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Thursday, June 17, 2010

dear airasia

last may 6 to 9, me and some friends went to phuket. we flew airasia on our trip. but days before that we were plagued with problems of the airasia kind, let me enumerate them to you.

april 26, 2010
my friends booked a flight (PNR: U7VZDC), from CRK to KUL. they managed to book it but at the booking confirmation that they had, the following was written:

Booking Number U7VZDC
Status PENDING

Your booking is pending for credit card verification.
You will receive the Travel Itinerary once the payment is approved and your booking is confirmed.
You can check the booking status at Check & Change after 2 hours.

april 30, 2010
one of my friends asked for help in contacting airasia because up to that date the status of the booking was still “pending” but the credit card that was used in the booking was already charged.

I called the airasia “premium line” since the self help line obviously won’t be able to help me in my inquiry. the first call was at 15:23:51 and basically told me a couple of things:

a. payment was declined.
b. there’s amount due in the booking
c. proof of the charge is needed so airasia can check

(sequence of calls may not be in order)
16:04:23 Called the premium line again. Next agent didn’t understand me and proceeded to ask for the credit card details so he can charge the card again. Absurd.

16:16:31 Called the premium line again. Next agent gave me a number (03 2141 9388) for the finance department, suggest I call the finance department. I called the finance department, but a voicemail answers my every call.

17:03:39 Called the premium line again. Next agent gave me a fax number and also suggested i send the copy of the screenshot to the malaysia-support@airasia.com email address. I printed a copy of the screenshot and attempted to fax the printout to the number – and the fax machine is either turned off or non-existent. We also sent an email before the day ended to the malaysia-support@airasia.com email address with the screenshot of the charge.

May 3, 2010
one of the first things I did was to call your premium line again.

10:08:56 I call to confirm if the email last Friday was received. Agent was having hard time locating the email. She said she’ll call back in 1 hour. Didn’t call back.

14:32:51 I call again to ask if the email was located. Again was told that I’ll receive a call in an hour but still no call.

14:55:38 I call again (didn’t realize 1 hour has not passed yet) I ask for another fax number, to resend the printout. Agent doesn’t know the fax number, has to put me on hold to get it (don’t they have it like in a post-it or something). Number given (03 2160 9518) only kept ringing. Agent was agitated I asked for his agent id, also was reluctant to give it out (some shit reason that they only have names as identifiers).

16:06:08 Some good agent escalated my case to the finance department and asked me to call back 3pm the next day.

May 4, 2010
waited till 3pm to call the premium line again

15:08:55 After checking and a long time of holding, agent gives me a number to call the finance department of airasia. 03 2141 9388 and I informed the agent I've tried this number before as some agent before her/him also gave me this number and nobody ever answers (but the voicemail does). But he/she tells me it might be lunch when I called and the agent was confident someone will be answering the said number. Lo and behold I call  and the voicemail answers again.

18:32:17 I asked for the manager. But hey the manager is busy. Had to again spend some minutes explaining the situation, how I wanted to talk to the manager 'cause all the agents seem to not know anything (case in point, above). Spent some time holding, then agent comes back with same reply as previous one, gives me the 0321419388 number. I had to stop him midway and told him why does he give me a number that no human is answering. Is this supposed to be how your premium line is working, etc. (also informed him of the fax number without a fax machine answering). I told him to try the number himself. Puts me on hold. Comes back, reconfirms my number and says he'll pass this to the finance department, puts me again on hold. then comes back and apologizes and promises to call back in 1 hour if his manager doesn't. Told him some agent already said the same line to me a few days back but never did call.

18:53:26 (impatient me, calling not yet 1 hour passed) I called again because the premium line was about to close (close at 7pm). I was willing to hold and wait for them to finish discussing – as I was informed that the manager (or someone with authority) named Martin was talking to the finance department. They assured me they will call me back even if the premium line is closed so I ended the call after.

The flight of my friends were the next day at 11am.

Martin did call me back, but basically to inform me of the following things:

1. They cannot locate the first charge and would need some data from Citibank.
2. We needed to charge the card again over the phone to make sure my friends can fly the next day.
3. That he will personally call me once they locate the data needed to proceed with refunding the first charge.

So we charged the card the second time, and my friends were able to fly the next day – and we enjoyed Phuket.

 

Fast Forward to June 9, 2010. I send an email to malaysia-support@airasia.com as I didn’t want to burn my handphone once again. The following was the body of my email:

Hi AirAsia,


Any update on the Refund Request of booking U7VZDC? Some guy named Martin/Mateen which we were liaising a few days before the flight assured us he will be calling once Air Asia gets the details from Citibank, but up to now no call has been made.


Thanks,

June 10 No reply.
June 11 No reply.
June 12 No reply. Happy Independence day to us! Happy Birthday Jason!
June 13 No reply.
June 14 No reply.
June 15 No reply.

June 16, 2010

I try to call the premium line in the morning. On hold for 2 minutes before giving up. Got frustrated, fired of 2 emails adding tony@tonyfernandesblog.com to the recipients:

Pls. for the love of all things good, reply. Your premium line is clogged and it has put me on hold for 2 minutes already. unacceptable.

Next email was (seconds apart)

resending again, just in case (as previous calls to your premium line said they didn't receive the email i sent before).
I will be resending this email every hour from this point on until some human answers me.

Also tweeted the following:

@airasiadotcom, do you guys got problems with your email? nobody seem to be replying to my emails (from 7 days ago) @tonyfernandes

The “resending” was not done because I was finally able to find a human to answer me. Enter the live chat.

In my frustration I started the Live Chat feature in their website. (TODO: get the chat log and post to blog tomorrow)
I was able to talk to Lisa and the end result is that either any of the following:

1. Someone might reply to me via email within 12-24 hours
2. Martin might call back within 24-48 hours.

So here’s a countdown timer for the 48 hours: REMOVED because action has been done by Air Asia (at around 2PM June 17)

 
 

Clock is ticking.

Oh and yeah, this post is a long rant I know and I’m too tired to put pictures in the post. Maybe later or maybe I'll call back in an hour. Can I put you on hold while I get some pictures too?

UPDATE JUNE 17: Tony Fernandes, CEO of Air Asia replies to my email and directs me to one of his colleagues for assistance. I am then contacted by Frank, who requests bank statements showing the 2 different charges (Apr 26 and May 5) to the Citibank credit card that was used. I also asked Frank to refer to Martin for additional info and for consolidation of data for this issue. An update is expected on Monday.