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Thursday Thoughts: Bad Customer Service with Niki Airlines

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I have been working in Social Media since 2009. Having been responsible for several Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, I know a great deal about customer service. That is why I am always shocked about how some business treat their customers.

Let me go back to last Sunday: My Spanish friend and me were in Vienna and had booked flights home for around the same time so that we could go to the airport together. During the afternoon, I had already received a message from Niki Airlines (part of Air Berlin) telling me that my flight will be delayed by approximately 2 hours.

Anyhow, I went to the airport early as I wanted to accompany my friend and thought that I can easily spend two more hours there as there were shops and restaurants around. Arriving at the airport, the boards did not say anything about the delay of my plane. My friend and me went through security and had drinks. While we were sitting there, an announcement was made that my flight was delayed by two hours and all passengers would thus receive a refreshment voucher. The only problem was they did not say where we would get this particular voucher.

After saying goodbye to my friend, I went to the information desk who simply told me that I would have to talk to the airline about that. Thus, I went to the gate where my flight was supposed to depart two hours later. There was another Niki Airline flight departing from there right at that moment which gave me the chance to speak to one of their staff-members. The lady was not really happy about having to talk to me and simply explained to me that I would get something to eat and drink when I show my boarding pass in the restaurants around.

Happy about that, I went straight to the first restaurant but came out without food or a drink as they were not accepting my boarding pass. I went to the other restaurant (there were only these two in the security area) and bummer! Again I was unlucky. Thus, I went back to the desk and talked to the lady again. She then told me that I would have to go out of security again in order to get my voucher in a specific restaurant there! There were other customers around already at that time and they told me it was not worthy going there as I would only receive 5€ and could only purchase a glass of water with that…

This all did not shock or annoy me! I know that things like delayed flights can happen. It is annoying, yes but there is nothing we can do about that. What shocked me was the way this woman treated me and the other customers. If something like that happens, shouldn’t it be the airlines responsibility to make sure that people are supported? She was unable to help me and told me it was simply not possible to get a voucher in the security area. I mean, what does Niki Airlines expect? People are arriving early enough (2 hours before the flight as recommended by the airline) and there is no sign of delay outside security (even though they were able to tell me that 3 hours before that by message???) and then they make you go back outside for a glass of water (costing 4€ something…) and queue at security AGAIN???

This woman did not want to deal with us at all. She told us that she was going to leave and that one of her colleagues would arrive in 5-1o minutes which was simply a lie as nobody showed up. Obviously, we would never see her again so she simply did not care and that is what annoys me the most!!! Mistakes and problems can occur but it is always a matter of dealing with them and keeping your customers happy.

I have had problems with an overbooked hotel once in Greece and this hotel did everything to make us happy and provide us with a room. THAT is how you treat customers and they will come back! I, however, will think twice in the future which airline I am booking my flights with as I prefer the ones with good customer service!

Did something like that happen to you as well? How was the business treating you as a customer?

I am usually trying not to be this negative on my blog as I consider it a really happy place but this is something I just had to share with you guys and wanted to find out your opinion!

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  1. Alitalia during a strike in Milan. It was nerveracking. They had us waiting at check-in for 2 hours. The guy was there behind the counter, but was probably checking his facebook because he was not checking anyone in. Then, 10 minutes before our flight departed, a lady came and checked us all in. We run to the gate with no time to spare and thankfully we didn’t miss the flight. I understand that it is your right to go on strike, but I don’t vote in Italy…

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    • Totally see your point! It is always a matter of how employees deal with customers! Thy should be more trained on that in general as most of the time, customer service is not really good. I’ve had some great customer service experiences as well such as the staff at the 25hours Hotel in Vienna but this is very rare! Top priority should always be to make the customer happy so that he comes back!!!

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