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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hardly a great way to fly!!!!

It may still be promoted as "A great way to fly" but my confidence in our airline is very fast diminishing each time I go into its revamped website to do a booking or to confirm a flight.

It happened again this morning when I spent 45 minutes trying to confirm my flight and that of my wife.

I had really no problem when I logged into Singapore Airlines' website and confirmed my business class seat. But when I tried to do the same for my wife, I just could not do it.

Was it because hers was a redemption ticket for an economy seat? Surely SQ must be totally out of its mind to even think of doing such a thing, I told myself.

I decided I should find out. But the difficulty I had in locating the contact number made me think that SQ does not encourage its customers to speak to its officers.

I finally managed to get the number and got through to a woman who spoke with a very strong Indian accent. She said her name was Ruchira, confirming at the same time that she was speaking from a call centre, which she described as "a commercial desk".

When I told her about my problem, she tried to check but could not enlighten me. However, she gave me a number to call.

I did and got through to another woman, Zaza. She was helpful but, like her colleague, was not able to offer a reason. Knowing that I was getting exasperated, she said she would transfer me to another colleague who should be able to help.

When Shamin came on the line, I repeated my problem and again was made to wait while he went to check. He did not give an answer when I asked him whether the problem arose because of the redemption ticket.

He asked to try logging on to the Silkair website to get my wife's ticket confirmed.

My question is, why didn't they tell me this in the first place?

As I was late for a lunch appointment, I decided that I would try the Silkair website upon my return. Curiously, just as I left my house, SQ sent an email alert to ask that I check in through the Silkair website.

I have since done that and succeeded in confirming my wife's ticket. But I am still not clear why I could do it on the SQ website and she could not!!!! Would SQ blame it on its troublesome, revamped website? I hope not.

But the confirmation issue was not the only thing that got me hot under the collar this morning. Something else I saw on the Silkair website made me blow my top.

More than two months ago when we did our Chengdu bookings, I wanted to mae a seat selection for my wife. But I could not because SQ said the sector was operated by its partner airline and no seat selection was allowed.

At that time, August 8 to be exact, I found the practice a bit strange. When I called the Silkair office later to inquire, an officer named Vera told me that the seat selection service had been stopped. She could not offer any reason for the action.

This morning, when I logged on to the Silkair website to confirm the ticket, to my surprise, a message flashed across the screen to say: "Please be advised that seat selection may be limited on a fully-booked flight."

Wow, what a revelation!!! So there was in fact seat selection, but why was I told otherwise on August 8??? SQ could not have changed its mind between then and now.

I cannot wait for SQ's response to this mystery. Stay tune...

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