Web Care fail – deel I

In februari 2014 reisde ik in Oman, een prachtig land met heel vriendelijke mensen. Ik kan iedereen aanraden hier naartoe te gaan, je kan er duiken, naar de bergen, naar de woestijn en je laten verrassen door alles wat dit land nog meer te bieden heeft. Één ding moet je alleen niet doen, vliegen met Oman Air. De maatschappij annuleert vluchten onder valse voorwendselen en laat je vervolgens zelf uitzoeken hoe je dan op je bestemming komt. De site werkt niet en aan web care via social media moet nog heel veel verbeterd worden. Hieronder een verslag van mijn pogingen om gecompenseerd te worden, de complete tekst is gepost op de Oman Air Facebook pagina:

Dear Oman Air,

Feb 12th – The situation
Oman Air flight WY918 from Khasab to Muscat, scheduled for departure at 13.25 is cancelled according to Oman Air due to weather conditions. At 13.45 we are informed of the cancellation. The flight never left Muscat and is in fact cancelled due to technical reasons, which is recorded in the Amadeus booking tool. By blaming the cancellation of the flight on the weather conditions Oman Air can claim it is force majeure in which case it is not responsible for alternative transport, lodging, etc by IATA rules. Since there’s only one flight a day and the flight on February 13 is already fully booked staying for another day in Khasab is not an option. We have to arrange our own transport to Muscat, which means arranging a driver and bargaining for a good price. In the end he agrees to take us to Muscat for OMR150. We leave Khasab around 15.30 and arrive in Muscat around 23.30 (the flight was due to arrive at 14.40). Since the only overland road leads via the United Arab Emirates we need to cancel and renew our Omani visa costing another OMR10.

Feb 16th – Let’s try to get this refunded
Via the website of Oman Air on the page http://www.omanair.com/en/refund-form I file a complaint stating I want my OMR160 back.

Feb 20th – The saga continues
Since I haven’t had any confirmation I try to contact Oman Air by email via websalesrefund@omanair.com, an email address provided by a friendly hotelier. Immediately I get the following reply (and not once, but twice):

Thank you for your email and for booking with omanair.com.  As part of our ongoing processes to improve our customer service, customers who booked online at omanair.com & wish to request a refund, can do so by opening the following page: www.omanair.com/refunds & complete the refund form. We are no longer accepting refund requests by email. Thank you.

Well, I tried the form.

Feb 24th – You should get your act together
Because I haven’t been able to contact Oman Air yet and the airline fails to provide any confirmation on my claim let alone a decent reply that my claim for a refund is being processed I contact them by phone. I’m told there are problems with the web form (so I gathered) and I can contact Oman Air by email via websalesrefund@omanair.com. I mail my complaint and right away I get the following reply:

This is the mail system at host mail69-tx2-R.bigfish.com.

I’m sorry to have to inform you that your message could not be delivered to one or more recipients. It’s attached below. For further assistance, please send mail to postmaster. If you do so, please include this problem report. You can delete your own text from the attached returned message.

The mail system <customerservice@omanair.com>: host oman-air-inbound-smtp-69704-mail1.customer.frontbridge.com[] said: 550 5.1.1 User unknown (in reply to RCPT TO command)

Reporting-MTA: dns; mail69-tx2-R.bigfish.com
X-Postfix-Queue-ID: 0996830015D
X-Postfix-Sender: rfc822; xxxxxx@gmail.com
Arrival-Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2014 08:58:06 +0000 (UTC)

I decide to try a different approach and fill out the form on https://wyapps.omanair.com/ccms/custFeedbackFormLoad.do, hoping that customer care will have a more constructive reply. It seems to help since there an automatic reply:

Dear Valued Customer,

Thank you for submitting your feedback. We appreciate your time and the effort taken to contact us.  Your feedback reference is  TC_21210

Kindly quote the above reference number in any future follow up communication with us. Please note that this is an auto generated mail, therefore, do not reply on this email address. Our Representative will contact you shortly.

You are our valued customer and your feedback is always important to us. 

Yours sincerely


Feb 27th – Let’s try social media
Two weeks and counting and still no word from Oman Air, not even a simple ‘Sorry we cancelled your flight’. Let’s try Social media, maybe their customer care teams knows what they’re doing. I post on Twitter and Facebook and then realise it’s only monitored Sun-Thu from 8AM to 6PM. How does a million dollar corp only have 8-6 social media support on Sun-Thu for a business that operates 24/7!?

Mar 2nd – The web care team is back at work
On Twitter I got the allowing reply: Can you give us more info about your claim and the PNR if you have it? It was tempting to answer Oman Air can check the database but not wanting to waste more time I give them the flight number and booking reference. On March 4 I ask for a reply and I’m still waiting for an answer. On Facebook exactly the same, still no answer.

Mar 7th – Another reply
Finally Oman Air replies to my claim stating that since my ticket is partially used I am entitled to a refund for the unused portion. Your sincerely Rasha Al-Hinaai

We’ll Oman Air that’s not enough and here’s why:

  1. You cancelled my flight under false pretences just to be freed from any arrangements you were obliged to make for your customers, like alternative transport or lodging.
  2. You failed to contact me saying you were sorry for cancelling my flight and you do have my email address.
  3. After a lengthy procedure from my side you offer to reimburse me for the unused part of my booking, you should have done that immediately for obvious reasons.

So if you want to live up to your aspirations of an international airline you should refund my OMR160 now to the credit card I used for booking. It’s been a month now and it has taken enough energy and frustration.

Yours sincerely
Wiebe van Leeuwen

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