Saturday, August 07, 2010

Bad service

So we just returned from the US to Beijing, and it was probably one of the worst flight experiences I've ever had in my life (and I've had pretty vast travelling experiences on various airlines).

We traveled on Continental Airlines, our first experience with this airline. The trip there was pretty uneventful. The plane itself was new with a good entertainment system that is up to par with what SIA has to offer. The service was OK during our onward trip. However, it was a totally different story coming back.

The flight started off OK; we boarded the plane in Newark, after a transit of about an hour & a half. We got to our seats, strapped our seat belts on & waited. And waited. And waited. After over an hour, the pilot finally informed us that due to a technical problem, we would have to deplane & they would try to arrange for a different plane to take us on our journey.

And so we did. And they manage to arrange for an incoming plane from Europe to replace the original one, taking off after a delay of about 4 hours. Not too bad, I thought.

So the time comes for us to board, and we are boarded according to our seats. When it is our turn, we find out as we go through the gate that our seat assignment has been changed, from 2 aisle seats in the front cabin, to 2 middle seats in the back cabin, separate from each other. "What the h***???!!!" I think.

When we get on board, I ask the flight attendant for the reason, & she said that the plane has a different configuration. To us, the explanation of the change being a result of the plane having a different configuration did not make sense at all as the plane seating arrangement looked the same as the previous one. When W. tries to explain that we had done the internet check-in so as to ensure that we each get aisle seats as we were both mildly claustrophobic, & could possibly get motion sickness, her response was extremely discourteous, & accusatory (that he "had an attitude"). This left a bad taste in my mouth, but not wanting to delay things any further, we went to the assigned seats. She grudgingly said that she would try to help us.

To make matters worse, the flight was a full one, & because our seating arrangement had been changed, all the overhead compartments in the already-boarded back cabin were already full by the time we got there, hence, we both end up having to place our carry-on bags under the seats in an already-cramped space.

That flight attendant? Well, she never returned to us to let us know if she was able to help us or not. To me, good customer service means following up on requests by your customer, whether the problem has been resolved or not. This person did not even have the courtesy to return to us to let us know that she had been unable to help us. Whether or not she even tried, I will never know.

To add salt to the wound, my attempts at calling a flight attendant using the call button were ignored.

I will certainly think twice about taking this airline again.

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