Last weekend, Continental Airlines did not meet my expectations at Newark. I rarely take the time to write to an airline (I haven’t written to United in years), but felt what happened was egregious enough to bring to CO’s attention.
I found this in my inbox last night (bolding mine):
Dear Mr. Klint:
Thank you for contacting Continental Airlines regarding flight 60 from Newark to Brussels, October 15, 2010.
We regret any inconvenience experienced and that you were un able [sic] to secure seat 17D for this flight.
International passengers must obtain a boarding pass no less than 60 minutes before the scheduled departure and be present at the boarding gate no less than 30 minutes before the scheduled departure. There are a few exceptions, including Lima, Peru, where the check-in requirement is 75 minutes prior to scheduled departure. We typically suggest international customers begin the check-in process three hours prior to departure to allow adequate time for required documentation verification, positive bag match, and security screenings.
Research on your flight history shows check-in with less than the required time for processing. Any attempt to check-in past the cut-off time at the kiosk will prompt assistance by a representative for manual check-in. Please be advised your seat may be released at the gate if you do not obtain a boarding pass 30 minutes before the scheduled departure.
Mr. Klint, we are very sorry you lost your seat and apologize for any inappropriate response on this matter by the ground staff. I realize my apology cannot erase what happened, but I hope it helps to know we take your concerns very seriously. At Continental Airlines, we believe all customers and co-workers are to be treated with dignity and respect. This philosophy is deeply woven into everything we do.
Please be assured your concerns will be forwarded to division senior management for internal review and necessary corrective action. However, we regret we would not offer compensation in this instance.
For detailed information on recommended check-in times, please visit our Web site:
We appreciate your e-mail and hope to see you on a future Continental Airlines flight.
Customer Care Manager
A few thoughts:
- I checked in almost 24 hours before the flight and have an e-mail confirmation to prove it.
- I was at the airport more than one hour before my flight and the check-in machine still directed me see a representative.
- The Customer Care Manager misses the point: I found out who took my seat onboard and the mechanic admitted that he was moved to 17D with the middle seat blocked so he could attempt to rest before repairing an aircraft in Brussels the following day.
- I had work to during the flight and brought along my emPower adaptor so I could plug in my laptop. There are not plug-ins available in the rear section of economy class. This was never even acknowledged in the e-mail response.
- I was yelled at and treated rudely by a supervisor and four other employees and all you’re going to say is "at Continental Airlines, we believe all customers and co-workers are to be treated with dignity and respect"? Sorry. Didn’t happen. Not even close.
- And no compensation? I’m not complaining about a burnt out light or a loose tray table that would have netted me a $250 voucher on UA. My seat was moved, I was treated poorly by five CO employees, and another CO employee confirmed onboard that I had been deliberately moved to accommodate him…
I knew CO was stingy when it came to compensation, but their response amazes me. I’ll be sending a cordial e-mail back today making it clear that the apology above is not acceptable.