Sunday, February 5, 2012

Still not there

This is still not Cape Town. Last night the Hotel Ibis @ Schipol, tonight the Sheraton @ Frankfurt am Main.

The title of this post was going to be DO NOT FLY KLM, but I may have to expand my complaint.

After a forced night in Amsterdam, I went back to the airport, certain that KLM would issue internet vouchers to the passengers it had stranded yesterday. When I said in my last post that KLM needed to work on its communications skills I didn't know the half of it.

Each agent (and I spoke with three) tried to fob me off on the airport information desk, which sent me to the KLM agents in the first place. Then they said I could get free internet at the KPN internet cafe. I explained you only got 2 x 30 minute sessions in a 24 hours period, and that I'd been at the airport until 4:30 yesterday, hence no more free internet for me. I also explained that when I went on line yesterday I saw there was KLM wifi for their lounge and asked if I could have the password. The answer was a resounding NO. No empathy, no sympathy, only an intense deisre to make me and my fellow travelers go away. They didn't care that KLM was responsible for our delay, or that giving us internet access actually cost them nothing. The senior agent said it was against the rules: they would not give it to me because I was not flying business class.

I asked for the senior agent's name and she refused to give it to me. No surprise there. She also refused to let me take her picture, but she couldn't really stop me. Actually, she could have called airport security, but I don't think she saw me do it. She probably thought that telling me not to was enough. Right.

So here are the three unpleasant, hostile KLM agents from Schipol.

When I get back to the states I'll send the images to KLM. I'm not sure what they can do to make it up to me. It depends on how much longer this goes on.

The flight to Frankfurt was smooth, only a half hour delay. But after sitting at the gate for our Air Namibia flight for several hours, we were told there was trouble with the navigational system and we wouldn't leave until tomorrow morning at 8 am. We should arrive in Namibia by 7 pm, with no promise of getting to Cape Town tomorrow night. It may be another night in another unwanted hotel, but no one will tell us. Would it be so difficult to add a plane for all the people on this flight who are headed on to Cape Town? It's a two hour hard could that be?

As we left the Air Namibia gate I asked if we would get vouchers so we could somehow communicate with our families and friends. The agent assured me we'd get vouchers for phone or internet at the hotel. Alas, at the Sheraton they knew nothing about this, and internet here costs 19 Euros for 24 hours. Extortion! For something that costs them nothing! For stranded passengers for whom simple communication is the best balm, short of actually getting to our destination. As I collapsed into tears for the nth time in 36 hours, the desk clerk gave me a password for one whole hour. She asked me not to tell anyone.

So here's where the question comes in: Now do I have to be mad at Air Namibia, too? Or do I direct the full force of my considerable frustration at KLM whose fault this whole thing was in the first place? I wonder if my fellow passengers from the first flight have been more successful than I. Some were routed through Paris, others through Istanbul. Will any of us actually get where we're going?


At February 6, 2012 at 4:45 AM , Blogger Marie said...

What a terrible journey. I am so sorry. I don't understand all the equipment failure excuses. Why did they not just blame the weather? Or was that part of it?

Well, I have a text from someone, not you, that you are arriving at 8.30pm tonight in Cape Town :-) Airline? Don't know. Air Namibia? Maybe. Did you get an earlier flight out of Windhoek? Doesn't make sense if you only arrived there at 7pm. Is it a special non stop to Cape Town? We shall see. I'll be there.

If you bought any WiFi and kept record of the purchase, they might be well reimbursed.

At February 6, 2012 at 8:11 AM , Anonymous Leda Meredith said...

Unbelievable! I can only imagine how angry and frustrated you must be.

At February 6, 2012 at 10:06 AM , Anonymous Mark said...

Horrors! I urgently hope that you have arrived by now. Surely. And that you are relaxing somewhere warm with something very cold.

We should all stage a worldwide boycott for 24 hours. It's shameful the way that industry treats customers.


At February 6, 2012 at 11:15 AM , Blogger SaraGardens said...

Oh, that's just dreadful - I hope you've had your first deep breath of African air by now, and that it's dispelling the accumulated abuse and incompetence of the travel biz. Sheesh.

At February 6, 2012 at 11:36 AM , Blogger Poppy said...

Sounds exhausting! Glad to discover your blog, even if I didn't catch you at the best time!

At February 29, 2012 at 4:19 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shame on You., !! Taking Pictures when you are not allowed!,

At March 1, 2012 at 3:44 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Ellen,

We read your story with interest and would be interested in learning more about the event. We sent you a tweet and hope to get in touch with you.

Kind regards,
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

At February 28, 2013 at 6:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shame on you, taking and posting these pictures !

At February 28, 2013 at 6:18 PM , Blogger Ellen Zachos said...

Really? Shame on me? I can't tell if you're joking, Anonymous, but I'd say Shame on KLM.


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