[Resolved] Etihad Airways / service and booking

I was told that my morning flight going home got cancelled and they transferred me to an evening flight. When i checked in for the evening flight, I asked what happened with the morning flight, and to my shock I was told that it went as scheduled.

I'm flying business and I was even told that there are empty seats available.

Here's the response I got from Etihad.
Thank you for writing to us about your flight EY2 and EY8 from Frankfurt to Abu Dhabi on 14 July 2018.

You have every right to expect that flights depart as booked, and I am really sorry that your flight was affected by schedule change. We certainly are sorry for the discomfort you experienced and apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Having carefully reviewed your booking, there was indeed a change in timing of EY2, but no cancellation. I have spoken to the reservations team and they admit that the agent first gave a wrong advice to you. We would like to apologise for that. However, your travel agency called shortly after and was advised about the right re-booking policy for the schedule change but did not change your ticket e.g. for the following day. It would have been possible to re-book the flight to the 15 July. You might get in touch with your travel agent for further details.

We understand that a good meal makes our guest's trip more pleasant. It is unfortunate and I am sorry to learn that you didn't enjoy our meal quality. I have shared your comments with our Manager Catering & Performance in order to ensure that they are considered.

I am also sorry to learn that you were confronted with the misbehavior of another guest. I certainly understand that this must have been a very inconvenient situation for you. Your feedback about the way our Cabin Crew handled the situation makes us very happy. Please be assured that our staff always ensures that the safety of our flights is given at any time. Our crew is specifically trained to handle such situations and even to restrain a passenger if necessary.

Since we value you as our guest and understand the importance of a pleasant experience, I would like to offer USD 150 to be credited to your Travel Bank Account as a gesture of goodwill. Travel Bank is Etihad Airways' credit tool that enables the airline to give service credits to guests.

It is an electronic alternative to giving cash or voucher refunds, and a completely paperless process. Funds are kept in the Travel Bank account until they are required. Travel Bank Credits be used as form of payment towards flight tickets or other Etihad Airways products and services.

If you are not already a member, you may enroll in our Etihad Guest programme online. Once you have enrolled in the Etihad Guest programme, please email me your Etihad Guest number so I can create your travel bank account and ensure the credits are added accordingly.

Further notes - Travel Bank: Credits are valid for a period of 365 days from the date it is credited. The credit validity cannot be extended. Credits cannot be exchanged in lieu of cash, but can be redeemed by calling the Etihad Airways Contact Centre or through the Etihad Airways Retail offices. Credits can be used to pay for tickets including taxes and fees as well as purchase of ancillary products such as extra leg room seats, excess baggage etc. A Travel Bank member may allow a non-member to utilize his/her service credits provided the non-member is an adult or child passenger. Miles redemption bookings, Etihad Holiday packages and Travel agency bookings cannot be issued using Travel Bank credits.

In order to follow up on your damaged baggage. Kindly provide your file reference number (PIR) which looks like the following reference: MNLEY12345.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to address your concerns. We would really appreciate the chance to show you a better experience next time.

Yours sincerely,

Mario Knauth
Guest Relations

And then this was my response:
Dear Mario,

Thank you for the response and taking the time to take it point by point. Although I must admit, what you offered us, for both myself and my mother is quite defamatory. That amount does not compensate all the trouble, the hassle, the discomfort, and the stress it all caused.

First, I really find it quite preposterous to give us WRONG information for our flight. It's like a control center giving the pilot wrong information, the pilot does everything he can to land the plane properly, and then later you tell the pilot, we will just give you a credit to your account. I'm sorry, but that's just how I compare it.

Second, the travel agent did call. Several times, while we were at the airport, and in all fairness to them, they did what they could on their part. We went back and forth for over 16 calls that day, just to make sure we get a proper booking on our way back. In fact, they explored all possible scenarios, just to be able to avoid any more inconvenience on our part. I asked if we can move the flight to July 15 instead, Etihad said NO. I asked if we can take the later flight (EY008) but check in early and wait at the lounge at least, Etihad said NO. I asked if we can at least leave or check in our luggage early, even without lounge access, Etihad said NO. I then asked, what are the options on the table? They said take the EY008. That's it. I guess that's not an option at all. It's an order, and I find it very sick!

Thirdly, if ETIHAD would really like to correct this, they have 14 days to do so from June 30 to July 13. But never did we get any, ANY reach out at all. That day we checked in for our flight back home, out of curiosity we asked what happened with the morning flight, and do you have any idea how it felt like to be told that it pushed thru? After all the schedule changes, additional hotel accomodation, and cancelled meetings we had to make? Would you have any idea how humiliating it feels? Then we're told that there's even 5 empty business seats on that flight, you know how brutal that is?

My feedback on the food and the experience with another passenger are minor ones. The damage on luggage, we've shouldered already. Sometimes, those are not within your control and I won't take it against your airline. It's just plain feedback, just so you're in the know. The booking though is another thing. That should be within your controls and it's just unacceptable.

If you really want to make amends on this, I demand a refund for both myself and my mother, NOT of the whole flight, that's not fair; but of the flight out of Frankfurt, at least give us that courtesy.

And then this:
Thank you for writing to us about your flight EY2 and EY8 from Frankfurt to Abu Dhabi on 14 July 2018 again.

Having admitted that the first agent gave you a wrong advice is what we would like to apologise for. On the other hand your travel agency was advised about the right re-booking policy for the schedule change and had the control over the ticket. For us it is not possible to find out why no change was made in the end. As mentioned earlier, according to the re-booking policy it would have been possible.

Kindly allow me to explain that it wouldn't be possible to access the lounge earlier as we are using a 3rd party lounge in Frankfurt and we have strict agreements for the times where we can use it. This is similar to the luggage, which can only get checked-in when our counters are open. Thank you for your understanding.  

Whilst we do understand that you had to change your travel plans, we are not in the position to refund you for the Frankfurt-Abu Dhabi flight. In view of this, our offer of USD 150 to be credited to your Travel Bank account will remain the same.

My last reponse:
Thank you for the response. I also called Citibank and inquired about the lapses. Apparently, the finger points back to Etihad.

This is becoming a you-said, they-said scenario. I guess it all boils down to the customer always on the losing end while the two parties start cleaning the backyards.

We are not interested in your offer. Keep it and let it be a reminder of your failure and your customer service.

  • Resolution statement

    Customer care service did everything in their power to resolve this complaint. All attempts to contact the complainant have failed. Therefore, this complaint has been annulled and must not be considered where image of the company in question and it's services are concerned.

  • Etihad Airways Customer Care's Response, Jul 27, 2018

    Hello, we are sorry to hear about your experience and that the offer that was made to you by our officer was not acceptable for you. We apologize for the inconvenience the issue has caused to you. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. *Marc

Jul 26, 2018

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