Subject: No compensation for lost cruise
My Name: Ilya Gofman
My City: New Haven
My State/Territory: CT
Country: United States
My Complaint Against: Celebrity Cruises
Complaint Category: Tours & Travels
Claim Amount (Approx.): $1600
My Complaint Description:
On June 2 my girlfriend and I were supposed to depart on a seven day cruise to the Caribbean on Celebrity Cruise Lines. Our flight to Miami was scheduled for 6:30, and we arrived at the airport at 5:30. After checking a bag we entered the security line no later than 5:45, leaving 35 minutes to get to our gate. Although, we knew this was cutting it close, we had never spent more than 20 minutes in security and thought we were ok. Unfortunately, the security line took a whole hour and we missed our flight. That morning in Airport security only one body scanner was being used for two long lines, and the metal detector was not functioning. One of the TSA workers kept calling out for more assistance, but none was forthcoming. At various times the conveyor belt carrying baggage was at a standstill for 10 minutes or more. When we apprised TSA of this, the representative we spoke to denied that the line could have taken that long.
Once we arrived at the gate, the desk agent from our airline, American airlines, told us that there were no other direct flights that could get us to Miami by 2:30 p.m. (boarding for the ship was at 3:30). She said this at 6:30 in the morning, 6 hours before we needed to be at our destination. She then placed us on standby for a flight going to Philadelphia and then on to MIami, but we were denied seats on this flight because it was booked. We were then placed on standby for a flight to Miami via Chicago, which we were able to take. At this point we knew that there was a chance we would miss the departure of the Cruise, but thought that we could join the cruise at its first port, Key West. All of this happened so early in the morning that the Celebrity Cruise lines office was closed. When we were finally able to call the office once we had landed in Chicago, we were told that we could not join the cruise ship at , Key West, due to U.S. maritime law, but that we could fly to the second port, Grand Cayman, at an estimated flight cost of $700 per person and stay at a hotel at our own expense to wait for the cruise. Tired, overwhelmed, and in disbelief, we decided to return to Bradley as our hands appeared to be tied. The cruise line at this point had refused to reschedule a comparable cruise at a different date because we had not purchased insurance. This was the same response that we received from multiple cruise agents.
We can draw several conclusions from our horrible experience. First, Bradley International Airport seems to be incapable of processing the number of passengers that one would expect would traffic an international airport. Second, TSA agents were understaffed and unprepared to handle the influx of people. That said, we are writing you about the real villains of this story: Celebrity Cruise line. Although we understand the policy concerning trip insurance, we believe that Celebrity should provide with some kind of compensation for the lost cruise. We are middle class people who can only afford vacation every once in a while and paid nearly 1600 to Celebrity Cruises. For this we have received absolutely no services of any kind. The representatives that we have talked to have only been concerned with pointing out that we should have bought cruise insurance. I can think of no other financial transaction in which a business can pocket your money without providing any service. From our perspective, it would not be any great hardship for Celebrity to offer us an alternate week to take the cruise in return for the money we paid. Instead they are insisting on the letter of their policy and pocketing our money.
We ask for your help with resolving this situation. Our primary gripe is against Celebrity, but we are just as concerned with the incompetence of the TSA at Bradley and the lack of coordination between airlines and the TSA. It appears that flying out of Bradley has become a complete nightmare, and trying to take a vacation with a callous conglomerate like Celebrity is just as bad.
Ilya Gofman and Rebecca Guernsey