AC888YOW From Canada, joined Jan 2005, 518 posts, RR: 1 Posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 6516 times:
Inspired by all of the stories lately about bad customer service, customers being nickel-and-dimed, passengers having to pay for almost everything that was once complimentary, I thought I'd share this little 'feel good' story. The subject is Olympic Airlines and my recent experience with making a reservation change.
Last month I was on holiday in Athens with a mini trip to Constaninople (IST) booked. This is a trip I had booked back in Canada via Travelocity. While in Greece and a couple of days before my trip to IST, something came which required a return from IST a day earlier than originally planned. The problem was that because I had booked with Travelocity, calling back to Canada to get them to change my reservation would have costed a fortune in long distance charges, not to mention the change fee, fare difference, and god knows what other fees designed to fleece me.
So I took a chance and went to the OA ticket office at Athens airport and stated my predicament. The lady found my reservation, asked me what flight I wanted to get onto the day earlier, and began working on my request. While she was working she hinted that there might be a fare difference to pay (which I expected at a minimum), but as it turned out there was none. When she handed me a confirmation of the changed reservation, I asked how much the change fee was. She said there was no change fee. So I just walked away, astonished.
'She must have made a mistake', I thought. 'That was way too easy'. My reservation had been changed. My wallet was intact. Any and all inconvenience and stress had been avoided.
For all of the crap that rightly or wrongly gets flung in their direction, I feel that Olympic Airlines deserves much praise for this policy and excellent instance of customer service. I know many airlines and agencies that could stand to learn a thing or two from this story.
Last Thursday I was scheduled to fly SXM-SJU-FLL. The SJU-FLL leg was canceled. AA not only put me up in a hotel and offered meal and taxi vouchers, they also rebooked me on a SJU-MCO flight at no additional cost! (I actually needed to be in Orlando and had booked an FLL-MCO leg on WN for Friday morning)
AA really went above and beyond since their only obligation was to fly me to FLL. Nice to see some airlines continuing to practice excellent customer service!
On a sidenote, every one of my five segments on AA these past two weeks was on time and trouble free and every AA employee I spoke with was professional and courteous. I was even more impressed how the agents I observed in SJU calmly dealt with the rude and irate passengers from the canceled SJU-FLL flight!
Kudos to you AA!
Formula 1 Grand Prix Trips: YUL '08, MEL '09, BCN '10, SIN '11, and LGW '12
9252fly From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1367 posts, RR: 0 Reply 5, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 6101 times:
Airport agents can use their discretion. I suspect in this case it was a restricted ticket and would have incurred a change fee and a fare differential. You obviously gave the agent a good first impression and that likely made a difference. The problem with a lot of agents these days is that they don't think for themselves and usually get their backs up by giving you the standard company policy. Those that have never forgotten what it's like to stand on the other side of the counter tend to be quite good,especially the one's that have been around for a long time as they've seen it all and heard every excuse which makes them good at sizing up a situation.
I was booked to fly on US Airways Express from Merced, CA to LAS last September. I got a call while heading to the airport that the flight had been cancelled. We were automatically booked on the later departure, however, they also offered us the option of taking an earlier flight out of FAT. We arrived at MCE and they immediately reissued boarding passes and had us in a cab out to Fresno. I was quite surprised...it must have been quite an expense having a private taxicab taking us between Merced & Fresno, over 60 miles each way. And it was only an arrival difference of like 1.5 hours. I was surprised and very happy that they offered, as it meant that I got to my conference in time.
PanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 9 Reply 7, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 5972 times:
This is what astounds me when I hear people, both in the airport and hear at a.net, that consider airline employees "servants" - people that are there to serve and do nothing else.
"Either just shut up and accept your paycut or go work at McDonald's" has been repeated more than once.
How people get so nasty and downright rude is beyond me, and frankly they deserve every bad bit of karma coming to them.
When people realize that the front line employees have the power to make things not just right but actually better than they have to, they will find that most airline employees will go out of their way to assist the customer that speaks politely and friendly.
Nothing is ever accomplished by screaming, yelling, and spewing venom. It doesn't always work in the reverse (my sister's recent experience is proof of that!!), but most of the time it will.
Many years ago I missed a connection in Chicago. When I went over to the gate where the next departing flight was leaving from, a man was screaming at the gate agent about how he "had to have" certain things. He was frustrated, obviously, but his anger couldn't change reality. When it was my turn, I had fun recounting all the factors that fed upon each other that delayed the flight, ending with my missing the plane literally by 30 seconds.
As we laughed, I expected to get the middle seat in the last row of the MD80 (I just wanted to get home!!), but low and behold, I was upgraded to seat 6E - first class. I also got a voucher for dinner.
Sorry for rambling, but a little courtesy goes a LONG way!!
Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
VonRichtofen From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 4624 posts, RR: 38 Reply 8, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 5932 times:
I had a similar story last May with AC. I was flying home from LAS on a roundabout route (LAS-SFO-YVR-YYC). The ticket was booked through AC however the LAS-SFO portion would be operated by Untied errrrr United Airlines.
I arrive 3 hours before my flight, yes 3 hours. I still barely made it to check in on-time. UA's check-in area was absolute chaos. I finally get checked in, only for the agent to tell me my flight was delayed about 2 hours. He then proceeded to tell me I'd still make my connection even though my original connection time was only 1 hour and 20 mins. He just didn't want to deal with it.
So I make my way to the gate wondering how the hell I'm going to avoid spending a night in YVR. First I tried calling UA, good luck.... Got fed up with waiting on hold and decided to try AC. On hold for about 2 minutes I get a very friendly agent on the line. I tell her the situation and she tells me not to worry, and books me on the direct AC flight from LAS-YYC which was departing in about 90 mins. I was thrilled, thanked her profusely and made my way back down to UA to try to get my bags back..... Nobody at UA could be bothered!! I've never seen such poor customer service in my life. Is this just a UA at LAS problem?
Anyway, the AC agent on the phone saved me a LOT of trouble. I eventually got my bags at YYC a couple days later. And no I was not on a full-fare ticket.
Any Canadian who bitches about AC really needs to give UA a shot. I'm sure they'd be singing a different tune afterwards.
Beagleboys From Italy, joined Jun 2006, 230 posts, RR: 0 Reply 9, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 5398 times:
A month ago i was coming back from SYD with Qantas(but booked with BA), since i'm really tall (1.90m) the nice lady at the check in moved me in the emergency exit(before i asked) and, after i qualified as a flight attendant, she added a not to keep the row free! (but since i'm a good guy i shared the row with a guy that was in the middle of a family with two crying child...) ;D
Another one comes to mind: in may i was going from my city to LIN to take the AZ LIN-FCO, because of the heavy traffic i reached the airport when the check in was just closed and boarding was almost finished, the lady at the check in printed a receipt for me and a fast track voucher for security so i can reach the gate and ask to be boarded. It was too late for that and i've been routed to the AZ ticket office to get a ticket for the next flight. When i reached the office(with a lot of people that lost the flight, the flight departed with 50pax on board) the guy told me to buy a ticket with AP because, since i had the lowest fare, the ticket for the next flight will cost to me 300+€ and the same ticket with AP will cost 150€. They told me to buy a ticket with the AZ main competitor!!!
[Edited 2008-08-23 08:20:27]
Nervous? Yes. First Times? No, I've been nervous lots of times. -Airplane!
PanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 9 Reply 10, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 5096 times:
Quote: First I tried calling UA, good luck.... Got fed up with waiting on hold and decided to try AC. On hold for about 2 minutes I get a very friendly agent on the line. I tell her the situation and she tells me not to worry, and books me on the direct AC flight from LAS-YYC which was departing in about 90 mins. I was thrilled, thanked her profusely and made my way back down to UA to try to get my bags back..... Nobody at UA could be bothered!! I've never seen such poor customer service in my life. Is this just a UA at LAS problem?
Unfortunately, no. Recently, problems have been reported here at a.net across the board with United employees in other locations. My sister had a nightmare of an experience when she was re-routed DFW-FAT as DFW-LAX on AA and then had to switch to UA LAX-FAT.
The DFW-LAX flight was, of course, delayed, and she and my niece had to run from T4 to T7. Of course AA had screwed up the names on the reservations (otherwise they would have successfully used the self-check-in kiosks with time to spare), so they were forced to go to the counter, where every UA employee told them, "you're not going to make it!!", and further implying that they weren't going to help.
The supervisor she spoke to said the same thing, even after telling her to call AA to fix the problem. AA, of course, did not answer the phone. After a 30 second fix (changing the name on the second ticket - AA had issued both in my niece's name), she had five minutes to get through security.
I don't know what was up the UA agents' @$$es, but if a 30 second fix is too much trouble to help a stranded traveller in a situation she didn't ask for, then the airline is in more serious trouble than we can imagine.
Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
JayDub From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 11, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 4785 times:
Quoting 9252fly (Reply 5): Airport agents can use their discretion. I suspect in this case it was a restricted ticket and would have incurred a change fee and a fare differential. You obviously gave the agent a good first impression and that likely made a difference. The problem with a lot of agents these days is that they don't think for themselves and usually get their backs up by giving you the standard company policy. Those that have never forgotten what it's like to stand on the other side of the counter tend to be quite good,especially the one's that have been around for a long time as they've seen it all and heard every excuse which makes them good at sizing up a situation.
Bingo. In most cases, it all comes down to this: You get what you give.
Back in my customer service days, the pax that came yelling and making demands was the one I helped the least. The pax that showed humility, class, treated me like a human, and didn't threaten to "have my job" because they missed their flight on their own accord...was the pax that I went above and beyond for.
I feel kinda bad about this now, but not really...
I once had a day where a pax came to the gate making threats and being generally unpleasant (read: treated me like crap) because he missed his flight that morning. Mind you, he checked in 31 minutes prior to departure and showed up to the gate with Starbucks (IIRC, there was no Starbucks on our concourse at the time...meaning he had gone to another connected concourse for his Starbucks fix) and a bookstore bag full of magazines. This pax missed his flight after numerous PA announcements calling him by name.
Another pax missed the same flight. He checked in online and thought he could show up a little late. He wound up having trouble finding a parking spot and was clearing the long security line at push time. He readily admitted that it was his own fault for not allowing himself more time to make the flight and was almost apologetic to me, despite having no reason to apologize to me. I explained the options to him, put him on standby for the next available flight, and he thanked me for my help and had a seat to await the flight. He even offered me coffee, as he was going to get some...however, I declined. He was kind and never once tried to blame anyone but himself.
Since I worked with the the disgruntled pax first and had he had purchased the same fare as the pleasant pax, the unhappy pax he was #1 on the revenue standby list. I could see that, if all things stayed the same, he would get a seat on the next flight as a revenue standby ahead of the gentleman that was very nice to me. I hated how this happened. I called both pax to the gate and explained that it looked good for the pissed off guy and looked bleak for the nice guy. The nice guy thanked me, said he would see me about his options after push, and sat back in his seat.
The pax with the nasty attitude immediately retorted with "It had better look good for me, or I'm gonna kick your ass!". I looked at him, smiled, called the nice gentleman back to the podium, and started tapping away on the keyboard.
When the nice guy came back, I handed him a boarding pass...with an upgrade to business class (I wound up having one coach and one business seat available)...and handed the other man a reciept that indicated that his fare had been refunded and his reservation on that flight canceled. I thanked the nice guy for his humility and candor in the matter...and asked the other man to find accomodations with another carrier because I felt his threat was credible and I did not feel comfortable allowing him to board our flight that day. He threatened me again and I called the police. He wound up being detained and not flying at all that day.
So, in the end, you get what you give. If the agent has a bad attitude, maintain a good one...you just might make their day a little better. CS agents are treated like dirt all day long...do something nice, and it pays off sometimes.
Knightsofmalta From Malta, joined Nov 2005, 1536 posts, RR: 18 Reply 12, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 4669 times:
Quoting 9252fly (Reply 5): Airport agents can use their discretion. I suspect in this case it was a restricted ticket and would have incurred a change fee and a fare differential. You obviously gave the agent a good first impression and that likely made a difference. The problem with a lot of agents these days is that they don't think for themselves and usually get their backs up by giving you the standard company policy.
I beg to disagree. Basically what you're saying is that it's alright for a ticketing agent at the airport to wave all the fare restrictions on a ticket simply because he or she can't be bothered to reissue the ticket, doesn't know how to reissue it correctly or wants to avoid the risk of being told off by the passenger. And if they stick to the rules that makes them incapable of thinking for themselves!
The passenger knows what he is letting himself in for when he books the ticket. If he can't be bothered to check the fare notes the too bad for him.
OA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26028 posts, RR: 58 Reply 13, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 4378 times:
Quoting AC888YOW (Thread starter): For all of the crap that rightly or wrongly gets flung in their direction, I feel that Olympic Airlines deserves much praise for this policy and excellent instance of customer service. I know many airlines and agencies that could stand to learn a thing or two from this story.
Nice when things like this happen and I agree for all the bad comments OA get there is still a human side and they are still one of the safest airlines in the world to fly with. To me that makes a difference. A few years back I had booked two tickets for my Grandmother and I , sadly the day before we were due to travel she died. OA gave me a automatic refund on her ticket no questions asked and also changed my ticket free of charge. This was a totally non changeable and non refundable ticket. Not only that but due to the fact I had to transport my Grandmothers personal items to family members in Greece I had 40 kilos . OA waived this on compassionate grounds . They really shone through when I needed them to. I will always be grateful to them for the compassion and respect they showed to me during my time of need.
AEGEAN-OLYMPIC AIR - ΟΛΥΜΠΙΑΚΗ " μέλος στη Star Alliance
Oh yes, we have ALL read the epic story about your sister and those "meanies" at big bad UA.
Fact remains, it was AA's fault to fix. I know at my station we have stretches of time when it is easy to delve into ticketing issues and fix other airlines' mistakes, but at LAX I am sure they are swamped! It was AA's fault, and UA is going to give priority to passengers that CHOSE UA. Plus, I will reiterate what other people have previously told you, if you arrive past the 30-minute cutoff, you are rarely going to make it! Especially in LAX! AA should never have booked them the way they did! So lay off UA already!
USAIRWAYS321 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1824 posts, RR: 9 Reply 15, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 4155 times:
Last summer I was flying BUF-ORD-SEA on United (award ticket). The flight from BUF-ORD was delayed over an hour due to a problem with the APU, and as such, we touched down at O'Hare 5 minutes after my SEA flight had left. I had an automated message on my phone saying that I had been rebooked via DEN, so I went to the gate for that flight, only to see that it too was delayed (and overbooked) and I would in turn miss my DEN-SEA flight.
The line at the counter for the DEN flight was about 15 people deep, so I wandered a few minutes looking for another agent that didn't appear to be busy. I found a lady and explained my situation. She laughed that I had been rebooked onto another delayed, overbooked flight and explained that I wasn't automatically put on the next direct SEA flight because coach was full. She offered to put me in one of a few empty seats in first instead. She really went above and beyond, and I appreciated her help.
ZKEOJ From New Zealand, joined Feb 2005, 942 posts, RR: 6 Reply 16, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 3992 times:
Quoting 9252fly (Reply 5): You obviously gave the agent a good first impression and that likely made a difference.
Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 7): How people get so nasty and downright rude is beyond me, and frankly they deserve every bad bit of karma coming to them.
Exactly! While sometimes you won't get anywhere despite being kind and friendly, it certainly helps! Plus, it is not the agent's fault that you have to change your flight, for whatever urgent or tragic reason.
My experience with OA was horrible! Nobody spoke anything but Greek, and in fact, most didn't speak at all! At boarding, they just slammed the boarding pass on the desk - a seat in the smoking section while we asked for non-smoking. No comment, nothing. That's been a while (as you can see from the smoking section having been available), but I swore to never fly OA again. Both trips were a disgrace. Thus, I am really happy to see that something seems to have changed at OA, and that you had such a great experience, with an obviously understanding and generous agent - good on them!
9252fly From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1367 posts, RR: 0 Reply 17, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 3899 times:
Quoting Knightsofmalta (Reply 12): I beg to disagree. Basically what you're saying is that it's alright for a ticketing agent at the airport to wave all the fare restrictions on a ticket simply because he or she can't be bothered to reissue the ticket, doesn't know how to reissue it correctly or wants to avoid the risk of being told off by the passenger. And if they stick to the rules that makes them incapable of thinking for themselves!
Never said that. On the contrary,a good agent can do all the above if they so choose. Knowing what the rules are and looking at the individual situation is the key to making good decisions. Consistency is important but being anal is another.
Couple of weeks ago I got to the airport in Kansas City more than the suggested 90 minutes prior to my deparutre. Frontier had a 6pm and a 730pm flight to Denver. It was about 530 when I got to the ticket counter and the agent asked me which flight I was on. I replied that I was on the 730, but faced with 90 minutes of nothing to do or look at in Kansas city, I said with a smile "but I'll take the 6 if you want me to". She smiled and started typing away, I didn't think anything would come of it. She tagged my bag, handed me my boarding pass and said "you'd better hurry, they're about to start boarding the 6".... no change fee either....
I got the last row window seat on an A318.... had plenty of leg room and was comfy the whole flight...
RoyalAirMaroc From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2007, 187 posts, RR: 0 Reply 20, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 3850 times:
Personally, I think one of the best airline experiences was with BA in LHR T1. It was a very busy friday afternoon and i was on a flight to CMN via GB Airways. I was travelling with the family (4 people in total) and knew our luggage was overweight but thought we would try our chances at the airport. So we arrive and wait our turn at the queue. Finally we are served and our luggage is weighed. We had an excess of around 50kg's and where fully expecting to pay an excess. Luckily the check-in agent was a supervisor and did not apply any surcharges. She just smiled and handed us our boarding passes.
Personally i think its just because we were flying as a family that she decided to oversee the excess. Another point may also be that the flight was relatively empty at around 60-70% load.
What do you think ?
Life is a Journey, One Which I hope will include alot of Flights !! =]
FrmrCAPCADET From United States of America, joined May 2008, 1620 posts, RR: 1 Reply 21, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 3516 times:
Generally the policy SW has for changes is what ANY airline ought to do when it is possible. I could see maybe a $25 change fee to cover the ticket counter costs. I could even see a charge for upgrading to business or first if those were the only seats. But gratuitous charges screams, "The customer is the enemy". And note, I don't blame the counter agent, he/she is a victim in this too.
Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
OA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26028 posts, RR: 58 Reply 22, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 3467 times:
Quoting ZKEOJ (Reply 16): My experience with OA was horrible! Nobody spoke anything but Greek, and in fact, most didn't speak at all! At boarding, they just slammed the boarding pass on the desk - a seat in the smoking section while we asked for non-smoking. No comment, nothing.
Unfortunately back then too many employees were there because of whose son or daughter they were and had no incentive to do a decent job. They couldnt be sacked due to their connections. Lucky that alot of those have since left the company and a new generation of staff employed on merit are coming through the ranks. All frontline staff must have good English and many have 2 or 3 languages such as French and German. They have learnt the hard way at OA going to rock bottom to getting to somewhere acceptable which is the present state of the airline. With the restructure in the coming few months it will be make or break. At least this time round they have better staff attitudes and a proper business plan.
AEGEAN-OLYMPIC AIR - ΟΛΥΜΠΙΑΚΗ " μέλος στη Star Alliance
OA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26028 posts, RR: 58 Reply 24, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 3348 times:
Quoting TUNisia (Reply 23): Nice story and congrats to OA, but when possible always take Aegean over Olympic! Their A320s are amazing!
A3 are very good but lack a route network comparable with OA's. They are non existent in the USA and African ( except CAI ) and Middle Eastern market. They are ok if they happen to fly from your city or if your linking onto LH's network. They have not dented OA's network as much as they had hoped. I also find that their fares are quite expensive over OA's. Last year I had to have dealings with them for an incentive group connecting to a cruise ship and they were most un professional. I had a quite high opinion of them until then. For a company competing against a state airline they didnt seem to care if they got the group or not.
AEGEAN-OLYMPIC AIR - ΟΛΥΜΠΙΑΚΗ " μέλος στη Star Alliance
25 TUNisia: True, I wish they'd expand their network and wonder greatly what the future will bring with it. I've flown A3 to and from RHO on the 734 and just fle
26 OA260: Looking forward to the TR . I'm jealous of you . I wish I was there with my family. I'm begging for sun , August has been the wettest in history here
27 ClassicLover: Yeah, I had great service in the QF lounge once. I was travelling SYD-LAX with them in Y on an award ticket. In the lounge I wasn't feeling at all wel
28 SXDFC: Glad to hear a bit of a good story about OA! I have never flown on OA but I have met two of their pilots and a member of their flight crew and both we
29 PanAm747: I will NOT lay off United in this case. I have had fantastic experiences with UA, and I am certain that 99.9999% of the employees are dedicated peopl
30 ZWZWUnited: It is possible that it was a deeper ticketing issue than any of the staff there were able to take care of, and the supervisor was the only one who wa
31 PanAm747: Agreed, AA dropped the ball in several regards!! Had someone in Fort Smith (FSM) told them the flight was delayed before they checked in, they could h
32 OB1504: Like you said, AA screwed up—she may not have chosen UA, but she is now a traveler who might choose UA in the future, in light of AA's dopping the
33 Olympic707: I had nothing but good service from OA. Especially JFK-ATH-JFK flights. Other airlines now charge you extra for pillows, food etc. Not OA. OA offers:
34 OA260: Yes SX-DFC is attracted to that LOL.... I remember back in February when I was at ATH airport and the LHR flight had arrived ( A340 ) and after all t
35 Bahadir: Costantinople? You are 600 + years behind
36 OA260: In Greek we call it constantinoupoli / Κωνσταντινούπολη same way as in Turkish they call Greece Yunnanistan!!
37 SXDFC: Efharisto Phil! I heard A3 crew members are also friendly as well!
38 ZWZWUnited: I will admit there are things that UA could have done better in this instance, but AA gate agents should have been watching your sister's connections
39 OA260: Traitor LOL.... You will do anything if there is a Greek girl involved... stick to Marathon !!
40 SXDFC: Hahaha Marathon is my girl Since this is the topic of OA- whats the odds of UA going into ATH?
41 OA260: As much chance as them giving you a free meal on the IAD-LHR route in Y ....LOL....
42 ATLTPA: OK, here is my airline "good news" story. . . In 2006 (before Varig melted down), I flew ATL-MIA-GRU-POA on a combination of American Airlines and Var
43 Olympic707: Thats good. Who cares, I'll still fly on OA! Yanni
44 Mayor: Before we go off the deep end about agents that are too "anal", remember this.........some agents are hamstrung by the rules or by company policies OR