache the customers and how to manage problems.
To conclude-I don't know how they call themselves the best airline? Their service and staff are more then disappointing. I couldn't dream about this in my worst nightmare.
I thought OK if I fly with Jet Aiways-they are Etihad partner they should provide service like them. But they failed and even make me a problem. I lost to many time arguing with them so I couldn't rest at airport lounge before the flight.
I thought OK-when I get to Etihad personel they will assist me but they made my problems from bad to worse. Instead of enjoying my flight back home from vacation using the privileges I am entitled to, I went through the nightmare!
So-I asked for complete refund of excess baggage ticket. It was 200usd but I must pay in 7110thb, so I changed 200usd and 20eur because of the exchange rate on Bankok airport.
I wanted to make complain about all of staff handling me except for Mr Kawany in Mumbai (that I want to recommend) and the manager in flight attendant uniform also in Mumbai and Mr Samer in Abu Dhabi and staff of lounge on gate 35, they were kind and polite.
And I want Etihad to tell me steps to make official complaine about their employee Manare that works at the transfer desk in Abu Dhabi. Person like that should not work in this industry.
I attached them coppies of my silver guest card, excess baggage ticket, receipts for money exchange and boarding passes.
My disappointment in their company, quality of service and staff is beyond words. I can only say that I will not use their services in future nor will I recommend them to anyone, on contrary.
They are disgrace for airline industry. If I had problem on just one point I could say-bad things happen. But to have problem at every point of my journey until I reached Air Serbia, means that Etihad deffenetly has big issues with hospitality. They should work hard especially on social skills of their employees.
What happened to me is intorelable.
I had to pay for no reason excess baggage and I couldn't use my silver guest privileges that they promote and that they assured me of before I bought the ticket, they changed my seats without confirming with me, they didn't provide me requested meals.
When I reached home I sent e-mails to all departments in charge-to Jet Airways, Air Serbia, Etihad Silver guest and Etihad feedback. Last address is officially in charge for this things and they are the only ones that didn't reply to me. All the other did and advised me to contact [email protected]. It's now 2 weeks and no word from them. So this is the reason why for the first time I want to share my experience.
I was told by both managers in Mumbai and Abu Dhabi that I should just write to them, send copies of boarding passes and other relevant receipts and in 3(three) days I'll be answered and refunded. No such thing happened and it has been 14 days. Every other department I wrote to answered and advised to write to feedback.
From my experience even Jet Airways is more professional then them. Not to mention that Asian low cost companies are better... shame on them....
Before I used Fly Emirates and Turkish Airlines for long flights as a simple economy class flyer and I never had a problem. I thought since I am silver guest member I'll have more comfortable experience but I went through the nightmare!
I travel a lot and I can recommend other companies like Fly Emirates, Turkish Airlines, Air Serbia, Lufhansa... but Etihad no way! They lack service, kindness, they ignore feedback even to their frequent flyers! And they charge extra!
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  #2  
Old Mar 10, 2016, 5:55 PM
Katarina Katarina is offline
 
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10 March 2016


Dear Mrs Drobnjak,

Thank you for writing to us about your recent experience to Bangkok. I am sorry to learn about the problems you experienced at Bangkok airport regarding excess baggage charges with our code share partner, Jet Airways. We understand that travel can be stressful, and we wish your journey had gone more smoothly.

Because your flight was operated by Jet Airways, I had forwarded your concerns to our counterparts there and as per the recent update I received from them, I am pleased to note that they have recognised the error on their part and have agreed to refund the excess baggage charges. I understand that this information has been conveyed to you by their letter vide reference BOM/CCI/TW/180216/4667517 and that your concerns regarding their service lapse were addressed by them.

I am very sorry to learn about your experience at Mumbai airport and that you were left with the negative impression of our service attitude when our staff were unable to assist you with the seating problems.

Allocating seats can be difficult especially on busy flights. Prior to check-in, we actively review the flight’s bookings, so we can assign them accordingly and honor guests’s preference. Although, it is not possible on every occasion and this is why we cannot guarantee specific seat requests.

I can understand how disappointed you must feel as the situation was compounded with your experience at Abu Dhabi airport when you found our ground staff, Ms Manare to be insensitive to your concerns and that she did not handle the situation appropriately.

I certainly appreciate how distressful it gets for our guests when they look forward to a Remarkable experience with us and we are unable to deliver it. Therefore, it is equally discouraging for us to learn that on this occasion, we have failed to meet your expectation for which I am very sorry.

While an explanation after the event is not necessarily the ideal solution, it does let us know where, and why, things go wrong, and provide us with the opportunity to do something about it.

A report in this respect has been forwarded to our Hub Service Delivery Manager and Airport Manager in Mumbai Manager for their attention and to take corrective and follow through action.

As a goodwill gesture, I would like to offer you 10,000 Etihad Guest Miles. You may use these miles toward future Etihad flights or any of the rewards available in the Etihad Guest Reward Shop. I hope you will accept them as an extension to our apology.

We look forward to welcoming you on another Etihad Airways flight again soon.

Yours sincerely,
Sameer Malhotra
Guest Relations Officer

I replied like this:

Dear Mr Malhotra,

Finally some answer from your department. It took you so much time and I needed to share my experience publicly.

First of all-when I bought ticket I choose my seats and meals-two days before my flight you confirmed me that. So, what kind of problem can arise there? It is simple service for every economic class flyer. I use this all the time, even on short flights. I never had a problem. But I see for your company it is a problem to provide basic service. Please note that not only seats were changed but my meals also.

Second-what about my right to use lounges? I was denied access although you asured me that on every connecting airport I could rest there.

Third-what about not adding miles for the flight Bankok-Mumbai? It is so cheap of you. If you had added them like other flights from that ticket I'l have golden status. Now as time passed adding them wouldn't change my status.

Menare did not handle the situation appropriately!!!??? She yelled at me and told me that I will get no service!!! What kind of company are you???

I am still waiting for Jet Airways to give me back my money. So, untill I am fully refunded don't make asumtions that it is a done deal. Because your company as I see has no standards.

Regarding your answer-it would be better if you hadn't written anything. And your good will gesture is ricidiculous.

I am happy to share this online with other flyers so that they would know what are your standards and ofcourse-not me nor anyone I know would fly with you. Thank God there Emirates, Qatar, Turkish Airlines... all giving better service to regular flyers, I can only guess what service they offer to frequent.

And as I already wrote I want to make official complain about your employee Menare so give me instructions how or should I find them myself? No one yells at me or denays me help and sercice, especially when I'm right and especially when they should be kind and helpful.

Also, I want contact of your superviser because I don't know if this answer is your idea or some elses.

Disgrace!

Katarina Drobnjak
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