June 2007
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Why is it so Difficult to Give the Customer What They Paid For?

I just got off the phone with a customer service agent from American Airlines and even though I finally got what I asked for in the end I am quite upset. Here’s the deal:

I was flying from Seattle to Orlando by way of Dallas on May 30 for work and when I got to the airport to check in they said my flight out of Dallas had been canceled. Ok — that’s fine — so put me on another flight. He says the best he can do for me is to get me on a United flight that gets me in at around an hour later than my original flight. They have an American flight but it is leaving several hours later so the United looks the best. I only had one question, “Can you put the miles from the flight on my American mileage account?”. “Yes, I can transfer that over sir.” was the reply I received. I then walked down to the United counter where the attendant didn’t know about the American miles but he did tell me to hold on to my boarding pass and then call American later with the information.

So I had my flight down to Orlando, worked for about 10 days then came back on my previously scheduled American flight. Everything went fairly smoothly as far as airports go. I logged in on American’s site and saw they had a mileage credit form to fill out but when I tried to fill it out United wasn’t listed because they are not a partner airline. There was something that said you can’t get credit until 15 days after the flight so I waited until today to call and check to see what I needed to do for the credit.

After explaining the situation to them I was told that because the cancellation was weather-related they did not offer mileage credit. Their line seemed to be, “the airline compensated you to get to your destination so we do not offer mileage on those flights unless you are on a partner airline.”. The explanation for my having been told by the agent at the airport that I would get my miles was “sometimes the agents at the airport don’t know how the program works.”. Am I supposed to be satisfied with that response? Your employees don’t know how the company works so they might misinform me sometimes and that’s OK? Unacceptable. I tried to use common sense (always a mistake) and argue that they put me on the flight that was not a partner airline and I did not choose it! If I had known my miles would be forfeit, I would have waited around for an American flight. Basically, I could choose any airline when initially booking my flight but I chose American because I would get the miles — now you change my flight to another airline and tell me my miles do not count? She said she was not authorized to change anything so I asked to speak with someone who was which she seemed not to hear or something. Finally she asked me to hold again and a few minutes later and said “Ok, she’s going to give you the miles….” with a clear reluctance at me getting what I had asked for. She asked if I had any other questions and as I said I did not she promptly hung up without so much as a goodbye. I was almost prepared to forgive up until that point. Hanging up on a customer? As far as I see it all I wanted was what I had paid for and was promised.

Now let’s just hope that credit shows up and I don’t have to call back again….

2 comments to Why is it so Difficult to Give the Customer What They Paid For?

  • daphne

    geez, what service. :S i don’t understand the logic behind what it means, but basically the bitch lady was rude.

  • There isn’t really any logic. The businesses I want to come back to are ones who take a little hit just to give me what I wanted. Repeat business is what makes you money; not screwing your customers for a few bucks.

    At least the miles finally posted so I don’t have to call them again.