Thai Airways / Unacceptable Customer Service
On Tuesday 16 December 2008, I accompanied my children to Ngurah Rai International airport in Denpasar, to oversee their departure for the US, via Bangkok, to go see their mother for Christmas and New Year. I was accompanied by a friend from a local travel agency.
When we purchased the ticket for my chidren, we were told that they would be under Thai Airlines’ responsibility from Denpasar to Bangkok, then handed over to a United Airlines representative who would care for them until their departure the following morning for Los Angeles, on a United flight. As a matter of fact, a United Airlines representative personally called me, from the US, to inform me that the procedure was common, already entered into the computer and that the checking agent in Denpasar would have it in the computer, upon checking in my children. The cost of that special service was 189USD, to be paid at the time of check-in, in Denpasar.
In fact, on Tuesday 16 December 2008, upon check-in at Ngurah Rai, we were greeted by a very pleasant gentleman, at the Thai check-in counter, who proceeded to look at the e-ticket and input the information. Very quickly, however, his look became puzzled. There was no UM passenger in his computer, in spite of me having all the necessary forms, as provided by United. He began asking me who was going to take care of the boys in Bangkok, where they were going to sleep, etc., all information I was told would be on his screen at check-in. I answered he should have all that info on his screen but he didn’t. So he called a supervisor and a heavy set lady in a purple outfit arrived.
No hello, no nothing. She went behind the counter and told the staff in Indonesian language “anak tidak boleh nignap di Bangkok kalau UM”. Never introduced herself to me or said sorry, we are having a problem with the reservation, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Great customer service… Off to a good start !
Speaking Indonesian, I said to her “apa maksudmu anak tidak boleh nignap di Bangkok?” and proceeded to explain to her the background I outlined for you above… She stopped me before I could finish and said, I quote: “I don’t care where you bought your ticket or how much you paid for it”. Upset at her tone and lack of manners, I asked her to contact United and fix the problem with them.
Clearly there had to be mis-communication somewhere. She refused, saying: “I am a Thai Airways representative. It’s not my job to contact United. You contact them if you want”.
At this point, I still didn’t know her name but I had just learned she is a Thai Airways representative… To make a long story short, seeing that she was very rude and highly useless, I asked to speak to her manager. NOBODY dared to give me the name of the manager, let alone call him or her. Everybody was frozen. Again, great customer service!
“Jane” then said: “I can let your sons fly as adults if you want”. I then asked her who would take care of them once in Bangkok. She said it wasn’t her problem, up to me… I repeatedly pointed her back to the e-ticket which clearly says Thai Airlines then United was responsible for my children and she kept saying, “Thai airlines is not responsible for your kids”…
I travel a lot and have flown a lot of companies over my years but I must admit that I have never felt so insulted than by that woman “Jane”. Even the male staff behind the counter apologized for her attitude, feeling embarrassed by her words. When she turned her back, he even offered: “The customer is king for me…”. That means a lot if you can read between the lines.
“Jane” didn’t get any better with her attitude and I also became more upset. As a result, my children did not fly. Their safety is paramount to me and since Thai airlines, through the rude voice of its representative, “Jane”, decided to release itself from its duties, therefore breaching the contract that a plane ticket constitutes, I didn’t want to put them in the hands of irresponsible staff.
Now, I ask you. Is this common procedure for a customer service agent of Thai to treat customers? Is it also common procedure for Thai Airlines NOT to honor its contract, as stipulated in the given itinerary? What happened to courteous service attitude? Has “Jane” forgotten that flyers are the people that keep the company alive? Flyers like my children, myself and many others? What happened, I ask you?
“Jane” has done more than ruin my children Christmas and New Year holidays, she has also succeeded in alienating many potential customers, namely myself and those around me.
I immediately wrote a letter to the general manager of Thai Airways in Denpasar and copied the general manager in Jakarta. To date, I have had no answer, not even an acknowledgement of my complaint.
I thought that Thai Airlines operated on the principle of building a solid reputation. Could it be that the rumor I hear, that Thai Airlines’ service has gone down in the last few years, is in fact true? That would certainly be disappointing.
I would like to suggest that such behavior by any staff/representative reflects poorly on the company overall, is reprehensible and counterproductive to the bottom line of Thai Airlines.
Think twice next time you want to fly Thai...
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