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“Respectfully Disagreeing” Never Felt So Good

, , , , | Right | December 11, 2020

I work at the call centre of a popular low-fare airline. My colleague is chatting with a customer.

Passenger: “My reservation number is [number]. I’m trying to change my travel date as I need to be there early and my flight time was changed.”

Coworker: “Your schedule change was only fifteen minutes.”

Passenger: “Can I change my flight for another date? Say December seventeenth?”

Coworker: “Not in this reservation.”

The proposed date is too far in advance; we don’t have scheduled flights for December at that time.

Passenger: “What can I do about this change?”

Coworker: “The fifteen minutes, you mean?”

Passenger: “Will I be able to cancel the ticket for a refund? Yes, I would like to change or cancel this reservation.”

Coworker: “[Company] is a non-refundable airline, I am afraid.”

Passenger: “Yes, I understand, but there is a change in the flight times. I would like to request a date change, as there is a delay from the airline side.”

Coworker: “Only fifteen minutes. Unfortunately, as it’s less than an hour, the only thing you can do is accept it.”

Passenger: “As mentioned earlier, I would like to change the date, as the delay is from the airline side.”

Coworker: “You can change the flight on the website under ‘Manage My Booking’ and select the ‘Change Flight’ option. After clicking on the link, select the service you require, and log in with option 1, 2, or 3.”

Passenger: “Yes, but I should not be charged as it’s a delay from the airline side.”

Coworker: “Let me respectfully disagree with you; as the schedule change is only fifteen minutes, you are not entitled to any compensation.”

Passenger: “I should say, this is very poor service from your airline!”

Coworker: “Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

Passenger: “My issue is not solved.”

Coworker: “You have all the information you need, [Passenger].”

Passenger: “What other help do you want to give me?”

Coworker: “Whatever further information you need regarding your flight change.”

Passenger: “I request a solution to the problem.”

Coworker: “If these fifteen minutes are that a huge problem, unfortunately, you’ll need to change your own flight.”

Their Geography Knowledge Is Up In The Air

, , , | Right | December 7, 2020

I work at the call center of a popular European airline. It is well-known that we have cheap prices and that our tickets are non-refundable. My colleague is chatting with a passenger.

Coworker: “If you cannot use your flight, you have many options, such as changing the flight or the name. However, we have no cancellation policy.”

Passenger: “Not even for ignorant, stupid Americans who clearly don’t know their geography?”

Something Smells Fishy

, , , , | Friendly | June 17, 2020

When I am a naive student in the UK, I hear on TV that in Sweden they eat rotten fish, called “surströmming”. The show’s host, Stephen Fry, holds up a tin, but says he isn’t allowed to open it in case the audience passed out.

I am intrigued. I want to try some, but I can’t find it anywhere— not locally and not online at any price. I phone a friend in Sweden.

Me: “Hey, I want to try some of this surströmming. Do you know where I can get some?”

Friend: “Really? It’s absolutely rank. We only eat it outside at BBQs and things.”

Me: “Yes, really.”

Friend: “And you can’t find it locally?”

Me: “Nowhere. I’ve checked for hours.”

Friend: “Strange. They sell it everywhere in Sweden. It’s easy to make; you just catch some herring and then put it in a barrel. It ferments for six months. Or nine months if you’re totally nuts.”

Me: “Can you send me some?”

Friend: “Sure. I can get 1kg for about 300 krona, but I don’t have Paypal. You’ll need to send me cash in the post.”

Me: “I’ll do it tomorrow.”

Friend: “I hope this isn’t part of some prank? Also, we normally eat it with a bread called tunnbröd. I’ll send you that, too.”

I convert pound sterling to SEK300. I put it in an envelope and send it to Sweden. Two weeks later, a package arrives. It only has the tunnbröd. The surströmming is missing from the package.

Me: “Hey, I didn’t get any fish.”

Friend: “You mean it didn’t arrive?”

Me: “No… it arrived, but there’s no surströmming.”

Friend: “Oh, crap. I know what’s happened.”

After a quick check on Google, I learn that couriers really do NOT like rotten fish. I phone the courier to ask them about it. They put me through to the freight airline they used. The employee is clearly Swedish and understands what happened.

Me: “I was expecting a package of surströmming, but it seems to have been removed from the package.”

Employee: “How was it packaged?”

Me: “In a tin, in a cardboard box.”

Employee: “Tinned surströmming… You know the way it’s already rotten when it is made?”

Me: “Yes?”

Employee: “That’s an ongoing process. It continues to ferment in the tin and it makes more gas.”

Me: “In a sealed container?”

Employee: “In a sealed container, in a confined space, with low air pressure, and many other goods. We have no way of knowing when that tin will go pop.”

Me: “…and send rotten fish everywhere?” 

Employee: “Exactly. In the interests of air safety, we X-ray everything and remove surströmming tins. Sorry about your fish; you won’t get it back.”

Me: “Thanks for the thorough explanation. They really should think about the packaging.”

My Swedish friend and I split our small loss and went on our way. I have yet to taste surströmming, but I am organising another batch of it. I’ll try surface shipping.

Don’t Get Into A B****ing Match With An Air Steward

, , , , | Right | May 7, 2020

I work for a budget airline. A passenger is speaking to his daughter in front of us.

Passenger: “You’d better hurry up and do your homework, or you’ll end up with a low-level job like her.”

The passenger points to a flight attendant, my coworker. My coworker, quick as lightning, turns to the daughter.

Coworker: “Well, you know what? If your daddy had done his homework, he could afford to fly you [Expensive Airline] instead of [Budget Airline].”

After that, he kept his mouth shut until we landed.

This story was featured in our May 2020 roundup!

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One Wrong Click Leads To A Chain Reaction Of Support

, , , , | Working | April 30, 2020

Checking in twenty-four hours before my flight on the app on my phone, I accidentally clicked “YES” instead of “NO” when asked if I had dangerous goods. My sign-in was stopped immediately and I was left with no recourse but to cancel my check-in and lose my paid-for, pre-chosen seat. I’m laid back about most things, but there’s no way I can sit on a flight if I’m not by a window that’s opposite the sun. I feel really trapped if I can’t look out regularly.

I called the help line, figuring that this can’t possibly be a rare mistake, and got through to a customer service representative within minutes. I explained my error to her and she hummed, saying that she hadn’t heard of that before, but that she hadn’t heard of many issues as it was her first day.

Man, oh, man.

She started mumble-reading the FAQ, which I had done before calling — sans the mumbling, though — and then started trying all sorts of fixes that I was sure wouldn’t work. Finally, she put me on hold as she called her support and she was left on hold for over half an hour.

It was a 48-minute call — I checked the call counter— but I was calm and encouraging the whole time. I had made the mistake and I knew that freaking out would do nothing helpful. She apologized numerous times but I assured her I was in no rush. Everyone’s gotta learn sometimes and I’m the one who made the fat-fingered mistake. I don’t want to ever be one of those NAR people!

Oh, and randomly, she saw my destination and asked, during our scads of downtime, if that was home; it was Christmas time. As we talked, it came out that we grew up in areas kilometers apart from each other — her dad was great friends with my high school art teacher — but at different times. Currently, we are thousands of kilometres from there and each other.