Last week, I had to urgently fly back to North America on a personal
emergency and given the urgency of the situation, at around 08:10 hrs IST on
Mar17, I logged onto flightnetwork.com to book two tickets, one departing from
Chennai in the wee early hours of Mar18 and planned to do the BLR-MAA route by
IME, the e-tickets are usually emailed within an hour but when both credit
cards were debited multiple times, with no sign of the e-ticket until noon, I
dented and also filled out a
customer service form with dimming hope on the Flightnetwork website.
The easier option was to call the airline before leaving Bangalore, so I
called up JetAirways to confirm that I _was_ booked and confirmed to fly out
within 12 hours. I didnt want to reach Chennai and learn that I didnt have a
confirmed ticket. But, as I suspected, Jet said that flightnetwork.com
had not sent them the booking details --This despite my credit card being
debited in Dollars by flightnetwork.com, within one hour after booking via
their search engine/travel portal for both tickets actually.
The Jet Airways staff understood the emergency and were kind enough to issue
me a PNR despite the flightnetwork.com not sending them the booking details on
time. I explained that I could not call the portal office as it was outside of
their office hours and left BLR for MAA hoping that it was just a software
glitch and the email would arrive en-route.
Nothing of that sort happened.
We reached Chennai at 7:30pm, my flight a mere four hours
away from departure and the portal had still not sent me the e-ticket.
Jetair kept insisting that even though they had issued me a PNR, the portal had
to send them the details. In desperation, I called the Flightnetwork.com
help desk from Chennai only to be connected to Ms.AM after 3-4 multiple
attempts. I gave her the reservation code and when asked why my bookings were
not confirmed after 12 hours had passed, she yells back "do you want to argue
or let me book it now?". Err...what was she and flightnetwork.com doing
for 12+ hours then?
Ms.AM was rude, belligerent and argumentative, despite the emergency
situation being explained to her, after much prodding gave me the wrong
e-ticket booking number, blamed the delay on "quality checks", etc ... and
disconnected the line when I asked to speak to the manager.
Pft$@^$... puhleze, a quality check when my flight was leaving in around 4
hours and I didnt have a ticket? Kidding me? Strangely, the flightnetwork.com
software system was prompt enough to issue instructions to debited both credit
cards as soon as the tickets were booked (more than 12 hours earlier) but
failed to issue tickets--especially since their TOS clearly states 'no refunds'
for missed flights. What a scam!
To cut a long story short, I managed to travel that day because the Jet
Airways staff were polite, understood what customer service was about in an
emergency, were prompt enough to issue my tickets (against just a PNR) after
taking the portal name and booking reservation numbers.
Flightnetwork.com's CTO had seen my tweets, emailed me and apologised, I had
replied, and that was that. I thought it sums up my stressful 12-hour
experience with flightnetwork.com and I travelled on. Wrong....there was more
However, later that day, an employee from the sales team sends me this
Thank you for sending us your email. In regards to your concern that you had
not received your electronic tickets, kindly note our office hours are between
9:00am EST to 10:00pm EST, so we were unable to send you your electronic ticket
until we were open. When emails are sent to sales there is also a message
generated to advise we will answer within 24 to 48 business hours as they do
take time to distribute.
Please note we have sent your ticket this morning however I have just resent it
to you in case you did not receive it. The ticket was issued last night, which
means if you were to cancel there would be a cancellation fee of $200.00 CAD
and then you would receive a refund to your credit card.
If you would still like to cancel please call us at 1-800-671-5032 as our
agents would be happy to assist you. We are open until 9:30pm EST tonight.
24 to 48 business hours? WTF? seriously,
what if I am in an emergency and my flight leaves within 12 hours of booking?
What is the traveller supposed to do? ... wait for your operational 24 to
48 business hours to travel?
Its the "I dont care a damn about you" attitude reflecting in his email and
scant regard for the paying traveller that prompted me to blog about my lousy
experience doing business with flightnetwork.com.
I'd rather stick to cheaptickets.com or my local travel agent
--the latter, besides getting me the same route for 100 dollars less, would
never use weasel words like 'quality checks', non-office hours and TOS. He just
delivers sans the marketing jargon and crappy excuses. Period.