Friday, May 22, 2009

SAS Customer Service - It's Improving

Breaking with my long-standing tradition of complaining about airlines, today I’m pleased to announce I have something nice to say. About Scandinavian Airlines. (Yes, the world must be coming to an end…)

You see, when you live in Sweden for any period of time, sooner or later you will be forced to take an SAS flight. Whether you like it or not. I didn’t like, but there was no choice. Or rather, SAS was the only available choice. Needless to say, it was also an expensive choice and because I’m pathetically cheap, whenever possible I tended to avoid them.

But then, I had to fly to Tokyo in March, and because I was in Gdansk at that time, my options were somewhat limited – Lufthansa, SAS and a bizarre combination involving LOT, Aeroflot and something else. Whatever. SAS turned out to be the cheapest. Well, kind of the cheapest. You see, when you looked at their Swedish site, the flights were quite pricey. Ditto on their Polish site. But then I had the brilliant idea of searching for exactly the same itinerary on their American site. And wouldn’t you know it? I saved myself almost 300 bucks that way.

Still, there was a slight screw up along the way, because the person who ultimately made my reservation flipped my first and last names (gave last instead of first and vice versa). When I called the SAS Customer Service in Poland I was told I would have to pay 100 euro for “changing” my name to its proper order. WTF??? I decided not to pay (duh!) and take my chances (after all, it was MY name anyway). But because of this problem, my frequent flyer miles/points for this trip couldn’t be credited to my account automatically since the system did not recognize me as me.

OK, fine, I was told I would have to fill out a missing points form and send it in. OK fine again, I included my boarding passes, e-ticket, and a letter explaining what happened. And nothing. Nada. Silence. No points to be seen.

Yesterday I received my Eurobonus (SAS frequent flyer program) statement and still – zero points. I called the airline to see what was going on, and needless to say, they had absolutely no clue what I was talking about. Almost made me believe I never flew SAS to begin with.

So, because I was bored and had absolutely nothing better to do (well, I had plenty of things to do, I was just practicing avoidance), I emailed Scandinavian Airlines and told them what I thought. Hint – those were not happy thoughts.

I was in a foul mood and needed to bitch, and so I bitched about everything I thought was wrong with SAS, life, universe, and well… everything. I clicked “send” and immediately forgot about it. Because seriously, nobody ever reads those emails anyway. At least nobody ever does at Finnair.

But I’ll be damned, somebody at SAS did read it. The Eurobonus boss for Poland called me today to apologize. An actual live person got on the phone to explain the situation, to tell me that he took care of the problems I listed (well, most of them anyway, he couldn't do much for my life, universe and everything), and asked me to “please consider flying SAS again.”

Well, I didn’t tell him that since I’m still stuck in Gdansk I don’t have much choice, really. It’s either Scandinavian, or Lufthansa, or LOT Polish Airlines. And wouldn’t you know it, they’re all part of the same bloody Star Alliance loyalty program.

I’m a dedicated Sky Team member. I liked my Sky Team airlines (except KLM, which I'm sure will get its very own level of hell in the fullness of times), even when they were bad (except KLM, because there's bad, and then there's KLM). But I’m also cheap and from where I’m at it would cost me a lot more to fly on a Sky Team flight. Because unfortunately, I’m in a Star Alliance country now.

Sas plane

PS. Just found SAS on Twitter and Facebook. Dang, they’re really trying to get on with the program.

OK SAS, I know you're reading this, because you've googled my name and found this blog. Next time I want an upgrade to first class. And eat kosher food. Vegetarian kosher food. And get a foot massage. And sit next to Arash, OK? Or the lead singer from Sahara Hotnights. You think you can do that?

But failing that, I'd settle for a flying pony. :)

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