Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Icelandair Rat-bastards

The rat-bastards at Icelandair have refunded half of my money (see here, here, here, and here for background). I hope they choke on the other half.


Rhymes With Right said...

My darling Paula has always wanted to go to Iceland -- but given her chronic health issues, your experience makes such a trip less likely.

Dean Baird said...

I flew Delta. They stand 0-2 on the outbound and inbound itineraries.

1. SMF>LAX>JFK>KEF. The flight from LAX to JFK was delayed beyond the layover I had at JFK, so I called for a solution. Delta's solution was to fly me to Iceland the next day. What I uncovered on my own (with the help of an iPhone app) was that the actual plane from LAX to JFK was the plane that flew from JFK to KEF. The delay into JFK wasn't translated to a scheduled delay to KEF. And apparently they don't know which planes fly where at Res Support. But since I unwittingly agreed to the rebook, my JFK-KEF was sold out from beneath me. This despite assurances from the LAX gate agent that nothing of the sort would happen.

When I arrived in JFK and explained the situation to the gate agent there, he silently reprinted a new boarding pass for me. I thought all was well until I tried to board: he printed boarding passes for the next day's flight. As far as Delta was concerned, I was off the flight of my original booking and due to spent a day near JFK. After a corrective discussion with a new gate agent, I was back on the plane. But my window seat became a bulkhead middle seat.

My best move in LA would have been to disregard the instructions of the gate agent to make alternative arrangements.

The fact that neither the gate agent nor Res Support knew that my best move was to do nothing at LAX may have been an anomaly, or it may be that every new day is the first rodeo for those at Delta.

2. KEF>JFK>LAX>SMF. The plane to be flown JFK>LAX sprung a mechanical, so about 2 hrs after boarding, we had to deplane. That puts a 757-load rabbit into the rebooking snake. I lucked out with an alternate flight to LA because I had the Res Support number in my iPhone and called while still on the sick bird. My luggage was not as fortunate. I'm assured it will arrive by 5pm today. If the sun rises on Wednesday with my luggage still en route, I will not be surprised. I've waited for luggage from Delta before.

So Delta was not able to get me to Iceland or back without significant failures. I'll accept--as a matter of faith--that they carry dozens of people from place to place in a manner resembling purchased itineraries every day. I just don't know any of them.

You may hate Icelandair for their handling of your situation. Is there evidence that any other airline would have handled it differently? I have a hard time visualizing Delta refunding even half of a non-refundable fare under any circumstances.

If you fly Delta, put reservation support's number into your cell phone before you go. You *will* need to call it. More than once, based on my experience.

Good luck. Iceland is wonderful. Getting there and back is unnecessarily difficult on Delta.

Darren said...

I have no illusions that Delta would be any better, but so far they haven't screwed me out of any money.

Dean Baird said...

Regarding Delta's handling of "delayed baggage," they gave me a case number and told me to not bother them, but rather to inquire on their website. The website doesn't accept the case number, and the 800-number connects to a busy signal. Not a voice-nav; not a recording, not a time-announced hold. Just a dead-end busy signal.

They earn points for thoroughly closing out pesky customers.

As long as you don't need to get to Iceland on a particular day or get back on a particular day and can wait a day or so on luggage, I'm sure Delta will be shiny. And I truly believe that had you started with Delta, they would now be the rat-bastards refusing a refund and Icelandair would be the vessel of your hope.

But there is no better teacher than experience. The only airline that I've found to be competent is Southwest. As yet, they do not fly to Iceland.

Rhymes with Right: All travel involves hassles. International travel amps the hassles up, especially when returning to the US! Experiencing other cultures in other lands has value that transcends those hassles, in my opinion.