Thursday, November 3, 2011

Anything but the royal treatment

Back in April, the Mister and I got bumped from our flight back to Saudi when we were connecting through the Amsterdam airport.

Hang on...lemme back up.

Because of the limited number of affordable flights that leave from Saudi Arabia, the Mister and I frequently fly KLM. We fly KLM so much, in fact, that it is the first airline for which we have ever joined the frequent flyer program. We really do enjoy the service of the KLM staff, and have had a pretty pleasant experience travelling with them.

Now, fast forward to April.

We were returning from our vacation in Berlin and "missed" our connection to Dammam. By "missed" I mean immigration took us a while so we were the last people in line for an extremely overcrowded flight on which we had confirmed seats. I'm guessing the kind people of KLM caved under the irate pressure that is an Arab husband and wife team being told they can't have what they want while accompanied by their screaming, rowdy brood.

Imagine my shock when the lady behind the check-in counter told us that, as compensation for our inconvenience, we could choose to get an 800 Euro travel voucher, or 1000 Euros in cash. EACH. That was a very generous offer! We knew we would be taking more trips in the future, so we opted to plan for our frugal future and went with the travel vouchers instead.

Fast forward again to the past month and a half. One of my best friends is getting married in December, so I used my travel voucher to fly myself back to the States for the blessed event. We're going to Spain to vacation with my family very soon, so we used the Mister's voucher to buy part of his very expensive ticket.

Using the vouchers was a very complicated process. We had to book the tickets over the phone, then mail the vouchers by registered mail (a procedure that, in Saudi Arabia, took us 3 days and $100 to perform), and then wait for the e-tickets to be issued within 10 business days.

We did all that. And waited. Ten days passed. No tickets. Two weeks passed. No tickets. Almost a month passed. Still. no. tickets. Finally I got an email requesting I call the reservation center.

When I called I found out that my credit card company had blocked the transactions because they were 3 large purchases from an international business. How cautious of them. I contacted the credit card company and cleared all that up, then waited for KLM to issue the tickets.

And waited.

And waited.

Our trip to Spain was quickly approaching, so I called KLM again to find out what was going on. They just hadn't gotten around to re-running my credit card, but they'll flag the transaction as "urgent" and I'll have my e-ticket in the next 24 hours.

That was 6 days ago. I've called every day for the past 5 days (even twice on a couple days) and I still don't have my e-ticket. We've gotten the Mister's, so he's good to go to Spain...

Note to self: next time, just take the cash.

Vicariously yours,

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