20150316 I booked a flight with Etihad Airways. This is what happened next…

Thank you for your response.

It is clear from your correspondence that you remain unhappy and I am naturally disappointed that you feel let down. However, whilst I acknowledge your concerns I am sorry to advise you that we are not able to increase our offer of 20,000 miles. Please accept my apologies for any disappointment caused.

If you would like to accept the Etihad Guest miles offer, please do let me know by return, and I will ensure the needful is done.

Mr Morris, we do realize that you have a choice of airlines. However, I sincerely hope that, in spite of your disappointment, you will choose to fly with us again in the future.

Yours sincerely

[name removed]
Guest Relations Officer

I replied promptly, now aware that it is more than three months after the event and increasingly mindful of that post from a victim of another Etihad failure that warned of how the airline dealt with his complaint. I wondered if showing my anger with a hint at bad language might encourage them to pass the complaint to a manager.

At last. An e-mail in plain text.

It seems to me that there is an intention within Etihad to ensure that my complaint is dealt with at the lowest available level.

At the airport, where your action cost me a whole day of effective work, your managers refused to speak to me.

Since then, all I have had is juniors telling me, in effect, to stop wasting their time and – even more annoyingly – wasting my time.

Let me make this clear: the original failure was bad. The compounding of the failure with the result that I have spent far too much additional time is worse.

Etihad’s customer service is a disgrace.

It can be summarised as “we will do what we want, if customers are inconvenienced, then that’s tough. We will make derisory offers in compensation which are of no benefit to the customer with the result that the offers we make will not be taken up. And we will mess about, causing the customer as much annoyance and costing the customer as much time as possible so that he just goes away.”

I have a ticket booked, the other half of the ticket I sadly bought from the UK in December. I will use it simply because it is paid for. I will not be happy. I know you are going to disappoint even against low expectations.

The “offer” of 20,000 miles is derisory. It is of absolutely no value to me unless it is sufficient for an upgrade on at least one of the legs of the trip in April. So far as I can tell, it is not.

Offering me miles on an airline that I will never again travel on is, to all intents and purposes, no compensation at all and fits exactly with the “get lost you pain in the a**e” attitude that started at the gate for the aircraft you would not let me board and continued throughout.

I think you have misunderstood: I am not disappointed. Disappointed was on the flight where you had under-loaded food options so there was little choice by the time the trolley got to me. Disappointed is the initial error where we were sent to the wrong gate. No, this is not disappointment. This is unbridled anger at the “f*** you attitude of an airline that proudly tells everyone about its service. In the air, yes. On the ground? Far below any acceptable level.

If you would care to come up with something that has some value to me, then do. Otherwise, it seems to be I have no alternative but to keep taking steps to make you do so.

Nigel Morris-Cotterill

And, as if to prove the point, the same junior officer replied quickly and told me to get lost: