My ongoing battle over cancelled first class tickets on SWISS is a two-front war: one with with SWISS and the U.S. Department of Transportation, the second with Aeroplan.
In the case of SWISS, recall that I filed a DOT complaint in December and received a disingenuous and dishonest reply last month from SWISS.
> Read More: Here’s My Response to SWISS and the DOT
SWISS Writes Me Back
Over a month later, SWISS has finally written me back. Here’s the letter in full:
Dear Mr. Klint,
We understand you are disappointed in the handling of the error in the Aeroplan First class award bookings on Swiss. We further regret that our original response did not meet your expectations.
As you are aware, all customers who requested First Class Aeroplan Award space on Swiss have been offered three alternatives. We trust that one of the following options will meet or minimize any impact on your travel needs.
1) Rebooking in First Class on other carriers than LX
2) Reprotection into Business Class on LX
3) Full refund of miles
We again ask for your understanding that First Class Award redemption on Swiss flights is limited to HON Circle and Senator members of airlines participating in the Miles & More program. This limitation is known throughout the industry and is clearly published. While great strides have been made to harmonize the IT solutions of the Star Alliance partners, these IT systems are not infallible and in exceptional cases (i.e. system failures) a First Class Award booking is made erroneously. As you experienced in November 2017, when an individual error is identified, published in public forums and exploited, the error is amplified drawing the attention of the involved carriers. Due to the magnitude of the exploitation in this case, Swiss was required to take appropriate action.
We respect your right to disagree or further express your disappointment, however, we ask you to do so respectfully, professionally and without malice towards individual employees. As we have replied satisfactorily to the DOT and all customers have received alternatives, we consider the matter closed.
Customer Feedback Services
Once again, the fundamental problem with this letter is that 1.) SWISS did offer first class space to Aeroplan members 2.) on multiple occasions and 3.) rules prohibiting SWISS First Class bookings are NOT “clearly” published.
Furthermore, I was not offered re-protection in SWISS business class. Instead, I was only offered a connection in Toronto with a huge layover…not practical for traveling with a toddler.
SWISS adds a new element of blame: blogs and public forums.
As you experienced in November 2017, when an individual error is identified, published in public forums and exploited, the error is amplified drawing the attention of the involved carriers. Due to the magnitude of the exploitation in this case, Swiss was required to take appropriate action.
This is a surprising admission from SWISS. They are admitting that their issue was a numbers game, not a lack of contract formation. In other words, SWISS admits it is not honoring this mistake because too many people took advantage of it…
Interestingly, I have evidence to suggest that this “magnitude of the exploitation” was actually quite limited, at least from Aeroplan bookings…
At this point, I am not sure whether a response is warranted. SWISS, at least on this level, seems unwilling to even entertain a discussion, since none of my specific questions were answered . Any response would be for the edification of the DOT officers involved in the case, not for SWISS.