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Warning. Do not fly Icelandair

San Diego
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Warning. Do not fly Icelandair

Subject: Iceland

Location: Europe

Title: Warning Icelandair is the worst airline experience I have ever had.

This is a copy of the 3nd letter I sent to Icelandair. They have never replied.

Dear customer service,

I emailed you the following letter almost two weeks ago and have yet to receive a response. In case you did not receive it I am sending this one through regular post.

I am writing to express my absolute dismay and outrage over the treatment I received by Icelandair representatives in the course of my flight home from Reykjavik on the 10th of April. My sister and I were caught up in an arctic storm which caused a six hour departure delay from KEF to SEA. The delay was not

the fault of your airline, however what followed the delay is the problem. We had a connecting flight from SEA to SAN on Alaska Airlines leaving at 8 pm Seattle time on the 10th of April. When it became evident that the delay would cause us to miss our connection in SEA I spoke with the Icelandair representative who assured me that Icelandair had made arrangements for us to

take our connecting flights on Alaska Air the following day (April 11) and we would receive a voucher for a hotel when we arrived in Seattle. She further assured me that Alaska Air was informed of the delay and everything was taken care of. Because we were at the airport for so many hours I asked another representative to confirm what the first one told me and she reiterated what the

first agent told me. In fact, she specifically advised me to check in with the Icelandair rep in Seattle as soon as we went through customs. Although we were stuck in the terminal for 8 hours and I had internet access as well as a cell phone I did not contact Alaska Air or book a hotel. Instead I relied on the two representatives’ specific assurances that our flight and hotel

was handled. I told my sister we would be taken care of by Icelandair. Once on board our flight we were told by the flight attendant that when we landed we were to report to the rep and get our connecting flights for the following day and the hotel voucher.

Imagine my shock when upon arrival in Seattle we were told by the rep at the SEA airport that in fact NOTHING was taken care of. Alaska Air had not been contacted. We were told we were not entitled to a hotel voucher and Icelandair was not responsible for our travel arrangements because our flights on Alaska

Air were booked separately. At that point in our travel nightmare we had been traveling for almost 24 hours which began the morning of April 10th. We were many hours without sleep. The Seattle airport was practically empty. There were no agents at Alaska Air and no one from your airline was willing to assist us.

Having no options after midnight we went to the closest cheapest available motel and slept for a few hours. I was forced to book and pay for new flights to SAN at twice the cost.

I did call the Icelandair offices the morning of April 11th and request assistance and was told that Icelandair was not responsible for the "misinformation" of other reps and although Alaska Air is a "goodwill" partner Icelandair was unwilling to assist me in any way. I was told to contact customer service which I am doing now.

Needless to say I relied on Icelandair when I was in Iceland to my detriment. Not only did this entire experience leave me never wanting to travel on Icelandair but it cost me an additional $500 in flights and hotel. More importantly, I had wanted to travel to Iceland for years. Iceland was the final

destination of my two week trip to Europe with my sister. We could have simply connected in Iceland but chose to stay the entire weekend and take advantage of my desire to see Iceland's natural treasures. I can't tell you how sad I am that my choice to stay in Iceland cost me far more than the additional $500 I spent

rebooking flights and the hotel costs. I am entirely disillusioned by the poor treatment your airline gave me.

I had many airline choices from Paris to San Diego. I chose your airline and I chose to stopover for a few days. I was excited to see the country. The treatment by your airline quite literally ruined an otherwise wonderful trip. Now instead of remembering Gullfoss or the Geysirs or Blue Lagoon fondly, we remember the atrocious and callous behavior of your airline.

I am writing to you first to give your airline an opportunity to make amends. Specifically, I want to be reimbursed for my additional costs. Frankly, I would hope that you want us to travel to Iceland again. If not and you decide like your representatives that your airline owes us nothing, please be advised I will be posting this experience on every travel site on the internet. Believe me if I

had read a blog like this letter I never would have flown Icelandair. I truly hope you will make this right.

Sunshine Coast...
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2,772 posts
28 reviews
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11. Re: Warning. Do not fly Icelandair

Your letter is too long. If you want a reply you must make it shorter and to the point.

As your flights were booked separately it is not Icelandair's responsibility to do anything other than eventually get you to Seattle which they did.

If you told the reps in Iceland that you had connecting flights (which you didn't as they were on separate tickets) then you can't really blame them for giving you the wrong information - although an apology for the misunderstanding would be nice.

This is not Alaska Air's fault either as you were a no show for your flight.

Things like this happen and that is what travel insurance is for. If you choose not to purchase insurance then you have to pay the consequences.

I'm sorry that you feel your holiday was ruined. Perhaps you should focus on the wonderful time you had and just move on from the disrupted flights home. Eventually it will become a funny story to tell.

Portland, Oregon
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for Air Travel
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12. Re: Warning. Do not fly Icelandair

This issue comes up quite a lot on the forum.

The operative words are "our flights on Alaska Air were booked separately". As such Icelandair and Alaska have no case to answer.

If you had booked both flights on a single through ticket, your onward connection to SAN would have been protected, and you would have been looked after, including being put on the next available flight and if necessary provided with a hotel.

But, because your flights were on separate tickets neither FI nor AS had any responsibility. As far as FI are concerned you were ending your journey at SEA, and as far as AS were concerned you were starting at SEA and it was your responsibility to present yourself at check in on time. Because you didn't you were classed as a no-show and lost that ticket (presumably it was non-refundable). The reason for not showing up on time has no bearing.

People who ticket different parts of their trip separately are always taking a risk of this happening. If they choose to do this, I advise to build an enormous amount of contingency into the schedule, including an overnight stay between flights. Unfortunately in this case you were stung.

As for the reassurances from the IF staff at KEF, what I suspect happened there is that IF did indeed notify SEA and all the relevant airlines about their delay so that the connecting passengers would be taken care of but, because you weren't on a through ticket your names weren't on the list. Maybe the gate attendant(s) incorrectly assumed that you were a connecting passenger and should have checked your individual record. But if they were dealing with dozens/hundreds of worried passengers I wouldn't blame them, and actually it would have ultimately made no difference.

Portland, Oregon
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13. Re: Warning. Do not fly Icelandair

.... "actually it would have ultimately made no difference." What I should have said was "made little difference".

Madrid
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3,236 posts
8 reviews
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14. Re: Warning. Do not fly Icelandair

Oops AussieGirl,you mentioned travel insurance.It looks like that might be too simple.Here lies the danger of booking 2 separate tickets,I wonder if we will see more of this in the next few days with another ash cloud looming on the horizon?

Seattle, Washington
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15. Re: Warning. Do not fly Icelandair

Iceland Air is not responsible for delays due to weather and they owe you nothing but what you already got - transportation from point A to point B.

I wasn't there but you do not seem to have received atrocious service; there seems as if there was a big misunderstanding. Since your next flight was on a separate ticket, and you missed this flight, you were on your own. You might have tried pleading your case with Alaska; they wouldn't have paid for a hotel, but they could have put you on another flight at no charge, though they certainly had no obligation to do so.

Next time, remember that traveling on two separate tickets is a risky thing, that weather happens and travel insurance is a good thing. Also, no one reads a letter that's longer than one page; leave out all the emotional extraneous nonsense.

Edited: 24 May 2011, 02:45
Canada
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16. Re: Warning. Do not fly Icelandair

Eh

and

Eh

and

Eh

Toronto, Canada
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37 reviews
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17. Re: Warning. Do not fly Icelandair

Another one posting wonder.

Australia
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374 posts
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18. Re: Warning. Do not fly Icelandair

<Icelandair was not responsible for our travel arrangements because our flights on Alaska Air were booked separately.>

this can be a trap, but it is not the airline's fault.

I had a similar experience a few years ago - flight from Sydney to Vancouver was delayed by about 4 hours, just enough for us to miss our flight to Campbell River (by a matter of minutes). Air Canada initally told us that our 'connecting' flights could be rescheduled, but then realised (and told us) that the 'connecting flights' were not on out ticket (of course they weren't, dear husband booked them separately, and got a really cheap price!).

We were, however, really lucky because the very nice people at Central Mountain Air, under no obligation, fitted us on the next flight for only the cost of a ticket exchange (which we weren't entitled to, and which we shouldn't have got anyway because we were already down as a 'no show' on our original flight).

I'm not sure whether it was because we looked so dejected and tired, or whether Central Mountain Air are extra compassionate, or because we were so polite and grateful.

We learnt the lesson - on the next trip, our connecting flights were booked at the same time, on the same ticket. Cost a bit more. Wouldn't you know it, no delays! (but i felt less nervous!)

East Sussex, United...
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19. Re: Warning. Do not fly Icelandair

Bottom line is Icelandair did what they were contracted to do for you. They got you from KEF to SEA, albeit with a delay.

South Pole
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20. Re: Warning. Do not fly Icelandair

u wonder what the OP gained initially from buying separate tickets. alaska and icelandair have code sharing flights from SAN to KEF via SEA and are easily purchased on the icelandair web site.