Letters – April, 28 2003

Letters – April, 28 2003

Delta Makes Amends
I wanted to report two positive experiences with Delta this winter. While returning from Moscow to Salt Lake City in January I was upgraded, without even asking, from coach to business class. I was on an award certificate which surprised me even more than a paid ticket! Two months ago I was on a flight that suffered a very long (8 hour!) delay. We were offered other flight solutions that would make the flight shorter but I stuck with the original flight as it was my home airport and I could just go back to the office and work.

A few weeks after this experience I received an apology letter and a $250 flight credit. Congratulations to Delta on making a million miler and gold medallion member feel like his business matters! Now if they will only reconsider the new Medallion rules…
Steve Boulay

Rental Customers Be Warned
Is the business traveler aware of the latest “rip off” from Hertz rental?
They are currently running a promotion that offers double #1 award points for a limited time. In order to get this you have to quote PC# 938934; however, in quoting this rate you move from any corporate discount you may currently have to their full rate. In my case the regular normal rate of $48.00 per day was quoted without the promotion. Put in the so-called promotion reference and the rate jumps to $69.99 per day. On a 3-day rental with all the other taxes and extras it would mean you are paying almost $100 extra for a few extra Hertz points.

Yes, in the fine print, it says it is offered on “standard and leisure rentals” which is how their legal dept. skirts around it, but it sure does not say your rental will cost more.
Richard Joel

BA Bummed?
I was vacationing in India — having traveled there by British Airways. I got a call from my neighbor in the U.S. that my home’s pipes burst and I needed to return to the U.S. in an emergency. The call came in on Sunday night — March 2nd — so immediately on the 3rd, I spent the whole afternoon in the BA office in their Mumbai (Bombay) reservations office. At 5 p.m. they asked us to leave as their servers never came back up. So at 6 p.m., I contacted a travel agent and got another roundtrip ticket purchased for the same night.

The flight boarded at 2:30 a.m. on schedule, but after three hours, they asked us to leave the plane, as they had some AC problems, and put us up in the Hotel Orchid near the airport.

When I learnt that only passengers from rows 40 through 55 were being evacuated, I explained to them that I had an emergency and that they should try to accommodate me somehow. They refused, claiming the flight was full, and that someone would get in touch with me in the hotel and try to resolve my emergency situation.

I waited in the hotel in vain, couldn’t get through to anyone in BA via phone, and when I went to the airport and asked for compensation, I was told that they would do their best to accommodate me on the next possible flight, and that they didn’t have the authority to give any compensation. Finally they called at 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday evening at the hotel and asked a bunch of us to return to the airport by 6 p.m. to be put on a Gulf Airlines flight going via Muskat and Bahrain and then to London (where I was booked into the next day’s connecting flight to Boston).

Even in London, they refused to give me any compensation, claiming that the Mumbai airport BA staff should handle that. As a courtesy, they upgraded me from World Traveller to World Traveller Plus, which I claimed was not enough — but they said that it was the best they could do.

In the meantime, I contacted the travel agent in India who booked my tickets and told her to find out what exactly happened. She said that there was some PA system problem in the back compounded with some AC problem — that’s what she was told when she contacted BA. Surprisingly, she said that the British passport holders who got bumped just like me got a compensation of 640 Euros. Being an Indian passport holder, with an American Permanent Resident card, and having urged BA ground staff that I was in an emergency situation, this really infuriates me that I received a 3rd class treatment for being a citizen of a 3rd world country.

An extremely frustrated BA frequent flyer,
Sridhar Venkateswaran

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