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Thursday 9 June 2022

Booking through AirAsia an exercise in futility

You need a lot of time and a lot of patience if you are planning to book travel through AirAsia online. Even then you might end up baffled and frustrated.

I've travelled several times with AirAsia and always been satisfied with the quality of the flights, the food and the value for money. Using their app to book fights, however, is a whole new experience in fruitless endeavour.

AirAsia boasts it can take multiple bookings across various providers.   

Needing a cheap one-way flight, I went to the app and booked what I thought was a satisfactory deal.

Sure enough. An email arrived, saying:

"We've received your payment and are now processing your booking with the airline. This usually takes a few minutes but may take up to 24 hours. We’ll send you the travel itinerary with the airline’s booking number once it’s confirmed. If we can’t confirm your booking, we’ll refund the full amount that was charged to your original payment method."

And that was nine days ago. Since then, silence.

The email contained a reference number, but no booking number.

After a couple of days of radio silence I tried responding to the email. It bounced back.

I went back online, but the app does not recognise the reference number.

So I'm not sure if I have a booking or not. If not, I need to book another one.

In frustration, I sent an email to AirAsia's Group Communications person: Vanessa Jane Regan, asking how someone with this issue should proceed.

She sends me emails all the time, but is rather less adept at responding. Zero communication.

I tried again. Still radio silence.

So I have no idea whether I have a booking or not, And if I do then I have no idea of the booking number.

Next step, AirAsia's online customer support line, which is apparently manned by an AI creature rather than a human being.

"I'm AVA, AirAsia Virtual Allstar"

I asked my question: "I tried to make a booking several days ago. Reference 1XXXXX. Was told it would be confirmed within 24 hours. But have heard nothing. Has this been cancelled? Have I been charged?

The response less than helpful: "Hmm.. I can help to give you a more accurate answer if you can use one or two simple keywords like "baggage" OR "change flight". Can you please try again?

I did. Silence.

Tried again later. "We are experiencing a high volume of guests reaching us at the moment with an estimated 1 hour wait time. If your flight booking is not within the next 24 hours, we request that you contact us later. I am of course here to help you in the meantime! Thanks for your patience."

My flight is not, of course, within 24 hours but I do need to know my status.

Tough. AirAsia apparently doesn't care about customer service. Buyer beware.

UPDATE: I finally got a totally unsatisfactory response via email - without any explanation.

It said: "We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you. The booking under XXXXXXXX has been cancelled due to a failed booking. As such, we would like to process the refund to your original payment method.

They then listed 11 pieces of information they needed for a refund to be issued. 

Never again incompetents. Never again.    

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