Monday, December 5, 2011

Kingfisher Airlines: Partner Airline Redemption.. NO RESPONSE!

So I decided to go for my convocation ceremony to the UK. A short trip in the month of December where I can get on stage, flash my teeth, where some fancy robes and get a degree rolled up in red ribbon. Unfortunately my dreams were shattered looking at the price of airline tickets. Being season time in Inida, all the firangs make a mad dash to Goa and hence the exorbitant ticket price. With no decent airline below Rs. 60,000 (I refuse to fly Air Arabia and Turkish Airlines) I decide to call the trip off.

Days later the newspapers splat the front pages of Kingfisher Airlines going bust with flights getting cancelled. My uncle having a KingClub Gold account with more than 1.5 lac frequent flyer miles racked up, is scared that is precious miles might go waste if the airline would shut shop and hence suggests I use them to book a free ticket to London and back. Since there is the imminent threat that Kingfisher flights may not fly at all, i decide to book the tickets on a partner airline.

The website seems to be unaware on how I am supposed to do this and hence a call to their customer service is made. After listening to 'flying high you and meeeeeeee......' for far too long (and yes, getting through to their phone number itself is a task) I am told that I have to download and fill a form and to email to their KingClub department. A bit shocked at the bureaucratic process, I do the needful and wait for a reply. After waiting two days, another call to their customer service department informs me that the revert back comes only within 72 hours at the least. Another patient two days later another call to the customer care department shockingly reveals that they never received my email to begin with else 'they would never have made the mistake of not informing the customer on time'. I am also told that I cannot book for a journey where Kingfisher itself operates, fair enough, and hence I re plan my trip via Amsterdam or Paris and resend a fresh form and itinerary.

An impatient 5 days later after not receiving any response (quote: we never make the mistake of not informing the customer on time) I am told, to my delight, that the email has come through! I am also told, to my disappointment, that due to 'technical difficulties' they need 2-3 more days. The tipping point had crossed once more and being well-versed in social media and the power of Social Media Monitoring I decided to take matters in my own hand and sent a tweet to @flykingfisher on Twitter informing them about my levels of happiness with my recent experience of their customer service. I am a Gold member I tell you, where are those flamboyant privileges you promised me?

Exactly like how I had predicted, Kingfisher tweeted back asking for my membership number and contact number, both which were provided for. A charming lady contacted me a few hours later asking me what the exact issue was. I ran the entire story through her and she picked out a cunning flaw. The second email was sent through the work email address and not the personal email address registered on their system and hence the redemption could not take place. Please email us asap again from your registered email address and I will get back to you within a few hours. The email was sent, albeit a little later than what I had promised her I would but her response never came. @flykingfisher had tweeted out to me asking if he called and I concurred. A few days later, with no response I tweeted once more telling them I still await a revert back and once again, no response.

At the time of typing this post, it had been more than 20 days since I had sent out the very first email and I have roughly a week to go before I am scheduled to fly out. I had given up all hope but was still a little frustrated with their disregard for customer service. I said to myself, one last call. Ever heard the phrase 'salt to the wound' well that is pretty much what happened. As always it is virtually impossible to get through 080-66117600, the Kingfisher customer service number with the MTNL lady shrieking 'The customer you are calling is currently biji (busy), please try later...' and when I did getting through to a human voice is a mammoth task. Tasks I completed while on hold for 25-minutes:
>> Checked email
>> Played a round of NinJump on my phone
>> Skyped with a friend for 15 minutes

But no, I am not the one who gives up very easily! Disconnected the call and tried once more, not that it made any difference. I was still on hold for 20 minutes, the time in which I created this blog, typed the first post and started writing this one until a gentleman finally came on the call. After explaining the entire epic story, the representative told me how extremely sorry he was and that I was to give him half an hour in which he would fast-track the issue and get back to me. Its been an hour, 30 minutes above his stipulated time and I still await the call back.... NO RESPONSE!

Issue summary:
1. Extremely difficult to get the line to even connect
2. Very long waiting time
3. No revert back on multiple occasions
4. Bureaucratic redemption process

P.S Watch the comments section for a reply from Kingfisher's social media monitoring, I still have that faith in them they will. :D

UPDATE - 06/12/2011
Kingfisher finally did revert back, 4 hours later than the promised time. I did finally get my ticket, although not for the date I wanted.

It was highly disappointing that in spite of all the turmoils the company faces, it has failed to take necessary action in keeping back those few customers who still chose to fly Kingfisher. The fact that Gold members are harassed, left without response and have dedicate their own personal time and money in following up with the company on a regular basis is shameful. The end result was satisfactory, but had this come a long time ago without all the unnecessary drama, this blog may not have even started. Is that good or bad?

Share any of your Kingfisher experience, good or bad, in the comments section below.

1 comment:

  1. Why are the GOVT authorities not taking any action on the Kingfisher Airlines. The frequent labour problems and cancellation of flights at the last minute put the ordinary traveller to great inconvenience. Also, the maintenance norms followed are suspect and Will this Govt only act after a tragedy? Is Vijay Mallaya's clout as an MP coming in the way of strong action by the authorities?