Alaska Airlines / Stunned by customer service behavior
I am a college student. I was attempting to fly to visit a prospective university campus to see if it was a good fit for me, so naturally I meticulously scouted for the best fares, and found my best chance at a cost effective travel on Craig's List (shame on me!) from a person who is "In the Industry" selling "Guest Passes."
All I can say is that I experienced one problem after another after another, each problem becoming worse and worse. The first several of such problems can be summarized as follows: The Guest passes work NOTHING like I was lead to believe, or outright TOLD they would by this supposed Alaska Airlines employee. The pass was real, but the claims surrounding how, when, and under what conditions it could be used were bogus. I'm not going to get into the details, because as it turns out the guy wasn't even an employee - he got the guest passes from someone else and thus they are irrelevant to this post.
The biggest shocker of my experience was a supervisor's reaction to my complaint about how the passes were not working the way I was told they would by a supposed airline employee. I'd been sitting in the airport all afternoon, I was told that I would be on this flight. I wasn't. Rather than seeming sympathetic however, the supervisor working boarding counters at Sea-tac THREATENED ME with being permanently banned from the airline for having such a pass! Apparently they are ONLY for family member and friends of employees, and absolutely NOT to be resold under ANY circumstance.
I couldn't believe it. In retrospect, I was was pretty foolish to trust something that seemed 'too good' to be true, but at the same time it was their employee that was crooked. What I saw was cheap air fare, to fit my current shoe string budget and I said "I'll take it!" Why am I being threatened over their employee's wrong doing?
I had been told tall tales about the airline having to compensate me if I don't get on the flight by putting me on the next available flight, free tickets, or cash compensation. None of that was true. What was worse was that somehow I managed to keep getting lower and lower on the standby list. Who was getting in front of me I don't know but some how I managed to go from 4th to 6th to 7th depending on who and how close to departure I asked. I was also told by the person who swindled me that I wouldn't even BE on the standby list if I did online check in and got my bording pass, so I was very much distressed by the turn of events.
Anyway... that supervisor REALLY upset me, I asked to speak to his boss, and he said that there was only him at the air port (I doubt that - he was young high ranking people are typically older). Instead I made my way to customer service, and explained the situation, and while aloofly sympathetic, they basically told me there was nothing they would do. I asked to speak to that supervisors boss, and FINALLY after much going back and fourth, we arrived at an agreement that made me feel like I wasn't -completely- cheated, but it was like pulling teeth to get there.
In the end I bought a full price ticket, but at the lowest price available in the next month. More than what I paid, but still (theoretically) getting me to school as of tomorrow AM.
I guess I just had a definite feeling of us vs the paying customer. I mean, I help them uncover an employee that is selling their benefits online via a third party (this person seems to have lots of guest passes available), and for over an hour they treat me like a criminal. They want me to help them with information regarding the transaction (which I was more than willing to do if they'd help me out of the bind) but didn't want to help me with my current travel plans in return.
C'mon... They are an AIRLINE. They give stuff away all the time, give me a consolation prize for being victim of an abusive employee here. Bad enough that my hotel reservation is shot for tonight. They get what they want - finding the rotten apples in their company, I get what I want - travel to see my University. I fail to see why this is such a hard concept to grasp especially when I already paid $74 each way TO THE AIRLINE (a discounted rate) for the guest tickets. I also paid 70 each to the middle man.
Siiiigh... anyway. I'd be happier if they were more fourth coming with their solution... I just got the impression that they realized I was ready to camp out on their customer service desk for them to budge.
I kinda got the impression that they didn't care so much about company reputation, and didn't really care at all about customers. You'd think that they'd want to please someone that'd bound to be traveling back and fourth several thousand miles every few months, but I guess not.
Anyway, I'm sleepy so I'm guessing there are a lot of errors in this message, but I needed to vent it somewhere.
For clarification on the relationship between the employee of Alaskan airlines, myself, and the person I bought the tickets from, it appears that an Alaskan Airlines employee was using a middle man to sell guest passes that she acquired from work, and that middle man answered questions as if he himself were an Alaskan employee. It's not completely fraudulent, as the guest passes were real, but they didn't work at all as I was told they would.
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