Subject: Swissair – egregious incompetence and a lack of accountability
My Name: Elyse
My City: Raleigh
My State/Territory: North Carolina
My Complaint Against: Swissair
Complaint Category: Tours & Travels
Claim Amount (Approx.):
My Complaint Description:
I am filing a formal compliant against Swissair. I am outraged at my treatment by Swissair over the past four weeks. I encountered egregious incompetence and a lack of accountability that ruined our travel plans and exhausted my valuable time and money. We were expressly told that we would be granted an exception to our voucher, but were strung along for nearly 4 weeks with a yes response, followed by a "we will contact you in 24 hours, so you can pay the difference in travel fare," but were never called back.
I have documented each encounter and summarized the miserable experience we were forced to deal with on the account of the horribly managed Swissair Marketing and ticketing departments. November 27th 2009, I purchased a business class trip for two on Swissair at an auction held for the benefit of a local Zurich based charity. Understanding that there were restrictions on the use of the voucher we wrote to the address on the voucher and asked if it could be used for international travel. October 19th 2010, we emailed the Swiss Air contact listed on the voucher Contactus@swiss.com to inquire making an exception for travel from San Francisco to a Swissair destination.
October 20th we received an email response from ** in the SWISS E-Mail Service Center-Team R1C. She very clearly stated they had reviewed our request and that we may use the voucher to travel from San Francisco, but we must pay the difference in fare, stating, "We have reviewed your request and wish to share the following information with you: Please note you may do that but in case the fare is higher you would need to reckon with any fare difference." We responded that we would gladly do so and provided all the necessary travel information.
October 20 - November 15th, we experienced the most ridiculous incompetence we have ever witnessed from an airline. We were routed back and forth from Switzerland to New York, to various call centers throughout the world, all telling us to call the other office. Neither office was willing to take initiative and resolve our matter in a prompt and respectful manner. The New York office would say "call the number on the voucher" and the receptionists at the Swissair number, who were outsourced to Mind Pearl call center (sometimes in Spain, sometimes in South Africa) would tell me to "talk to New York".
November 12, Louisa at the New York office said, "yes, it's all approved and will be turned around within 24 hours at which time we will call you". We proceeded to make plans and booked our hotels. November 13th, we did not receive a call within 24 hours, so I called to see if there is any new information on our account. There is none. When requesting to speak with a supervisor, I am told that ** is out of the office and that we will receive a response within 24 hours.
November 14th I have not heard a response within 24 hours as promised giving us a dollar value to pay the difference on our tickets. I call New York to see if any new information has been added to our account. This is the day before we are set to travel, and no monetary amount has been issued. November 15th, on the day of travel, we finally got supervisor ** in New York on the phone who abruptly said "No the voucher could not be used". ** was snide, rude and very unfriendly, as was her staff. Not only did she not dignify us with a returned call, we had to track her down. When we asked her point blank if she cared about her customers, she outrageously responded, "I'm not answering that question". She then referred us back to the Swiss reservation number in Europe.
November 15th, we call Switzerland, the agent, ** instructed us to go to the airport two hours before flight time with the voucher and the correspondence and that the counter agent would take care of this. November 15th, we went to the airport as instructed, and the gate agent treated us like the enemy. She was prejudicially aware of our situation and told me that there was nothing that she could do, snidely asking why we thought we should come to the airport. She made a copy of the voucher without taking into consideration any of the supporting documents I had furnished her. We left the airport with our suitcases packed, Visa's issued and hotels paid, treated worthlessly.
We would have understood if we had been told from the outset that the voucher could not be used for international travel. However, we were told that it could be and that we would need to simply pay the difference - first by the Swiss office (in writing) and then later by the New York office (over the phone). We followed every instruction that each of your different representative required of us, and at the last minuet was slapped in the face by the snide and disrespectful supervisor, **, who waited until the day of travel to deliver the blow of not granting us our tickets that were promised to us from day one.
The incompetence that we experienced was absurd, even the simple act of changing a name on the reservation became a monumental waste of time and added frustration to this process, having to speak with 3 different reservationists on 3 separate occasions. This is terrible business practice. We are offing a cash difference on the fare, which means more money for Swissair on the margin. The flight is leaving with 2 empty seats anyway. Instead Swissair ruins our travel our travel plans, treats its customers miserably, and fails to honor its word.