Access to airtime

11 Dec 09 02:55PM EST
Post by Tanya Fong

Being captive to lousy service is everyone’s bugbear, especially when you know you could’ve got a better deal elsewhere. Could’ve, would’ve, should’ve.

Two days ago, I tried to change the flight dates with a major airline here and was told I had to pay $62.50 to do so, which was expected. But there was another $80 for administrative fees. When I asked the customer service officer if this was recently added and if the exact amount is reflected in the terms and conditions of the ticket - as it was certainly not so when I bought the ticket - she did not have the answer. She also said that the ticket I bought was “cheaper than others” (on sale price) so I would have to “pay a lot more” if I wanted to get on that flight I wanted. When I asked how much, she said she’ll check.

I hung up after being put on hold for 10 minutes. Then I remembered this was an airline that consumers voted as having a poor customer service record in our International Airlines Satisfaction Survey and winced – could’ve, should’ve, would’ve chosen another airline. The online CHOICE International and Domestic Airlines Satisfaction Survey has gone out to many of you. You can also access it here. This is your chance to have your say, your vote, which will put two things in action: 1. Help other consumers make better decisions and 2. Push airlines to lift their game.

Last year, a Virgin Atlantic British passenger was so upset with the quality of the food served onboard the Mumbai-Heathrow flight that he took photos of it to send with a complaint letter to Virgin boss Richard Branson. He also blogged it. Bloggers posted it on their sites, re-igniting the PR nightmare for Virgin. The result: Branson himself apologised to the passenger and invited him to select food and wine on Virgin flights.

Our article on The Power of Social Media shows how the online world is helping disgruntled customers to effect change. It demonstrates how your complaints can be expedited through Facebook and Twitter. There’s much strength in organised efforts. That’s why CHOICE exists. It’s where you get some real airtime. It's your money, your CHOICE.


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