TRAVEL TANTRUMS!

I had an extremely bad travel experience with an airline last night, which I will name… SILK AIR (aka Singapore Airlines) coming back from a relaxing weekend away, which then turned into a not so relaxing one.

As a result I have sent off multiple letters/emails to the airline, posted the story on skytrax and other such airline review websites and am just planning my next move on what to do. Which got me thinking… what, when and how is the best place to complain if you are in a bad travel situation through no fault of your own.

Golden Rule – Talk to the person in charge
Don’t waste your time and effort on arguing with someone who has no power to help you, or solve the problem. Insist on speaking to a manager or supervisor.
Airlines: Gate-agent supervisor
Hotels: General manager or director of sales
Car rentals: Location supervisor or manager

Up it one level and follow up
If you don’t get results on-site, follow up in writing, including all names, documentation and photos.
Airlines: For service complaints, the individual airline’s customer-service manager (you’ll have to call the airline to get this name), and your local in-country Transportation Aviation Consumer Protection Division.
Hotels: Director of public relations or head of sales and marketing, and send a copy to the general manager
Car Rentals: The chain or franchise corporate-relations manager or director of sales

Make your complaint immediately, while you’re still at the hotel or on the plane. It’s generally more effective to talk to someone in person than to call an 800 number a few weeks later and speak with a customer service agent who wasn’t in any way involved with the incident

Know your rights – check your airline or hotel booking conditions

Be specific, focused, and fair when resolving problems
Know how you would like to see the situation resolved. Stay focused, and reiterate your specific demands if the conversation veers away from the problem at hand.
Of course if you have booked a 3 star hotel, don’t expect a 5 star room, be reasonable with your asks.

Use the power of social media.
More people are using facebook, twitter etc to report “live-time” problems as they happen and this can get you a speedier response from an airline or hotel.

Read reviews from fellow travelers – tripadvisor.com is always good (pluschild.com is another one launching soon), and look at industry rankings. Below are the international airlines that get the most complaints –

1.British Airways
2.Lufthansa
3.Air France

And if all else fails, go to the bar!

TRAVEL TUESDAY – Wine

Have you purchased a great bottle of wine when travelling that you want to bring home, but have left it in the hotel for fear of it breaking in your luggage? Hoorah, you will never have to do that with a “wine skin”! You just insert the wine in the bottle-shaped bubble wrap bag and seal it up air-tight. The bubbles prevent it from breaking in-flight, but if you hit turbulence, the seal prevents any liquid from leaking out and ruining your clothes.
http://www.wineskin.net

Or alternately don’t buy any wine and just drink on the plane.

Singapore Airlines remains the world’s second biggest buyer of Dom Perignon Champagne and spends $16 million a year on wine and $500 million on inflight meals. The airline’s first class passengers go through 20,000 bottles of wine and champagne each month (even though no plane has more than 12 first-class seats!) That’s a lot of wine per passenger. Although if you are on the longest non-stop flight in world – Singapore to Newark, N.J. there is a lot of time to drink during the 18.5 hours and 10,317 miles.