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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Off Topic Personal Rant: TAP Air Portugal sucks

One of the privileges of blogging is that it permits you to vent your anger occasionally, at those that cause you problems.

Step forward Portuguese airline TAP to claim your prize. I salute your incompetence, your rude & unhelpful staff, and your corporate disrespect for customer service.

As a frequent traveller, I know that an occupational hazard is overbooking. Rightly or wrongly, it happens, and when it does, I grit my teeth & remember this is why flights are sometimes relatively cheap.

But what I cannot deal with is checking in, catching a flight to a hub, narrowly making the connection to the second flight as it is boarding..... and then finding that my seat (for which I already hold a boarding pass & had checked in for 4 hours earlier) has been given to someone else. The next flight to the same destination being the next morning, 12 hours later....

... and the fact that its aircrew aren't interested in helping ("Ask the ground staff about transfers when you arrive, it's not my job"), its ground staff are intransigent ("The flight is full") and its customer (dis)service personnel aren't empowered to make decisions and rudely deny they have European-law mandated compensation forms ("write in to the PR department") make it even worse.

In fact, the only time its objectionable employees roused themselves to action was when I tried to take a photo of them, to aid identification in my subsequent complaints, summoning a security guard who claimed it was "prohibited" and ordered me to delete the photo (not of a secure area, but a transfer desk) but was unable to provide any reason why. I wish I'd emailed it to myself straight away.

An airline that has a policy of bumping transfer passengers (there were at least 2 others with me, plus I heard the same occurred on an earlier flight), deserves to go out of business. Quite frankly, whoever the chancer was, who'd wangled a last-minute standby in seat 17D, should have been told to disembark and spend the night in a hotel instead of me.

So, I'm posting this in the hope that I contribute, in some small way, to the future downfall of the company & its acquisition by an airline that runs a business, not a bureaucracy.

My advice: don't travel by TAP, especially on a transit flight via Lisbon.


Anonymous said...

Something to try, is to insist that they give you your luggage. I once reversed this same situation by finding an airPORT (not airLINE) security guy (look for the walkie-talkies). I told him that I had un-accompanied luggage on flight XXX (oh my!) and I was promptly given a seat. However this WAS before deregulation.
These days you probably just need to have a declared starter pistol in your hold baggage.

Anonymous said...

I do my best to avoid KLM, Air France and TAP!

Paul Jardine said...

I love TAP because they give me a seat on the plane, even when I turn up at the airport without a booking! Now that's what I call service.
- 1 man's poison...
Maybe the guy you were bumped for was a Portuguese blogger!

Anonymous said...

After many travels on TAP usually to USA I am very satisfied by their service.

Anonymous said...

If possible, never fly with TAP.

If your are a ocasional traveler, they will leave you in land more often than you can imagine. Last year, I was left three times at the hotel, and I know another fes travelers with the same problem.

If you are a frequent flyer registered at the Victoria program, when you want to get a ticket with your milles, TAP keeps telling you that of the flights you want are already booked during weeks and weeks, even if you are flexible with destinations, even you are prepared to choose Sao Paulo instead of Rio de Janeio,or Salvador or Fortaleza. No way to get a ticket to Brazil from Europe using your Victoria milles.

I felt really cheate and now I am thinking about to sue that trickey airline called TAP or AIR PORTUGAL or AIR TAP (I have heard they have bouught recently AIR PORTUGALIA).

I am looking forward another suropean air lines start to fly more often to norther Brazil: I just want to get rid of TAP and their lies and their way to behaeve with their clientes, even with the 'frequent flyiers' who are suposed to be their best clientes...

tonzie said...

I missed the connecting flight in Lisbon,after the flight from Ponte Dalgada was 1 hour late.I was given free hotel and meals in Lisbon.But I also missed my connecting flight in Rome .I complained to company rep in Lisbon,and she said that there should be at least 2 hours delay between flights...
I responded that it was Tap airline that makes the schedules and if 2 hours are required between flights ,it is Tap that must schedule its flights accordigly.

Anonymous said...

TAP stands out for its poor service. Good airlines usually make sure that after a long-haul flight people are able to make their connecting flights by calling the transfer desks and making sure that the gates wait for the people to arrive, especially when it only involves a 5-10 minute wait.

But TAP? Of course not, they do nothing. They say nothing and just let travelers run to their gates, which then just close without waiting for the passengers. No apology, no assistance at all.


Jennifer Blackledge said...

Unfortunately, I've had the exact same terrible experience with TAP. I was absolutely dumbstruck by the incredible rudeness and lack of concern expressed by the TAP employees, especially at the "customer service" desk. Thanks for spreading the word about them. They don't even deserve to call themselves an airline. After already stranding us in Seville for 3 days, we were stuck an extra day in Portugal because of sheer incompetence.