Sunday, May 10, 2009

CONTINENTAL AIRLINES....A BIG THUMBS DOWN....Whole Foods.... Thumbs Up!!!


In the big world of consumer customer service I always seem to run
into the good and the bad.......

And I always like to pass on the information to my friends in Blogland.......
Do you want to hear the good or the bad first....Let's hear the bad first and that would be our friends over at Continental Airlines.......Not exactly people you would want to be friends with....As you know daughter and family just traveled to Italy for their yearly vacation and Continental was their airline of choice.....They won't be able to say that again! Daughter hates to fly and will only take the plunge if there is a good destination at the end of the flight.....Hence only traveling to Europe.....and they only fly First Class....it makes that 9 hour trip more bearable...The past two years our Miss B went along and she's becoming a seasoned traveler.......Daughter contacted Continental well in advance and requested a child's meal for the flights coming and going....For what they would be paying in First Class and the fact that Continental charged $400.00 for Miss B to travel on daughters lap this is the least you would expect......Continental didn't see it that way.....Daughter was told meals would be provided for "B" but when she called the airline the day before to confirm they changed their tune.....When a child is riding on a parents lap.....this being a child under the age of 2.......no food or drink is provided for said child.....Do I need to repeat that outrageous statement.....a 9 hour flight and no food or drink will be provided for a child under 2......even though Continental is getting and extra $400.00 for that child to be on board....
Cutting to the chase......Our Miss B received NOTHING.....on the flight to Italy or from Italy.....NOTHING.....not even a glass of water....daughter said the flight attendant up in First Class totally ignored the fact that "B" was on the flight.....Now baby is a great flyer...she doesn't cry...scream...fuss...or leaves her seat....she's old enough now to eat real food.......so there was no need to be rude to this beautiful child....
Continental Airlines....You should be ashamed of yourself!!
Daughter and Son-in-Law had to keep asking for extra stuff for themselves just to keep the poor child hydrated....
In a world when companies are going out of business left and right this airlines does not need to be in business......To ignore the needs of a child for the sake of.......well I don't know what.....is a real disgrace.....So if your planning a vacation with a child or you know someone who is........ tell them to pick another airlines.....one that actually likes children...
Now for the nice company and that would be Whole Foods in Princeton on Rt.1.......
Me and the Boss love our pizza and Whole Foods makes the best pizza....it's a huge rectangle and feeds an army........So one night we drove over and tried to order one for take out.....with two men behind the counter I stood for a good 5 minutes before anyone noticed me....Finally a guy comes over and he was in some sort of stupor.....he kept repeating the wrong order and for some reason was insisting that we wanted a "wheat crust" .........he was also very dirty and unkempt looking....Not someone you would want making your food.....He tells us 40 minutes....Now no pizza takes that long....Boss said it's a ploy to get you to say forget it and walk away....
We say okay...then we walk away.....the Boss goes to customer service to voice his complaint about the employee..... they are very nice and say they will have a word with him on being more responsive....
40 minutes go by.... we pick up the pizza...... take it to the customer service counter to check out and tell them that the guy working at the pizza counter now was very nice...this was just incase they thought we hated everyone...... and what do we see.....
Wheat Crust.....
the Boss goes a bit crazy and since we had already told the folks that this guy was somewhere off in space they fell right into "Super Customer Service" mold....
The manager on duty came up and asked if we had time to wait for the pizza to be recooked....We did....Then he gave us a $25.00 gift card....Very Nice....we like gift cards....
We wait about 15 minutes...... the correct time to cook a pizza........pick up our new pie....regular crust....we go to pay....and the manager waves us away and tells us to enjoy our night.....
Now that is great customer service.....Bravo to Whole Foods....
Did you hear that Continental??

24 comments:

prof en retraite said...

Hi Sue...Wow! Unbelievable! I flew Swiss Air 5 or 6 years ago with my grandson who was a little baby stil fitting in the hammock on the plane and they provided everything you could want! Hmmm...Continentail will not get any of my money!! Love Whole Foods here in Atlanta! Now I will make sure to return there! Have a great week! Happy Motheres Day...hugs...Debbie

Bonjour Madame said...

I always like to hear these stories good or bad. I'd rather be informed when I make decisions like this. Thanks for the info!

Jojo said...

Through the years our family flew on BA, Delta, KLM, Air France, MEA and other regional airlines but never encounter such service from the airline. We did encounter bad passengers who had zero tolerance of children, particularly when under the influence. We try to have extra compassion for traveling families as it is difficult just getting on and off a plane. A year ago we traveled with a family from Ohio who was coming from Africa with 2 babies in need of surgery. We knew when we boarded that they were dressed in summer clothing and it was in the 40s in Paris. We all helped these two parents and their daughter and the sweetest was about 2 months after our travels. The family sent us a thank you card for helping them make the trip. Isn't this how travel should be?

Lisa said...

Unreal about Continental. How ludricous!! OMG, if I were your daughter I do not know what I would've done! Good for you on the Whole Foods ordeal. I'd say that was worth the hassle anyway. Maybe not if the Boss was hungry though...

Country Girl said...

That airline is unbelievable. I mean, how much can a small child eat and at the price of the partial seat, it's just ridiculous.

Bravo on your pizza too!

The Flying Pinto said...

Hi, I'm so sorry to hear your daughter and her family had a bad experience on Continental.

The price they had to pay for the lap child is actually the tax of the ticket and infants traveling with adults on front-cabin free rewards or upgrades must pay 10 percent of the front cabin fare in applicable markets.

I'm surprised that they had trouble feeding your grand daughter with all the food they serve...especially to Italy, tons of pasta: )

I travel with my 2 year old a lot and I highly recommend you always bring food for a young child...even if a childs meal were provided...it may not be up to your standards. Airline food is processed and preserved.

Again, really sorry they had a bad experience, I know Continental has a great reputation. Maybe they got an off crew...sometimes the information is all in the delivery and your grand daughter certainly could have been accommodated with all the food they provide on international flights.

Kathleen Grace said...

I think one of the great things about blogging is being able to make our voices heard on things like this. There is no justification for charging $400 for a passenger and then not providing what everyone else gets just because the customer is a child. Too bad that so many companies still don't "get it" when it comes to decent customer service. Thanks for the review on this company.
Good for Whole foods for better response on a complaint!

mbkatc230 said...

This is unbelievable! I understand The Flying Pinto's explanation of the partial fare (thanks for that, I couldn't figure out why she had to pay anything to fly on mom's lap), but to not provide food or drink for a child borders on obscene. I mean really, how much is the child going to eat? And they may have had an "off crew", but that does not excuse the behavior. Bravo to Whole Foods, I've always found their customer service to be impeccable. And their produce is divine! Kathy

KBeau said...

Thanks for the great info. My son and DIL think the best airline for traveling with their one (and soon to be two) child is Southwest. Of course, that doesn't go you any good on international flights.

Whenever they have flown Southwest with a child on lap and the flight has not been full, Southwest has always allowed them to use the extra seat in their row for Walker's carseat. I'm not aware that they've ever paid anything for him. Of course, now that he's two, he will no longer be able to fly "in lap."

Joyce said...

Terrible, but why does that not surprise me? Hubby would fly EVERY week for years and he could write a book. The airlines just don't care. You become their captives as soon as you enter the flying germ filled cigar tube! Now wholefoods went above and beyond because they know there is nothing better then a good customer service story to boost their market.
Joyce

Deb said...

Did you hear that Continental? You have now pissed of the blogging world. Oh, too bad, so sad! You are out of luck.

As for Whole foods...aren't they dears? I just love all of the Whole Foods and lone Harry's store.

Daryl said...

I sure hope, daughter, SIL and you all write letters to Continental .. and not just to customer service but to the CEO and the EVP in charge of Customer Relations ... did they use a travel agent? If so, they should also have the agent send a letter.., blogging to vent is good, getting a fire lit under Continental is ever better.

I adore Whole Foods .. they understand that customers are what keeps them in business.

Linda Lou said...

Yeah for Whole Foods, at least some companies know how to treat their customers---we are getting one here in about 6 months, can't wait, expensive but worth it!! Your poor grand daughter-crazy airline!!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

It's totally unacceptable that they would treat anybody the way they did, much less a little child whose parents were paying $400 to have her sit on their lap. I hope they send a letter to Continental's executives explaining their shoddy treatment.

salmagundi said...

How horrible to have that experience, especially on a long flight. You can endure most anything short term, but it always seems forever flying to Europe. Hope you get some satisfaction from Continental (how about a refund for all three tickets???) Have a great week. Sally

Bellamere Cottage said...

Oh dear.........I'll NEVER fly Continental.....not that I ever have, but now I know I won't! How terrible. What the heck?? I just cannot understand that at all. The economy isn't good enough to turn away potential customers. Do they really think this family will EVER fly with them again? Naught Continental.

Whole Foods.........whew, I LOVE that store, but what was up with Pizza Boy? Good gravy. I'm glad you got it all taken care of in the end, but it sounds like you probably ended up spending about an hour and a half in the store. Not so good, even for a nice gift card!

Blessings, smiles, and Happy Monday!

Spencer

Mabry's gamma said...

Sue,

Like everyone else, I agree, unbelievable. With so many businesses going under I would think they would do everything possible to accommodate your daughter and family. It is amazing that businesses think we owe them something for dealing with them. We usually travel Delta and have had no problem with them. Your daughter (I hope) should complain. Thanks though for the information, that is always good to know the good and the bad. Helps us all to make informed decisions.

Cheri

Necie said...

You already know I hate Continental and refuse to give them my business. Growing up in the South, I expect a smile and an "I'm sorry" or at least an explanation if a business can not grant a request. It used to be easy to bring food and drinks for a child on a flight. Now, you are not allowed to bring liquids on a flight. They should be more than willing to provide drinks for a child.

Linda said...

That is horrible about Continental! I'll keep that in mind.

Anonymous said...

Continental's policy is identical to all major US carriers. Though no actual meal would be boarded for a baby under 2, in first class the food is boarded (mostly) in bulk. A polite request for a bottle to be filled with juice or water, or for a little plate of pasta for the baby would be all that is needed. I have never had a crew on any airline in f/c refuse a polite request for a little something for a baby.
No I don't work for Continental (LOL)
Chris
Flight Crew
Tucson, AZ

Sue said...

Dear anonymous....I see you put emphasis on the word "polite request"....to fill a bottle with water or a little dish of pasta....why are you assuming my daughter and her family were not polite....They are professional people and they paid a good amount of money to fly in first class....my granddaughter does not drink from a bottle or eat baby food, my daughter simply requested a "child's meal".....food suitable for a child...such as....peanut butter and jelly, mac and cheese, a little hamburger...you know a "childs' meal"...I don't care the age of the child or if they are flying in their parents lap or sitting on the floor....you shouldn't have to politely request food and water on a 9 hour flight....it should be expected...But thank you for your imput....

nikkicrumpet said...

I can't believe an airline or any service provider would be that cold and uncaring to a small child. How pitiful!

Anonymous said...

Sue,

I used the term polite request because I've been flying for 19 years and have never denied a request nor seen any coworker deny a request for some pasta, veggies, anything available in first class that is bulk boarded and appropriate for a little one. If the request was for something not catered on the plane there is simply nothing one can do at 35K feet. So "peanut butter and jelly, mac and cheese, a little hamburger" are not catered on any aircraft at any airline unless as a special meal. Catering failed to board a special meal so that would leave the crew the ability to offer the items I mentioned. If the request was angry, blaming, meanspirited, etc. I would still try and put together something for the child because the child cannot be held responsible for the behavior of the adults around it. But I have flown with a few crewmembers who would no longer help if addressed that way. They may have been perfectly kind. I just raise the possibility that they weren't because, again, we just would never deny food for a child (or adult for that matter).

Hope that helps.
Chris
Tucson, AZ
Flight Crew (though, again, not for Continental...lol)

Anonymous said...

For chris (man/woman?) Passangers should be treated with respect, remember their tickets pay your salary.
While the actual "Flight Crew" are usually quite friendly.....on
occasion the flighing waitresses can have quite a "Tude"

Frequent Flyer!