Northwest Airlines Complaint - Hurricane Katrina repairs will take longer than Oct 31st
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA -- This review has actually nothing to do with the quality of Northwest flights. I've flown with them several times and frankly, I find all non business class air travel uncomfortable regardless of who the carrier is. I've had my luggage lost with them, but the same thing has happened with Alaska and United. The flight attendants are usually very accommodating and polite. Flight times have been delayed and whatnot, but again, this has happened with just about every airline I've ever flown.
No....this review is about my intense disappointment with how Northwest is handling customers scheduled to fly to New Orleans in the months following Hurricane Katrina.
I purchased nine, nonrefundable airline tickets to New Orleans for my wedding in the French Quarter November 3. I did this about one week before Hurricane Katrina Hit
Within two days after the hurricane and witnessing all the destruction caused in New Orleans, I knew that we would have to find an alternate location to be married. I immediately called Northwest to explain the situation and inquire as to how we go about switching our flights.
At this time, their current travel waiver for those affected by Katrina ended September 9th. Anyone who was scheduled to fly after this has to pay a $100 for every ticket they change. Despite my arguments that New Orleans was not going to be ready for tourism by November, let alone mid-September....the NWA representative held firm and said we would need to pay $900 in penalties to change all of the tickets.
Ok...fine. I realized this person was probably just following orders from a higher office. I also realize they've probably been flooded with frantic calls from other customers with similar issues, so they're patience was understandably stretched thin.
I decided to wait a week and see if they would extend their waiver after it became more apparent how devastated New Orleans was.
I was correct. Within a week, they extended the penalty waiver to October 31st. Because our flight was for November 1st at 6 a.m......I assumed they would give us a break and waive the $900 in penalties.
I was wrong. As of today I've called at least 15 times to Northwest. Each time I've been told that we would have to pay the penalties because our departure date was past their current penalty waiver.
6 hours. We were past it by six hours.
And lest someone think I was rude and pushy...thus discouraging them from accommodating us....I was not. In almost every call I was incredibly polite and respectful. I calmly explained the situation. That we were flying our parents and siblings to New Orleans to get married in the French Quarter. That we couldn't afford another $900 just in penalties as our budget was already reaching it's limit.
I also pointed out that if they waived the penalties, we would be giving them even more money....as our back-up plan was to go to Puerto Vallarta Mexico to get married. This would have been a $200 fare increase per ticket. This is $1800 in additional revenue they would make from us if they agreed to waive the $900 in penalties.
I understand a company's primary objective is to make a profit. However, irrationally sacrificing customer satisfaction (as I already mentioned, we told them we'd book $1800 more in airfare for alternate travel) for the sake of 'policy'.....well, that is just bad business.
We are still trying to get them to waive the penalties. The current status in New Orleans is quite bad. It will be at least a month before the flooding is gone....and who knows how long after that before they have everything cleaned up and are ready for tourists again.
Our plan is to continue calling Northwest and trying to get our penalties waived. Hopefully we'll eventually talk to someone that can help us.
In the meantime, however, I think this whole process has been ridiculous. Even if they miraculously waive our penalties....I very highly doubt we will ever again fly with Northwest if there is another option available.