Flying Swiss? Do Not Forget Your Swiss Army Knife!


Swiss Airlines
P O Box 8302 
Zürich, Switzerland
I have enjoyed flights on Swiss in the past, but this was the first time I have flown with them in several years. The online check-in was easy enough and I received a pdf of my boarding pass, but it was not available for download in Passbook unfortunately. I had to take a screenshot of the email on my crappy iPhone to make sure that it would be available come boarding time.
 
Check-in and boarding were easy enough at the Florence (Italy) Airport, but things went downhill quickly after that. We were delayed by an hour because of winds, so they say, and delays at Zurich Airport. Only having about an hour and a half from my original departure time until my connection departed, I scurried through the unfamiliar airport looking for my gate until I found it just as the plane was about to depart.
 
I had similar problems on the way back from Malaga to Zurich with my aircraft being delayed nearly an hour and a half. Fortunately, I had two and a half hours before my next departure this time. By the time I found the gate, they were announcing that the aircraft had been changed because of a maintenance issue and they needed six people to stay behind because the new plane was smaller than the first.
 
After being bumped from my Swiss Air flight to Florence and put up in a hotel far from everything with terrible food, the €10 olive tapenade I bought in Duty Free in Spain was seized during security screening the next morning. The woman in front of me, however, was allowed to keep her Swiss Army Knife (that exceeded maximum length and had 10 blades) and take it in the plane with her. 9/11 terrorists used box cutters to hijack four aircraft, but Zurich Airport security thinks it is OK to take knives onboard while seizing olive spread. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous as we finally took off knowing that anybody or everybody in the plane could be carrying an actual weapon … scary!
 
The positives of my experiences were the friendly staff, the free quiche, wine and chocolates in-flight, the relatively new aircraft, and the €250 I received for voluntarily interrupting my trip on the way home, upgrading their rating from 1 Bomb to 3 …
 
CombatCritic Gives Swiss Air 3 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better









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Title: Flying Swiss? Do Not Forget Your Swiss Army Knife!

 
Key Words: Swiss, Air, Airlines, airline, Zurich, Switzerland, Malaga, airport, plane, knife, security, delay, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, food, definitive, review, guide

United Airlines: We Don’t Care (Sometimes), We Don’t Have To (But, Maybe We Want To) … I’m Confused!


United Airlines, Inc.
77 W Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL 60601
b/t Lower Wacker Dr & Michigan Ave in The Loop
 
I do not usually write reviews so many weeks or months after the fact, but being in India for four months where Yelp did not yet exist, I felt compelled to add my two cents.

My first two of three United flights to Delhi were both two hours late and I had to rush through Frankfurt Airport to catch my final flight after already spending close to 20 hours traveling (with 7+ yet to go). I somehow made it!

However, when I recently checked my mileage balance on United.com, my final leg still had not been added to my balance, requiring me to submit a request that still has not been answered.

Airlines in general, and United in particular, just do not care about customer service because they do not have to. They know that most of us will probably purchase the cheapest fare, so it will only be a matter of time before we return even if their service is pitiful, which it usually is … rude check-in and gate agents, aggressive flight attendants, and poor on-time departure/arrival record … they should change their motto to: “United Airlines,We Don’t Care, We Don’t Have To”

As my India trip neared its end, I have to say that United came through with flying colors. 

When one of my wife’s return flights in mid-January was rescheduled, leaving her a 30 minute layover to clear immigration/customs, re-check her bag, and get to the next gate (IMPOSSIBLE), we contacted United and were quickly dismissed … “sorry”! But when we got our travel insurance company involved, they were able to change her flights and get her home in time to attend a meeting at work the following morning.

The saga continued …

I received a call in early February, three weeks prior to my scheduled departure, informing me that my 84-year old mother had been hospitalized and was not doing well.  I contacted my travel insurance company (Allianz Global Assistance/AGA Service Company /Jefferson Insurance Company) thinking that they would be as professional as my wife’s, but after 12+ hours of being ignored (on their 24/7 Hotline), I contacted United reservations in New Delhi.  They were not extremely helpful, but when I was finally transferred to an American employee, she was outstanding.  She quickly found me a flight two days later (i had to get from Southern India to Delhi the next day) and WAIVED THE $300 CHANGE FEE … without even asking.  I was able to get home to see my mother and spend a couple days of quality time before she passed away on 2/12/2015. At that point I was much happier with United.

and continued …

Then, just three weeks after my mother passed, my wife received word that her father had suddenly died in Naples, Italy where he and her mom live. I logged-in to my United account to search for “bereavement fares”, but even though a link appeared in the search results, there was no such information on their website. It turned out that United discontinued their bereavement fares at some point in the recent past. When I called United Customer Care, a deceiving term, I was connected with their offshore “care” center in Manilla, Phillippines where I was quoted $4000 for a single ticket … $1600 more than the cheapest fare available on Kayak.com and $2350 more than we eventually paid Delta airlines. Thanks for your compassion United!

I had been prepared to give United 6, 7, even 8, Bombs (3 to 4 stars) because of the recent positive experiences detailed above, but finding out post de facto that 15,000 of the 20,000 miles from the US to India and back I paid dearly for were not eligible for frequent flyer credits (K Class) and the $4000 quote for a last-minute bereavement fare changed my mind. So, I will now have to downgrade my previous ratings …

CombatCritic Gives United Airlines 3 Out Of 10 Bombs With Room To Grow Or Recede Further … More Bombs Are Better!
 
 





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Title: United Airlines: We Don’t Care (Sometimes), We Don’t Have To (But, Maybe We Want To) … I’m Confused!
 
Key Words: United Airlines, United, Airlines, air, plane, airplane, travel, airport, flight, reservation, agent, customer, service, CombatCritic, TravelValue, Yelp, value