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  #1 (permalink)  
Old April 21st, 2001, 01:13 PM
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Default Princess' Incompetence!

Last July we booked the Ocean Princess, 04/29/01, 22-day, 3-cruise repositioning (San Juan to Vancouver) with one-way air (Vancouver to San Juan) through the cruise line. In December I purchased air deviation (Seabird Gold) to fly to San Juan a day early (4/28). We were charged the $35 air deviation fee and a $35 flight differential fee. We got AA flights: 1086 (depart YVR 7:05 AM arrive DFW 1:15 PM), and 1904 (depart DFW 2:23 arrive SJU 8:01). Yesterday our Docs. (with deviation fees listed) came and the air tickets are wrong - they are for the 29th...the day of sailing! Princess gave us the flights we purchased deviation NOT to get.

As soon as I realised the mistake I contacted our TA who set to work trying to fix the problem. Princess has refused to do anything - claiming it is the TA's fault for not checking the tickets carefully before sending them to us. Our TA admits culpability in this respect. But in his defense, I will say even I did not see the mistake until reading the tickets for the fourth time - everything (flight numbers, times etc.) is identical except for the date. One of the flights we requested is now sold out and there is no hope of getting our original deviation flights. I knew I would get nowhere, but contacted Princess myself and was told "Too bad, you have tickets that should get you to the ship on time...you'll just have to live with it." Princess will NOT send us with AA on the 27th, or on another carrier on the 28th. They will do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING except (without admitting any responsibility for the mistake) refund the deviation fees, and are trying to claim the flight differential fees are non-refundable as AA is not their preferred carrier out of Vancouver. To say I am POed at Princess is an understatement!

Here's what our TA has done -
He has worked directly with AA to switch our theoretically 'unswitchable' tickets for this:
27th depart YVR 1:16 PM, arrive DFW 7:36
3 star hotel in Dallas overnight.
28th depart DFW 8:04 AM, arrive SJU 1:42

I can live with this. In fact, it will give us even more time in San Juan to 'see the sights', and I will now be able to say I spent a night in Texas....yeeha!

Kudos to our TA...he made a mistake, admits it, takes responsibility and fixes the problem. We are all human, and I can forgive this.

Boos to Princess...they made a mistake, won't admit it, won't take responsibility, and will do nothing to fix the problem. I can't forgive this.

I have calmed down now and will try not to let this fiasco colour my onboard experience. However, an executive at Princess will be receiving a polite, but directly worded letter when we get back.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old April 21st, 2001, 01:39 PM
Carole Dunham
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Default Re: Princess' Incompetence!

Unfortunately your experience with Princess seems to be more the rule these days than not. The first rule is pretend it didn't happen and the second one is it's someone else's fault. When we had some severe onboard problems with HAL while we were on the ship, the onboard management's solution was to ignore the problem. After returning home, HAL has received letters from me and my travel agent, plus my reviews were forwarded to the CEO of HAL by two different district sales managers. What would I like? An apology. what will I get? Nothing.

Carole
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Old April 21st, 2001, 02:05 PM
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Default Re: Princess' Incompetence!

Bumble Bee,
Im so sorry about this...I would like to ask..Are you sure the TA had Confirmed Flights on the date in question? (4/28) Via a fax air confirmation from the Cruiseline?

Let me know!!
Michael
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Old April 21st, 2001, 02:28 PM
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Default Re: Princess' Incompetence!

Bumble Bee,

It's a serious mistake, to be sure, but it's not the first time that somebody accidentally hit the wrong key on a computer keyboard.

The most significant question is whether it was your travel agent or Princess who made that mistake. In all probability, though, it was your travel agent who made the original mistake (that is, entered the 29th rather than the 28th) since travel agents usually enter this sort of information directly into Princess's computer reservation system. If your travel agent made such a mistake, Princess simply fulfilled the request as your travel agent submitted it. If you don't have a printed copy of your travel agent's submission, you have no way to verify whether it was Princess or your travel agent who erred.

In any case, I'm glad to hear that your travel agent was able to resolve it in a way that was satisfactory.

There are two valuable lessons in this incident for all of us, regardless of what our travel plans might be.

>> 1. Obtain a printed copy of everything that your travel agent submits on your behalf.

>> 2. Always check every submission for correctness, paying particularly close attention to dates and times. If something does not look right, get it resolved right away.

Most travel agents are swamped (out of necessity, as they have to process many bookings to make a decent income), and consequently don't check paperwork as carefully and as thoroughly as they should. The details that they don't catch are the ones that will cause problems!

Norm.
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Old April 21st, 2001, 05:53 PM
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Default Re: Princess' Incompetence!

I suppose it is possible our TA requested the wrong date by mistake in the first place and Princess was simply doing as requested. However, one would think if that was the case, the Princess reservation dept. would realise it was a mistake and question it - nobody requests air deviation for the same flights they would get without it. The Princess reservation dept. has not claimed (at least to me) that our TA made a mistake except to not check the tickets before forwarding them to us.

I guess we'll never know for sure.
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Old April 21st, 2001, 06:00 PM
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Default Re: Princess' Incompetence!

One of the bizzare thing about all this is our TA gave me the record locator ID # for the deviation flights and I immediately phoned AA to pick our seats and give our immigration information. I discussed the flight numbers and times with the AA rep. and It never dawned on me to ask the date of the flights in question!
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Old April 21st, 2001, 06:28 PM
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Default Re: Princess' Incompetence!

We Canadians have to put up with horrid airplane connections to go just about anywhere outside of the country.... I feel for u Bumble Bee <G>
Normally air deviation works out very well, but in this case someone dropped the ball. Unfortunately mistakes do happen. Thankfully you got it resolved in a somewhat satisfactory matter. Sure u'll have a GREAT cruise.

I do think that likely 98% of such requests are filled with no errors ( though it goes to show u need to check)
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Old April 23rd, 2001, 08:35 AM
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Default Re: Princess' Incompetence!

When a TA requests an air deviation, the cruise lines faxes the possible deviation to the TA and they are required to sign either accepting or declining the deviation. If it is accepted the cruise line then sends faxes the TA a copy of the air schedule. Somewhere someone didn't check the dates. Also, many people ask for air deviations on the day of embarkation, some want specific carriers or specific flights and do not want to chance not getting them, although it is a good possibility that they would get these flights anyway, so I can see why Princess didn't think anything of the flight request.
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