Insulting behavior at the airport

Review of AAK about the flight Etihad Airways between Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi on 29/07/2017 in Economy
AAK EY / ETD LAX / AUH

My name is Ali Afzali Kusha and I am a full professor at The University of Tehran. I had an unpleasant and in fact very bad experience with the Etihad Airways as I will explain below shortly.
My daughter (Booking Reference: ZMRCEC ) and myself had a return flight (Economy class) from LAX to IKA. The flight was scheduled for 4:55pm. We arrived at the airport around 2:15pm and waited in the line for the checking-in process. After around 50 minutes, it was our turn. When the lady with light brown and skirt weighed our 4 luggage pieces, each had between 2-3Kg overweight which was a bit higher than what we had found in home weighing them. In fact, by seeing the overweight of the first one, she did not want to weigh the rest of them which we insisted to see if the total was lower than the maximum allowed weight when she finally agreed. Interestingly, she had not even checked our name in the system to see if we had tickets. When she saw the overweight, she asked us either to pay the overweight fee or reduce the weight somewhere else and then go to the end of the line and said that it was the policy. This was completely unfair and disrespectful to us which had waited in the line for about 50 minutes which was long and also the check-in line had not been shorten by then anyways. Why should we wait in the check-in line twice?????!!!! Also, nobody had told us about the policy and asked us to check the weights before it becomes our turn for check-in. We reduce the weight to below 46 Kg for each of us.
Then, I complained to the lady who said that she was the supervisor and finally, as an exception of the policy, she directed us to a different line than the normal one which took us the same time as that of the original line. The check-in finished around 4:00pm (close to two hours for the check-in process) and we had to go to the passport control and security check with the 55 minutes left for us. This also took longer than usual imposing some additional unnecessary stress to us. Finally, we got to the gate five minutes to departure gate when luckily there was about 30 minutes delay of departure time which we did not know. Here are my complaint explicitly:
1- I did not find the behavior of the lady with light brown coat and skirt friendly and helpful with us. When you buy a ticket from (choose) one airline when you have several different options with about the same price and nominal satisfaction quality, you assume that they are there to help you and make your journey as pleasant as possible and not to disrespect you for not having correctly weighing your luggage. The lady could ask us (or the policy could be) that “Please precisely adjust the weights of your luggage pieces to 23Kg and then come back to the same counter.”
2- As you know there are very good airline companies that which are not that strict with a couple of Kg of overweight per luggage piece. Now, that you very strict on the maximum allowed weight, you should let your passengers know ahead of time about this and ask/direct them to weight their luggage pieces in the airport with scales that are in the counter before staying in the queue. I guess that that is the minimum that I could expect from you.
The airline might consider us as just two passengers not caring about this insulting experience but this was my first and probably the last flight with Etihad airline and I will not recommend this airline to any of my colleagues or students!!!!

Ali Afzali Kusha

Our ref: 572132
14 September 2017
Dear Professor Afzali Kusha,
Thank you for your feedback regarding your experience in Los Angeles International Airport regarding your permitted checked baggage. We do understand that excess baggage charges are never welcome. However, as unpopular as these charges may be, we hope you understand that guests must comply with our baggage policies.

The free baggage allowance depends on where your journey begins and ends. The free baggage allowance is based on the weight of your baggage or the number of pieces you are carrying. As per the ticket you purchased, you are allowed two pieces of bag, maximum 23 kilos each.

Guests whose bag exceeds the permitted allowance may choose to repack their bags or pay the applicable fee. I understand from your feedback that you stated to the check in agent that you want to remove extra kilos from the overweight bag. Please allow me to explain that during check in process if guest is carrying excess baggage and decides to re-pack over weight baggage rather than paying the excess baggage fees, we always request guest to re-join the queue after repacking. This practice is only to avoid delays for other guests, whose baggage may be within the limits and also prevents us from delaying the flight.

I am very sorry to learn that you were left with negative impression of our airport ground staff regarding our baggage policy. Our baggage policy is strict, and our staffs do not have discretion about applying it, but we expect our staff to deal with our guests efficiently and professionally.

We certainly value your feedback and very much appreciate the time you have taken to let us know about the problems you faced.

Thank you for the opportunity to review your concerns.

Yours Sincerely,

Juliet Reyes
Guest Relations Community Officer
Etihad Airways
Etihad Airways Centre
P.O. Box 35566, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
etihad.com

The National Airline of the United Arab Emirates


Dear Mrs. Juliet Reyes
Guest Relations Community Officer
Thanks for your reply after 45 days. I am very disappointed at your reply. If you read my complaint carefully, I had mentioned myself what you have stated in this reply/comment to my complaint. If you reread it carefully, I mentioned that I understood that your airline was strict about the overweight and I accepted that. My second point in the email was that you should have let me know and all the passengers know about this practice of your airline: "Please allow me to explain that during check in process if guest is carrying excess baggage and decides to re-pack over weight baggage rather than paying the excess baggage fees, we always request guest to re-join the queue after repacking. This practice is only to avoid delays for other guests, whose baggage may be within the limits and also prevents us from delaying the flight." Don't you think that it is UNFAIR to me and my daughter not being known about this practice of yours neither by email or when we were in the queue. As I mentioned to you in simple and clear way that, if we knew that, we could weigh our baggage using the free (unused) counter at the airport while we are in the queue or before entering the queue instead of staying in the queue twice. This is absolutely unreasonable and unfair to us as your customer. This certainly cannot be the practice of an airline which wishes to keep its customers.
By the way, if this is your practice, why don't you let the passenger know when you sent email to the passenger about the maximum weight of their baggage? Also, if it is your practice (which I had mentioned to you that that is what the office told me and you did not add any new information to it), you could have told me that it was your practice and then you did not need to communicate with your staff at LA and after 45 days let me know the same thing? Anyhow, I am very unsatisfied with your follow up on my feedback/complaint. I will NOT use ETIHAD again and will let all of my friends/colleagues/student know about the behavior of yours at the airport and your follow-ups after 45 days!.

Ali Afzali-Kusha
Full Professor
University of Tehran

Our ref: 572132
23 September 2017
Dear Professor Afzali Kusha,
Thank you for your response.

I am sorry to read of your disappointment about our procedures related to our baggage policy.

The allowed baggage as per guest tickets is mentioned in the confirmation of emails and if guests bags exceeded the permitted allowance, they will have an option to repack or pay the applicable fee.

Yours Sincerely,

Juliet Reyes
Guest Relations Community Officer
Etihad Airways
Etihad Airways Centre
P.O. Box 35566, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
etihad.com

General
Overall rating
2 / 5
Value (price + quality)
2 / 5
On the ground
Check-in and boarding
1 / 5
Management of luggage
2 / 5
On board
Comfort
2 / 5
Costumer service
1 / 5
Your opinion of security
3 / 5
Food
2 / 5
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By AAK, about Etihad Airways, , close to Tehran, Ostan-e Tehran, Iran
Posted online by admin, 29 days ago, view original version
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Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways replied

23 days ago

Hi Professor Afzali Kusha,

While we do understand you are disappointed about your case resolution and about not being informed of the re-packing practice, our website mentions the baggage allowance allowed for each passenger. When your baggage exceeds the allowance of your ticket, you are either asked to re-pack or to pay the excess baggage fee, as highlighted by your case officer.
If you would like further clarification on the above, please contact your case officer by replying to the last email you have received. Thank you. *Sky

6 comments RSS Comments

The user who posted the review has replied.

Unfortunately, you keep repeating your maximum baggage alloanwnce for each person to me. I acknowledged this and your strict policy in my first feedback to you. Let alone right now QATARI airline for the same flight allow for three baggage pieces with the same fare range as yours and of course with better onboard services.

I do not understand why you have difficulty in grasping my point and my complaint and try to imply that I do not comprehend your maximum baggage allowance policy. Please reread my long first feedback to you.

In short and explicit words again, you should mention this ptactice of repacking and joining the end of queue (no matter how lengthy it is) to your passengers through email, website, and in the e-ticket if you are caring about the passengers that select (wrongly in my opinion) your airline. I am sure that if you yourself with your family were in my shoes and felt the stress of the passengers who were worried about missing their fligth of 20 hours, then you would understand this clearly. When people decide to fly with your airline, expect a minimum standard of care for themselves. This practice of rejoining the end of queue is only for your airline as far as I know and absolutely unacceptable. Are we school students that for a mistake to go to the end of queue.

Etihad Airways replied

We understand your point Professor. This is a common practice though, and the check-in counter staff would have made sure that you could re-join the queue before the check-in counter closed. All our check-in counters for Economy Class close 1 hour before your flight, which is enough time to pass the security screening and reach the gate. *Sky

Etihad Airways replied

We understand your point Professor. This is a common practice though, and the check-in counter staff would have made sure that you could re-join the queue before the check-in counter closed. All our check-in counters for Economy Class close 1 hour before your flight, which is enough time to pass the security screening and reach the gate. *Sky

Etihad Airways replied

We understand your point Professor. This is a common practice though, and the check-in counter staff would have made sure that you could re-join the queue before the check-in counter closed. All our check-in counters for Economy Class close 1 hour before your flight, which is enough time to pass the security screening and reach the gate. *Sky

The user who posted the review has replied.

Thanks you for your reply. I have made clear my point of view about your wrong "common practice" of YOUR airline (and not other airlines to the best of my knowledge) asking people to stay twice in the long check-in queue without accepting the responsibility for letting the passengers through e-ticket, website, email (as you do for the maximum baggage allowance), or at least while people are in the check-in queue at the airport. If you believe it is a reasonable and acceptable "practice" by common sense, why do you not wish to announce it publicly to the passengers. This remains a mystery to me; unless you yourself know that announcing this "common practice" of your airline will repel your potential customers.

By the way, no effort was made from your airport staff for my re-joining the queue and after my complaint (please refer to my first feedback) to the supervisor, she pointed us to anther queue which did not have any shorter check-in time.

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