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COMPLAINT: Thai Airways CNX - BKK - FRA

 
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Old Jan 18, 2018, 5:27 PM
mmalek mmalek is offline
 
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Considering travel with Thai Airways?
In March of 2016 my wife and I adopted a dog from a rescue in Thailand. We decided that Thailand was not the place for us long term and we began researching what was required to bring Tam with us to Europe. As Tam can be temperamental with strangers, bringing her on our flight(s) as excess baggage (AVIH) was absolutely critical in our decision-making process.

After speaking with the booking agent at the Thai Airways Corporate Offices in Chiang Mai, we decided to make our travel arrangements with them. One of the reasons we chose Thai Airways is that our connecting flight in Frankfurt was thru Lufthansa who also allows for dogs to be transported as excess baggage. Lufthansa’s policy on transporting dogs as excess baggage (AVIH) only requires that the crate for a large dog be within specific dimensions (which Tam’s crate was).

Frankfurt airport handles millions of animals a year and our connecting flight with Lufthansa would take us directly to Faro, Portugal. This was the most direct route (24 hours travel time) and would minimize the stress to our dog.

The booking agent at the Thai Airways Corporate offices told us that a dog up to 40kg. (animal and crate) would be $750 USD to transport her as excess baggage to Europe (IATA TC2 and TC3 regions). The agent’s quote was consistent with the Thai Airways Pet Travel policy found on the Thai Airways Pet Travel Page.

As requested by the agent, we returned at the beginning of December to confirm Tam’s reservation on our flight. To avoid any confusion when we checked in for our flights, we asked that the SSR AVIH on our booking confirmation be updated to reflect the 40kg weight limit. The booking agent at the corporate offices called the Thai Airways offices in Bangkok and Lufthansa Airlines to confirm, once again, that we could in fact fly with our dog if she was under 40kg. After confirming with both, the booking agent updated the SSR on our booking confirmation to reflect the 40kg weight for each leg of our travels.

All of the travel documents would be verified in Chiang Mai, Tam would be checked through at Bangkok and we would retrieve her in Frankfurt for medical examination and entry to the EU. Lufthansa would have put her on our connecting flight to Faro as excess baggage.

We arrived at Chiang Mai International Airport on Christmas Day with Tam, and all of our belongings approximately 2 ½ hours before our flight. We provided the ticketing agent with the printed reservation confirmation (including all of the updates) that had been provided to us by the booking agent at the Corporate Offices. When we checked in, we had other issues regarding our baggage and associated fees but that is secondary to what followed. We loaded Tam (crate and all) onto the luggage scale and the total weight was 39.8 kg. Shortly thereafter, the ticketing agent told us that Tam could not travel with us on our flight because she was over 32kg.

There we stood at the Thai Airways counter on Christmas day, after months of preparation, checking and double-checking that we had complied with all of the travel and export requirements, ensuring that the 40kg. weight limit was allowed AND DOCUMENTED on our booking confirmation, in total disbelief that we were being told that we would not be allowed to take Tam with us.

We spent 2 hours at the ticketing counter dealing with an agent who seemed entirely indifferent about the circumstances. The only explanation that she was able to provide was “Bangkok not accept”. We had to ask for a supervisor and eventually the highest person in charge for Thai Airways at the airport. After speaking with the Supervisor and being told once again that Tam could not fly with us, the Duty Manager eventually came down and told us that the booking agent in the Corporate Offices should not have made the reservation for Tam and that Tam would not be able to travel with us (regardless of what was on the Thai Airways website or the printed booking confirmation).

With 30 minutes to our departure, our friend from the shelter where we adopted Tam, told us he would take care of her until we could make alternative arrangements. We left Thailand without our girl.

On 2 January, I directed a lengthy email to three Directors at Thai Airways describing our experience. I also included details about Tam’s rescue as well as our involvement at the dog shelter in Chiang Mai. Several days later I received an email confirmation from Thai Airways Customer Relations Department that they were forwarded my email by the Director of Customer Relations & Services Quality Department and that they would be conducting an investigation into our situation.

On 10 January, I sent a follow-up email to the same Directors and the Customer Relations Department inquiring about our case. On 12 January I received an email from the Chief of the Customer Relations Service Department regarding the investigation that they completed on our case. In the Chief’s response, she acknowledges that Thai Airways Staff at Chiang Mai International Airport was in the wrong and should have accepted Tam on our flight, but she indicates that because we were given additional baggage allowance (as a gesture of goodwill) that there was nothing further Thai Airways would do for us.

My last email to Thai Airways was sent on Friday, 12 January and was directed to the Customer Relations Department, the Chief, (2) Directors and (2) Vice Presidents. In it I expressed that while we appreciated the gesture, including the additional bags was a soft cost to Thai Airways and that I would have gladly left behind our excess bags in exchange for Tam. I also highlighted that bringing Tam on our flight as excess baggage was the most critical part of our decision in selecting Thai Airways. As of Thursday, 18 January, I have not had a response from anyone at Thai Airways, nothing, zero, zip, zilch, nada.
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Old Feb 28, 2018, 11:54 AM
mmalek mmalek is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
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Thanks, unfortunately as of 28 February, we have not had any further communication with Thai Airways. I can't believe an organization with 20,000 employees cannot assemble a decent Customer Relations Department.
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