I have never been so enraged as I have been with AIR MILES yesterday.
Let me give you some context first:
My aunt has been battling cancer for the past few years. Only recently has the situation become less and less hopeful, and the situation is now a matter of spending as much time with her as possible and trying to keep her quality of life as high as possible with whatever time we have remaining. The situation is grim but it is what it is.
My cousin is planning a 70th birthday party for her, and I booked a family trip with myself, Dan, Kensi and my parents to all fly in to Newfoundland for a long weekend in mid October to surprise her.
Yesterday my cousin asked if my mom could fly out a week early. She had a trip for her family planned to go to Orlando and she needed some extra help while she was away. Of course my mom would drop everything for her sister.
Enter the absurdity that is AIR MILES:
I call them and tell them the trip on October 13th for my mom needs to be changed to a week earlier. I realize I might need to pay the miles difference and I said that was fine. I also had checked online on their site and it gave me the option to select the same time a week early, so I knew the option was available. Easy right? NOPE!
Got on a call with them and the person on the phone said she couldn’t do it. UM what? I told her that I saw it’s available when I try to make a new booking online.
OH she explained, we’re only allocated so many spots for “changed bookings” and only so much for “new bookings” and right now because I want to change her ticket to a week earlier, the system says there’s not enough allocation under “change bookings” to do it. If I wanted to get her out a week early, I would have to just buy her a new ticket and eat the cost of the existing one I made. WTF!
So I argued back and forth with her and said because of their technical limitation I’m somehow punished? She suggested because I paid the taxes with my BMO WORLD ELITE AIR MILES Mastercard that I should call the credit card company to see if the cancellation of my mom’s ticket on October 13th can be reimbursed. FINE. FINE I said. I’ll do just that!
I call BMO Mastercard… they make me call Alliance Insurance since it’s an “insurance related” question. AWESOME.
At this point if I tally up how much time I was on the phone with someone waiting or talking to them to explain the situation, it’s clocked almost 2hrs.
Alliance Insurance said the cancelled ticket could only be reimbursed if it was myself, my spouse and my dependant…so NOT my parents, even though I was the one that purchased the tickets for ALL OF THEM. AWESOME
At this point I was so fed up I gave up. I decided to eat the loss of the AIR MILES and taxes I paid on the ticket for my mom’s Oct 13th flight. But then it just didn’t sit right with me that nothing could be done and that it would go to waste so I thought hey wait a minute, I bought it – and I’m taking Kensi with me who is an infant, why can’t she just take my mom’s seat?
Tons of FB mom groups always talk about when flying with babies the ideal scenario is to buy them their own seat because you can bring their car seat on it and they can sit and chill and be comfortable since they’re already use to being in it. I didn’t plan on doing this originally because I’m not a rapper and have the disposable income to just buy my baby her own seat, BUT since this scenario presented itself and I was already eating the cost of having to pay for the Oct 13th seat for my mom, I thought I should just give it to Kensi. Sounds easy right? WRONG! NOT ON THEIR WATCH!
I called AIR MILES back again – and explained the scenario and how I didn’t want the ticket I originally paid for my mom to go to waste, so could they just please transfer the name on the ticket to my baby instead.
DENIED! Well no not really, they said in order for me to do that I would have to pay $180.
They JUST made me pay for a brand new ticket for my mom because they couldn’t change the existing ticket. Now they want me to PAY $180 MORE so I could let Kensington take my mom’s seat… that I had already paid for !
I told the person on the phone how FUCKED UP that was and she recognized the absurdity but couldn’t (or wouldn’t) do anything. I was so frustrated I demanded to speak to a supervisor.
She transfers me over and I ended up hanging up after being put on hold for 30+minutes, even though I’m an ONYX tiered customer which apparently means I get priority sequence in the call centre. NOPE!
So I hang up and try calling in again on the Onyx priority line – I said YO you tried to transfer me so I could speak to a supervisor and I waited for more than half an hour. That’s NOT cool – put me with someone immediately. I get transferred over…and they do it AGAIN!
ANOTHER 30mins on hold.
OH yeah, I forgot to mention – AIR MILES automated system now makes you talk out loud to specify what your AIR MILES number is, but their system is fucked and half the time they couldn’t hear me SCREAMING my AIR MILES number, which meant I kept having to hang up and call again. Add another 30mins into the mix because their system can’t hear people speak clearly.
I couldn’t take it anymore, so I hung up and called the Onyx Priority line again. Each time I called this line I only had to wait a few minutes, it was when the losers on the other end tried to transfer me to talk to a “supervisor” that I was waiting until god knows when.
FINALLY by the end of the day – whoever I spoke with (probably the 5th or 6th person now) was able to HEAR ME OUT and do something about it. I explained the situation again, told them how DISGUSTED I was at how absurd their process was, how long I’ve been on the phone for, how they’re making me pay to give a seat to my baby that I had already paid for since my mother could no longer join, and just how generally FUCKED up they were.
And by some miracle – I finally got someone who was a human being on the other end that possessed some degree of empathy and intelligence and said, “Hey you know what? Let me call West Jet and see what they can do. Let me call you back.”
10 minutes later – that person on the phone called me back and said West Jet wants me to keep the infant on my lap BUT because of the situation, they will redeem my miles and taxes that I paid for on that flight my mother could no longer join us for since she was flying in a week early.
BOOM – just like that, 5-6hours later it felt like – finally a resolution THAT MADE SENSE.
This story is of personal agony for me because I use to work at AIR MILES. That’s what boils my blood because I use to be the hugest fan and advocate for them. But ya know what?
NO MORE AIR MILES. YOU’RE DEAD TO ME.
I believe the below image captures how I feel about AIR MILES and what they did to me yesterday.
The best/worst part about this story is this morning the situation has escalated even more, and I am scrambling to find my mom a flight to leave days from now, not just 2 weeks from now.
So…. now I need to gather all the strength I can to try to call AIR MILES and talk to SOMEONE who has a brain and a heart to HELP ME get my mom out to Newfoundland in a matter of days WITHOUT punishing me and making me pay for god knows how much and making me sit on the phone arguing/waiting for up to 6hours again.
Sidebar: I think the Universe is giving me shit… metaphorically and literally. Not just because of the debacle of AIR MILES yesterday but also this morning, my mom and I discover right in front of our outdoor mat on the back porch, some ANIMAL left a pile of poop and a pile of puke (looks like berries) side by side, right in front of our back door dead centre.
Like if that’s not a message then I don’t know WHAT IS!