customer service woes

This, unfortunately, is not such a great post after my last post.

This story actually requires a little background. A couple of months ago, I was going on one of my usual business trips to Denver when I got bumped off the flight because the flight was overbooked. As a compensation, the gate agent offered either double the cost of my ticket towards future airfare purchases or a free round-trip ticket. I was assured (as were the two other people who also got bumped) that the round-trip ticket didn’t have black out dates and that it was really easy to use. We wouldn’t have any issues. We all chose the round-trip ticket.

Fast forward a couple months to more recently. I first thought that wouldn’t it be great to fly home and visit my good friends Misty and Stephen with their newborn Liza. At the same time I could spend a little bit of time with my parents as well to score a few brownie points. I picked a weekend in June when I had an off-Friday, so I’d have to take one less day off of work to fly home. Unfortunately, the weekend I picked is the weekend before July 4 and since July 4 is on a Wednesday this year, both weekends around it are blacked-out. But wait, you might ask, didn’t I just say that the gate agent assured me that there were no black-out dates? Why, yes! I did. I got all the way to customer relations when they informed me that there was nothing they could do about it, why don’t I try flying on another date. Fine. I scrapped the initial trip idea.

Fast forward to this weekend. I call the airline hoping, once more, to use my free round-trip ticket to fly home in August. Surely, calling two months before I want to fly and ensuring that there are no holidays close to the dates that I’m flying would make this a relatively easy task to accomplish. Nope. There is not a single date going 1 week forward and backward from the dates I requested that I can fly from Phoenix, AZ to Huntsville, AL. At this point, I’m ticked. I’ll buy blackout dates, but flying from this airline’s major US hub to any other city, I would expect to be able to get at least one option to be able to use this ticket on. Nope. So, I ask the rep to speak to her supervisor. She suggests that instead of talking to her supervisor who can’t do anything more than she can, why doesn’t she forward my call to customer relations. She puts me on hold to connect me over. A minute later, she comes back on the line and apologizes to me, but that customer relations is closed. This was noon on a Saturday. Customer relations for a major airline was closed at noon on a Saturday. Actually, they’re never open on Saturdays. What?! The rep gives me the direct phone number to call customer relations and tells me to try calling them on a weekday when they’re open. She says that she’s recorded our interaction on my e-ticket number that’s associated with this “free” round-trip ticket so that next time I talk to someone, they’ll at least know what I’ve been through to this point.

Fast forward to this evening. I’m back up in Denver, on business, as usual. I get out of work a few minutes earlier tonight than I did last night, so I decide to give the customer relations people a phone call. No dice. Customer relations is only open Monday through Friday from 7am – 5pm, Phoenix time. I called at 4:55pm Phoenix time.

Right now, I’m absolutely livid. I’m kicking myself for having trusted an airline agent who told me that this ticket would be really easy to use. I’m kicking myself for not having just taken the money towards a future flight. I’m also absolutely livid because I fly US Airways all the time and this is how they treat me as a customer. They “apologize” for bumping me off a flight by giving me a round-trip ticket that apparently I can’t use. Then, the one group of people who can actually help me are only open during business hours on work days. This means that while I’m at my customer’s tomorrow, I get to have a lovely phone chat with the US Airways customer relations on how they’re not being very good at establishing a customer relationship with me.

I’m desperately trying to stay nice to these people, but if I get to much more run around on this subject, I foresee the not so nice part of my come out and very soon.

3 thoughts on “customer service woes

  1. So maybe, if you ever get customer service, ask them when THEY would like you to come and visit us. Tell them I’m flexible, I’ll only ask for you to have a rental car and a hotel while you are staying with me…

    😉

  2. Did you self-arrange your travel, or did a corporate travel agency do it for you? If the latter, I’d explain the situation to them and let them deal with it—they might have more leverage than you would as an individual.

  3. Geof, I arranged the original flight through a corporate travel agency. Unfortunately, the travel agency my company uses is not the most cooperative when it comes to working out issues. If I can’t make any headway, I’ll likely get them involved, but I’m going to try to resolve this on my own since this is personal travel I’m trying to make.
    Misty, I’m to that point. Ask them when they have a date for me to fly and that all I ask in return is a rental car and a hotel while I’m on travel. This is ridiculous.

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