Cancelled ticket causes inconvenience.
I booked my flights to Toronto from Abu Dhabi, through an online booking agent. I got my confirmed tickets. My departure was on September 11, 2016, from Abu Dhabi to Paris, France, on Etihad and then onwards to Toronto, Canada, on Air Canada. The return was booked on September 18 from Toronto to Paris on Air Canada, and onwards to Abu Dhabi on Etihad.
I reached Abu Dhabi's airport three and a half hours prior to the departure time. At the check-in counter, I was informed that even though I had confirmed tickets, the flight was full and they had to rebook me via Frankfurt, Germany. I told them that I already had a stamped airport transit visa (ATV) for Paris and could not change flights in Frankfurt. After 30 minutes, they found me a seat on my originally booked flight.
There were a lot of other customers who were very angry, as Etihad could not find seats for their confirmed flights, too. Unaware of the mistake the representative at the check-in counter had made, I boarded my flight and reached Toronto as planned. On the day before my return flight, I tried to check in online and saw that my onward connection - Etihad flight from Paris to Abu Dhabi - was cancelled!
I tried to get in touch with Etihad and they informed me that somebody had booked me as a 'no show' on the date of departure from Abu Dhabi on the Etihad flight. The customer care refused to take responsibility for its mistake for about 19 hours, during which time, I was on the phone at least 15-20 times with various customer care offices, which included the booking agent and Air Canada, all of whom confirmed that Etihad had made the mistake on the date of the initial flight at the check-in counter.
In summary, until the last moment, until the day of my return flight, Etihad refused to accept its mistake and kept asking me to go to either Air Canada or the online booking agent to fix the error. Finally, somebody from Etihad told me that they had reissued my ticket and that I should just go to the airport.
They could not initially find my boarding pass in Paris, but after a few calls again, they issued me a ticket to Abu Dhabi. In addition to all this, the agent from the booking website informed me that Etihad had made a booking for me to Frankfurt on the initial date of travel, which somehow caused a cancellation of my return ticket.
Because of a mistake done by somebody at Etihad, I spent a lot of money on roaming calls, missed a meeting in Canada, and went through a lot of trouble for almost 24 hours, with a lot of different people from various customer care offices. Etihad has not yet responded to my complaint even after two weeks. I have been following up with them using the automated reference number and every time, someone from customer care tells me that my complaint has been set to high priority and somebody will get back to me. I don't believe them anymore.
I will not just accept the usual 'apology letter'. The trouble, stress and discomfort I went through in Canada cannot be forgiven with a mere 'sorry'.
The actual incident was a lot longer than this small summary of incidents. I came back to Abu Dhabi on September 19 and filed a complaint to Etihad the next morning. No response as of yet, other than an automated email with a reference number.
From Mr Shafeek Shaji
The management of Etihad responds:
The Guest Relations team has confirmed that Mr Shaji has accepted the compensation offered to him on October 13, 2016, and this case is now closed.
Mr Shaji responds:
I have received my compensation from Etihad. I am satisfied with the compensation offered to me. Thank you Gulf News, for the support.
(Process initiation: October 16. Response from organisation: October 18. Reader confirmation: October 18.)
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