I had a horrendous experience with LAN Airlines when I flew from Rio de Janeiro to Auckland via Santiago in early July.
I kept a note of the main events as they occurred and typed a full account on my iPhone at the start of the delayed flight from Santiago to Auckland. I then fell ill and it took most of July to recover my health. I sent the LAN Airlines Complaint 31 Jul 10 v1 on 30 July to Qantas and World Aviation, the LAN representative in New Zealand. I have received no response from World Aviation. I did at least receive an apology from Qantas, but the offer of a free Qantas Club Lounge pass at Auckland Airport is not much of an inducement to fly with Qantas again.
There are some important matters to consider in any business:
- planning adverse events, be they internal or external
- how you react when problems do occur
- what you do afterwards to repair the customer relationship
- learning and improving your internal and customer management procedures
If you are running an airline, these are “mission critical” rather than “nice to have”. From my experience, LAN Airlines scores very badly on all counts.
Main Issues (in sequential order)
- Santiago via Sao Paulo. This was also my first (sour) taste of what LAN Airlines offers as “customer service”.
- 14 hour delay in Santiago, with only 3½ hours in bed.
- A complete lack of planning and very poor communication with passengers at Santiago airport.
- Absence of policies and procedures for dealing with cancelled flights, arranging transport and hotels and dealing with non-Spanish speaking passengers.
- A culture of indifference, inaction and lack of any initiative.
- Poor staff selection and training.
The real issue is not the appalling treatment we suffered, but passenger safety. Given the extent of the incompetence of the ground staff and the poor service by the cabin crew, what confidence could I be expected to have in the standards of aircraft maintenance. How well the cabin crew would respond in an emergency?
In addition, what does Qantas expect from its code share partners?
Finally, as a consultant specialising in helping New Zealand companies grow in export markets, it is a real concern that such a vital trade and tourism link for both New Zealand and Australia is at the mercy of a third-rate airline.
Business to Markets Ltd