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Posts from — March 2010

I changed my mind.

I always complain to George about how I hate driving.

It’s not just a random hate: for most of my adult life, I have lived in cities where public transportation was the norm and/or urban sprawl (or lack thereof?) allowed you to simply walk/bike everywhere. I’m used to that; I like it that way. The transition to the U.S. hasn’t been a simple one for many reasons, that being one of the more important ones.

Additionally, most of my adult life I never even OWNED a car… and the short time that I did own one (before now), ended in it being totaled. By a horse. I wasn’t driving. I swear.

It hasn’t helped to live in a city where the vast majority of the diurnal drivers are retirees (who shouldn’t be driving) and soccer moms talking on their cell phones (who SHOULDN’T BE DRIVING, PULL OVER AND TALK, PLEASE, I AM FINE WITH YOU TAKING YOUR LIFE INTO YOUR OWN HANDS BUT NOT MINE). After witnessing how these drivers treat pedestrians and bikers, how they are incapable of driving in rain (folks, we’re in the subtropics, it rains a LOT, learn to drive in the rain or gtfo), the lack of their ability to YIELD WHEN I HAVE PREFERENCE causing me to, more often that I’d like, slam on my horn, and watching a distracted lady use the suicide lane inappropriately and get RAMMED by a FedEx truck, I was more than ready to hang my keys and say adieu to driving.

But you can’t really do that, in suburbia, can you?

Today I rediscovered the joy of driving.

For this, I’d like to thank today’s bright, sunshine-y day, Ke$ha’s Tik Tok, Boots & Boys, and Blah Blah Blah (yes, I listen to Ke$ha, I can if I want 😛 ), and driving fast. Really fast.

I think I need a radar detector.

March 23, 2010   10 Comments

In which a big company makes a little woman get enormously annoyed…

After the initial letter of complaint and reply, the Mexicana representative and I exchanged a couple more emails. I explained how my interest was not receiving the reimbursement at all, but the fact that I understood that was not their policy for a couple of different reasons and I was concerned that an employee would commit to something contrary to company policy. The response was a very short and slightly rude email requesting information about the employee (a name, where she dealt with us) in order to “handle” the situation.

Some time later, the representative finally got back to me. This was his response:

Dear Mrs. De la Vega:

Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to process your request. On behalf of Grupo Mexicana, please accept our sincerest apology for any inconveniences you may have endured due to the delay of your baggage.

We would like to inform you that according to Grupo Mexicana policies and procedures for delay baggage, in order to be liable for reimbursement of passenger’s emergency expenses it is necessary to meet the next requirements:

* The baggage delay must be longer than 24 hours.
* The final station in which the passenger files his initial report for the delay baggage must not be in his country of permanent residence.

After de corresponding evaluation of your documents, it has been confirmed that your permanent residence is in the country in which this report was filed; therefore, Grupo Mexicana must respectfully decline your request for compensation and/or reimbursement.

On the other hand, in regards to your complain expressing again your concerns about your recent travel experience, please be advised that after a thorough assessment of our internal records and statements, it has been determined that MEXICANA personnel acted upon Mexicana established policies and procedures.

Additionally, our findings also confirm that Mexicana flight attendants onboard provided you assistance at all time and we ensure you that the incident you comment to us is not characteristic of the high standard of service we strive to provide. All the remarks you have kindly sent to us, have also been forwarded to corresponding flight attendants Operational Chief Management in order for them to be reviewed and actions can be taken to prevent this kind of incidents.

This concludes my evaluation as an analyst and closes your case. I thank you for the opportunity to work on your behalf.

Grupo Mexicana holds its valued clients in the highest regard and we trust our efforts have ensured your satisfaction. We hope to maintain your trust and we are eager to welcome you onboard in the near future.

Sergio Gomar
Customer Relations Analyst
U.S.A. & Canada

Wow. Basically, no, you’re wrong, shut up, the end. “This concludes” it, not “if you have anything further to say”… And YOU KNOW ME! If you’re nasty, I’m not going to let you get away with it…

Dear Mr. Gomar,

Your email is completely appalling. Whatever happened to “the customer is always right”? Clearly, Mexicana Airlines doesn’t respect the age old adage, which is probably why, on conducting a Google search of just the name of the airline, the result is hundreds of articles regarding your poor service and poor customer service.

First of all, I never REQUESTED the $100 reimbursement. I simply informed you that this is what had been promised, contrary to your terms of service which I had already checked, and advised you to educate your employees as to not making promises they are unable to fulfill simply to soothe the ruffled feathers of upset customers.

Secondly, “our findings also confirm that Mexicana flight attendants onboard provided you assistance at all time”. How interesting! Did you have a hidden camera on board? Did you contact the passengers seated around me? Because they were just as appalled, with one gentleman even interceding on my behalf.

For future reference, when apologizing to a client (or anyone in general) you do not say, “I’m sorry, BUT…” The moment you include an excuse, it ceases to be an apology. And as for the “high standards” you claim characterize your company, well, this entire experience is proof that THAT is a bold-faced lie.

You most certainly have not maintained my trust, nor have you even managed a modicum of contrition. I will be sure to take this matter to other sources, as you are completely incapable of even apologizing for poor service and promising better in the future. How difficult would THAT have been?

Have a superb day!
Lorenia de la Vega

I was holding off on posting it ALL over travel sites before (only a couple) but now I’m just going to have at it. Annoyed!

March 19, 2010   7 Comments

“We’re sorry, BUT…”

So… I actually (very surprisingly) got a reply from Mexicana…

Dear Mrs. Lorenia de la Vega:
Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to process your request. On behalf of Grupo Mexicana please accept our sincerest apology for any inconveniences you may have endured.
My name is Sergio Gomar and I am in charge of the evaluation to your case. Please allow me to inform you that the Management in Orlando international airport has received your comments for their assessment.
On the other hand, in regards to the delay of your baggage, please note that according to the guidelines established for such events:
“You must not reside in the destination city where the delay of luggage delivery occurred. You must provide receipts from the emergency purchase of clothing and personal hygiene items up to the amount previously mentioned a copy of the airline ticket and a copy of the initial delay of baggage delivery report after a 24-hour minimum period of being without your luggage. If you fly Executive Class, payment will be made as soon as the previous requirements have been met.”
Therefore, please submit to this office required documents in order to review them and apply it corresponding outcome.
Our first interest is to understand your needs and we are at your orders for any additional information that you may require.
Best regards,
Sergio Gomar
Customer Relations Analyst
U.S.A. & Canada

I’m sorry, how is that a sincere apology? Also, I completely don’t care what the established guidelines are, I am not even ASKING for a refund (did they even read the letter I SENT?), what I am doing is informing you that your customer service reps LIE and that is NOT OK. They lie to get people of their backs, make promises and guarantees that the company will not comply with, and that is just ridiculous and messed up. UGH. I replied. The saga continues!

March 3, 2010   3 Comments

Tsk, Tsk, Mexicana

I’m not big on writing complaint letters to Customer Service reps when I am mistreated or when service is just plain shoddy. I am pretty understanding about the fact that one employee of a company is not an accurate representation of all that the company actually stands for. However, after my experience this past weekend, I decided to not only write to Mexicana and all their listed customer service reps, but I also wish to post this here, on Twitter, and everywhere someone might stumble upon it. I may not be Kevin Smith, but I’ll be damned if I’m not going to warn people against poor service.

To whom it may concern,

My name is Lorenia de la Vega. I recently flew on your flights MX340 (Cancun – Mexico City) and MX317 (Mexico City – Orlando). I fly to and from Cancun/Orlando quite often, and decided, as a Mexican citizen, to try out the company despite the poor things I had heard. I figured if I was going to give my money to a company, I might as well do it to a national one. Big mistake!

I arrived at the airport at 5:00am on February 28th for my 7:00am flight from Cancun to Orlando, connecting in Mexico City. I assumed that the ticket counters would be open at 5:30am since it is stated on the Mexicana website that passengers should arrive 90 minutes in advance for international flights. Incorrect assumption: ticket counters were not open until nearly 6:00am. Once I proceeded to check in, I was detained at the counter for over half an hour: problems with the software did not allow the check-in clerk to check me in to my flight, because I had a passport and a green card number. Surely, I cannot be the only passenger in Mexicana history to have flown with a Mexican passport and a green card! Once I was checked in, I was asked to rush to the gate, as they were already boarding.

Not so!

I arrived at my gate, and my flight was delayed approximately 30 minutes. I was already a bit worried about my connection in Mexico City being only one hour, but figured if Mexicana sells “connecting” flights with one hour between arrival and departure, they know what they are doing and have accounted for small delays.

My flight landed in Mexico City with 20 minutes before my flight was scheduled to take off. On stepping off the flight from Cancun nearly ten minutes later, I was advised as to which gate to go to: gate 32, from gate 12. I inquired about my luggage, and was told not to worry, that it would be in Orlando waiting for me.

Now, here I will insert something I didn’t insert into the letter: an actual map of the Mexico City airport. They expected us to comfortably walk from one end to the other in ten minutes. Please check this out:


Arrival gate, where the first set of stairs are. Departure? The very, very last gate of the airport. I’m not even kidding when I say I have blisters on both heels now!

Now, surely Mexicana personnel are aware of the size and distribution of the Mexico City airport. The passengers needing to make that connecting flight had ten minutes to walk from one side of the airport to the extreme opposite, with their carry-on luggage and, in the case of other passengers that were in the same situation as I was, with small children. We arrived at the gate as they were shutting the doors, flushed and out of breath. When I took my seat on the plane and requested a bottle or glass of water, I was denied one, since we were about to take off! I explained how we had been running, and how I was already dehydrated from the previous three hours of flying, and again, the flight attendant denied me a glass of water.

The service of the flight attendants was appalling. All of the men seated around me were promptly served meals and drinks with smiles, while my meal was tossed at me and I didn’t receive a drink until I rose and requested it.

Upon arriving to Orlando (at 2:25pm), my luggage never appeared on the carousel – not surprising, though, if we barely had time to get ourselves to the plane, I can imagine how it would have been impossible to put the luggage through extra security and then onto a plane that was about to take off. I was very upset, though, that I had been assured it would be in Orlando. I felt as if through my entire trip, responsibility had been passed from one person to another without ever receiving a straight answer from someone.

I reported my missing luggage to a Mexicana representative at the carousel. I was assured that my luggage would be delivered at the address I provided within 24 hours, and that before those 24 hours had passed, someone from Mexicana would contact me to tell me about the location of my luggage and what time to expect it delivered. I was also assured that upon its delivery, if more than 24 hours had passed, I would also receive $100 USD for my troubles, something done routinely to reimburse passengers for any expenses they may incur for delayed delivery of their luggage.

The next morning, March 1st, when it began to near noon, I became worried no one had contacted me. I dialed the numbers provided to me by the Mexicana representative at the carrousel, (407) 825-6002/6003, to no avail. No one ever answered and when the call was sent to voice mail, I was given a notification that the voice mail was full and no further messages could be recorded.

I then dialed 1-800-531-7921 (the 800 number provided me by Information). The party who took my call was belligerent and treated me as if I were mentally retarded for not giving him all of the “numbers” necessary to trace my luggage. The only two numbers on the document provided to me when I filed the report were my Flight Ticket Number and my Claim Check Number, which he deemed insufficient. He proceeded to give me two phone numbers, (407) 825-5047 for the Manager of Customer Support, and (407) 825-5022. The first number no longer exists in the Orlando airport when dialed, and the latter is a number for a Delta liaison, both clearly useless. I would like to make note that it may be in Mexicana’s best interest to update the first number in the information they tell Customer Support to give clients. It’s a bit troublesome that not even Mexicana knows what numbers are no longer useful.

As I was not able to contact anyone, I again called the 800 number and was transferred to the first person that was able to give me any information about my luggage. However, he clarified that the information I had previously received was not correct. You do not give $100 USD checks if the bags aren’t delivered within 24 hours (again, information Mexicana may want to tell their reps not to give) and they are still uncertain when my luggage will actually arrive. All of this after four hours of locating phone numbers, two hours of which were spent on hold.

I finally received the luggage that Mexicana representatives promised I would have within 24 hours “at the very latest” nearly at midnight on March 1st. Not the most pleasant time to receive something when you have to be up at 5:30am, and when the information that accompanied the luggage says that it landed nine hours earlier.

My husband and I both travel multiple times a month and I can guarantee you that after such a poor quality experience and such generally rude and incompetent service, neither of us have the slightest desire to ever fly with Mexicana again.

I am publishing this letter on my personal and professional Websites, Facebook groups, Twitter, and Trip Advisor (and any other pertinent travel Websites) as well as encouraging everyone I know not to use your services.

Thank you for your time,
Lorenia de la Vega

And to anyone who may have had the patience to read the letter the whole way through, I sincerely advise you never to fly with them. I have never had a more exasperating, uncomfortable, and unpleasant experience with an airline, and you all KNOW how much I fly! And it’s not even how long the luggage took to get back to me — as far as lost luggage goes, it took a relatively short time to make it home, it was the constant excuses and lying and the overall crappy service. Ugh.

March 2, 2010   8 Comments