Airlines

Would you take this compensation offer?

I had a trip to Koh Samui a few months back that was completely amazing bar an unpleasant incident at the start with Silkair.

To summarise-

  • I was booked on MI774 from SIN-USM which was scheduled to depart at 1025 on 4th March
  • I got to the airport around 0830 and found out that the flight had been delayed to 1350. There was no call, SMS or email from MI to inform me about the delay
  • The manager on duty, although friendly and helpful, was unable to find an alternate routing that would get me into USM before the the revised MI774 would. A $15 meal voucher was offered as compensation and he invited my partner and I to wait in the Krisflyer Gold lounge. When I point out I already have access there he offered the Business class Silver Kris Lounge instead
  • While we are talking I got a call from the Silkair call centre to inform me of the delay (approx 0930 at this point)
  • At 1009 (16 mins before departure) I received an automated email from Silkair informing me of the delay

silkairwtf

The situation was made worse by the fact that I was waitlisted on MI772 (Silkair runs 2 flights per day to USM and MI772 departs 0810) and although there were 9+ seats available as per the website, my waitlist never cleared. silkair772

If there were a mechanical issue with the aircraft they should simply try to shift as many passengers as they could to the earlier flight

Then starts the long investigation process

  • On the same day I sent complaint email to Silkair with the details and request they call me  (4th March)
  • On 4th March I get a response from Silkair telling me an investigation has begun, but no call
  • On 8th March I still haven’t got a call so I email them again requesting one
  • On 13th March I email again requesting a call
  • On 15th March they say they are unable to reach me at my Singapore number. I am now overseas at this point so I provide them with my Brazil number
  • On 16th March they say that they are not able to call me in Brazil because of “timezone differences”.
  • On 1st April I email again to ask for an update
  • On 4th April they reply saying “still investigating”
  • On 19th April I email again to ask for an update
  • On 25th April I finally get an official reply

We are writing to follow up the feedback you provided to our Singapore Airlines colleague dated 4 March 2016. We are sorry for the delay in our response and we thank you for your patience as we investigated into the matters raised. We have completed our investigations and would like to share our findings with you.

We are concerned to learn of unsatisfactory service you and your companion had experienced on 4 March 2016 when you travelled on MI 774 from Singapore to Koh Samui. May we explain that MI 774 incurred a delay of 3 hours and 26 minutes as one of our aircrafts had incurred a last minute technical problem and in the interest of safety of our passengers and crew, the aircraft was grounded for rectification. This then left us with one less aircraft to operate our schedule flights on 4 March 2016. As there were no spare aircraft available on this occasion to operate as MI 774/ MI 773 at the scheduled departure time, we had to wait for the first available aircraft to return to Singapore at 1300 hours to operate your Singapore/Koh Samui flight. Hence, we had to retime the departure of MI 774 to depart at 1350 hours. We sincerely apologize for the delay and inconvenience caused.

We also apologize if you found the meal voucher offered during the delay to be inadequate. According to our records, we understand that our ground staff had extended the usage of the Singapore Airlines Business Class to you and your travelling companion in view of the delay. Nevertheless, we will relay your feedback to the department concerned for their notice and review of our service recovery guidelines if necessary. We have also learned that our check-in staff had attempted to reroute you via Bangkok, however, they were unable to find a suitable flight schedule. The alternative routes would either result in you arriving in Koh Samui at the same time as MI 774 or even later because of the transit time in Bangkok.

Mr Wong, the slow dissemination of the delay information via SMS, email and phone call to you is certainly unacceptable. Please rest assured that when a flight schedule change occurs, our priority is to ensure that passengers are least inconvenienced, well informed and their reasonable requests met. We are sorry that our service was not up to mark on this occasion. We have since highlighted your comments to the relevant departments for their attention and follow-up. Rest assured that the staff concerned will be counseled on this lapse and reminded of the importance of providing prompt and attentive service to all of our passengers. We ask for your understanding.

Please also allow us to explain, Mr Wong, that due to inventory management, there is a restriction on the number of redemption seats available on each flight. As the number of seats allocated for redemption purposes are limited, these seats are taken up early and faster than commercial seats, especially for flights on popular routes and at certain times of the year. In the event that the Economy Class seats are unavailable for redemption, members will be put on a waitlist queue and a ticketing deadline is given to members. Our staff will also offer to redeem a ticket for Business Class or purchase commercial seats if the seats are still available at that point of time. We have highlighted your concerns to our Commercial department for their review and implementation of adjustments where necessary on the number of seats available for redemption purposes to better accommodate our loyal members.

Nonetheless, as a token of our apology and goodwill for the inconvenience caused, we would like to extend to you and your companion a gift voucher of SGD50/- each, which we hope you will accept in the spirit it is offered. The voucher can be used to redeem in-flight sales items on Singapore Airlines or SilkAir flights. Alternatively, they may choose to make a purchase with the voucher via our mail order form from our websites, http://www.silkairdutyfree.com or http://www.krisshopair.com. We regret that the use of the gift voucher is currently not permissible on our flights to Palembang and Pekanbaru in Indonesia and on all our Malaysian routes with the exception of Kota Kinabalu. May we also inform that the voucher has a validity period of 12 months from the date of issuance. Please provide us with your preferred mailing addresses to send the gift voucher to you and your travelling companion.

We thank you for taking the time to write to us and for letting us have your feedback, which is important to us as it continually helps us improve our service. We value your support and look forward to serving you better on your next flight with SilkAir.

Now, I’m in two minds about this. I understand that flight delays are part and parcel of life. I wouldn’t want them to put punctuality ahead of safety at all. What I am upset about is that there was an internal system failure to inform all passengers in a timely manner about this delay.

I did consider the possibility that this happened last minute, but my companion told me she got an automated SMS around 6 in the morning informing her of the delay. This means that some passengers were informed but not others, again pointing to an internal failure (it’s quite crazy that the automated delay email reached me only 6 minutes before scheduled departure!). 


If they were aware of the delay at around 0600 there were several options they could do to minimize the number of people impacted

  • reassign passengers to the earlier MI772 flight
  • rebook passengers on other flights to USM

And then there’s the investigation- I do not understand why it took them more than 7 weeks to investigate the matter, during which time I didn’t get a single phone call from customer service despite requesting it. So my gripe isn’t with the delay as such, but the handling surrounding the delay.

There’s been some back and forth communication with Silkair since the 25th of April where I reiterated my original request, but so far they’ve not changed their offer. My original request was that they refund the miles and taxes used for this flight. I’m of the opinion that a $50 inflight voucher isn’t adequate compensation for this, but I realise my point of view isn’t the most objective here.

I’d like to believe I’m a (fairly) reasonable person, so tell me, what would you do in this situation?

cover photo by slicesoflight

 

 

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

14 Comments on "Would you take this compensation offer?"

Notify of

You’re being unreasonable in my view. 3.5 hour delay and failure to deliver an SMS is all that went wrong. A full refund? That’s asking a bit much.

My Silkair flight from USM back to SIN was delayed for my trip.
No offer of any compensation other than a packed lunch.

I didnt make a fuss.

Guess I would take the voucher and leave it at that.

Aaron – commiserations for that experience. Like you, I think that S$50 is a paltry sum, never mind the fact that it is a voucher that gives you limited leverage. However, this underscores the harsh reality of the airline business and I reckon this is just about as much as they can offer. IMO, Westerners and Singaporeans constitute the majority of SQ/MI’s claimants (the former tending to be more militant and the latter more whiny). From your post, I reckon you are tending towards the former…. nothing immoral about that, but I would say lets be more gracious to our… Read more »

On another note, my family just returned from a holiday and found that their luggage (Samsonite, at that) had been dented and the hard plastic skin had broke.

What sort of compensation should we expect for this?

FYI: it’s non-SQ/MI, so the graciousness I mentioned earlier gets thrown out the window hahaha 😛

Hi JT, i had a similar experience with Jetstar. My samsonite luggage (which was many many years old) was damaged beyond repair. Guess what, Jetstar paid up in full for the price of a brand new samsonite luggage – no questions asked.

The catch is that you MUST ask for a report before you leave the luggage collection belt area – this is to certify that your luggage was indeed damage at the time of collection.

Sorry, but I disagree. From a medical view point, you can complete a major cancer surgery within 3.5 hours. But then, of course you were not doing a procedure at the time. But it had definitely affected the mood for the trip, time loss for leisure at the destination and enjoyment of hotel facilities (and incurred some form of financial disadvantage) etc etc. While the immediate management at the airport was according to protocol, it was not outstanding or life changing by any standards – $15?? lounge access?? In addition, the follow up on the complaint was badly handled for… Read more »
Just my 2c worth – Did their reply answer your questions to your satisfaction? Will you ever fly with SQ and MI again? If the answer is yes to one or the other, I’d take the $50. Refunding miles potentially costs the airline less (yes they earn a fair bit from taxes) and the voucher allows them to have you on board again someday. This shows confidence in rectifying the gaps. If the same gap happen again, then I’d ask for more compensation. Suffice to say – i’d let the matter rest and move on. For both parties. They apologised.… Read more »

Gotta agree with some that a full refund on miles and taxes for the circumstances is a tad harsh, but a $50 compensation in a restricted currency is simply derisory. I would think that something above $100 would make a better offer.