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Experiences with airlines

post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 
What's your horror and/or good experiences wth different airlines? The best airline I've come across has to be Malaysian. I was on a flight from Manchester to Quala Lumpur a couple of years ago and accidentally left my fountain pen onboard. I was catching a connecting flight to Perth, Western Australia and wasn't coming back for a month. When I got to the checkin desk at Perth airport for my return journey I find my pen there with the girl at the desk waiting for me. It wasn't even an expensive, just a bottom of the range bog standard Cross stainless steel cartridge pen. I was flying business class but I really don't think that would have mattered. They were the most courteous and lovely staff I have ever seen. I havn't had chance to fly with them again since, but if I'm ever going that way again I won't hesitate when deciding which airline to go with.

On the other end of the scale, Virgin Airlines have to be the worst. About a year ago I was on a family trip to New York, and the stewardess kept referring to my mother as 'darling' (Fine if addressing a teenager, but not a conservative looking fully grown woman in her mid 50's). Again, we wern't travelling economy. I think their staff need to learn some manners, personally. The food was also disgusting, I'd never fly with them again.

As far as economy class goes, you can't beat British Airways. I flew (again, to New York) with them, economy class, a couple of months ago. The food was good, the wine and beer selection was good, the seats were reasonably comfortable, the staff were pleasent and helpful and I couldn't have asked for better service. Well done, BA.
post #2 of 65
I despise BA. Will never, ever fly them again. Maybe they're US-UK routes are OK, but if you ever fly them to South Asia or the Mideast you're in for a huge disappointment. Short of being crammed into a Delta flight from ATL to LAX I cannot think of a worse experience. (Speaking of Delta, I hope they go the way of Eastern. They suck.) The best two airlines I've ever flown on are Emirates and Singaporean. Lufthansa's not bad, either, but they're not special and sometimes the seats are pretty old on their planes. All of my experiences with airlines are coach/economy class, though because of my height more often than not I get an exit row seat.
post #3 of 65
Lufthansa is by far the worst experience I have ever had, flying out of their hub in Frankfurt. Germans are not interested in customer service, period. Just one experience: train was running 20 minutes late (!) and had to run up to the counter to make check in before they closed the counter 90 minutes prior to the flight. There's one checker open with a long line, so I hop on at the end. Airport clock says I have 7 minutes. I start getting suspicious after 10 minutes with the line hardly moving, ask the people around me where they're going. Answer, not EWR. So I go ask the lipless customer relations lady: "sorry, we closed that line 15 minutes ago." Fight the good fight for a while, but again, the customer is always wrong. End up paying 100 extra euro to get a stand by ticket to JFK four hours later. I no longer fly Lufthansa, even if it is the shortest and cheapest route.

Operationexpat had an experience an order of magnitude worse, she can tell the story if she likes.

Tom
post #4 of 65
I fly mostly on United within the US and on the few offered Asian routes. I haven't had better experiences on any other domestic airline, though that of course isn't saying much. For some reason the service on international flights, down to the check-in agents, is so much nicer. Singapore and Cathay Pacific, though, are my favourites. Best food, service, and cabins. It really bugs me that United doesn't have lie-flats and that I stick with them for a variety of reasons. I find Virgin's Upper Class to be excellent for trans-Atlantic flights and better than BA. I've been on a number of truly horrifying flights in lesser-developed countries and so I value any flight that gets me to my destination relatively on time, safe and sound, and without a sick feeling in my stomach at least once.
post #5 of 65
what an appropriate day to start this thread. i have had a NIGHTMARE day with airlines.... god where to start. <vent> so yesterday i receive a Vietnamese issued credit card. I have an Australian one, but various issues to do with capital transfer out of VN make it near impossible to pay off. Time to book my ticket from Paris to London. I had previously booked it, but trip delayed, non refundable ticket, Matt loses money. Rebill to client. Come back to book again and guess what - price almost 100 euro more than I paid last time. Damn. Start hunting. In mid hunt I notice however that the client who booked my trip had not moved me to an earlier flight into Paris as I had requested. Call Air France, AF say 'booked by Vietnam Airlines, call them'. Call VNA, lunchtime, no answer. After lunch go to VNA - which is always always a nightmare, and so I bet 200 dong (about one cent) with one of my staff that nothing would be done. Head down there, put some circles around the flight I want changed on my itinerary. "Please change me from 1845 flight to 1600 flight." Lots of scribbling from me to erode any language issues. Much keyboard clacking from her. "But sir, you are already on 1600 flight". Hold up plane ticket - points a lot. "I fix for you, confirm lock in all good ok" Me feeling stupid, figured client had changed my ticket as requested, just not sent me an updated itinerary. Apologise. Leave. Pay staff 200 dong. Back to office, resume fare hunting. Find good price on Air France. Cool. But didnt want to go right through the payment stuff since it was all in French and I couldnt read it. Log in as Vietnam user - cant do it. Their website insists that travel commence in VN for online bookings. Log in as UK user - since going to London anyhow - fare still holds. Cool. Matt books. Or so he thinks. Cant do it - it needs a UK address. Brainwave - email cousin in London, put her address and phone number - figure if they call they will get someone with same surname, who will just say 'yup, my cousin, he staying with me' Book again. Failed. Credit card declined - address didnt match billing address. Hmmm. Walk to Air France billing office and explain to the girl. And she was great. Really. Looked it up and said 'Not supposed to give you this fare but will because you try to get but system no allow". Very cool. Had to pay just a few extra dollars cos AF in VN cant issue e-tickets, so i had a small paper ticket surcharge. I can live with that. So I come back to the office all brimful of glee and attempt to type up an itinerary of everything I am doing, since it was all scribbled on and there are different airlines and so on - and I notice something. My 1600 flight TO Toulouse and my 1600 flight FROM Toulouse have the same flight number. WTF? So I go back through it - the ticket that the girl at Vietnam Airlines had been waving at me and pointing saying "see 4 pm already" was THE WRONG FUCKING TICKET. Take 200 dong back from employee. And now Ive booked a flight that leaves Paris 15 minutes BEFORE I arrive there. Jesus. Back to Vietnam Airlines. Wait for the same girl. Put itinerary infront of her. Remind her of circles. She realises then. "Troi oi" (oh my god) "Xin Loi Anh" (Im sorry sir) I am sitting there then bracing myself for the inevitable, when she tells me that she cant get me on an earlier flight...but amazingly, it didnt happen. She managed to get me on to a flight that will connect with my trip to London. Miracle. So then she looks up and says "sir I cant understand why you want spend 9 hours Paris airport". "Huh?" "here - arrive Paris 6.45 am, depart 4pm on 10 June" "No, I depart Paris on 12 June - see on the boarding pass" "Troi oi" She had changed the date of my trip to Toulouse to the 10th in the process of "I fix for you, confirm lock in all good ok" Miracle number 2 - she was able to change me back to the 12th. </vent> Miracle number 3 will be if I actually get there, but for now the papers are in order. So now its almost 4, today completely unproductive. Have contributed the GDP of a mid sized village to my swear jar, but alls well that ends well I guess...Europe in just a few weeks
post #6 of 65
Thread Starter 
All I can say is good luck with that! With all those complications, modifications and various general all-purpose fuckups something's bound to go wrong at one point or another.

I've heard good things about both Singapore and Cathay Pacific; I must try them at some point in the future. I was shocked myself that BA were any good, I was told by a few people that there economy class service was shockingly bad. Maybe they get the odd decent flight every now and again. Guess I was lucky. The only thing that did spoil it were these group of yobs sat near us, getting absolutely hammered and shouting at everyone. Not BA's fault though, and the stern looking stewardess soon sorted them out.
post #7 of 65
both Singapore and Cathay are very good. Emirates my favorite airline though.
post #8 of 65
Ahh you missed the days of Aeroflot when it was still the USSR. That was a BAD airline. Many Western countries banned them because they failed to file maintence records. The flight crew would hold the food hostage - only bribes would get you a meal. On a flight from London to Moscow would take 3 hours to load because everybody carried on mounds of stuff to sell on the Blackmarket.

Thank heavens those days are over.

My personal favorite is Net Jet Yeah I avoid commercial flights at all costs. No airline customer service can make up for the TSA routine. Now they have added these folks to FBOs too. Boston Logan has a couple of security guards that make your teeth stand on edge. Seriously the way airlines run today business travel is seriously injured. I can't wait for the long predicted low cost jets that will provide a taxi style service.
post #9 of 65
on average, over the past 17 years, I have gone through an airport every 3 days or so. I have a great deal of stories about how annoying things were, and a few stories of great service. I try just not to get to upset about it, it is more of less a force of nature.
post #10 of 65
Whilst traveling in the Philippines a couple years ago, I was taking a plane from Manila to Cebu-------whilst in mid-air in an an aircraft that should have been suspended from some aviation museum, the crew began walking down the aisle spraying DDT to kill bird flu. My then GF broke down in tears (this is after 4 connections and maybe 36 logged hours in the air) and I was just wishing myself dead... What made it worse was that the crew had masks during this process, the passengers... no.
post #11 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by m@T
what an appropriate day to start this thread. i have had a NIGHTMARE day with airlines.... god where to start. <vent> so yesterday i receive a Vietnamese issued credit card. I have an Australian one, but various issues to do with capital transfer out of VN make it near impossible to pay off. Time to book my ticket from Paris to London. I had previously booked it, but trip delayed, non refundable ticket, Matt loses money. Rebill to client. Come back to book again and guess what - price almost 100 euro more than I paid last time. Damn. Start hunting. In mid hunt I notice however that the client who booked my trip had not moved me to an earlier flight into Paris as I had requested. Call Air France, AF say 'booked by Vietnam Airlines, call them'. Call VNA, lunchtime, no answer. After lunch go to VNA - which is always always a nightmare, and so I bet 200 dong (about one cent) with one of my staff that nothing would be done. Head down there, put some circles around the flight I want changed on my itinerary. "Please change me from 1845 flight to 1600 flight." Lots of scribbling from me to erode any language issues. Much keyboard clacking from her. "But sir, you are already on 1600 flight". Hold up plane ticket - points a lot. "I fix for you, confirm lock in all good ok" Me feeling stupid, figured client had changed my ticket as requested, just not sent me an updated itinerary. Apologise. Leave. Pay staff 200 dong. Back to office, resume fare hunting. Find good price on Air France. Cool. But didnt want to go right through the payment stuff since it was all in French and I couldnt read it. Log in as Vietnam user - cant do it. Their website insists that travel commence in VN for online bookings. Log in as UK user - since going to London anyhow - fare still holds. Cool. Matt books. Or so he thinks. Cant do it - it needs a UK address. Brainwave - email cousin in London, put her address and phone number - figure if they call they will get someone with same surname, who will just say 'yup, my cousin, he staying with me' Book again. Failed. Credit card declined - address didnt match billing address. Hmmm. Walk to Air France billing office and explain to the girl. And she was great. Really. Looked it up and said 'Not supposed to give you this fare but will because you try to get but system no allow". Very cool. Had to pay just a few extra dollars cos AF in VN cant issue e-tickets, so i had a small paper ticket surcharge. I can live with that. So I come back to the office all brimful of glee and attempt to type up an itinerary of everything I am doing, since it was all scribbled on and there are different airlines and so on - and I notice something. My 1600 flight TO Toulouse and my 1600 flight FROM Toulouse have the same flight number. WTF? So I go back through it - the ticket that the girl at Vietnam Airlines had been waving at me and pointing saying "see 4 pm already" was THE WRONG FUCKING TICKET. Take 200 dong back from employee. And now Ive booked a flight that leaves Paris 15 minutes BEFORE I arrive there. Jesus. Back to Vietnam Airlines. Wait for the same girl. Put itinerary infront of her. Remind her of circles. She realises then. "Troi oi" (oh my god) "Xin Loi Anh" (Im sorry sir) I am sitting there then bracing myself for the inevitable, when she tells me that she cant get me on an earlier flight...but amazingly, it didnt happen. She managed to get me on to a flight that will connect with my trip to London. Miracle. So then she looks up and says "sir I cant understand why you want spend 9 hours Paris airport". "Huh?" "here - arrive Paris 6.45 am, depart 4pm on 10 June" "No, I depart Paris on 12 June - see on the boarding pass" "Troi oi" She had changed the date of my trip to Toulouse to the 10th in the process of "I fix for you, confirm lock in all good ok" Miracle number 2 - she was able to change me back to the 12th. </vent> Miracle number 3 will be if I actually get there, but for now the papers are in order. So now its almost 4, today completely unproductive. Have contributed the GDP of a mid sized village to my swear jar, but alls well that ends well I guess...Europe in just a few weeks
so I quote my own massively long rant with an almost-as-long update.... all of the above went well, got to Paris, got to Toulouse, got to London, got back to Paris. Then.... Pull out ticket and notice something - in among all the changes the woman at Vietnam Airlines was supposed to do when she messed everything up was move my flight to Saigon to the 19th not the 20th. "Yes sir done done yes sir" Scanning through all my tickets, I noticed this one didnt have the little sticker on it with the change. Straight to ticket office. Ask them. No change and no flight on the 19th to Saigon. Hanoi only. ! !!! Angry Matt. Yelling and screaming and threatening to bill the airline for wasted billable hours as well as a Paris hotel. Many nerves from behind counter. Finally suggest that they put me on the Hanoi flight and book me on a domestic connecting flight. More nerves. More threats from me over my $250 an hour consulting fee multiplied by the 24 hours their ticketing office has cost me. Guy wanders off. They can get me to Hanoi business class as paid for, but cant organise to get me business class on the domestic flight, and with a confirmed flight at 2pm (8 hour layover), waitlisted on all morning flights...but, because I have gold frequent flyer card, I go to the top of all waitlists. Can live with that. So I get in to Hanoi this morning at 6.30 am, immigration, customs, then beeline to ticketing counter, and miracle of miracles, they can get me on the 8am flight....and then the inevitable happens. Flight delayed til 8.30 Now flight delayed til 9.30. Sitting in the lounge now, tired, in desperate need of a shower, and with a bunch of work to do...wonder if Ill ever make it back. Guess it gives me time to post how I rolled in London...
post #12 of 65
China Eastern.

Entering the plane, things smelled a little funky. I was seated near the restrooms, so I didn't think much of it. We taxied normally, and started to take off. As soon as we start gaining some speed, RAW SEWAGE starts spewing out of the restroom. The lady sitting in the isle literally was covered in some kind of sewage concoction. It was a fountain of waste spraying everywhere. The plane continues to take off, and as it inclines, the spray subsides, but a stream of liquid rolls down the middle of the isle. People were screaming. It smelled awful.

Passengers requested that the plane turn around to land, but the airline refused. People got irate and started yelling at the stewardesses. Nothing could be done. We flew from LA to China in that crap. Some savy passengers made their way to first class. The lady that was soaked changed into some fresh clothes. What an awful flight.
post #13 of 65
damn. You win.
post #14 of 65
I travelled with China eastern airlines which turned out to be the worst choice of my year! I am 6 foot 9 and usually have no problem sitting in a normal boeing 737/747. However I couldnt with them because apparently they have added two more rows to the plane in a effort to squeeze more money out of a flight. I had to leave. I now check this cool site called http://www.readytoleave.com as they give advice on airlines etc...
post #15 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Renault78law
a fountain of waste spraying everywhere.

Does anybody not think that 'fountains of waste' would be a great name for a rock band?!

Regards,
Huntsman
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