Dec 5, 2008

The Wild Ride With The Fat Blond Goose

I can be harsh at times, especially when under pressure. So the following interesting hiccup occurred:

I made a booking on August 29 for a Taipei (TPE) to Penang (PEN) flight with Singapore Airlines, transiting in Singapore (SIN) Changi International.
At the time of my booking, Singapore Airlines confirmed my travel arrangement as follows:
January 20 Taipei - Singapore 0755 - 1230
January 20 Singapore - Penang 1545 - 1710
-----Happy Chinese New Year at home -----
February 13 Penang - Singapore 2115 - 2240
February 14 Singapore - Taipei 0125 - 0555
On October 10, Singapore Airlines SMS-ed me telling me that my Singapore - Penang flight is 'rescheduled' - a better way of saying you're kicked out of that flight - to a later flight. SQ198 will depart SIN at the evening and arrive in PEN at 8pm. The brief and indifferent SMS also asked me to 'reply with Yes1' if I'm okay with the change.
Deciding this is not another SMS rally (to win a prize, reply 1), I called Singapore Airlines in Taipei demanding an explaination. It seems that they have canceled Penang-bound SQ196 (the original flight) on Mondays and Tuesdays. The agent indifferently asked if I'm okay with the change and promptly kicked me onto the much later flight. And thank you for calling Singapore Airlines (in a Singaporean slang).
Then I figured - I'll have 6 hours to hang out in SIN. While many have claimed SIN to be the best airport in the world, I wouldn't want to be stuck in there on the way home. I wrote an e-mail to Singapore Airlines demanding 'any form of refreshment during my prolonged transfer at SIN'. They replied, promptly and indifferently 'based on goodwill gesture, you are invited to our (windowless) lounge at Terminal 2'.

The golden goose (that couldn't fly) - Singapore Airlines

The nightmare recurred yesterday, on the eve of neurobiology mid-terms, when the indifferent SMS once again invaded my mobile: your flight, SQ880 SIN-TPE is being rescheduled to SQXXX 0835 - 1305 14 Feb.
Calling again to Taipei, the same indifferent agent went through the process with me. She was about to hang up when I realized - heck, I'll have to spend a night in SIN!
I asked promptly if there will be any form of compensation for this, she said "hold on, I'm checking...you mind waiting a few minutes for me?" I made her call back. This is not customer service.

A great way to fly?

15 minutes later she called and informed me that a booking had been made in SIN for a transit hotel. I would indeed have to spend a lonely night in SIN (before going to HELL). Perhaps neurobiology was taking up too much of my mind at that moment, I realized it would be a hellish experience with the airline other airlines talked about. This is not what I expected when I clicked 'purchase' on the page with a kebaya-clad lady (probably Malaysian somemore) smiling at me.
'The customer is always right' I say. So, I wrote a feedback to Singapore Airlines:
So, as you might have noticed, a short flight of several hours have stretched to a day-long affair due to Singapore Airlines' inconsistent scheduling and poor management. Is this "the airline other airlines talk about"? It would be a disappointment to note the indifferent attitude many of your staff shown during my encounters with them through the telephone. If I had had not asked on my own on rescheduling compensations I reckon the indifferent Singapore Airlines would leave passengers hanging around in SIN for 10 hours or more. I do not think this is "a great way to fly", sir.
I believe as a premium airline Singapore Airlines could do more than the aforementioned in face of rescheduing and poor management by showing a little more sincerity, graciousness and problem-solving skills. I look forward to my first trip with Singapore Airlines and I hope it would not be my last.
They have yet to reply to my (sort of) hate mail. Let's see if they would, and that will tell us how much the fat blond goose values its passengers. I am a firm believer in delivering what you promised - if you aren't on par with what you've advertised, don't boast. And stop the indifferent attitude - like I'm only one of the many others who called for a flight change or seat selection too-free housewife. I believe Asian airlines do better than that.

5 comments:

Soon Khen said...

Oh my, that kinda sucked!! GEE!!

Anonymous said...

will the Cathay Pacific Airline cancell or change their schedule? Oh, my god !

aash said...

I love flying by singapore airlines. It's really the only way to fly. If you are new to visiting singapore, you might want to check out this singapore tourism guide online. Lists all the places that you should visit and what you should try out. http://www.visitors.sg

Chen Yi said...

Hey, that happened to me too! They rescheduled my flight and delayed it for approx 4 hours. I didn't really mind though since i had my laptop with me and there's free wireless service hah.

lalalim said...

LOL I got kicked off a similar flight Pen-Sin SQ195. Except I found this out when I called them trying to get my sister on the same flight! If not, I wonder if I would have ever been told by them...