Topic Author
Posts: 457
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2005 11:44 am

Bad Experience With AZ - Ignoring Letter - Next?

Fri Oct 27, 2006 10:15 am

Howdy All,

Not sure if this is the right forum, please send me to the correct one if not

I had a bad experience on AZ recently involving much stress and running (literally!). A transcript of it is below. Basically they canceled a flight on me (FLR to MXP), meaning I missed my connecting flight (MXP to VIE). The next day I had to fly VIE-IAD. Because of a series of very unprofessional and random events (see below), I ended up a further EUR115 out of pocket for AZ's mistakes.

I wrote to AZ back in early Sept, but they haven't contacted me, so I have sent them another copy of the letter, with receipts etc showing the chain of events. I cc'd the original letter, and the second letter to the AZ customer service dept in NY, and in Rome, and also the regional manager here in the US. My question is, is there any further recourse for this? All I want back is the EUR115.00 which I was required to pay because of this series of events. I I understand also I am entitled to EC compensation, but from what I have read, I have buckleys of getting that from AZ.

If AZ can afford to repaint thier planes, they can afford to reimburse me for the cab fare! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance


I was scheduled to travel on AZ1695 from FLR to MXP, connecting to flight AZ 196 from MXP to VIE, departing at 1705 hrs on 9/9/06, and arriving into VIE at 2155 hrs the same day. The next day I was booked on a separate ticket to travel from VIE to SJC (via IAD) with United Airlines, commencing on Austrian Airlines flight OS 93 (UA codeshare flight 9465) at 1100 hrs on 9/8/06. I had made prepaid arrangements for hotel accommodation in Vienna for the night of 9/8/06.

I arrived at FLR airport at approximately 1550 hrs for the 1705 hrs departure, however all check-in facilities for AZ were shut, and the boards showed that my scheduled flight to MXP (AZ 1695) was cancelled for “operational reasons”. I went to the AZ ticket counter immediately. There was a line of approximately 20 people waiting in front of the counter, with one AZ staffmember attending (slowly) to reaccommodation of passengers. At approximately 1615 hrs, another AZ staffmember appeared and explained that the passengers of AZ1695 should board a bus to MXP, and that passengers making connections after 2100hrs would be reaccomodated the next day. I explained to the AZ staffmember that it was imperative that I arrived in VIE in sufficient time to catch my Austrian Airlines flight at 1100 hrs. The AZ staffmember told me (after consulting a check-in computer) that I had been rebooked the next morning on OS518 from MXP to VIE, departing at 0805hrs, and arriving into VIE at 0925hrs. The AZ staffmember told me to get on the bus immediately (it left within 10 minutes) and to proceed to the ticket counter at MXP to get my new ticket and find out about accommodation details.

I proceeded to board the bus, where I received a Refund Form, and was told that the bus to MXP would take 3 – 4 hours. The bus departed at 1630 hrs. We made a single restroom stop ca. 30 minutes after departure from Florence airport between Florence and Bologna. A passenger behind me in the bus had a small dog with her, and there were several elderly passengers on board who needed to use the restroom between Bologna and Milan. We arrived at MXP at approximately 2125 hrs (ca. 5 h after departure from Florence airport).

Upon arrival, I proceeded to the AZ ticket office, where I waited in line to see an agent for approximately 15 minutes. The AZ ticket office agent said that I needed to proceed to check-in for reaccommodation and to receive hotel and transfer certificates for the night. I then walked to the check-in (area 5 at MXP) where I waited in line for approximately 30 minutes. The AZ check-in agent gave me a voucher for a hotel and transfers (she told me that I needed to take this to Airport 2000 on Level 0 and that they would give me further details), and noted on the voucher my new flight number (OS518) and time of departure (0805 hrs). I asked her what time I needed to be at the airport. The AZ check-in agent told me approximately 0645 hrs. I enquired whether I needed a new ticket for travel on Austrian Airlines, to which the AZ check-in agent responded that it was an electronic ticket and that I should check with the ticket office that this was correct.

At 2245 hrs I proceeded to the ticket office, and asked whether I needed a new ticket. The AZ ticket office agent told me that I may have needed a new ticket and that I should proceed back to check-in since they were unable to make new tickets. I proceeded back to check-in area 5, where I waited in line for a further 30 minutes (now it was 2325hrs). After attending to their existing customers (and not those in line), all AZ check-in staff walked off and closed their stations.

Believing that I would receive the same information about the new ticket as was given me by the first check-in agent (i.e. that I did not need one and that it was an e-ticket), at 0010hrs I proceeded to Airport 2000 to be accommodated for the evening. I gave my voucher to the staffmember at the counter, who took it and told me to wait outside the office until called. At 0035 hrs, the agent called out my name and told me to board a coach for the hotel. She passed me a portion of the voucher on which was written “CP LIN” and below it “0530”. I boarded the coach, assuming we were bound for a hotel in the vicinity of Malpensa Airport. Instead, the coach took over 1 hour (now 0140 hrs), and dropped us off at the Crown Plaza Hotel Linate Airport. I checked into the hotel, where the Crown Plaza staffmember told me that I should report to check-in at 0530 hrs because AZ had arranged a transfer to the airport at that time.

At 0515 hrs, I proceeded to the hotel lobby, and waited until 0530 hrs. At 0530 hrs, a Crown Plaza bus stopped in front of the reception and the driver asked if I was the passenger for Linate airport (LIN). I replied no, and that my flight was from MXP. Assuming that another bus would arrive, I waited in front of the hotel until 0545 hrs. I then asked the Crown Plaza staffmember in the lobby whether he knew what time my transfer was supposed to arrive to which he replied that my voucher said 0530 hrs. Mindful of the travel time between LIN and MXP airports, and that I should check-in with Austrian Airlines by 0645 hrs (as stated by the AZ check-in agent at MXP), I decided to wait until 0600 hrs. At 0600 hrs, since no transfer appeared at the hotel to take me to MXP, I asked the lobby to call a taxi for transfer from LIN to MXP. A taxi arrived at 0605 hrs, and drove me to MXP airport (arriving 0645 hrs). I paid the fare for the taxi (EUR 115).

Upon arrival at MXP, I went to the Austrian Airlines check-in desk. An Austrian Airlines check-in staffmember told me that I needed a new ticket because it was not an e-ticket as stated by the AZ check-in staffmember the night before. They told me to go to the ticket office, and that I had 20 minutes to get a new ticket and check-in since check-in for OS518 closed at 0725 hrs. I sprinted (literally ran) to the ticket office, where I waited in line for 5 minutes. The AZ ticket office staffmember told me that they couldn’t do it, and that I should proceed to an AZ check-in counter for a new ticket. I sprinted to the AZ check-in areas 5 – 6 (economy class) which both had lines of approximately 20 people waiting. Fearing I would miss the flight I went to the Magnifica Business class counter, asked them to call the ticket office, and issue me a new ticket. After some discussion between the Magnifica Class check-in agent and the AZ ticket office, the agent told me that it was not possible to do it there, and that I should go to the economy class check-in desks. When I told her that I would not make the flight and that there was an extensive wait at the economy class ticket counter, the agent walked off from the counter and returned 5 minutes later. After some discussion, she manually wrote out a new ticket for Austrian Airlines and handed it to me. At 0722 hrs, I proceeded to the Austrian Airlines check-in where I checked in for the flight.

The ensuing Austrian flight (OS518) was delayed by 40 minutes, I arrived in VIE eventually at 0945hrs, where I was [just] able to check-in for my flights to the USA after sprinting from luggage claim to the OS check-in desk (because of late check-in at MXP I was unable to check-in my bags through to SJC). Fortunately I made it to SJC on schedule.
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RE: Bad Experience With AZ - Ignoring Letter - Next?

Fri Oct 27, 2006 10:44 am

you won't get anything . sorry .
Some see lines, others see between the lines.
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RE: Bad Experience With AZ - Ignoring Letter - Next?

Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:04 am


I occassionally have to deal with letters from customers who are unhappy about something that happened, so I can hopefully offer some suggestions.

First off, your story is rather long -- if I'm a CSR and I have plenty of letters in my in-box, I'm not going to spend the time reading a tome. I want to know what you want, and why -- I don't really need all the minutiae.

In the second place, you've told a (not-so-nice) story, but you haven't told me what you actually want me to do. I can't go to my manager and say "I think this writer wants us to refund his money for the taxi" -- my manager is going to laugh at me. You need to be specific about what you want -- and why.

How did AZ's cancellation of your flight affect you DIRECTLY and cost you money DIRECTLY -- the fact that there was a woman on the bus with a dog is really immaterial in this case -- she's not the person writing to complain, you are.

If you want results, you need to be "short, sweet, to-the-point" and be clear about what you want, don't leave the CSR the room to say "why did you write this letter to me?"
Topic Author
Posts: 457
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2005 11:44 am

RE: Bad Experience With AZ - Ignoring Letter - Next?

Fri Oct 27, 2006 12:33 pm


Thanks for your advice, greatly appreciated. I did actually put at the beginning of the letter exactly what I wanted (and again at the end), but didn't want to leave out details on the transcript that may otherwise put holes in my story. It's a syndrome of being a scientist! Next letter to AZ, in another month or so, I'll put a more condensed version.


Is that usual airline policy or your experience? Not even a letter saying I won't get anything? I know AZ is having its troubles, but ignoring someone's letter completely would be extremely bad customer service.

Isn't there some European Commission watchdog on airlines? I know that route probably wouldn't help get my money back, but at the very least it may prevent this situation in the future.

Guess I'll just keep forking out the 37 cent stamps for postage of letters - makes me feel better!
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RE: Bad Experience With AZ - Ignoring Letter - Next?

Fri Oct 27, 2006 3:24 pm

Ah the fun of traveling with AZ, This summer I flew AZ on one of my trips and had my baggage lost until I returned home, I'll spare the details, AZ actually did send me a check to reimburse me for the costs that I sent them the receipts for as well as an additional $200 and an upgrade coupon. About two months passed from when I sent the letter and heard anything back. I also sent a letter in Italian to the main office in Italy but have not heard anything from them, nor do I expect to. I would hold off on sending another letter for a bit. Good Luck
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