Yesterday’s bad East Coast weather resulted in a ground hold for BWI flights, which resulted in our inbound Southwest flight being over two hours late. Even though I called Icelandair’s customer service and had them enter our flight number and expected arrival into our record, they gave our seats away when we didn’t show up 90 minutes before the flight’s departure time. When we did show up 30 minutes before departure time, they treated us like it was all our fault, didn’t offer to help us with accommodations, and did nothing other than put our names on the waitlist for today’s flight, which is already oversold.
Then today when I called Icelandair’s customer service I was (brusquely) informed that if we cancelled the reservation and just returned to Chicago (I am considering it, because if we don’t make it on this flight I miss half of the conference), they would be unable to refund our money, because it’s not their fault that we didn’t get on the flight. Technically true, but still appallingly bad customer service that leaves a bad taste in my mouth and makes me even less likely to ever visit Iceland. And if I did, I certainly wouldn’t fly on Icelandair; I’d fly to England instead and fly Iceland Express from Stansted.
How can this shocking excuse for customer service exist in a modern, information-rich society? The flight status database by airport exists, and airlines can access it in real time. An airline like Icelandair, with only four major entry ports in the US, would be able to offer superior customer service if they enabled their computer system to track the whereabouts of their passengers who are traveling from other airports to connect to them at one of those four ports. But the attitudes of the Icelandair employees, and the disturbingly poor computer technology we saw on display at their counter last night, indicate to me that they care very little about providing good customer service.