Friday, November 26, 2010

Irene misses SQ flight but she's happy

Frequent flyer Irene Hoe has taken off again --- this time to the US. But the trip did not start off
smoothly. In fact, she missed her flight because of a mistake in her ESTA application. And she had to check into an airport hotel to wait for another flight.

However, it was not all frustration for her even though she was delayed. She was thoroughly impressed with the Singapore Airlines ground staff who helped her and she promptly wrote to SQ to tell them about it.

Here's her letter:

"Dear SQ,

I used to say that you were my favourite airline in the air but never on the ground.

I'd like to amend that in view of my experience at Terminal 3 when I tried to check in for SQ 62 early on Tuesday morning. I didn't manage it but I was very favourably impressed by the efforts your staff made to accommodate my needs.

The problem began when I trusted an unfamiliar employee of the travel agency I use to register me for ESTA with my new passport number. He apparently just checked the date when the agency had last made an ESTA application on my behalf, then assured me all was in order.

All was not in order.

So when your staff tried to check me in, they couldn't, as the ESTA system didn't recognize the new passport number.

They assessed the situation quickly and called the gate to alert them while they helped me to use a PC to register for ESTA, read out my new (and unfamiliar) passport number to me as I went through the process, supplied paper and pen so I could write down my registration receipt number, and in lieu of printing out the receipt for verification suggested that I use my cellphone to take a picture of it.

Lily helped me to stay calm while the application page kept bouncing back with error messages. Then I had a minor brainwave and removed the # sign from my address. This time, my application was finally accepted.

But by then it had really got very late. Lily apologized and said they were sorry but they couldn't hold the gate open for me any longer. She told me the next flight out to the USA was to LAX via NRT and wrote down the reservations telephone number for me.

I decided to stay at the Crowne Plaza for what was left of the night while I worked to reset my itinerary. Dinesh piled my bags back on the baggage cart and walked me across to the hotel's reception desk. I had told him I could make it there on my own but he insisted on helping me, for which I am most grateful.

What impressed me throughout the whole episode, was that never once did Lily, Dinesh and another lady whose name I didn't catch make me feel that it was my fault (and it was!) or that I was inconveniencing them (I was).

Thank you for restoring my faith in SQ.

Irene Hoe

(And there's Part 2 to come concerning your call centre) "

Bouquet to the SIA ground staff who showed so much understanding and went out of their way to help Irene.

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