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Old 01.06.2015, 23:44
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Switzerlanded by Swiss (the airline)

Okay, ready for a long rant?

In December 2014 my flight from London to Zurich was cancelled at very short notice. I wished to fly on this late flight as it was my sister's birthday and this would maximise my time there and permit me to attend the party which was in the evening. As she lives in West London, I flew into Heathrow for precisely this reason, although I could have saved a lot of money and flown Easyjet into Gatwick (better food and less snobbery). But my plans were disrupted at short notice when I was informed by text message that my flight had been cancelled and that I had been rebooked onto a ridiculuosly earlier flight. And not only was the departure significantly earlier but it was from City airport. I had to leave immediately, missing out on the party and the whole purpose of my flight and all the money I had spent on it was entirely moot.

There was barely time to cross London and if I did arrive just in time for the flight this was through pure luck as I never had to wait long for an Underground or DLR despite having to make several connections. Under less favourable conditions I could easily have missed the flight. Swiss would have had to put me up in a hotel, causing costs for them.

When back home, I cautiously approached Swiss hoping for some sort of compensation, even if just symbolic. Swiss said this was not possible as it was not their fault the flight had been cancelled. It had been cancelled due to bad weather. This was an utter fabrication because, as I have mentioned, I had actually been near Heathrow on that day, and had seen plenty of planes land and take off. To cap it all it was a beautiful sunny day. Does Swiss consider the Winter sun as an adverse weather condition? Maybe had Swiss fabricated some lies about leaves on the runway or the pilot having measles I might I have swallowed the excuse. But such is the problem of having service personnel who don't read what you tell them and so miss the trick. So I complained again.

This time they said they would explain something to me. So listen carefully (they said): As it is often foggy at Heathrow in this season, the airport cancels flights and this is beyond their control. I wrote back asking whether maybe they had not just cancelled the flight due to insufficient passengers, which is neither the fault of the weather nor the airport. They retorted in a most unfriendly mail that the conversation was now ended and that if I had costs getting to the airport I should provide receipts and they would refund those and only those.

I had obviously been hoping for a more generous compensation, but remembering what is said about gift horses I though I might take this up. I explained that I had travelled with an Oyster card and that it is thus not possible to produce a paper receipt from my home in Zürich. They then replied that I should have travelled on Uber.

You couldn't make it up.
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Old 02.06.2015, 00:50
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Re: Switzerlanded by Swiss (the airline)

Lesson learned! Don't fly Swiss!
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Old 02.06.2015, 07:05
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Re: Switzerlanded by Swiss (the airline)

Have you tried writing them on twitter? Usually does wonders to be a bit in the public.
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Old 02.06.2015, 07:33
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Re: Switzerlanded by Swiss (the airline)

Could have been worse, you could have been flying KLM

Surprised they haven't given you anything as a gesture of good will though, a voucher or so. I remember once a flight out of Charles de Gaulle with Swiss got cancelled as a pissed up container loader managed to drive into the aircraft's wing. I would have thought this would have been classed as exceptional circumstances, but they still sent me 200 bucks cash.

I really wonder sometimes how airlines can be such a-holes. They'd do well to learn a little humility goes a long way, especially when there's so much choice out there. There's airlines that I simply refuse to fly with due to past customer relations experiences.
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Old 02.06.2015, 07:50
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Re: Switzerlanded by Swiss (the airline)

What was the date of the cancelled flight and what was its number? It shouldn't be too difficult to establish weather conditions at that time near Heathrow (or anywhere along the route).

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...They retorted in a most unfriendly mail that the conversation was now ended ...
I love it when people use this. It means "we've run out of arguments and don't want to talk about it." I would respond with "This conversation is over when the matter is resolved. Under regulation/law xzy of abc, I am entitled to compensation. Further, as a matter of customer care, I feel you have a moral obligation to provide compensation by way of apology (not just for the cancelled flight but now for your rudeness in your communications with me. Unfortunately, should you continue to try to fob me off, morally I'll have no choice but to publicise as far as possible the atrocious behaviour of Swiss, your utter failure to understand the basics of customer care and customer relations, and encourage people to seek alternative carriers." Or something...
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Old 02.06.2015, 09:08
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Re: Switzerlanded by Swiss (the airline)

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What was the date of the cancelled flight and what was its number? It shouldn't be too difficult to establish weather conditions at that time near Heathrow (or anywhere along the route).

LX339, 21st December 2014, 20:00 LHR -> ZRH
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Old 02.06.2015, 09:13
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Re: Switzerlanded by Swiss (the airline)

You thought about asking one of the many online airline compensation lawyers to look into it for you? Apparently 97% of customer requests for compensation get rejected outright by airlines.


http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/flight-delays

http://www.refund.me/en/
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Old 02.06.2015, 09:38
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Re: Switzerlanded by Swiss (the airline)

I wouldn't fight this. A lot of negative energy for probably not much result. Just don't fly Swiss I would say. I do a lot of Geneva-Barcelona flights and after trying both Swiss and Easyjet, it rapidly became clear that Easyjet was the better choice, it had a lot more delays with Swiss and as you say there is somewhat a feeling of snobbery at Swiss, as if you should be pleased that they allow you on the flight. EasyJet is non-pretentious but good value.
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Old 02.06.2015, 09:44
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Re: Switzerlanded by Swiss (the airline)

A bit different, but I've had 2 delayed flights in the past (by over 3 hours) and by law, in the EU, airlines are required to compensate you for it.

One took about 10 E-Mails until resolved and the other one was much quicker. Don't stress about it, but fight, and check what you are legally entitled to (if anything). Cancellations have different rules to delays...
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Old 02.06.2015, 09:59
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Re: Switzerlanded by Swiss (the airline)

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I wouldn't fight this. A lot of negative energy for probably not much result. Just don't fly Swiss I would say. I do a lot of Geneva-Barcelona flights and after trying both Swiss and Easyjet, it rapidly became clear that Easyjet was the better choice, it had a lot more delays with Swiss and as you say there is somewhat a feeling of snobbery at Swiss, as if you should be pleased that they allow you on the flight. EasyJet is non-pretentious but good value.
Absolutely. It's easy to grumble at Easyjet's idiosynchracies at times but people who grumble too often should maybe be made to fly Swiss once in a while so they appreciate what they have. It is hard to believe that in this day and age there are still airlines who have not advanced beyond the customer service philosohy of the 1970s - and that there are still people who chose to fly with them.
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Old 02.06.2015, 10:09
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Re: Switzerlanded by Swiss (the airline)

My experience of Swiss was:
Me: You lost my scarf (business class, coats get placed in a cupboard)
Swiss Cabin Attendent: No we didn't
Me: It was in there when I gave it to you
Swiss Cabin Attendent: You'll have to log a complaint here are the details.

Me: You list my scarf
Swiss Customer Service agent: We are not repsonsible for items left in coats
Me: Your attendent asked to take my coat and hang it up, at this point how can I maintain responsibility for it. I want compensation to buy a replacement.
Swiss Customer Service agent: We are not responsible.
Me: Do you know how many times I have flown long haul business class with you in the last 6 months? Do you know how many times this company's employees have flown with you in the last 6 months?
Swiss Customer Service agent: Please send us a copy of your receipt.

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Old 02.06.2015, 10:45
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Re: Switzerlanded by Swiss (the airline)

All airlines cancel flights if they don't have enough pax or if they need to replace airplanes during the day and don't have the capacity. The guys at customer service don't have a clue about the real details. They might as well tell you that they had to replace the wing, they are clueless minions. LX339 is a tricky one, it is frequently canceled and I've been caught by this one before too.

Fact is, if you absolutely positively have to be somewhere on time, go a day earlier and leave a day later, European air traffic is way too erratic to guarantee you anything.
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Old 02.06.2015, 14:49
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Re: Switzerlanded by Swiss (the airline)

Funnily enough, all coins have two sides, and after a few truly horrific experiences with British Airways and KLM (among others), I was very happy to move to CH and discover Swiss - so much that I actually always choose Swiss when possible. Swiss has so far never let me down and I would happily recommend it...
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Old 02.06.2015, 15:02
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Re: Switzerlanded by Swiss (the airline)

I got £500 compensation for a £120 flight last time I complained.

Then again the door did fall off during landing...
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Old 02.06.2015, 15:43
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Re: Switzerlanded by Swiss (the airline)

I don't fly Swiss often. But in this case, the travel arrangements were made by my office for a meeting, and my ticket was Swiss Airlines. It was one of the most messed-up, stress-filled work-related flights I've experienced. The morning of the flight, the Swiss flight was delayed by an hour. The airlines staff assured us on the plane loudspeaker that they were accounting for all the connecting flights and that no-one would miss their connections. Sure enough, I arrived in my stopover city, and my connecting flight had left (even though a mere 15 minute delay in takeoff would have been enough for me to make it). I wonder if Swiss airlines even bothered to try to help me make that connecting flight. I spent the next 5 hours waiting around in the Frankfurt airport waiting for another flight, missing my important 3 pm meeting that day and making for a stressful situation for the rest of the meeting. That's my experience of Swiss!
I know flights can get delayed, it happens. But I've also experienced numerous times where other airlines went to great lengths to arrange for a connecting flight to wait until the delayed passengers boarded the plane. Unfortunately, not so here with Swiss.
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Old 02.06.2015, 19:54
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Re: Switzerlanded by Swiss (the airline)

Last time I was on a delayed flight with BA, I asked for a complimentary voucher, after 2 hours they have to give you 5 pounds to spend at Pret. Not sure you would get more then a bag of paprika flavoured Zweifels at Zürich Airport for that!

However the moral here, is that they will not announce it, you have to be in the know and go and demand it!
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Old 02.06.2015, 22:41
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Re: Switzerlanded by Swiss (the airline)

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Last time I was on a delayed flight with BA, I asked for a complimentary voucher, after 2 hours they have to give you 5 pounds to spend at Pret. Not sure you would get more then a bag of paprika flavoured Zweifels at Zürich Airport for that!

However the moral here, is that they will not announce it, you have to be in the know and go and demand it!
There is lots of stuff like that.

I know somebody who used to work in the lost luggage department and she said that the official compensation (back then, could be things have changed, this being almost 20 years ago) was you don't get any compensation for a delayed luggage item until you complain three times.

So obviously people in the know are at an advanatge.
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Old 09.06.2015, 15:45
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Re: Switzerlanded by Swiss (the airline)

Ok, I thought I maybe owe you all an update on this one.

I don't know whether it was a result of this thread (and some social media links I posted to it) or whether it was going to happen anyway and I was just too impatient, but Swiss have written to me and explained that although strictly speaking the event and circumstances do not qualify for compensation, that they are voluntarily offering me a compensation (and a very generous one at that, as in a restaurant voucher worth more than the actual ticket) as well as a profuse and very genuine-sounding letter of apology). It's sad it had to take this long and go this far, but let credit be given where credit is due.
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Old 09.06.2015, 15:50
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Re: Switzerlanded by Swiss (the airline)

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Ok, I thought I maybe owe you all an update on this one.

I don't know whether it was a result of this thread (and some social media links I posted to it) or whether it was going to happen anyway and I was just too impatient, but Swiss have written to me and explained that although strictly speaking the event and circumstances do not qualify for compensation, that they are voluntarily offering me a compensation (and a very generous one at that, as in a restaurant voucher worth more than the actual ticket) as well as a profuse and very genuine-sounding letter of apology). It's sad it had to take this long and go this far, but let credit be given where credit is due.
Glad to hear everything worked out in the end.

I'm pretty sure that this thread has nothing to do with Swiss' decision to compensate - take it from an aviation professional, these things just take some time, especially in Switzerland. The power of EF is not as all-mighty as many here think
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Old 09.06.2015, 21:01
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Re: Switzerlanded by Swiss (the airline)

Know your rights - this may help as it covers European air, rail and maritime transport.

http://ec.europa.eu/transport/passen.../en/index.html
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