Monday, January 16, 2006


Northworst Airlines

Leaving on a jet plane...perhaps

Ok, I don't think anyone out there will have any sympathy for my on this one, but hey, it's not about me, it is about the total lack of customer service I find in dealing with American companies, like Northwest Airlines.

I travel a moderate amount for my job and usually take one or two trips outside the country for leisure travel a year. Unlike a true road warrior, I don't have a schedule that takes me on the same route week in and week out. I'm all over the place. But anyway, despite the inconvenience, I choose to consolidate my travel on Nortwest for 2005 in an effort to get elite status and make what is usually near intolerable travel conditions..perhaps...tolerable.

It worked! I managed to squeak my way into gold elite status on NWA. One of the nice benefits is the ability, pending availability, to upgrade to business class -gratis - three days out from one's trip. Well, we're three days out and the website doesn't let me upgrade. I contacted a NWA agent this morning and she told me that I should be able to based on my status and the fact that there was availability on both legs of my trip. She couldn't answer why this was happening and did not offer to help me fix the problem. Sigh... Now when I call (a special line for gold elite members) I get a recorded message saying they are too busy to help nice.

I so feel like Elaine from Sienfeld who was obsessed with getting her sub sandwich card punched so she could get a free sub. She hated the subs, but none-the-less had invested too much time and wanted her free sub. I want my free sub... I got it over Christmas...the ability to upgrade 3 days prior to my fact it was automatic. So what gives now?

So, since I could not reach NWA on the phone...I tried their website and found this...

Talk To Us
We respond to most booking related questions within 2 hours, 24 hours a day 7 days a week

So I write this....

Dear NWA,

I am writing to request that you fix/update my account and allow me to access my eligible upgrades as per NWA gold elite member benefits. My member number is XXX. I am currently a gold status member. Although it is three days out from my travel, the website will not let me upgrade or choose seats in business class for this flight.

I called the NWA worldperks line this morning and an agent confirmed that I am in fact a gold status member and that there was availability for upgrades, she was unsure why I have not been upgraded and was unable to answer any of my questions.

Since that time, I've called you line numerous times only to get a recording to call back later. Is this the type of service that I can expect from NWA as a gold elite member? Have I made a mistake in choosing NWA as my primary carrier? Could you please help?!

Thanks so much...

And I get this auto response:

Thank-you for using! Your suggestions, comments and concerns are important to us and we appreciate the opportunity to serve you. This reply has been sent automatically to let you know your message has been received. Please do not reply to this email as we respond to questions about online bookings within 3 hours , 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. All messages are personally read and handled to give you the attention you deserve.

Northwest/KLM Airlines

We respond in two hours, perhaps three...perhaps never. Perhaps my blog has landed me on some don't fly list...or something...But geesh...Bad service is one thing, but bad service and inconsistent information is another.

Seriously though, I don't know why I should expect anything from an airline that told its mechanics to 'bite it' and is now doing the same to the pilots and flight attendants...I won't be missing you when you're gone NWA.


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