Below is the exchange I had with Allegiant (Vegas-based employees only) after the awful experience we had on our flight home from Vegas on 7/9/10. This is all about PRINCIPLE and not about the dollar amount I requested to be refunded (which I never got back btw).
Please forward this to Customer Relations and consider this a formal complaint re our air travel with your airlines on July 9, 2010.
Some of your Vegas-based Alligiant employees need to be reprimanded, suspended, or fired for the following:
**NOTE: I should not have to mention this, but in the case of anyone reading this who lacks common sense...when you have a handicapped/disabled person on-board your airlines, that person (and his/her caregiver - that would be me) are to be given special/first-class treatment when flying ANY airlines. This is not 'optional' or random, this is REQUIRED for each and every handicapped customer, and should be taken VERY seriously by your employees. I have a handicapped brother who I grew up with and to again to state the obvious, handicapped people have ENOUGH challenges to deal with in life in general. They NEVER EVER should have to endure substandard/lousy customer service!!! OR be nitpicked (about something petty) by some smug/rude agent and ripped off by a company because of some agent's poor judgment and idiotic decision-making and lack of compassion. I am offended and I am extremely upset about what took place on 7/9/2010 (ie, how we were mistreated), and it will not go unreported until those who gave us lousy service and didn't use common sense are held accountable by your management. These Vegas-based Allegiant counter agents and flight attendants did not get a verbal tongue-lashing (although they probably deserved one!) during the flight because I thought this was a better way to voice my concerns.
1.) Main thrust of the complaint is wrt a carry-on bag that was not allowed to accompany us on the return flight (Vegas to Bismarck / Flight # 414), and instead we were improperly charged $35 for being forced to check the bag because a couple of irrational and RUDE counter agents (Kristy, lady working the counter, and another woman, don't have her name, working the 'carry-on passenger' line) who nitpicked over the bag supposedly being "too long". ALL THIS DESPITE THE FACT I told them that I/we carried the SAME bag on the first leg of the round trip with no problem at all (and with GOOD customer service from the Bismarck-based Allegiant employees). The escort who we had from the counter to the gate (an older gentlemen working for Prospect, who provided outstanding customer service btw!) was shocked when we told him that your Allegiant agents were pulling out a measuring tape and nitpicking about a fraction of an inch! He said in all his years of working at the Las Vegas airport, he had NEVER heard of the agents using tape measurers. He was so blown away, he said he was going to have to go back to the counter area to see this ludicrous behavior for himself! In addition, on arrival to Bismarck yesterday morning, I counted at least a half-dozen to a dozen other flyers who exited our plane in Bismarck with carry-on bags that were comparable in size to our bag (or bigger!). Doesn't sound like CONSISTENT customer service, now does it?
2.) No offer of assistance to my handicapped/disabled companion and spouse by ANY of the flight attendents when we boarded and exited the aircraft. All three of them (female) just kind of stood around and watched and didn't say anything or offer to help us. I assisted my spouse (she uses a cane and can only walk short distances) from the end of the ramp to her seat and vice-versa. Felicia, one of the attendants, was especially rude and inconsiderate. There was a compartment clearly marked "For front row customers" in front of us. But Felicia took my spouse's cane and put it in some compartment WAY behind us. I asked her why she was doing that and her excuse was that the first row compartment was full. Later I noticed that some flight crew's bag AND a tray of food was in that 'front-row CUSTOMER' compartment! How selfish and stupid can someone (like these flight attendants) be? Note: after landing in Bismarck, a kind and thoughtful passenger passed my spouse's cane forward up to us, doing the job that the flight attendant was supposed to do!
3.) After she and the other two fight attendants exhibited a don't-care/unfriendly attitude towards us, Felicia even had the audacity to add some snide comment (in a distasteful tone) to me during the flight that I was not allowed to chew tobacco on the flight. Of course, she mentions this to me AFTER I was finished with my chew. Even though I was already visibly upset re the baggage fee incident prior to boarding, I said nothing in return. Newsflash: there are NO SIGNS wrt chewing tobacco on your plane. You have signs obviously re smoking. If you use common sense, you would know that chewing tobacco is a SMOKELESS product, so the "no smoking" ban on board does not apply. Also I do not take kindly some flip comment like the one she said to me...there was NO reason for the flight attendant to be a jerk about it. I am an adult, not a child, so treat me like one! As an adult, I have been using smokeless tobacco for 20 years and I know how to use it discreetly (not bothering anyone around me) and I know how to dispose of it properly after use. Please tell your smug flight attendant to save her dumb comments, especially when I am the caregiver of a disabled person.
I am requesting that swift reprimanding action be taken on the above-mentioned employees immediately by Allegiant's management, and that the improper and inappropriate baggage fee be refunded to me (via my credit card) as soon as possible. If you really know (and are interested in giving) good customer service and not having your reputation ruined, then to make up for this lousy customer service (again, only by the Vegas-based employees mentioned above), an offer of a voucher or credit for a future flight (just giving an example) to both of us would be a nice gesture by your company.....if you ever want us to continue using (or recommending) your airlines in the future.
a couple of days later, I get the following phone call (my notes following a brief conversation with so-called "customer relations" are below)......
Well that was interesting....
Someone from Allegiant (Cathy) calls me and does a lousy job "apologizing", and then upsets me more by saying I won't be getting my $35 back.....then after the phone call, I see a voucher for $35 in my email....??? Puzzling....
Anyway, some of your people really need re-learn proper customer service:
1.) "The customer is always right" - This of course doesn't really mean 'always'. But regarding something that's borderline or a matter of interpretation OR WHEN THERE IS A FACTUAL INCONSISTENCY (as was committed by your Vegas-based counter agents), the proper thing to do is to give the customer (me) a break (or the benefit of the doubt). Let it go. The customer doesn't want to hear "We're sorry for their rudeness; however our employees did this-this-and-that right". Don't want to hear the however's, but's, and all the other justifications. It makes your apology sound empty. Your employees in Las Vegas screwed up, period! They dismissed out of hand (or thought I was lying) what I said, the FACT that the bag in question WAS A CARRY-ON from Bismarck to LV. They basically said "it doesn't matter what happened in Bismarck". Your agent improperly charging me $35 is called USING BAD JUDGMENT.
2.) Don't say things to a customer like "let me educate you on (blah blah blah)". That is condescending, coming from someone who should be experienced enough in so-called customer relations and should know better.....especially when you KNOW before you make the call that the customer is already pretty livid. I (the customer) am not interested in being lectured to about this policy or that policy's minutia. You (Allegiant) could've have easily said "Sorry sir for the inconvenience. We'll refund your money promptly. You may want to consider using a smaller bag next time you wish to fly with us." That is the proper tone and approach to take towards the customer.
Please pass that along and maybe I can educate them.
In the meantime, a $35 voucher is unacceptable compensation, because it just means that I have to spend more money with your airlines, which in all likelihood, I won't be flying anymore.