Monday, 19 April 2010
As UK and much Northern European airspace remains closed, flights are being cancelled in swathes. Each new day is bringing more destroyed travel plans and now news is emerging of airlines behaving scandalously.
Not least among these are Aer Lingus, which is not only continuing to display a happy 'we sell cheap flights' website (only a one line link to a sparse volcano information page on the home page would even give away the fact that there's any problem at all), but is still not answering its phones to customers, providing any sort of telephone based information or even changing its standard messages or daytime only working hours.
Alongside this, Aer Lingus is actually still selling tickets on flights this week - flights that people whose travel has been cancelled are actually trying to rebook onto - flights that the airline is charging high prices for, too. Take a one-way from Dublin to London. Pre-crisis they asked €24.99 for that sector - now a ticket to travel
later this week (Wednesday, in fact) is being shopped out for as much as €149.99.
So people like us, stranded thousands of miles from home, can't get onto new flights following cancellations because the airline is selling our places to new travellers. What's more, if you take a look at the prices being offered, it's like a bookies' odds on the days when travel will actually go ahead!
Emirates, with a UK helpline that simply tells customers that it's not taking calls, is hardly doing better - and BA is, according to Sky News, behaving atrociously to passengers - including refusing to pay hotel costs for passengers it has stranded in Beijing, trying to charge them one-way fees for rescheduled return flights and failing to provide consular services for pax whose visas are expiring through no fault of their own.
I'm frankly amazed at the lack of fury over the cack-handed communications of the airlines, let alone the lack of media coverage at how badly airlines are communicating with their customers and managing the situation. Now they're selling out people's hopes for higher fares while restrictions still apply.
I'm quite sure fussing about it on this Middle Eastern blog backwater won't help, but at least I've got it off my chest!
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