Northwest Airlines - Nightmare & Terrible Customer Service
DTW, MICHIGAN -- My daughter and a friend were flying from Detroit Metro airport to Dallas-Fort Worth, scheduled to leave on Wednesday, June 13th on flight 701 - leaving Detroit at 7:15 p.m. and arriving in Dallas at 9:07 p.m... Both children are 14 years of age. That being said, below I am outlining a series of events:
I called into NWA when looking to book these flights and I was told
That as long as my daughter was 14 she did not have to be an âaccompanied minor".
When they arrived to check in at the airport we were told differently. They must be 15. So, we had to pay an additional $50 for them to be accompanied. Which is fine. They then instructed my husband, who was escorting the girls, that he would have to walk them to their gate - nothing more. They did not tell him he needed to stay with them. He assumed NWA would look after the girls from that point on - assuming that the fee we paid would cover this. My husband safely got both girls to their gates and left. We are responsible parents, and if we would have known differently he would have stayed with them up to the boarding of the plane.
At 7:30 we get a call from our daughter that they still have not boarded the plane. Odd since the flight was to have left 15 minutes ago. Come to find out, the gate they were flying out of had been changed and no one at NWA informed our daughter and her friend of this change. What really concerns me here is that the flight leaving should have known there were (2) unaccompanied minors on this flight (we did pay for this service). However, they made no attempt to locate them or track them down? I think any reasonable person would assume that they could possibly still be at the original departing gate, did not get notified, or realize there was a gate change and call the original gate to see if they were still there waiting. No one did. Another option would be to try to page them overhead to track them down. This did not happen either. Instead the plane left, knowing there were to be two unaccompanied minors on the plane who were not on board and then made no effort to track them down.
They are now stranded in Detroit airport.
My husband then gets a phone call from a NWA representative Indicating that our daughter was there at the airport and he needed to come get her....she was rude in her tone.
My husband didn't understand and said, "You are calling me in Lansing, MI" .....I can't just come right down there and get her I'm two hours away (he needed to think of some other arrangement). The NWA representative on the phone then stated, rudely, "If you don't come and get her then I'm calling child protective services". This is NOT the way to talk to a paying customer or handle such an unfamiliar and scary situation - especially when your child is stuck in the Detroit airport and you are 2 hours away. My husband then asked for the NWA representatives name and she replied, "My boss will be back in soon, you can talk to him then," again my husband asked for her name, "she repeated the statement above and then HUNG UP ON HIM. Again, our main concern still is our daughter in Detroit. He calls our daughter and asks her if they woman he was just talking to was wearing a name tag and she said yes. He asked her to get the name...her name was "Carolyn". That's all we had to go on.
My husband is then instructed that he needed to fax over a letter to have the girls released to his sister and brother-in-law. My husband faxes it over and when our brother-in-law shows up he is told they cannot be released to him and that it must be the sister. So, he is calling his sister and making arrangements for her to go to the airport to get our girls. My husband calls back the brother-in-law to tell him that his sister is on the way and the brother-in-law says', "they just released them to me"......this kind of like seems like âdoes the hand know what the foots doing".
Since they we had to get the girls rebooked on a flight for the next day. We ask for the early flight, but told there is no room until the 12:22 flight - getting into Dallas at 2:07.
So now, we need to make arrangements for another adult to get these girls back to the Detroit airport, escort them to the gate and wait with them. This means asking someone to take the time off of work, the extra expense of gas (we have to pay out of our own pocket the gas money for the other mother to drive all the way from Lansing to Detroit and back to do this).
I then go to the Dallas-Fort Worth airport to collect their luggage. My daughter's luggage arrives, but her friends does not. I then had to wait in a long line at the airport at 9:00 at night to track the other luggage down. As I'm talking to the representative I tell her the flight they will be coming in on (so we can make sure the luggage arrives on that flight or beforehand) and she tells me "They are not booked on the 12:22 flight, they re-booked them on the 7:15 p.m. flight for the next day". I told her we were told it was the 12:22 flight, that I have already made arrangements down here to get off work to pick them up and now you are telling me they are scheduled again on the
later flight? I did not want this - just in case circumstances got them delayed or missed their flight they could have the option of still getting on a later flight if there was availability. I then had to double check her screen to make sure this time they were booked on the correct flight.
At this point, I'm very concerned how this next leg of the trip is
Update since 6/14/07 letter:
The next day the mother who is responsible for getting the girls to the airport arrives to check them in âas unaccompanied minorsâ and is told she has to pay the $50 fee. She states this fee was already paid yesterday. They tell they do not have a record of this being paid. She then gets my husband on the phone and he begins to give them his credit card information again to pay another $50 fee. The mother escorting the girls looks at one of the boarding passes and realizes that it is a receipt for âunaccompanied minorsâ service. She shows them the receipt. Thankfully, we had this otherwise Northwest would have charged us another $50 because they never kept a record of it.
The girls arrive in Dallas and we go to get the other luggage that never arrived the night before and it is not there. We make a claim in the lost luggage area and the lady we are talking to asks us what the suitcase looks like. She then tells us they located it in Detroit. She asked us to physically describe the contents, which we did successfully. We had a match. She made the request to have the luggage shipped up and that we would have the luggage by the afternoon the next day. The luggage never arrived. We called again to follow up on us this, and it turns out they lost the luggage AGAIN. That it was never requested and that there is no available information or status.
On 6/16 at 10:00 a.m. I call again and talk to a âTomâ who indicates there is still no status. I tell him these girls have no clothes to wear or change into, especially since they were were stranded since the previous Wed. in Detroit in the same clothes. I ask him will NWA reimburse me for any expense to go buy at least some clean underwear and maybe a pair of shorts to hold us over. He tells me âWell, you do have the $50 a day the first day and $25 each day after to cover youââ¦I told him no one ever told me this was an option. It is now 3 days since they were stranded in Detroit and Iâm just being told this?
I call back on 6/16 at 2:00 p.m. and talk to a Suzanna and reiterate our story and tell her that I need to go get the clothes to replace for these girls. I tell her that the suitcase that was lost contained all of the clothes of one girl and Â½ the clothes of the other girl. I asked her if I could get reimbursement for both girls. She puts me on hold, comes back and tells me her supervisor has approved an additional $150 dollars for replacement clothes. I asked, is this in addition to the standard allowance of the $50 the first day and $25 each additional day? She said yes. I reiterated so close to $300? She said yes. I asked her if this would be documented somewhere, as I have not been having good luck with NWA and Iâm concerned that if I go and spend the money I may not get reimbursed. She puts me on hold, comes back tells me her supervisor, Donna, has made a note in the system. I then go shopping and purchase approximately $300 worth the clothes and go to the airport at 6:30 p.m. on the 16th to get reimbursement. When I show up they tell me they are only authorized to reimburse for $150..that that is standard and the most that can ever get approved. I ask why then was I told differently and gave the names of the people I talked to. He called a supervisor over and she indicated the same, that they could only reimburse the $150 and they were not authorized to reimburse for more. I then ask them to please call the supervisor that approved it. We call the luggage 1-800 number and ask for Donna the supervisor who I was told originally approved this. I get Wayne the supervisor (in Minnesota). I reiterate my entire story and he tells me the same. I ask him to please talk to Donna as she did authorize this. He gets back on the phone and tells me Donna thought it was only for $150 that she was reimbursing, not an additional $150. I then ask the guy at the DFW luggage counter if he could trying calling Detroit and tracking down the suitcase. He calls Detroit and they locate it. He tells me he put a request in to have the luggage sent and that we should receive the next day. It never arrived. I keep calling, checking the status, and nothing. I am now frustrated and $300 in debt then before.
I call on 6/20â¦by this time it is over 5 days old and I was told that once it is more than 5 days they will start calling around for it. I call the customer service line for lost luggage to use the automatic tracking service, service cannot locate it and I am automatically transferred to a customer service rep. I get a Cheryl (located in Chisholm) and she tells me that she needs to fax me a claim form and that she will fax it over to me right away, that I can complete it, and fax it back. I ask her about getting reimbursed for replacing the clothes. I tell her again about how it is one lost suitcase, but two peopleâs items â which means I need to replace clothing for two people. She said that it was noted in the computer that both girls were missing clothing and that I could be reimbursed for both girls and that reimbursement is per ticketed passenger. That means $50 each the first 24 hours and then $25 for each day after â for each girl. I have yet to go get reimbursed, but honestly I donât have much confidence that this is how it will play out.
The fax that Cheryl indicates she is sending NEVER arrives. I call back and get a new customer service rep. I tell her about my previous call and that I never received the faxâ¦.she tells me she is confused because they have no way of faxing anything and that they donât handle the claim forms and they are only the back up service for lost luggage. Frustrated, I hang up and call the other 1-800 number for luggage lost over 5 days. I get a Marilyn (located at headquarters in Minnesota). She was the rudest by far that I have dealt with over the last few days. She gets my information, puts me on hold and comes back saying they have the suitcase in Detroit and will have it shipped to me. As I explain to her that Iâve been told this before and begin to tell her my story she cuts me off and starts talking over me. I spend a Â½ hour trying to give her the informationâ¦she keeps cutting me off or not listening. She tells me they only show one girl and not two girls whose clothes are missing. They have the wrong address, the wrong phone numberâ¦I correct them. I tell her Iâm frustrated and I need her to listen to me. She replies, âI donât know why you are so upset, you should just be happy that I found the bagââ¦..Iâm thinking your kidding right??!! I should be happy after what I went through??? Not very good customer service when you canât even relate or justify my feelings or frustrations.
6/22/2007â¦The saga continues:
My daughter and her friend were to fly out today at Noon. Because they are traveling as unaccompanied minors I had to make special arrangements for someone to take them to the airport, stay with them until their flight left, and arrange for someone to be there to pick them up. Everything was all set. AT midnight, the night before (last night), I get a call from NWA telling me the flight is canceled! They have to put them on an early morning flight and I need to give them a commitment right then. Nice. I now have to have the girls packed, ready to fly out, and get a hold of the two people responsible for taking them to the airport and picking them up at Midnightâ¦and the person taking them now has to be hear in a matter of 6 hours. My girls who are still awake now must finish up any unfinished packing, get to bed and be up in less than 5 hours to catch a flight. This was not a good way to end the trip. Fortunately, I was able to get the mother to re-arrange her schedule (from work) to get to the Detroit airport to pick them up 4 hours earlier then originally planned. I pray this last leg of the trip is uneventful, and just glad my time with dealing with NWA is over. I forgot to mentionâ¦went to the airport last night to get reimbursed for the clothes I bought. I was told I would be reimbursed $50 for âeach ticketed passengerâ the first day and $25 each additional day for each ticketed passenger. I re-iterated on the phone that it was only one suitcase lost, but that it contained the clothes of two people. Customer service reiterated I should not have a problem as reimbursement if per ticketed passenger and not # of luggage. I get to the airport - they will only reimbursed me $150 â for one person. They tell me the policy is only a maximum of $150. So why didnât the person on the phone tell me this? Second trip to the airport to get reimbursed (more gas and time) and Iâm now another $250 in the whole (their replaced clothes actually came close to $400).
Right now I don't have much confidence in NWA nor am I
impressed with your customer service. When will the suitcase arrive? I have no idea? Will I ever get reimbursed for the replacement clothing? I have no idea. Right now I doubt either will happen.
I donât have much confidence in NWA!