Monday, March 2, 2009

Consumer Rants: Continental

This post may single out Continental airlines, but is targeted at all airlines using code-sharing as an excuse to deny people of their hard-earned miles.

At the beginning of the month, I traveled to the UK on a Continental airlines flight operated by Virgin Atlantic. Since then, I have not been credited my miles (about 10k of them).

The Continental site provides an automatic way to add uncredited miles. I could still see my trip in my online account. I went through the form and got "an error occurred - please call the office in Houston". I called their office, waited on line for 7 minutes, and got a rep who spent 10 minutes trying to find my flight in her system. No matter what info I gave her, she claimed she has no way to confirm i actually flew on that flight. Finally, she told me to mail my receipt and boarding passes, if I ever want to see those miles. She blamed Virgin for the mishap.

Few things irritate me:
  1. In this day and age, why mail stuff if you can email it (or fax it, if Continental doesn't have access to email)?

  2. I haven't touched a paper ticket in years. I only use eTickets and printouts and other online means of checking in. Yet time and again I'm being asked for that little piece of paper called "boarding pass". Why have computers been inveneted? To allow people to trade in paper more easily???
    (And since I am in California, I'm mandated by law to add: "think of all the trees dying for those pieces of paper..." razz).

  3. Why do companies blame their code share partner for missing miles? I bought a ticket from Continental. They chose to fly me with Virgin - and now they refer me to Virgin to prove I was on the flight?
    This is the kind of shoddy behavior used by web sites that sell merchendise and then let you to fend on your own against an unknown 3rd party when the merchendise misbehaves. Where is the BBB when you need it?

  4. Finally, and this is the most irritating point: Continental got paid for this flight. They charged my credit card before I set one foot on that plane. How can they ask for proof? Proof of what? The way I see it, I'm entitled to those miles the second I pay for the flight. Me being or not being on a plane has nothing to do with that benefit.
In summation, let me say this: Continental (or any other airline): if you can't find proof I was on a flight, please refund my money. You must have charged it by mistake. Oh, and please send my money back by mail.

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