Sunday, 14 October 2012

My bad review of IBERIA airlines from 2005

It's seven years since I posted this review online but I still bear the grudge so I am reposting it here. I hope the British Airways managers that bought the airline will eventually sort out the unhelpful attitude of the IBERIA staff.

Flying from Buenos Aires to Zürich, Switzerland I had a one way flight with Lufthansa from Buenos Aires to Sao Paulo where I had to change to Iberia Airlines which was to take me from Sao Paulo to Madrid. Due to a snowstorm in Frankfurt and a technical failure the Lufthansa flight was 2 hours late. The Lufthansa staff in Buenos Aires assured me that I would still make the connection and promised to "put a message in the computer" so that IBERIA would know where I was and would look out for me. I can't vouch for the fact that they sent the message but certainly the IBERIA staff were blissfully unaware of this. By the time I came running up to the gate in the other terminal in Sao Paulo they were busy boarding their passengers. I tried to catch someone's attention and they told me they had closed the flight and I would not be allowed on the plane. The plane was there, the doors were open, I had a valid eTicket but I had people with the wrong attitude in front of me. 

I don't know the details of gate procedures but they were adamant they would not let me on the plane and forced me to watch them collect the last passengers, close the doors and fly the plane off without me. They could not care less about my situation and told me to go and talk to Lufthansa. 

After they had gotten rid of me in this way I was pleasantly surprised by the very different attitude prevailing at the Lufthansa counter. They said no problem, they would fly me on the next Lufthansa plane to Frankfurt and then to Zürich. All they needed was my ticket. When they realised that it was an eTicket the chap told me to wait and went off to IBERIA to get some sort of endorsement. He was gone for 2 hours. When he came back he had bad news. IBERIA denied this endorsement and thus they were not able to fly me home. The best he could negotiate on my behalf was that IBERIA would fly me home the next day and Lufthansa would put me up in a hotel. This worked but the lady booking the hotel checked the IBERIA reservations and noticed that they had not got me on the next day's flight. It wasn't until the next day that I knew I was flying. And this was only due to the Lufthansa lady personally walking over to the IBERIA employees and making sure they did what they had promised.

The thing that got me was the total lack of customer orientation in the IBERIA staff. They should have been able to find out that I was on the late incoming flight. There should have been a message from Lufthansa in Buenos Aires and my luggage was checked through. They closed their computer more than half an hour before the departure time of the aircraft. They didn't care about me missing the flight. They refused to fly me with another airline. This is certainly the worst experience I have ever made with an airline. And to add insult to the injury they had even upgraded me to business on the way out and I had a positive image of them!

Originally posted here:

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