Tuesday, June 1, 2010

SilkAir's unfulfilled seat request

I am puzzled as to how Silkair assigns seats to its passengers who make specific requests for either aisle or window seats through its internet booking system.

I am raising this after a flight to Penang with my wife last Thursday (May 20) to attend a wedding. We had booked our tickets online many months before the event and had requested for an aisle seat for one of us.

We thought that it would not be a problem for the request to be granted as we had made our bookings early.

Guess what? When I went online to check-in a day before departure, I discovered that neither of us was given an aisle seat. I tried to make a change but it was obviously too late as the flight was almost full and all the aisle seats had been taken up.

The conclusion I came to was, either 1) SilkAir internet seat booking system is screwed-up; or 2) it had changed our seats to accommodate someone else, hoping that we would not create a fuss.

Whatever the reason, I hope it would be able to offer a credible explanation. Otherwise I will continue to be sceptical about its booking system.

By the way, this was not the first time that I found "loopholes" in our airline booking system.

About a year ago, I had a different experience with SilkAir's sister airline, SIA, when I was booking our flight for a trip to Japan.

This was the email that I sent to SIA after that experience:
"On Sunday (dec 28)my friends and I went online to book our flight to Tokyo. We wanted to fly Economy on March 26, but we discovered that the morning flight (SQ 12) had been fully booked.

"Thinking that the demand was very good, we decided not to waste time and went on to book the red-eye flight on March 25. Yesterday (dec 29) to our surprise we were told by one of our friends travelling with us that there were seats available on SQ 12.

"When I went online to make the change in booking, what I found inexplicable was the numerous number of seats available on that flight. It was just not possible that so many people had given up their bookings in such a short period of time.

"When I spoke to a member of your staff today, he told me that the seat availability is all controlled by the airport seat planner. I told him that it would be totally unfair and inconvenient to us if our friend had not told us about the sudden availability of seats on SQ12. I don't how you do your seat planning, but from my experience I think it lacks credibility."

I am sure many of you reading this would have your own
stories to share. A friend told me that a couple of months ago, while he was returning home from a business trip to Penang, he turned up at the airport with a confirmed SilkAir business class ticket and was told that there was no seat for him.

What I would like to see from our national airline and its sister SilkAir is greater transparency when it comes to the booking of flights and airline seats. It should not hide under a veil of technical jargons that we lay people do not understand.

Another thing: Why can't seat selection for SilkAir be allowed upon booking of our tickets, like how it is done with SIA, and not have us wait until 48 hours before departure time?

1 comment:

  1. My fiance had this problem with booking as well, but on Jet Star. They had this promotion where you buy a ticket and your friend flies free? Well, he and a friend pre-booked a flight months ago, and then a week before they were to fly off, he received an email saying that he does not have a return flight available for the day he requested, and that he would be pushed back to a flight a day after. He was upset because he had to book into camp the next day. So he made a few calls, and demanded to know why he got pushed to another flight, when they had already confirmed it. To make things difficult, the Jetstar office is based in Australia, and so it was very hard trying to get hold of someone. No one gave him a proper answer. He somehow managed to get a day's deferment for booking in to camp . And finally, Jetstar called a day or two before he was to fly off saying that his flight is pushed back, yet again, to a later one, so he arrived in Singapore 5 hours before he had to book in. I think its ridiculous the way Jetstar handled it. They probably overbooked and then just pushed people to the next flight.