Monday, June 16, 2014

Dissatisfaction with Allegiant Air

Dissatisfaction with Allegiant Air
My daughter, Katie, had a flight booked to leave Missoula and go to Los Angeles on Thursday June 12th.  The fight was booked several months in advance so she could visit with family and attend her uncle’s wedding.   The day prior to her flight, I went online and looked up her flight status with her confirmation number, I printed out her flight confirmation, which stated the flight departed Missoula at 1:36pm.   Thursday was her last day of school, and she was so excited to go to California, visit with family, go shopping, eat some In-N-Out and enjoy her summer.   She had worked really hard over the school year, playing Volleyball and Basketball and maintaining straight A’s in all of her classes.   Brad and I took Katie out to lunch to say goodbye before her 2 week trip to California, after all, we had a couple hours before her flight.   
Katie and I arrived at the Missoula airport at 12:00, this way we had plenty of time to check in, say our good byes and wait for her flight to take off.   When we got to the ticketing area, it was empty, no one standing in line, no one working the ticketing counter – I thought this was odd, but hey, it’s a small airport on a Thursday, maybe we’re really early!   An employee asked if she could help, and I explained we were checking in for my daughter’s flight to LA.   She stated the plane already left, I responded “No it hasn’t” with my flight confirmation in hand.  She asked to see my paperwork and apologized saying the flight had left about 30 minutes ago.   I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.   As I looked over at Katie, I could see the look of disappointment and her eyes starting to tear up, how was she going to get to California?  The lady stated she needed to get a supervisor over to assist. 
Another lady and a tall man, came out of the ticketing office to assist, both looking at my paperwork, confused as to how I just printed out a flight confirmation with the wrong information on it.   I asked if this had anything to do with the upgrade to their system.  I had to call a week prior to change the baggage between Katie’s flight and mine, as she needed a larger, checked in bag.   After waiting 35 minutes and being disconnected several times, I finally got a customer service agent who took about 30 minutes to update the “new system” with the baggage change, and charged me $19 for the change.   It was due to this customer service interaction, that I was made aware that Allegiant Air had recently updated their computer systems and lots of people where having “troubles” with the online reservation system and modifying their flights.   And regardless of the amount of times I attempted to contact their customer service, and the wait times, I also sent in several “contact us” emails to the Allegiant Air website, none of which were able to assist me with the baggage change nor did anyone verify or mention a change in the flight times.  
The Ticketing agent, Stacy, was very apologetic and tried to assist with getting Katie’s flight corrected, as she was holding my printed flight confirmation from the day prior with the wrong flight times.   She contacted customer service to figure out why this happened and what they could do to correct the issue.   After about a half hour of waiting with Katie at the airport, they offered to fly Katie to Oakland California, which is about 5 hours in the opposite direction she was headed.   I stated that that would not work as she was a 15 year old, and had no way to get from Oakland to LA by herself.  Then after waiting another 15-20 minutes, they offered to transfer Katie’s flight information from Thursday June 12th to Sunday June 15th, 3 days later. Now, since this was our only option to get Katie to California, I said “YES”.   The ticketing agent said she was trying to get the Allegiant Customer service to waive the fees.   I am sorry, but I should not have to pay any fees for their error.   I am not even sure why they would think about charging a customer to correct their own error.   After about another 30 minutes of waiting for the ticketing agent to assist, she was able to print the new ticket confirmations for a Sunday flight, and stated I should contact Allegiant Air customer service for a better resolution.   I asked if someone could contact me back, due to my numerous issues in the past with waiting on hold and being disconnected.   She spoke with a Holly at Allegiant who took my phone number and was going to look into what they could do to make this better (aka compensation).  
About an hour after I got home with Katie, Holly from Allegiant customer service called, apologized for the error and offered me $25 in vouchers.   I proceeded to tell her the story and the inconvenience this has caused us and our family in California, which she advised me to use the “Contact Us” Link and request additional compensation for their error.  
Their first response was:
Thank you for contacting Allegiant Travel. Please be advised every passenger was notified of the schedule change via email. On the reservation in question the email address is different than the one you are emailing from, which would have prevented the email from getting to you. Whoever booked the reservation would have received the email with notification of the change. At this time it appears a voucher for $25 was issued on this reservation for the inconvenience. I apologize, however, no further compensation will be offered.
Allegiant Travel, as well as other airlines, reschedule aircraft and flights as needed, to provide the most efficient operation. Every attempt is made to notify customers of changes in schedule that affect them directly. Customer contact is done through our Schedule Change Department and Reservations Department by telephone or e-mail. Media outlets and our web developers have the information the same day as the Schedule Change Department, therefore, Allegiants passenger may hear the information from outside sources prior to the Schedule Change Departments notifications. There are many reasons for schedule changes including but not limited to: aircraft availability, route changes, service to new markets, airport curfews, crew resources, passenger feedback, or airport availability. The options available to the passenger are based on the amount of time the flight was affected – less than or greater than 4 hours. If you have any questions please call us directly at the number listed below.  We are open from 4:00 AM to 11:00 PM PST seven days a week.
Thank you for choosing Allegiant Travel.
To which, I needed to write back again: I understand airlines change flights, that is not the issue.   I checked the flight info online on YOUR website, which told me the flight was not changed and was still at 1:30pm.  I gave my printed flight confirmation,  from your website,  to the ticketing agent Stacy, who contacted your customer service number right away due to YOUR error.  I hope you reconsider your response below, if you're not able to apply more compensation, then I need to speak with someone else who can.

They wrote me back:
Hello Wendy,
We apologize, again for any inconvenience this has caused. Our final decision is to deny your request for compensation. While we understand that this decision is unsatisfactory to you, we are not able to modify our company’s policy regarding flight status. No further emails regarding this matter will be responded to as our final decision has been made. We thank you again for your business and appreciate your concerns.
Thank you,
Tori S
So now, they won’t research the issue or respond back to me
Very dissatisfied with Allegiant’s Customer Service
Allegiant Travel - Customer Care
Phone: 702-505-8888