For anybody who has been following my blog/vlog or social media you have probably seen how irate I was with Vueling Airlines. I describe the whole saga here: https://herebebarr.wordpress.com/2016/07/22/why-ill-never-fly-vueling-airlines-again/
I received an unexpected surprise this morning. A NEW e-mail from Vueling customer service offering me a FULL refund and two-hundred and fifty euros per person compensation. How on earth did I convince them to do that? Very simply.. by going straight to the top.
I was shut down by Vueling’s customer service department the first time I reached out to them. My credit card company’s travel insurance didn’t cover delays based on airline system malfunctions (whatever that means). Even airhelp.com a website that is dedicated to fighting cases like mine for a 25% commission said I was not eligible. After reading the outpouring of messages from my Youtube Vlog http://www.youtube.com/c/herebebarr/ one person hinted at contacting executives. What if I found the e-mail address of the CEO and told him exactly what happened? Did I really have anything to lose?
I found his name through the website CEOemail.com. Here is the exact e-mail I sent Javier Sanchez-Prieto.
I also attached my customer service request # which rejected me and my check-in number. Notice, how I did not write a highly emotional e-mail. I used the facts and told him exactly what I thought was handled incorrectly. I then asked for my flight to be refunded at a minimum (but didn’t ask for more compensation, I just noted what I already spent out of pocket). I also mentioned that I want to be able to give them my business again. I wrote this at 8:00 PM on Sunday. At 3:00 AM (Tuesday) I received the following reply:
Dear Mr Barr,
We are writing you in response to the claim regarding the flight XXXXX, in reference to booking XXXXX (redacted).
In response to your e-mail, we would first of all like to apologize for the cancellation of the flight and for any inconvenience caused.
Please understand the limitations we find ourselves in due to factors like technical problems, bad weather conditions or air traffic control which affect the aerial transport and have a negative impact on our working system, resulting in obligatory schedule changes against our will.
We understand the setbacks these circumstances cause the passengers and it is our policy to provide or help find the most favourable solution as long as the means and alternate flights are available.
We would like you to know that the aim of our company is to offer the best possible customer service to our clients, and that is why we are really thankful for your e-mail. We can assure you that we take into account all your comments regarding our service and that we will do our best so that these kinds of incidents will not take place again in the future.
As you have requested, we have made the refund of your booking the same credit card the booking was purchased with. You should receive the funds within a couple of days or at the end of the month, depending on the type of card you have.
After reviewing your claim we would like to offer a compensation of 250€ to each passenger. In order to make a wire transfer of this amount we would like to ask you to send us the following information of the passengers of the booking XXXXXX (redacted):
– Name of the account holder
– Address of the accountholder
– Name of the beneficiary bank
– Address of the beneficiary bank
– Account number
– BIC or SWIFT code
VUELING AIRLINES S.A.
I am fairly confident that Mr. Sanchez-Prieto or one of his fellow staff members sitting in their offices in Barcelona read this e-mail and decided to do the right thing. For that, I thank them and am happy that this ordeal looks to be coming to an end. I encourage others, if you have a valid complaint and customer service tells you no, e-mail up the chain. Tell your story, and do not give up until you get just compensation.
Would I fly Vueling Airlines again? The short answer is, no. I would have to hear that they have completely revamped their customer service and company philosophies in order to get my business. Was a little faith restored in them after this? I would say so.
Have you ever written or called a CEO or an executive directly about a travel related situation and received a refund and/or compensation? Tell us about it in the comments. Thank you for reading as usual. Travel smarter.