I will try to lay it out as much as possible... and try to give you the tone of the conversation as well. Quite difficult in a written version. It is lengthy... but it is necessary to explain the course of events over the 24 hour period.
We arrived in Atlanta on time... and went to the Delta Sky Lounge to relax until our next flight. The hostess informed me that another flight to Paris had been cancelled... and they were looking for volunteers, so I proceeded to the gate to place our names on the list. They did not need us to give up our seats... but they DID at the time... they were needing to move to accomodate passengers traveling together. we volunteered to move. It was a full flight... and I had some very talkative neighbors... so we didn't sleep on the flight to Amsterdam. We arrived tired... but happy & excited to get going on our first vacation to Europe with the kids.
This was an educational trip and my husband was joining us two days later... so it was up to me to get the kids to see the sights & get to the hotel in Germany safely.
We immediately went to the sky lounge to utilize the showers & enjoy some peace & quiet.
While there... I spoke with the staff about the educational sights in Amsterdam we wanted to see to fulfill their requirements for school. Since we had such a long layover, They were very helpful, and gave me a map, what train to take as well as a great coffee shop on the way. we were quite pleased. It should take 2 hours.
We enjoyed the train, the square, saw Anne Franks House & got back to the airport at 4:00.
The line for security was extremely long. By the time we got through, and ran to the gate... we missed the plane by 10 minutes.
The gate agent instructed me to go to Delta/KLM guest services... there was another flight leaving in a hour or so... they could get us on the next one.
So... we walked to the guest services, waited our turn & spoke with the agent. She was pleasant and did not seemed worried. THEN... She asked what happened that we missed our flight. I told her "to be honest... we were visiting Anne Franks House & when we returned... security was too long to get through in time." So I explained the children's project they had to complete and all the places we visited. Told her the time we returned & what the gate agent said.
She started typing... took about 10 minutes. Then proceeded to tell me "You owe $600 euros. How will you pay for it?"
I asked her why was she charging me the money? She said "Change Fee".
I explained that I did not have that much money to spend. And she said "Then you need to call somebody."
I told her my phone did not work in Europe, I had to buy another phone, and I really did not know whom to call for the extra money.
She said to her agent neighbor... "Who travels in Europe without at least a credit card!"
I then began to get a bit upset. I told her I DID have a credit card, but it was for our two week trips expenses. and I had not budgeted for a fee like this. I did not have the money.
She told me "Then you do not have a ticket!" and smiled to her agent neighbor... who rather uncomfortably smiled to me.
Not knowing what to do... I walked away.
I began looking for a Delta Rep. Everyone I met referred me back to the guest service desk. Then I found a supervisor to the reservation team. She was so nice. I was crying by this time. She asked why I just didn't get on another flight... and I explained what had happened. She asked which agent I was dealing with... and I showed her. but I did not know her name. Her words were... "if you had simply told her you missed the flight... she would have rebooked you. OR... if you had stayed at the gate... they could have helped you."
But this didn't help me now. She said... come with me. She gave me 3 calling cards to talk with Delta in the united states. And spent 15 minutes with me helping me find the right number to call & looking at other flight options. After I knew my flight, I went to the phone I had to use to call. The cards shut off on each card before res answered. So I was unable to get through to the res in US. All the local offices were KLM agents... that ALL referred me back to the guest services desk at the airport.
I walked back to guest services... and told the agent that I needed to speak with her again. I asked her if she could PLEASE talk to a supervisor about my situation. She said "no one is available. It is my decision. She will side with me" At this time I had enough... so I insisted to speak with a supervisor. She again told me no one was available... and wouldn't be available until 7:00. and if I waited... I might not make the next flight.
I said... I will wait.
I asked he name... and she leaned forward and said in very distinct English... accenting EVERY letter & sound... "TICKET AGENT!"
I said... your name is ticket agent? She said "Yes".
and left the desk to go behind the wall. Yes... I was crying... but not hysterically. I had not slept in 36 hours by this time... and was additionally frustrated by the agent.
I looked at the agent next to her... and said... can YOU help me? And she nervously looked around and said "the decision has been made." I said... she told me her name was ticket agent... and the other agent explained that they are not allowed to give out their names because of Facebook.
I left and returned 15 minutes later.
I decided that I would activate my rail pass... and just go ahead to Germany from Amsterdam.
I asked for my luggage.
Because the original agent was on break, I was then told by the other agent... that if they got my luggage... and I did not complete the segment to Zurich... that my ticket would be cancelled for the rest of the flight. I would have to buy another ticket to go home.
I asked if they could override it in this situation... and they told me it was not possible. I left crying.
At 7:00 I returned to speak to the supervisor. She was very nice, pleasant & took quite a bit of time "researching my ticket" and talking to the original agent. I explained my situation to her, why I was honest about leaving the airport, what the others in the airport had told me I SHOULD have said, how I had volunteered my seat in Atlanta and did not have the extra funds to pay the fee. I waited 45 minutes while they talked, called people, & generally walked around.
I was not making a scene (other than my tears)
I was very polite... but to the point as what I expected, what I was able to do & that I had two children waiting patiently behind me that were really upset watching me cry.
She said she had no authority to override the fee imposed by the original agent.
That I had to pay the fee... then when I returned home, talk to my Delta Customer relations rep to seek a refund.
I was stuck. I had no choice.
1. Pay the change fee & continue on.
2. Not pay the change fee and live in the Amsterdam airport.
3. Leave, without luggage... and pay full price for a return flight.
None of these options were anything that I could afford.
I paid the fee to the original agent. She issued the tickets for the next flight which was leaving in 30 minutes. When I turned to leave, Her comment was... "I hope you make it this time to the gate!" I looked at the agent next to her and informed her that she was the rudest woman I had ever met... and it did not look good for Delta or KLM to have such a person on their front lines... especially in customer service. I then told her & the supervisor that I wanted to make a formal complaint. They told me I would have to do it to Delta since my ticket was issued by Delta. Having no further recourse or choice... I turned to leave again.
My daughter (age 12) witnessed the original "Ticket Agent" laughing to the agent next to her. She said... "mommy she is laughing at you."
Horrified... I told her she wasn't worth my time & energy any longer... and we had a wonderful vacation to re-start! So we were offered an express pass through security by the Delta/KLM rep that helped us earlier with the phone cards and we made the flight.
When we arrived in Zurich, our baggage did not. (I still believe the "Ticket Agent" did this on purpose)
The KLM lost baggage rep was very kind, apologetic & gave us the care packets. & routed our luggage to the hotel where we were staying the next night, Zurich Swissotel because my husband would arrive the next day..
Because of the delays... we missed our train to Singen Germany & we missed our guaranteed hotel night at the Holiday Inn Singen. (They charged us for the room anyway because we could not cancel in time). There were no hotels with availability in Zurich when we arrived at midnight that evening... so we were allowed to stay the evening in the lobby of the Zurich Swissotel... they knew of our situation and we had a reservation their for the next evening. (Frank was very sweet, accomodated myself & the children by allowing the children to actually sleep in the lobby of the hotel while I sat up all night. At 7:00 AM they cleared a room for us to go ahead and enter. The customer service was above & beyond normal. I have sent personal letters to that hotel for their help.)
To add injury to insult... the luggage did not arrive the next morning either. So... since we could not get to our scheduled academic work in the Black Forest... we made the best of the day in Zurich. We sported our white T-Shirts & Black socks (KLM wear) the next day and went to visit the educational sites in the city. I have attached our photo showing the KLM wear in a humorous way... we really DID try to make the best of it).
Our luggage arrived at 8:00 PM that night.
And we picked up my husband and continued on with our trip.
I wanted to give you a "feel" as to how this 24 hour period went... and it was the beginning of a vacation that ended beautifully... but we lost an entire day of our vacation... that we will not get back... plus fees plus "no Show" cancellation charges for hotels & activities.
The complaint has been investigated and resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.