Northwest Airlines Complaint - poor service
LAS VEGAS, NEBRASKA -- the following is a letter penned to NWA 7th November 2 months later - no response...
I am writing to you to outline my concern and anger at the treatment of myself, my husband and fellow passengers at the hands of Northwest/ KLM airlines on our return flight from Los Angeles, USA to Newcastle, England.
Our flight from Newcastle to San Francisco was exemplary and we thank KLM for that however as soon as Northwest Airlines became involved in our travel it went from bad to worse, the result being the comedy of errors described throughout this letter.
Our original return flight details were scheduled as follows:
KL6524 Las Vegas, Nevada to Memphis @15:10 on the 22nd of October.
KL6058 Memphis to Amsterdam @21:35 on the 22nd October.
KL963 Amsterdam to Newcastle @15:00 on the 23rd October.
Scheduled to arrive in Newcastle at 15:15 on the 23rd of October.
However due to delays created by Northwest Airline our journey resulted as follows:
NW524 Las Vegas to Memphis @15:10 on the 22nd October (delayed)
NW286 Memphis to Detroit @ 9:50 on the 23rd October.
NW40 Detroit to Amsterdam @ 16:05 23rd October (delayed)
KL961 Amsterdam to Newcastle @ 11:45 24th October (delayed)
Although a 24-hour delay I accept can be unavoidable if initial connections are missed (due to NWA). This letter is to advise of the at least questionable “Customer Service” that we received, at the hands of inexperienced, rude NWA staff who clearly lacked professionalism empowerment and in cases simple life skills.
Our initial flight from Las Vegas to Memphis boarded on time however whilst on the flight we were advised that due to the plane being “overloaded” that we would have to take off with a tail wind from the arrivals runway. As a result of this we had to wait for quite some time before a take off would be allowed due to traffic flow. As a take off slot was agreed we were then advised that due to a failure in the plane break’s we would now take off from the original runway. We were advised that the failure in the breaks was due to the heat in Las Vegas. We understand that Las Vegas had recorded some record temperatures up to 95 degrees for the previous 2 days and as such would expect that provision for such eventualities are in place, it was not.
The plane eventually took off over 2 hours delayed and at this point we have a number of issues:
1. The NWA staff were unable to advise of any provision or contingency that would be in place once we landed in Memphis as we were advised that “any” connecting flight which was the last of the evening would be held for our arrival. As frequent fliers we questioned that an international flight would be held back and were advised that it would be - it was not.
2. The NWA staff made jokes throughout the flight between themselves, which could be overheard by passengers regarding the safety/ functionality of the plane breaks. Myself as a passenger who flies for convenience and not for fun who is prone to nervousness did not find this either amusing or professional.
On arrival into Memphis 22 minutes late for our connection 22:30 we were advised that there would be assistance provided regarding connections by NWA staff. On arrival at the desk we found only 5 assistants for a large group of people and only one of these being a supervisor. We were issued with tickets for a flight the next evening at 21:35 with no apology or discussion we were expected to take these be quiet and go to our hotel. There was no accountability for individuals requirements and both myself and one other lady on the flight could not be back in England 1 full day later than scheduled due to work and family commitments as such I escalated my issues to the Supervisor. The gentleman was advised that I had an urgent appointment on the 24th of October in England and I requested a method to reach this deadline. I was advised that this could not be accommodated even though I had witnessed a gentleman before me be entirely re-routed your supervisors and their “policies” are consistently inconsistent.
I did not unfortunately take the details of this man - I am assuming that this is traceable as I have a number of issues about this person:
I appreciate that I have purchased a bulk ticket and as such am not deemed as important as your first class clients this is standard practice however I have never in my life nor wish to again have some one shout at me “you are bulk only”.
The man was entirely inflexible even though I attempted to present a number of options. I was advised of one flight that would reach England in time for my meeting (at this stage I was happy to reschedule at venue in England) but was advised that “bulk” could not go on this flight as only 1st class tickets remained. I then offered to pay the upgrade was advised not possible due to policy. I then offered to pay the upgrade of ANY OTHER customer who could upgrade I was advised this was against policy (it is an unfortunate business policy that prevents revenue acceptance).
The Man had NO empowerment at all to override policy in the name of customer service and clearly frustrated at this was also exceptionally rude.
The man was packing up his things and making to leave whilst I still had an issue outstanding only when I requested on the third occasion that he stop this activity did he address me face to face.
The man had no skill of empathy, patience and ended up becoming nothing short of rude when I was facing him with what I thought were reasonable options for me he could not answer why these were unacceptable to him other than “it’s the policy”. If I may suggest, you would be wise to explain the background reasons of your policies to your staff in order that they can hold their own in a discussion without the need to loose their temper.
The man advised me that he had worked for NWA for 15 years as such I have concerns over your ongoing training in the skills of Customer Service and the ongoing development of your staff.
I was finally advised that I could fly 8:50 the next morning (23rd) out of Memphis to Detroit then Amsterdam and England. This would mean that I would land in England at 12:05 on the 24th at this point I was tired and accepted this reasoning that I could reschedule my appointment for the afternoon of the 24th. (Although still not acceptable)
We were then moved to a nearby hotel for an overnight stay and presented with dinner vouchers and Breakfast vouchers. On arrival at the hotel at 11:45 we were all advised that there was no food available. Please bear in mind that at this point we had not eaten since lunchtime. Refusing to be beaten we then went to the bar and were advised that our dinner vouchers were not exchangeable for beverages - so well done NWA you successfully inconvenienced us all and managed to keep some revenue anyway perhaps your business minds are not so slow!
So we paid for our nightcap (much required) and proceeded to our room (number 389). We went to bed and attempted to sleep. Sleep was interesting and eluded us for most of the night given that up until 04:00 we were subjected to the ongoing take off of Fed – Ex planes. So there we were no sleep, no food, no flight and as yet no apology. We gave up on sleep instead I rearranged my diary for the 24th with my PA in England. N.B. you also owe me for these calls (your cards are not accepted for calls to UK) I will be passing my invoice to you on its arrival and will be accepting a refund.
Regarding the hotel, I appreciate that this is a standalone business not owned by KLM or NWA however in the interest of the comfort of YOUR clients inconvenienced by YOU I would expect that you would aim to locate more suitable accommodation. I had a further 20 hours of Travel time ahead of me and to be perfectly honest at this point I was so upset so tired and so hysterical that I was reduced to tears.
I strongly feel that if my letter achieves nothing else this hotel is reassessed for overnight guests (even the BULK).
We went for our flight the following morning and were booked in by a wonderful member of NWA staff (I hope again that this is traceable) as this lady was so empathetic and kind and fully appreciated how dreadful the accommodation was. We successfully took off on time for Detroit and at this point I really though that things were improving, even though we were exhausted we began to relax. BUT NO things cannot be that easy we are flying NWA/ KLM and of course our flight from Detroit would be delayed. Although I have accused you of inconsistency in this letter at this point may I take this back you have got consistency of negative behavior - please don’t be proud.
This time there was a technical hitch with the door. I mention again that I am a nervous passenger and at this point I was having grave concerns about the reliability of these planes and in short was scared of flying with you. Eventually we boarded and I finally got to a point where I could sleep thankfully and did so if I was about to die on one of you technical nightmarish planes best to sleep through it!
So Amsterdam arrived and guess what never in the world the flight to England was… wait for it….. Can you guess…? You got it … DELAYED.
So we looked at the boards and saw that there was another flight due to go to Newcastle which was delayed so trying our luck we decided to ask if there were seats available on the earlier flight that was delayed rather than wait for our own delayed flight. There were seats but our happiness was short-lived after all we are only BULK and cannot possibly move out of our schedule. The madness of your policies continued to the end.
So here I am now back in England. Casting my mind back over my 16 day adventure the first memory I have are of those Fed-ex planes taking off closely following by the Supervisor in Memphis and then finally I can daydream about what was my dream holiday until you tarnished the memory.
In summary then I would like to advise you of my key issues and requests so that we are all aware of where we stand:
1. Please refund the MINIMUM of 50% of my/my husbands flight cost. I do NOT wish to accept air miles, vouchers or the equivalent. I will accept Bankers draft cash or cheque.
2. Please issue a memo to all of your staff to advise them that the “bulk” of today are the first class of tomorrow. Please further advise them that “Bulk” provides the “Bulk” of airline revenue and a little respect costs nothing.
3. Please reassess your over night accommodation(s) to save the further escalation of issues that may have resolved themselves with acceptance of a good nights sleep.
4. I would obviously appreciate a full apology with explanation along with my Bankers draft, cash or cheque.
5. And finally a reminder to all that I may be a “Bulk” domestic traveler however in my professional capacity I often fly to Holland to deal with a partner company and do so in First class (you never know who you are hacking off).
In addition to this I would like to offer you my services. I am a Business Analyst and spend my time dealing with customer service environments reviewing staff, processes, cost to business and value and introduce key pieces of work that enhance customer experiences with minimal cost to business. I feel that without doubt I could assist the mismanaged operation that I witnessed first hand.
I look forward to your reply and very much hope that it is not a standard response and that it does at least answer my queries.
I would request a reply by Close of the 1st of December which I feel is a reasonable time period for the turnaround of a complaint that should be expected in your business.