|pic from freeimages.co.uk|
Sitting on a plane on the tarmac for 3 hours gives you plenty of time to think of your next blog post.
So, i know it's not a budget thing to do, and let's be honest we couldn't afford it, but it was a commitment I had already made.
I was spending a day in London for tri-annual meetings I attend as a trustee for an NGO. I started this when i lived near london, but for many reasons decided to keep it up once i moved back to Ireland. It's an incredible job and privilege to be a part of it, but the traveling can cause some issues.
So- the plan- get up at 4:45, take the 6:45 plane to Heathrow, and be at my meetings well in time for 9 o'clock, leave there at 6:30 and be back home a little after 9pm. All was going well, until they made the announcement, 'slight half hour delay' but we'd be in the air shortly. We boarded half an hour late and then another announcement, 'terribly sorry our slot has been put off for another hour, as there is fog at heathrow', again an hour later 'I'm afraid it's bad news again, we have to wait another hour'. By this stage we had already been long away from the gate and were just parked somewhere else in the airport. You could tell some other day trippers were not too happy, and so asked to get off the plane. We were eventually towed back to the gate and about 6 people got off. My dilemma, stay on the flight and miss lots of the meetings, or get off and try and get a refund for the ticket. I asked one of the flight attendants about this, but they didn't know if i could get a refund, but instead gave me a customer care number to ring. After being on hold for 11 minutes, i finally got through to someone who said, no, no possibility of refund. So I went to the meetings, which was good, but was very sad to have missed the morning sessions. The flight back was grand without issue.
Got me thinking about airline travel and budgets- this will lead to further posts guaranteed.
So, wanted to talk here about refunds/complaints and customer care. Too often us customers put up with quite a lot from corporations mostly because we can't be bothered to complain, or we're just not the type of people to make a fuss. That's great if you've got all the money in the world, but chances are you had to save for that ticket and aren't about to get on another flight very quickly.
It's well worth complaining. On one flight that charged me an extortionate fee for a couple pounds of excess weight, I was able to get the airline to cover the entire extra cost (£60 worth) just from one letter. On another occasion, on a flight where the audio for the film wasn't working, I asked the flight attendant about it and she suggested i write an email, so i did, and I received a 100 USD voucher from Delta.
I'm not sure if I'll get anything back from this situation but I'll try. There's a very helpful Passengers Bill of Rights that has some surprising info about delayed and canceled flights and what you're entitled to, so I'd definitely recommend a look.
I'll let you know if something comes of this complaint, it's worth a try.