Continental Airlines Complaint - Don't Fly This Airline
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY -- The following is an account of my recent experience with Continental Airlines.
Dear Continental Airlines:
This charge for the change fee of $100 is the last insult that I will endure from your airline. If appropriate steps are not taken to rectify this situation, I will never utilize your airline again. Let me put in writing for you the events that occurred which led up to the charges that I incurred which I will paste at the end of this email.
I was on a continental flight from San Francisco to Newark connecting to flight 94 to Belfast Ireland on Tuesday April 17th 2007. Due to a tragic medical emergency my flight from San Francisco was diverted to Cleveland Ohio to care for the stricken passenger. I expected that I would miss my flight and that Continental would put me on another flight to Belfast. When we finally arrived at Newark International, the flight attendants told me that the Belfast flight had been held for us and that there would be a cart waiting to transport myself and another passenger to the gate. The flight attendants held all passengers from deplaning so that we could exit and there was a cart waiting to transport us. I was so impressed with the service that had been provided to both the stricken passenger and now to myself that I thought I had finally found an airline that cares about its customers. Unfortunately that was not the case.
I arrived at the gate of the Belfast flight to find that the plane was there but that the door to the gate had been closed. I tried to explain to the continental employee that I had been told that the flight had been held for us. She told me that you do not hold flights and that “once I close the door I never open it”. I said the plane has not left, can’t we please get on the flight and she then said “maybe you didn’t hear me, once the door is close it will not be opened”. I watched the plane push back for the gate flabbergasted. The Continental employee then said go to customer service at gate 130 and walked away.
I went to customer service and stood in line for 45 minutes. There were three agents handling many weather delayed passengers. At 10 PM one of the continental agents said you must all go to customer service at gate C1, we are closed. The passenger in front of me became very irate and asked if we would have the same positions in line at the customer service station at the other gate, at which point the continental employee did not respond. We (the 12 passengers still inline) asked to see a supervisor. The three customer service agents closed their kiosks and walked away with no response to us. I was flabbergasted. So I headed off to customer service at gate C1.
When I arrived at customer service there were approximately 45 customers in line. After waiting in line for 10 minutes one of the Continental employees shouted “all passengers standing behind the women holding up the paper (she was about 15 positions ahead of me) will not be helped here. We are closing when we are finished with that customer. The rest of you must go to baggage claim. I am now completely exasperated, but my adventure is just beginning.
I arrive at customer services in baggage claim and wait in line for 20 minutes and finally get to speak one on one with a Continental customer service agent. I begin to tell her how we were diverted, how I missed my flight to Ireland and asked her to assist me with rebooking my flight. She told me that they did not have computers to rebook flights in baggage claim. I then asked her why was I sent there, she told me it was to get my food and hotel voucher. I was beside myself, I have received poor treatment by airlines before, but this was beyond belief. She proceeded to provide me with the vouchers for food and accommodations at the Holiday Inn in Edison NJ. I then took the airport tram to the parking garage to catch a shuttle for the hotel. No shuttle was ever sent, it was now 12:30AM. Two other passenger and I decided to go back to the terminal and take a cab to the hotel. It turns out that Edison NJ was a $50 cab ride from the airport, I could have taken a cab to Manhattan for less money. Once at the Holiday Inn, we were finally treated well and they actually had hot food available for us to purchase with our vouchers. I do not know whether you have ever had a stressful day with only a continental coach seat chicken sandwich as your only food for the entire day, we really appreciated what the Holiday Inn provided. I highly recommend that you said your customer service agents to the Holiday Inn for training.
Now safely in my hotel room I call Continental airlines to see if I can get a flight the next day, the agent states that I am rebooked on the same flight to Belfast the next night. I ask her for my seat assignment. She say I do not have one because the flight is oversold by nine seats and they will need to accommodate those nine passengers first before they can accommodate the 12 passengers who have missed the flight of which I am one. Please keep in mind that my reason to go to Ireland is to see my godson Zack play rugby for the US under 19 national team that next evening. If I do not make that flight then I will miss his game. I ask if they can rebook me on another airline and I am told that I can only do that at customer service at the airport, they cannot rebook me over the phone onto another airline. I am in disbelief at this. I have been turned away twice by the only people that could have helped me. I asked the phone agent if there were any business or first class seats available on the flight. They said that there in only business first and that there is a seat available but that they cannot give it to me. She calls her supervisor and tells me that I can have the seat for an additional $900. Seeing my godson play was the most important thing in the world to me so I gave my credit card and purchased the upgrade. When I returned from Ireland today, I checked my email to find the upgrade charge and a charge for an additional $100 for changing my flight. Are you people out of your minds?
This is the worst experience I have ever had from any airline or service provider of any kind. I insist that you refund me the $100 change flight fee instantly, and if you ever want to have me as a customer again, I highly suggest that you credit the $900 upgrade fee as well. Please see the statement of charges below.
I can be reached at the number below and expect a swift response.