With my award booking service, I get to deal with Aeroplan a lot. And when I mean a lot, I mean, I make hundreds of calls a month to Aeroplan. Most of their agents are competent (their supervisors, surprisingly, less so). However, sometimes you get an absolute delight, who is wildly special. I mean absolutely, terrifyingly, wildly, special. For this story, let’s call her Olga (a pseudonym).
I had a client for whom I was doing a fantastically complicated trip. Unfortunately, being rather last minute, and over the holiday season, there was quite a bit of tax. As an award booker, it is my job to be your zealous advocate when it comes to reducing your taxes and fees.
As I do with any booking, I worked with Aeroplan to build the itinerary that I researched. What I do is look for availability prior to the phone call, get the client’s approval, then build that itinerary with an Aeroplan agent, piece-by-piece. I got the exact itinerary planned. Sweet, sweet Olga priced out the itinerary for the taxes and fees. They were $X. The client paid that amount, and tickets were issued. Excellent!
They Olga says “oh no.” I say “what?” Apparently, the system issued the tickets automatically, and forgot to charge the taxes and fees. Ahh, no problem at all, right? Just charge the taxes. Apparently it’s not that simple. So Olga calls her support desk.
The ticketing agent there says “you now have to pay $X+70”. At this point, my client was no longer on the telephone. I told the ticketing agent, Helga (pseudonym), that this was ridiculous that Aeroplan was essentially charging my client to fix their own mistake. I demanded that only the original tax be charged. “Sir, this is non-negotiable!” THIS IS INCREDIBLY STUPID! I then asked if they could just waive the two $30+tax booking fees, which would have made the extra tax less than $5. “No, I can’t do that.” STUPID! I ask to speak with her supervisor… I’ll get a call back later that night.
Of course, nobody calls me that night. So I wait. And wait. Impatiently, I call Aeroplan back. This time, I speak to someone who is smart, cooperative, understanding of the stupidity, etc. She says “we’re just going to charge you the original tax amount, $X.” EXCELLENT! She calls her ticketing department, she says it’s done, and I’m good to go.
10 minutes later, I get a call from Aeroplan… uh-oh… “Sir, there’s an additional $17 now being charged, because apparently, every single agent before forgot to add the Hong Kong tax.” What? STUPID!
After telling her that’s unacceptable (at this point, I was told $X was going to be charged twice), she decided to make up the difference, she would waive one of the telephone booking fees, actually saving my client a couple dollars in the end.
All of this took hours of my time, not including the research of the award. Whenever everything works perfect with Aeroplan, things are fine. But the moment the slightest problem arises, and trust me, they arise all the time, they seem unable to grasp reason. I guess dealing with this crap is why my company exists.