Travel Tip Tuesday

We’ve all been there. We experience bad service at a hotel and want to rant about it, we are overcharged for fees by a rental car company, an airline loses our bags for two days then half of the contents disappear before they are returned.

Oh, that hasn’t happened to you?

Well, it happened to me.

If you aren’t familiar with the ongoing saga between yours truly and Lufthansa/Air One, then you can catch up here, but please come back.

In the six months since this began, I’ve learned a few things about dealing with travel companies. And I am going to share that new-found knowledge with you.

Here are four tips to help you get a favorable response from a travel company.

Act quickly – Most travel companies expect to hear from complaining customers within a previously specified amount of time. For airlines, you must file a report within seven days of receiving your luggage. If you try to call them on Day 8, they won’t help you. They look for loopholes so they don’t have to refund your money or provide travel vouchers.

Tell them what you want – Don’t be afraid of being seen as an aggressive customer or an unkind person. You need to share your expectations with the company so they will have something to respond to in your complaint. If you send a letter and say, “The ceiling leaked and the staff member on duty wouldn’t move us to another room,” you are just venting. If you expect to be compensated or would like a voucher to return at a later date, say so in the letter.

Document everything – Keep all invoices, online communication and airline information, such as boarding passes and luggage receipts. You might be asked to produce documentation proving you took the flight. You don’t want to lose your refund because you cleaned out your purse a day too soon.

When you realize you will have to file a complaint, organize all of your documents and make copies. Keep them in folder so you will have quick and easy access.

Don’t take “no” for an answer – If your initial request is denied, send a follow-up letter or email asking for a manager. Continue to send a follow-up until you have been contacted by someone with authority. If you feel you are still being treated unfairly, request the help of a travel ombudsman, continue to send appeals to higher company officials or post in online forums or your blog.

Remember that fiasco I mentioned above with Lufthansa and Air One? Well, I am happy to report that a couple of weeks after my post, I received an email from a manager at Lufthansa offering to reopen my case. I sent her all of the information and documentation and three weeks later I received a bank transfer for almost $550.00.

Two days later, Air One called to see if they could help me settle my complaint. Until this point, Air One had never responded to any of my emails, phone calls, faxes or letters.

“How can we help you resolve this?” the lady asked.

“It’s been taken care of,” I told her. “Lufthansa paid it.”

“Well,” she asked curtly. “Why did you contact Lufthansa after you had already contacted us?”

“Because you never responded.”

“Yes, well …” she said. “They will send us a notice to pay half.”

And she hung up.

So, remember. If you find yourself in a similiar situation – Act quickly, Tell them what you want, Document everything and Don’t take “no” for an answer. Good luck!

Have you ever been in a similiar situation where things turned out well for you in the end? What do you think helped you reach a positive outcome?

Until next time … Buon Viaggio!

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Comments

  1. Happy birthday, dear! Things always work out for me. I’ve decided that my mantra for not worrying (excessively) is that everything always works out in the end. Because it does. What special day does your marito have planned for you?
     
    You know, I am not sure what he is planning … let’s hope it is something nice. I know he remembers, at least! lol
     

  2. I booked a hotel on Expedia for my aunt as it said close the the FCO Rome airport. Well a 100 euro taxi ride later she found out they had wrong info on the website. I rang and complained and asked for compensation. They tried to give me a voucher and I went back and forth a few times – always remaining civil and calm – and in the end I was given a credit card refund of the return taxi fee plus a little extra. I was owed that at least.

    Another tip for people who book with a holiday company is to report the problem in resort with their holiday representative (if they have one.) Me for example. If no one complains to me while they are in resort then they go home and write a long complaint letter…it will be virtually impossible to get compensation as it states in most T&C that you have to give a holiday company or hotel the chance to fix the problem while you are with them!
     
    Thanks for reminding everyone they need to try to resolve issues with their holiday companies first! Great tip!! Also, that is just crazy about the hotel in Rome. Ridiculous and I am so glad they coughed up the dough!
     
    Leanne in Italy’s last blog post..Australia Day long weekend

  3. Happy Birthday! I hope that you have good health and weather.
     
    Thanks, Gil. The weather is cool, but I woke up with a sore throat… can’t get everything on your wish list, eh?
     

  4. Happy Birthday, Cherrye. Hope you have a wonderful day. (And, good for you getting your money back. Phew! Guess it was worth all the trouble in the end.)
     
    It was absolutely worth the trouble! Thanks for the birthday wishes!
     

  5. Happy Birthday, Cherrye! Wishing you a wonderful day! x

    (and oh my goodness, I hadn’t realised we were born only 5 days apart!)
     
    Wow. Is your birthday coming or has it passed? Happy Birthday to you, too!
     
    Concetta’s last blog post..Happy New Year!

  6. Ciao Cherrye,
    Tante Auguri!!!Glad you finally got some positive results from Lufthansa.Just goes to prove that old cliche’ about the squeeky wheel…..and spreading the word all over the blogosphere probably helps too. Brava!!!
     
    Thanks! It certainly took long enough, but better late than never, I say. For my birthday we went to the place you guys recommended when you were in CZ. It was phenomenal!
     

  7. All’s well that ends well 🙂

    Happy Birthday Cherrye!! Hope you have a great day!
     
    Yep! And thanks for the birthday wishes!
     

  8. Happy happy Birthday Cherrye!!! Hope your day is sunny and your cake is chocolate, and that you get everything you want!
     
    The day was perfect … well, it actually rained in the PM, but it was perfect anyhow. Thanks!!
     
    Amber’s last blog post..Wee Wisdom

  9. Air travel is such a nightmare at times – canceled flights, lost luggage (and now you have to pay to check bags)10 peanuts in a bag, … I could on. Thanks for the tip. Nothing that horrible happened.
     
    I hear you… so much can go wrong. I am glad you haven’t experienced anything too traumatic, at least.
     
    Nadine’s last blog post..Part II of ABC Cruise

  10. Happy Birthday Cherrye!! I’m in the States so your ‘day’ is already over by now .. but hope you’re still celebrating all week!!
     
    Thanks, Kim. It was great. I hope you are having fun in the states.
     

  11. Buon Compleano, un po’ in ritardo!

    Have had crummy experience with Air One, and terrific experience with Lufthansa. Maybe we really do get what we pay for?
     
    Thanks for the belated birthday wishes. I am sorry to hear about your Air One issues. I think as much as getting what you pay for is the issue of the (lack of) customer service with Italian companies. Seriously … ouch!
     
    Fern Driscoll’s last blog post..The Best Thing I Ate Last Week

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