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Swiss International - A Lesson in Horrible Customer Relationship Management
By -

P.O. BOX CH-4002 -- I am the Managing Director and owner of the 170 room Fraser Suites Sukhumvit hotel in Bangkok. I have been in the travel and hospitality business for over the last 5 years. This is the first time I have traveled on Swiss International on a roundtrip to NYC although I am previously a Gold Star Alliance member through Thai international and am currently a silver member. On this particular day, I arrived at the airport in advance of 90 minutes, around 115 minutes prior to departure at JFK.

As I have a problem on my left knee that usually gets agitated during long haul flights I had prebooked my seat for an aisle seat so that I could stretch my knee as it tends to get quite stiff due to the altitude and long hours sitting on the same seat. When I arrived, I was told that my seat had been released and that most passengers would be assigned seating at the gate. This I found very unusual as I have traveled to NYC at least 2 times a year since 1991 and never have my seats been released and assigned at the gate. I spoke to the Supervisor and she said the seats are release by the system if you don't arrive more than 90 minutes before departure.

As I mentioned earlier, I arrived 115 minutes before departure. As I proceeded to the gate, I kindly informed the women who was assigning the seats of my medical condition and she said she would take care of me rudely without even asking my name. When I asked her how would she know who I was she simply said to me 'I know who you are.' Obviously she did not but I decided to keep quiet and wait. For the next 30-40 minutes there were many passengers like myself waiting for our pass. The flight was leaving in 5 minutes and even then, I did not get my seat assignment. Finally when I got it, it was not an aisle seat as I expected.

I was very frustrated at this point and had to again speak to someone who finally changed it for me. At this point I was very very upset at the service quality of your airline. (There were many other passengers who were upset as well!) After finally receiving my aisle seat boarding pass, I went into the airline and proceeded towards my seat. To my surprise there were two people already seated there and when I asked them for their boarding pass, they had the exact seat no as on my card and the seat was apparently double booked.

I again had to go back to the front of the gate to have my seat changed and have this situation sorted out which took another 5 minutes to process. It was a very nervous moment on a packed flight where I thought I would not be able to board the flight. It was very obvious they were outsourcing their airport services to an outside company and it was a very poorly managed service by staff who do not care about the quality of customer care which negatively affected how passengers like myself perceived of their airline, especially on my first roundtrip experience. I must say that I was completely disappointed at how I and other passengers were treated.

When I arrived back to Bangkok, I sent an official complaint on the website and the message was replied to me a woman named ** saying they would get back to me within a few days. This message was also received by the following Swiss International staff including **. This message was sent on July 10, 2009. After not hearing back from any of these five people for four weeks, I sent an inquiry again on August 1, 2009 asking for some feedback. After another week of waiting I finally received an email from ** telling me that as a result of the problems I had, Swiss International would make this up to me by ensuring that the next time I would get my preferred seat on the plane.

I found this reply insulting firstly because it took five of these people 4 weeks to come up with this reply and secondly because it was simply a cheap reply for the amount of trouble I went through. Being in the hospitality business, I am always proactive in how I react to disappointed guests as my hotel and am always giving free room nights and upgrades to any dissatisfied guest as my guests are important to me and I believe it is in my best interest to make sure they arrive and leave my property satisfied. I am not upset that I was not given a free ticket or a free upgrade but simply it was a disrespectful gesture on the part of the airline based on the principle of good customer relationship management.

I am writing this email in hope that you will read this and AVOID flying with Swiss International. The Airline is not reflective of a world class airline and I would suggest flying other airlines such as British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Lufthansa, Emirates on any destination you fly if you have the option. Trust me, Swiss is worse than a low cost airline, even Air Asia offered me a free ticket due to a delay I had on a local flight in Asia and they offered it right away without me having to ask for it.

Swissair - egregious incompetence and a lack of accountability
By -

I am filing a formal compliant against Swissair. I am outraged at my treatment by Swissair over the past four weeks. I encountered egregious incompetence and a lack of accountability that ruined our travel plans and exhausted my valuable time and money. We were expressly told that we would be granted an exception to our voucher, but were strung along for nearly 4 weeks with a yes response, followed by a "we will contact you in 24 hours, so you can pay the difference in travel fare," but were never called back.

I have documented each encounter and summarized the miserable experience we were forced to deal with on the account of the horribly managed Swissair Marketing and ticketing departments. November 27th 2009, I purchased a business class trip for two on Swissair at an auction held for the benefit of a local Zurich based charity. Understanding that there were restrictions on the use of the voucher we wrote to the address on the voucher and asked if it could be used for international travel. October 19th 2010, we emailed the Swiss Air contact listed on the voucher to inquire making an exception for travel from San Francisco to a Swissair destination.

October 20th we received an email response from ** in the SWISS E-Mail Service Center-Team R1C. She very clearly stated they had reviewed our request and that we may use the voucher to travel from San Francisco, but we must pay the difference in fare, stating, "We have reviewed your request and wish to share the following information with you: Please note you may do that but in case the fare is higher you would need to reckon with any fare difference." We responded that we would gladly do so and provided all the necessary travel information.

October 20 -€“ November 15th, we experienced the most ridiculous incompetence we have ever witnessed from an airline. We were routed back and forth from Switzerland to New York, to various call centers throughout the world, all telling us to call the other office. Neither office was willing to take initiative and resolve our matter in a prompt and respectful manner. The New York office would say "€œcall the number on the voucher"€ and the receptionists at the Swissair number, who were outsourced to Mind Pearl call center (sometimes in Spain, sometimes in South Africa) would tell me to "talk to New York"€.

November 12, Louisa at the New York office said, "yes, it'€™s all approved and will be turned around within 24 hours at which time we will call you"€. We proceeded to make plans and booked our hotels. November 13th, we did not receive a call within 24 hours, so I called to see if there is any new information on our account. There is none. When requesting to speak with a supervisor, I am told that ** is out of the office and that we will receive a response within 24 hours.

November 14th I have not heard a response within 24 hours as promised giving us a dollar value to pay the difference on our tickets. I call New York to see if any new information has been added to our account. This is the day before we are set to travel, and no monetary amount has been issued. November 15th, on the day of travel, we finally got supervisor ** in New York on the phone who abruptly said "€œNo the voucher could not be used". ** was snide, rude and very unfriendly, as was her staff. Not only did she not dignify us with a returned call, we had to track her down. When we asked her point blank if she cared about her customers, she outrageously responded, "I'€™m not answering that question"€. She then referred us back to the Swiss reservation number in Europe.

November 15th, we call Switzerland, the agent, ** instructed us to go to the airport two hours before flight time with the voucher and the correspondence and that the counter agent would take care of this. November 15th, we went to the airport as instructed, and the gate agent treated us like the enemy. She was prejudicially aware of our situation and told me that there was nothing that she could do, snidely asking why we thought we should come to the airport. She made a copy of the voucher without taking into consideration any of the supporting documents I had furnished her. We left the airport with our suitcases packed, Visa'™s issued and hotels paid, treated worthlessly.

We would have understood if we had been told from the outset that the voucher could not be used for international travel. However, we were told that it could be and that we would need to simply pay the difference -€“ first by the Swiss office (in writing) and then later by the New York office (over the phone). We followed every instruction that each of your different representative required of us, and at the last minuet was slapped in the face by the snide and disrespectful supervisor, **, who waited until the day of travel to deliver the blow of not granting us our tickets that were promised to us from day one.

The incompetence that we experienced was absurd, even the simple act of changing a name on the reservation became a monumental waste of time and added frustration to this process, having to speak with 3 different reservationists on 3 separate occasions. This is terrible business practice. We are offing a cash difference on the fare, which means more money for Swissair on the margin. The flight is leaving with 2 empty seats anyway. Instead Swissair ruins our travel our travel plans, treats its customers miserably, and fails to honor its word. We were shuffled around for nearly 4 weeks to find out how much the difference in fair price will cost us, only to be disrespected and denied tickets on the day of travel.

Swissair should be ashamed of these actions! In this digital age, it would behoove the marketing department to treat customers with dignity and respect for their travel, especially considering how viral information is shared. Please know that if Swissair is unable to accommodate our promised travel plans, you can count on me to spend the time I would be traveling, informing passengers to do themselves a favor and fly any airline BUT Swissair. This company has outsourced all of its accountability and with it, it's integrity. In this digital age, businesses will fail that think that they can get away with treating your customers like refuse.

In addition, we will be pursuing legal action against Swissair and its representatives for wasting our time, money and ruining our travel. This matter must be resolved immediately. I will no longer tolerate any more of this €œ"you will receive a response in 24 hours" lie.

Included is an itemized summary of encounters with Swissair personnel: October 26th, we responded via email with the flight information for our travel plans and the estimated difference in cost of fare based on the cost of 2580 printed voucher, "The total fare online is 2480.52 USD for two people which is within the $2580 voucher cost basis". October 30th we received an email response on from ** SWISS E-Mail Service Center-Team Basel, confirming our arrangement and instructing us to mail the actual voucher to the SWISS International Air Lines'€ ** Ticketing department one day before our day of travel.

October 30th I called Swiss Airlines Ticketing 877-359-7947 and reserved passage for my sister and I on a flight from San Francisco to New Delhi, prepared to pay the increase in fare price, and requested that dollar amount balance. I faxed a copy of the original voucher to 631-956-9212, and requested to change my sister'€™s last name from ** to **. November 1st I called Swiss Airlines to confirm receipt of my fax. They had not yet received it and the agent reconfirmed the correct fax number and instructed me to re-fax it the next day. November 2nd I re-faxed the voucher to Swiss Air at 631-956-9212.

November 4th the first egregious inconsistency presented itself as I attempted to change ** name to **. I called Swiss Airlines Ticketing 877-359-7947 and was told by the representative that she would need to call in personally to change the name. November 4th ** personally called the same line and was told that she could not change her name because the reservation has been cancelled. I spoke with ticketing that afternoon and explained that per ** - SWISS E-Mail Service Center-Team R1C. We were granted an exception on the voucher.

I was specifically told that this should not be a problem, but it would need to be approved by a supervisor in the marketing department in order to issue tickets. I was instructed to email supporting documents to ** and that the reservationist would also send a direct email to Swiss Air Marketing department in the US and would request an expedited response on my behalf.

November 5th I received an email response from ** - €“Team Leader | Sales Support Swiss International Air Lines in New York. She stated that she will need to contact the overseas marketing department, and our reservation would "require specific booking categories". She would review our documents and respond next week.

November 8th, I called Swiss Airlines Ticketing 877-359-7947 to check on documentation and spoke with **, who was the first reservationist to accommodate the urgency of our situation. She confirmed that it is likely that our reservation will be honored once Sales Support reviews the documentation and then they will be responsible for issuing tickets. She also suggested also that I call the Switzerland office. November 8th, Per ** suggestion, I phoned the Switzerland based phone number printed on the voucher +41 (0)848 700 700 and attempt to reach ** or a supervisor who may offer assistance.

The outsourcing call center, Mind Pearl could not locate ** and suggested that we email her again. I did so as instructed. November 9th, I called to change ** name to **, but encountered yet another inconsistency in information. The reservationist told me that her name cannot be changed, even by her and that we would have to make an entirely new reservation in order to change her name. This is a stark contrast the information provided to me by the same department, different person.

November 11th I call New York office to speak with **, who is in a meeting and I am told will return my call shortly. I do not hear from her until we call her again on the morning of November 15th. November 13th, ** calls again in an attempt to change her name on the reservation. The female reservationist changes her name with no complications, again inconsistent with what I was told on November the 9th. The simple act of changing a name on the reservation became a monumental waste of time and added frustration to this process.

Unfair Baggage Charges for UK National University Student by Swiss Air
By -

I am a frequent flier with Miles and More and a Bachelor of Professional Golf Management / Business Administration student in the USA. I traveled to Switzerland and France to play golf for one month. I had extra luggage because of the duration of my stay and the cold weather in Europe. I decided to visit London while I was here. I booked a round trip flight on Swiss Air on 26 July 2011, flight LX440 to London City which was very pleasant. I was charged 60 swiss francs for excess baggage on the LCY segment. The airport was close to the city center which was extremely convenient.

When I returned to Geneva from London Heathrow, on my return segment, flight LX353, I was charged 100 euros for 6 kilos overweight for two bags and 35 GBP for a golf bag that was 18 kilos in weight. I was given a receipt that was taken away from me at the gate so I have no proof of payment of these exorbitant baggage charges. I believe that the employees were pocketing the money because I paid in cash. The baggage charges cost almost more than my return plane ticket. I am a university student and a member of various international student travel and golfing groups. I shall be recommending to our organisations that we never book travel on Swiss Air again unless this matter is resolved fairly.

I spent over 15,000 while I was in Europe and I am very happy to spend my money on another carrier where I shall be treated more pleasantly. To make matters worse, the UK Swiss airlines' "chief robbers" then lost my two bags. I arrived in Geneva with a set of golf clubs only. Finally, my luggage arrived on Swiss Air flight LX351 late this afternoon, August 7, 2011. I had to trace my bags myself because nobody called to let me know their whereabouts.

My last day in Geneva has been ruined. I had to go to the airport and get my luggage in person. Then, I returned to my hotel to shower and change as I had a change of clothing, finally. My departing international flight tomorrow is at 7:15 am so I have been unable to play golf or do any tours today. I am greatly upset. I feel that I have been defrauded by the Swiss Air employees at London Heathrow airport. I had purchased my ticket before August 1, 2011 so the old excess baggage rules should have applied in my case. My Swiss Air Booking Reference is **. A disgruntled Swiss Air Passenger.

Swiss Air Ignored Serious Electrical Problem on Zurich-Hong Kong Flight
By -

I wrote to Swiss Air one month ago today, but no response, so I will now post complaints online. I spent the entire 14 hour flight from Zurich to Hong Kong in the dark because neither the overhead lights nor any electronics (TV, videos) worked. This was obviously a wiring problem, not a matter of rebooting the system, and I reported it well before take-off. The stewardess said it would be rebooted, though I said this would not work. It was obviously a wiring or fuse problem, not a computer problem. Yet in spite of this, and without knowing the extent of the electrical problem, the attendant ignored me.

Over an hour later, I asked again about it. The attendant snapped that they were serving the meal and could not deal with it. After three hours, I hit the attendant button of a neighboring seat (because nothing in my seat worked). It was ignored, but half an hour later, an attendant came by, switched it off, and kept going. This happened three times before an attendant finally came, smiled sweetly and asked, "Is it still not working?" It was obviously not working. Everything was dark in my seat and my neighbors (mine was 26E and his 26D).

Electrical problems (whether shortages or otherwise) can be serious, and I was very surprised this was entirely ignored. So I and the man in 26D sat in the dark, literally, the entire flight. I then reported this online on Oct. 17th. Swiss Air said I'd receive a prompt response. Today, one month later, I've heard nothing. I never expected such poor maintenance, or service, on a Swiss Air flight. (I do not, however, blame the attendants, who overall were quite courteous, and should not have to deal with such problems; they were probably up against the wall, because of Swiss Air's poor maintenance).

By -

I had not flown in some time and considered a Miami-Geneva-Tel Aviv journey to be as frightening as a root canal. Surprisingly to me, the flights were smooth, the accommodations most comfortable and the onboard staff (as well as wheelchair personnel) were terrific. Will definitely try it again.

Overbooking and passenger exploitation
By -

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- Are you proud of creating Swiss Air? Please read below what we went through and still going through because of swiss air. My name is **. I flew from Boston to Mumbai with my wife ** and son ** (8 months). While returning back from Mumbai, we had this horrible experience with swiss air which shattered all my expectations about swiss people and its business executives. The only mistake I did was I came 15 min late after the counter was closed. But it was still 1 hour before the flight time.

Swiss air did not provided us with any help. They did not give us any help with accommodation nor did they help facilitate our journey in any way. They asked us to just come everyday and try our luck. With heavy luggage and a infant baby we came to airport 5 days in a row at around midnight only to be kicked out. We will come everyday, wait for 3-4 hours and see other backlogged passengers board the plane and not us. The flights are overbooked everyday as high as 5%. Some people are provided with accommodation and they are put on earliest flights.

For us, it was denial and rejection every day. It was the most horrible experience of my life and I vow to do everything to make sure Swiss Air policies are exposed. My wife is still waiting in India for her flight. No help from swissair and no help from your staff. Why do you operate this way sir? Isn't your policy exploits passengers like me? How much shall one person pay for being 15 min late? Is it not your duty to transport your passenger? If you feel you are a responsible executive at least email back. Or I will feel you are as deaf and corrupt as most corrupt regime in the world.

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Swissair Rating:
6 reviews & complaints.
Contact Information:
PO Box 207
East Meadow, NY 11554
1-855-254-1842 (ph)
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