Flybyguy From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 1812 posts, RR: 1 Posted (10 years 9 months 3 weeks ago) and read 3310 times:
The title says it all, but you don't have to be a frequent flyer to contribute... I'd love to hear some flights from hell stories.
Me and my brother went to St. Lucia 2 years ago, but had to transit through Barbados. We had made the reservations through Expedia and basically the flight was... JFK-BGI on American then BGI-SLU (George F.L. Charles Airport) on CaribbeanStar Airlines. I've never heard of CaribbeanStar Airlines before our trip and from what happened to us I don't want to ever know them again.
We got to Barbados rather uneventfully, but on the Barbados-St. Lucia leg Caribbean Star told us that we had no reservations with them and that we had to buy a full fare tickets to get to St. Lucia. You can imagine my outrage of having paid for the flight to St. Lucia and having complete imbeciles behind the counter telling me to pay again! What's worse is when I told them to speak to American they refused and completely ignored me afterwards checking in everyone else behind us.
So I went to the American Airlines counter at the Airport in Barbados and told a very sympathetic agent our story (American had us booked all the way through to St. Lucia on their computers). She told me that this sort of thing happens A LOT with local Caribbean Airlines. She then walked over to the counter, had a few words with that rude Caribbean Star agent and within minutes presented me with tickets to St. Lucia (unfortunately for the next morning since all flights were booked that day).
Considering these events I will not recommend ANY local Caribbean airline whatsoever, even though Caribbean Star is the only one I have flown. I will take American Eagle if I want to get anywhere in the Caribbean the next time I visit.
I can say, not once for my international and domestic flights over the past five years, has an airline dropped a reservation of mine and then refused to investigate the problem.
"Are you a pretender... or a thoroughbred?!" - Professor Matt Miller
Ahlfors From Canada, joined Oct 2000, 1347 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (10 years 9 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 3270 times:
Yeah, the Caribbean Airlines are quite bad. My experience is with BWIA, and LIAT got involved in the mess too.
I was flying JFK-POS-ANU-JFK. My JFK-POS flight was scheduled to depart at 2355, but when I got to the airport it had already been delayed to 0315. Since I had a 1:20 connection in POS, I was able to get a seat on the 2305 flight, which actually departed about 0045. The delay wasn't a problem as such, as it was the same aircraft that was scheduled to go to ANU.
But once we get to POS, they realize that the aircraft is not airworthy, so they had to delay the flight. After a number of "one more hour" spiels, we finally get on a new plane about 1400 and depart soon after (original departure time 0700). To my horror, they haul the same crew that I had seen walk on for the 0700 departure. The flight operates POS-BGI-ANU-KIN. Once we get to BGI, the captain declares that due to the fact that they were unable to turn around the plane in 30 minutes like they had planned, they would skip ANU and fly straight to KIN. So everybody going to ANU, "please get off the plane". "Ground staff is standing by to take care of you"
Well, we got off the plane and walked all the way to just before immigration. No BWIA staff shows up for over an hour, and then they declare that there are no BWIA flights until two days later, and all other carriers flights are full.
At least they put us in a nice hotel, and fed us well, but the next day, their offices in BGI refused to pick up the phone. So I got the smart idea of calling central reservations, located back in POS. First call: sorry, no available seats on any airline today. You're confirmed "stand-by" for tomorrow. Same thing second call. The third call I actually got someone with some sympathy on the line who was able to procure 3 tickets (one for myself, 2 for people in the same predicament) on LIAT the same evening (i.e. 24+ hours after arriving in BGI). Not sure where they found these tickets.
We head over to the airport, to check-in with LIAT... BWIA had assured us everything was in order. Well, LIAT's computers were all down, and we didn't have tickets in hand. Agent tried to say that there was no way we could have gotten a reservation that day as the flight was overbooked for many days already. After some coaxing he actually disappears for about 20 minutes, and returns with our tickets in hand, obviously not happy that we had been right.
So we get our LIAT seats and head for ANU, via SLU. Finally we arrive over 36 hours late, and there were people still in Barbados trying to get out.
On the return, I called BWIA the day before my flight to make sure they hadn't changed the schedule. Scheduled departure was 0935, but that had been changed to 1105 without informing me, and on top of that, the flight was delayed until 1700 (they knew this the day before departure, which means their schedules must have been really crazy). I try to coax the agent to cover me on another airline, which I had a right to since even the scheduled time had been changed. She says I'll have to go to the BWIA main office, which of course was closed.
The next morning I head to the BWIA desk bright and early to try to get on another airline. They said that AA to SJU was full, so sorry, no can do. So I requested to get a standby ticket on AA to SJU, because SJU-JFK still had seats, so I wouldn't get stuck there. This seemed like a good idea to the agent, so I got my stand-by ticket and on the AA plane.
Total cost of my ticket: US$658
Costs to BWIA for their messups:
US$400 for lodging and food (paid for 2 nights, I saw the bill)
US$150 for LIAT BGI-ANU
US$682 for AA ANU-SJU-JFK
Flybyguy From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 1812 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (10 years 9 months 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 3213 times:
Quoting NWCOflyer (Reply 3): Well, hopefully my experience will be a little better. I am flying Caribbean Sun (who I think is associated with Caribbean Star), from SJU-SKB in middle May.
I did buy paper tickets though...
That's the problem, I was issued paper tickets, but it seems that these Caribbean Airlines are immune to them or something. I practically waived them in their face and they still ignored me before I had to get an American Airlines ticket agent involved.
My advice... It may not be worth it even price wise to fly local carriers when American Eagle can do the job with even greater convenience when flying through SJU. You'd be hard pressed to get a local airline to pay for your hotel even when foul-ups are their fault. Customer service is NON-EXISTENT.
What's worse is that I found out that the airline's Caribbean Star and Caribbean Sun are owned by a Texas millionaire (one of my incentives to fly Caribbean Star for the first time). I would think that an American would have some idea of how to run an proper airline. My mistake.
"Are you a pretender... or a thoroughbred?!" - Professor Matt Miller
Leskova From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 6075 posts, RR: 68
Reply 6, posted (10 years 9 months 2 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 3155 times:
Quoting Flybyguy (Reply 5): That's the problem, I was issued paper tickets, but it seems that these Caribbean Airlines are immune to them or something.
A paper ticket is worth as much as an eTicket if there's no corresponding reservation in the system: nothing.
In all fairness to Caribbean Star, admittedly - their behaviour doesn't really earn them much fairness, it may simply not have been their fault: Expedia, just like any travel agency, works through a CRS - and some airlines have better connections to the CRSs than others... some have a direct connection, some don't - sometimes bookings made in a CRS arrive in the airline system, sometimes they don't (had exactly that problem with a Delta booking about a week ago).
And while AA was able to see the booking, this, by no means, proves that CaribbStar was able to see it... trust me, I see problems like this almost on a daily basis at work.
In any case - when travelling, basically no airline has ever really given me hassles... and you really only know how much an airline can "hassle" you when you've had to call them to sort out a problem that they caused by, for example, schedule changes, flight cancellations, ignoring issued tickets, cancelling itineraries as "DUPE BOOKING" when there is no dupe booking, issuing ADMs (Agency Debit Memos) when you've completely adhered to the conditions of your fare contract, ...
That's when you find out just how much an airline can hassle you... and some CRS systems are even worse...
Lono From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 1347 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (10 years 9 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 3081 times:
Location and competition means the following for me...
AS, DL, CO, UA,... All have been less than accommodating at times.. but I am stuck with them living here in the great white north... and conducting business out of ANC... they .. Especially AS are harsh since they all know that you must use their increasingly crappy service... it saddens me to see all these great carriers employees take they're current uncertainties out on the very people who pay their salaries...
Flying out of ANC blows these days... it saddens my heart to see how the industry has fallen... I feel for all the employees who are stuck in the current mess they find themselves in... but.. they need to realize the customer is what pays their salaries... and... ANC to anywhere customers pay big bucks and they don't need airline employee angst...
Patroni From Luxembourg, joined Aug 1999, 1403 posts, RR: 12
Reply 10, posted (10 years 9 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 3073 times:
Quoting Flybyguy (Reply 5): That's the problem, I was issued paper tickets, but it seems that these Caribbean Airlines are immune to them or something. I practically waived them in their face and they still ignored me before I had to get an American Airlines ticket agent involved.
Some years ago I had nearly the same with NW: We were travelling on KLM tickets on a NW flight from EWR to AMS. While I had a full fare Business Class ticket, my wife had an Economy ticket with a confirmed upgrade voucher which we bought weeks before from my KLM fqtv miles. The NW agent wanted to put me in Business Class but refused to give the reserved seat to my wife "because you can't upgrade discount fares". When showing her the official KLM voucher referring to her Economy ticket she just meant "Pff.. that's just a piece of paper, means nothing...." In the end, after 20 minutes of arguing, we eventually got the seats we paid for (and yes, I see purchasing an upgrade with mileage as a payment), but as a "revenge", the lady only checked our bags through to AMS (which we only found out on the aircraft) and gave us totally separated seats on the connecting flight, even though our sequence numbers were very low.
This was not the first incident on NW but certainly the last for me, my family and my colleagues. But guess that NW does not care for medium-sized business accounts.