Reply
Check-in / Boarding
COMPLAINT: Denied Check-in at Heathrow 65 min before flight

 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old Nov 25, 2009, 4:34 AM
Angry Canadian Angry Canadian is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 2

My flight was at 19:05 I knew that LHR is a busy airport and decided to get there two hours early, even thought I didn’t have any checked baggage. Unfortunately, due to works on the tube I was delayed and arrived at Heathrow minutes before 18:00. I sprinted to the check in counter in Terminal 3 but only saw one employees shutting down the desk. I saw the self-check kiosks and ran to one at just a couple of minutes past 18:00, not yet 18:05 mind you. The kiosk was non responsive and said it had been shut at 18:00. I then went to the desk, and asked the attendant to check me in. He was dismissive, rude and kept repeating that I should come back the next morning and that I had missed my flight then promptly walked off behind a security door. I knocked on the door and he essentially told me to ‘bugger off’

Despondent, I was forced to stay in London overnight and take the 9:00 flight at a re-booking cost of 86 pounds. I missed a day of work, was forced to pay for a hotel, and my re-booking costs, plus the stress of missing a day of work.

There are two major glaring problems with this situation.

First, Air Canada's own travel documents state that check-in cutoff time is 60 min. The self-serve kiosks were shut at 16:00, 65 minutes before departure. If you they been consistent with your own stated rules, I would have been able to print my boarding pass.

Secondly is the startlingly rude and uncaring attitude of the Air Canada staff. I was offered not a shred of sympathy for my obvious distress and he showed absolutely no inclination to problem solve and assist me in catching my flight. Frankly I was shocked that I was treated in such a manner and it left an incredibly bad taste in my mouth about the Air Canada brand and flying experience.

In fairness I should be refunded the entire cost of my ticket and the re-booking charge. I know that this may well never happen, but I sent a letter of complaint to Air Canada, but am not holding my breath.

Does anyone have any feedback if I have a legitimate complaint or will they just say that I wasn't there in time?
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook




Replies:

  #2  
Old Nov 25, 2009, 5:40 AM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
Former Airline Employee (NOT OFFICIAL REP)
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,109

You have a complaint if you're times are accurate. I would first like to ask about the self-service check-in attempt. What exactly was the machine's response? Did it say essentially you're late or did it not work properly? The reason I ask is that if you attempted check-in and you are late, it will create a line in your reservation that will show that you attempted to check-in via the SSD and what time that took place and what the result was. If you did indeed attempt check-in more than 60 minutes ahead, it should be changed to shut down at that time rather than 65 minutes.

The agent's attitude and response were inappropriate. He should have, at a minimum, helped you to reschedule. That part is inexcusable.

You also have some responsibility. You can't come running into an airport at 65 minutes before an international departure and honestly expect things to go smoothly. The tube was a mess but these types of things have to be taken into account when traveling, especially internationally.

You mentioned you had no check-in luggage. I'm gonna state the obvious and ask why you didn't check-in online and print your boarding pass? Even if you're not at home, hotels have business centers to do this or find an internet cafe. You have to take a bit of blame as well as the non-helpful agent.
__________________
Yes, the rules and policies favor the airlines unfairly. I do not dispute that.

Last edited by The_Judge; Nov 25, 2009 at 5:42 AM.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #3  
Old Nov 25, 2009, 7:47 AM
Silent Bob Silent Bob is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: NY NY
Posts: 510

Judge, he was late as stated by his first statement:

Quote:
due to works on the tube I was delayed and arrived at Heathrow minutes before 18:00.
So this is another case of "I was in the airport so I was on time". But you were not there with enough time to check in unfortunately. Could the agent have treated you better? I believe he could have, and even gone that extra mile to check you in. But I don't believe he told you to "bugger off" as you say he "essentially" says that; it would seem you two didn't say too much. Really there is no one to blame here, you tried to get there on time and lucked out.

My feedback? Next time take a cab. But those are prone to get stuck in traffic as well.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #4  
Old Nov 25, 2009, 8:02 AM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
Former Airline Employee (NOT OFFICIAL REP)
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,109

Bob, I saw that but the OP states he (and these are his words) "ran to one at just a couple of minutes past 18:00, not yet 18:05 mind you."
So, I'm taking him at his word that he still had, according to him, 1-3 minutes to use the machine. Again, not late per the quoted policy but things better go exactly right (they didn't) or he'll be late.
__________________
Yes, the rules and policies favor the airlines unfairly. I do not dispute that.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #5  
Old Nov 25, 2009, 9:12 AM
Silent Bob Silent Bob is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: NY NY
Posts: 510

So true, so true. But I have to ask: what time exactly is a couple of minutes? 18:02? 18:04?Ok that last one was not a "couple of minutes" but still in the area of a possibility. He also stated that the self check-in kiosk was shutdown at six, again there's the issue of time, which I say he just didn't make it.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #6  
Old Nov 25, 2009, 3:23 PM
Angry Canadian Angry Canadian is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 2

I know that I do shoulder some of the blame, if I had printed off my boarding pass on the internet I would have been home free. Part of any frustrated passenger's emotional response is that they feel stupid for not getting there earlier. The agent didn't tell me to 'bugger off' but he did say 'just go away, there is nothing you can do' with a dismissive shooing motion. Absolutely unacceptable. I wonder if Air Canada has its own staff at Heathrow or has sub-contracted them. The check-in counter is a tiny temporary looking affair, three or four stations tucked at the back of section D of Terminal 3.

The kiosk was completely unresponsive. It said that the hours of operation were 05:30-18:00. It was probably in the range of 6:02-6:04 when I tried to use the kiosk. By the time I had got the agent's attention it was definitely past 6:05. Do the agents have the ability to check you in after the 60 min window, or do their terminals shut down as well?

I know that these rules exist for very good reasons, but I have had a friend who was flying on Iceland Air and she got on the plane (without her checked bag mind you) 25 min before the flight. Is it an Air Canada thing, or a Heathrow thing?

Thanks for your responses.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #7  
Old Nov 25, 2009, 5:15 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

It is an airline thing... the airport itself doesn't really dictate the timings. Indeed, some airlines have considerably shorter check in cut off times.. but for LHR, I would allow plenty of time. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking LHR is an airport.. it is a shopping mall which happens to have airplanes. They are far more interested in selling you things than getting you to the plane on time. That is why it is such a zoo when you get in there.

Travelling to the airport by Tube was ill advised.. it is a long journey and the potential for something to go wrong is high. Next time try the Heathrow Express.. considerably faster, so if anything goes wrong you have more leeway.

Airlines have developed the attitude over the last decade or so that mistakes and the misfortunes of customers are a revenue opportunity. They see car accidents en-route to the airport as means of making more money from you... likewise, medical emergencies, etc. etc.. the Air Canada forum gives you plenty of background..
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #8  
Old Nov 28, 2009, 2:17 AM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
Former Airline Employee (NOT OFFICIAL REP)
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,109

Originally Posted by Angry Canadian View Post
Do the agents have the ability to check you in after the 60 min window, or do their terminals shut down as well?
The airline I worked for had an entry that was utilized more often than not by the gate agent that restricted check-in for a flight to a particular terminal. For example, at 1805, if they didn't want anyone else to check-in at the counter, the gate agent would complete this entry and all check-in could only be done from the computers he/she designated. This would require an non-designated computer to have it's agent call the gate to have him/her lift the restriction (if he/she would want to bend the policy) so the passenger could be checked-in.
__________________
Yes, the rules and policies favor the airlines unfairly. I do not dispute that.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #9  
Old Nov 28, 2009, 7:07 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,366

Originally Posted by Angry Canadian View Post
I then went to the desk, and asked the attendant to check me in. He was dismissive, rude and kept repeating that I should come back the next morning and that I had missed my flight then promptly walked off behind a security door. I knocked on the door and he essentially told me to ‘bugger off’
I assume the door was located somewhere behind the counter. So you walked behind the counter, a no-no, and knocked on a secure door to demand that something be done. No wonder he told you to "bugger off." It's a good thing you weren't escorted from the airport or arrested.

Originally Posted by Angry Canadian View Post
First, Air Canada's own travel documents state that check-in cutoff time is 60 min. The self-serve kiosks were shut at 16:00, 65 minutes before departure. If you they been consistent with your own stated rules, I would have been able to print my boarding pass.
It sounds to me like you're splitting hairs. Did you ever consider that perhaps whatever you were referencing for the current time might not have agreed with Air Canada's computers? Also AC's website does indeed list a 60 minute cutoff for check in however for London Heathrow it suggests that you arrive 180 minutes before departure. Even with the delays on the Tube I think you were still cutting things too close. I've done it before myself and have no one to blame but myself.

Originally Posted by Angry Canadian View Post
Secondly is the startlingly rude and uncaring attitude of the Air Canada staff. I was offered not a shred of sympathy for my obvious distress and he showed absolutely no inclination to problem solve and assist me in catching my flight. Frankly I was shocked that I was treated in such a manner and it left an incredibly bad taste in my mouth about the Air Canada brand and flying experience.
Shocked? Really? What did you expect them to do? Delay the flight because you were late getting to the airport? And after you went behind the counter banging on a door that you shouldn't have access to in the first place I think that pretty much sealed your fate. If it were me and I thought I had any chance of making that flight I would have bought a refundable ticket on another airline in that terminal to get me past security and then try to convince the gate agents to check me in and get me on the plane.

Originally Posted by Angry Canadian View Post
In fairness I should be refunded the entire cost of my ticket and the re-booking charge. I know that this may well never happen, but I sent a letter of complaint to Air Canada, but am not holding my breath.
Refund the entire cost of your ticket? Why? They flew you there without incident and even though you hit a bump in the road on the return you were still flown back to Canada. So you're just trying to get a free trip out of this? Not going to happen!

Originally Posted by Angry Canadian View Post
Does anyone have any feedback if I have a legitimate complaint or will they just say that I wasn't there in time?
You were late. Perhaps the time on the computers was a bit off and perhaps they restricted check in a few minutes early but in the end you were late. You don't mention any others at the counter in the same predicament so an entire plane load of passengers managed to make it on time and you were not. AC may throw you a few miles or a small voucher but I would expect nothing more.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #10  
Old Nov 29, 2009, 4:12 PM
AADFW AADFW is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 117

It's kind of interesting how everyone responding to Angry Canadian's post made an effort to be polite and constructive with the exception of PHXFlyer, who berated the OP mercilessly. It's also interesting to note how often PHX enjoys pointing out to OPs how lucky they were not to have been arrested. PHX "assumes" that the door in question was behind the airline counter, and further assumes that (if it in fact was) the OP's action of going behind the counter was improper and even grounds for his or her arrest. No sympathy is extended to the OP by PHX stemming from the fact that he/she was treated rudely by airline personnel.

I think PHX enjoys telling people that they were lucky not to have been carted off to jail because it enables him to live out vicariously the same power trip that many flight attendants and prison guards often derive perverse pleasure from. In any case, it is clear that PHX has a subversive agenda on this website, which I suspect is motivated in large part by his professional disposition. Whatever the reason, I'm growing tired of PHX's inclination to treat the complaints of victimized airline passengers with overt contempt. I wonder just how long his revolting rampage will be further tolerated in what should otherwise be a virulently pro-consumer forum.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #11  
Old Nov 29, 2009, 4:48 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,366

Originally Posted by AADFW View Post
It's kind of interesting how everyone responding to Angry Canadian's post made an effort to be polite and constructive with the exception of PHXFlyer, who berated the OP mercilessly.
Perhaps you didn't read the first two responses to this original post. They also questioned the OP's timeline and basically said she was ultimately responsible for being late. And just how do you define "mercilessly."

Originally Posted by AADFW View Post
PHX "assumes" that the door in question was behind the airline counter, and further assumes that (if it in fact was) the OP's action of going behind the counter was improper and even grounds for his or her arrest.
Ok AADFW tell me this. How many airports have you been to where the employee access to the ticket counter area was not behind the counter? There's the customer area, the counter, the workspace for the ticket agents behind the counter, and then the doors which lead to the "back of the house" areas and are almost always behind the counter area. So it was not an unreasonable assumption on my part that the OP would have to actually cross over into the ticket counter area in order to bang on the door. Given that scenario the OP was indeed lucky they weren't arrested or at the very least escorted from the airport for trespassing in an area where only employees should be. Would you even think of going behind the counter at a bank in order to knock on the floor manager's office door? I think not! And if you read the post it says at first the ticket agent she encountered was merely dismissive and unhelpful. The agent didn't become "rude" until she took it upon herself to bang on the door at which point I think anyone in a similar situation would have every right to tell someone to "bugger off."

Originally Posted by AADFW View Post
In any case, it is clear that PHX has a subversive agenda on this website, which I suspect is motivated in large part by his professional disposition.
Would you care to elaborate on that ridiculous statement please? You don't know me!

Originally Posted by AADFW View Post
Whatever the reason, I'm growing tired of PHX's inclination to treat the complaints of victimized airline passengers with overt contempt.
Then just why are you here? If you don't like my comments then you have an option. Ignore them! Just what is your agenda that you attack me at every opportunity?
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #12  
Old Nov 29, 2009, 9:32 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

Originally Posted by PHXFlyer
Ok AADFW tell me this. How many airports have you been to where the employee access to the ticket counter area was not behind the counter?
Er.. LHRT2, Gatwick Airport, Birmingham T2, Coventry, Luton, Bristol, Liverpool to name seven.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #13  
Old Apr 28, 2010, 2:09 PM
CEOmike CEOmike is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Moncton
Posts: 3

AC, the worst airline, from the world's second worst staffed airport (heathrow) to the worst airport (Toronto.) Typical experience.

It is an AC and airport employee problem.

Recently with Westjet I had a similar problem where I actually made my own connecting flight one airline to another and was late. Ran to the Westjet counter, the flight was closed and staff were just cleaning up - one Westjet staff member ran to the taxi and checked my luggage, another booked me in and took me to the gate and security where I asked if others would let me line jump which they politely did (maybe because the Westjet staff was there!)

These events probably happen everyday, every hour at a ticket counter - difference is if staff cares and if the airline encourages staff to be customer service centered. AC, Heathrow and Toronto are not customer centered.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook

Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Complaint Complaint Author Forum Replies Last Post
Check-in / Boarding Bad customer service at Heathrow / denied boarding rejilx Air Canada Complaints 24 Sep 13, 2009 2:55 PM
Check-in / Boarding Baggage check-in - Almost missed the flight memphis mom Delta Air Lines Complaints 6 Aug 3, 2009 7:20 AM
Canceled / Delayed / Overbooked 45 Minutes Pre-Flight Check-In texasredbud American Airlines Complaints 0 Feb 3, 2007 5:31 PM


All times are GMT. The time now is 8:05 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

counter free hit unique web
unique visitors