Dear Mr. Mallya,
Every time we fly your airlines, you come online and welcome us and tell us that we are your ‘guests’ and that you have trained your in-flight attendants to treat us as guests in your own home. Perfect; Impressive. I must admit that most of the time we are treated well. The girls are all smiles and ever ready to help you with anything you need or ask for and when they can’t they smile in such an apologetic manner that you hasten to assure them that you could do without whatever you are asking for. The food is good (even if the tea and coffee are just tepid water) and the selection of movies and entertainment fairly good.
But before you begin to gloat over the praise of your airlines, let me hasten to add that you seem to think that guests are guests only after they enter your house and how they are treated before they get there is none of your business. Perhaps one is to exult having surmounted all odds to reach the goal of becoming your ‘guests’?
Now my point it this: when you train your house staff to make your guests welcome, you should also take care to train the others dealing with them before they actually get there, right? Your office staff who man the help lines should work in tandem with the rest and should have their facts right especially when giving any flight related information such as baggage limit to one of your ‘guests’.
This is what happened to me last week. I had gone to visit my son and like doting children he and his wife plied me with all kinds of things to carry back. But before doing that, they made me call your office and find out the baggage limit. I have to digress here to point out that the toll free number for UK doesn’t work at all and you are left holding the receiver endlessly — no matter what extension you select — listening to an electronic voice assuring you that you are going to be flying the world’s only 5-star airline! Some 5-star airline that!
Disgusted, I called the Indian number and after giving them my ticket number and other details, was assured that I could carry back 23×2 check-in baggage, i.e., a total of 46 kgs. I was elated and so were my children. They lent me one of their suitcases and filled it with stuff – all totaling about 42 kgs. ‘You can take 4 kgs more,’ said my son. I grinned happily, shaking my head.
The shock came when we reached the check-in counter at Heathrow. The PYT that took my ticket told me that I was way over the limit and that the baggage limit was 28 kgs. Indignant, I protested that I had been told specifically over the phone by one of her colleagues that my limit was 46 kgs, but to no avail. Soon her supervisor came to investigate the commotion and asked me for some confirmation, like an email or fax.
I naturally didn’t have any such confirmation, having naively believed that a phone assurance was more than enough especially since the lady in question had not cautioned me about such inconveniences at the time of check in. Finally she took the ticket and said she would talk to the Kingfisher office and clarify the matter. She came back after sometime saying that I was magnanimously ‘allowed’ by one of your staff to take 35 kgs, which was 7 kgs less than what my luggage weighed.
Unwilling to take out the lovingly bought gifts, my son asked about the excess baggage fare and was informed that it was a whopping 20 pounds per kg! Useless angry remonstrations later he got ready to pay it off but I put my foot down and began offloading stuff. I was completely stressed out by then since I like to relax after the security check. I had fortunately gone three hours in advance. I shudder to think what might have happened if we had gone a little late and encountered this situation!
In the confusion and stress, I broke a lamp which I had lovingly bought. The scene looked like a battlefield as there were others who were frantically trying not to be fleeced by your airlines, in the name of excess baggage.
So much tension did it cause me and my family that I didn’t have enough time to even cuddle my granddaughter or say relaxed goodbyes to my son and daughter-in-law. In fact there was no time to even have a drink of water before I had to rush through the security.
Such confusion on the domestic flights are still ok but don’t you think that on long international flights your staff should have specific instructions to guide the so called ‘guests’ properly in order to avoid such chaos at the airport? Or don’t you think that the ‘guests’ deserve any courtesy whatsoever, if they fly your airlines, since they get treated like your personal guests in the flight and damned how they got there?
I am not the only aggrieved party. I saw some of the complaints of your other ‘guests’ one of whom has complained that he couldn’t get a refund or adjustment of fare even after sending several emails. He ultimately had to buy a new ticket when the original ticket had to be postponed. And what is worse, he was sending back his sick mother! That also goes to prove that I would never have received any email confirmation regarding my baggage limit from your office, right?
This is the way guests are treated by your airlines and if you are not aware of it Mr. Mallya, please become aware and take corrective steps. May I presume that this treatment is specific to your ‘cattle-class’ guests? If so, before the red in Kingfisher Red becomes synonymous with ‘Danger: stay away,’ please train your ground staff and others who deal with passengers to get their act together and show some courtesy and consideration for your ‘guests.’
With best regards,
An aggrieved cattle-class ‘guest’