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« Pic For The Day - Palais des Papes, Avignon | Main | The Loire Valley, Volcanos, And Bilbo's Pony »

Poor Jessica - She Works For Iberia Airlines!

Customer service is our commitment

Cheap Iberia flights

We listen to you.
Your opinion matters. Our Customer Care Center receives, deals with and responds to customer complaints and suggestions.


Ever fly Iberia Airlines? Me either, but a few days ago I chose Iberia to book flights from Rome to Madrid and Madrid to Marrakech, both flights in one day. Since it was going to be a long day, and we were getting into Marrakech kind of late, I paid about $300 extra to have both flights non-stop. Less than 24 hours later I got an email saying that my flights had been changed. We were now on a flight from Madrid that had a lay-over in Casablanca, and then went on the Marrakech, which put us landing a little after midnight. It's not that big a deal really, except that I had paid extra money to have an easier trip. It felt like I'd just had 300 bucks stolen from my wallet.

I just got off the phone with a very nice girl named Jessica, who works for Customer Service at Iberia. She, of course, can't refund my 300 bucks. She offered to cancel my flight and let me start all over again. She offered to change my flight to a different day. She did what she could, but of course Jessica wasn't able to say 'Yes' to what I wanted.  So I did what I always do - I asked her to put me in touch with the person who could say yes. She put me on hold for her manager.

When Jessica came back, she said that there was not a manager who could talk to me.  No one was available, but she had explained my situation, and they had told her to tell me no. I could leave my number if I wanted to be told no in person by a manager.

I just started laughing. Poor Jessica! She was SICK of me by this point.

"OK" I said. "I have a question and a request. The question is - does this happen a lot? Do you get a lot of phone calls, Jessica, from people who book a more expensive, more convenient flight, and are then changed to a lesser flight? I've never used your company before, and I don't know if this is an extraordinary circumstance, or if it happens all the time over there at Iberia."

Her answer: It happens a lot. Airports change flights, of course, and if you've paid extra for a non-stop, it doesn't mean it'll still exist the next day. Lesson: book cheap to North Africa.

My request: I asked her to leave her manager a message. I told her to tell him that he just saved the company $300. He also just lost about $3500 on the flight I was about to book from Madrid to Peru on June 13th with them, and now would not. And he also now had my ill will. I planned to spread the news of my Iberia experience as far as I could. (I'll also leave a copy of this post on their website, under the complaints section, where it says that Customer Care is their Commitment.)

The rubbing point is not that I lost $300. We've been traveling for a while now. Crap happens. You roll with it, and it's just not that big a deal. The rubbing point is that no one tried. A manager, who's job is to take care of people who call Iberia with problems, made poor Jessica come back on the line, and say "My boss won't talk to you, and said for me to tell you no for him."

It's bad business. It's short-sighted. I know that to Iberia I am just one person, with one transaction. But we're living in a time when customers have the means to put the word out about bad service, and bad business. I think we ought to use it, intelligently and responsibly. I should know the manager's name who refused to talk to me. I should have asked for it, and I didn't. Now Iberia doesn't know who to hold accountable.

By the same token - let's reward those who are excellent! Tell them! Tell their boss! On the way out of Trader Joes tomorrow, stop by the manager stand for 2 minutes, and tell them how awesome your favorite checker is, and why. My friend Wendy is super at this, and she's changing people's lives, in small ways, every day. Not to mention that she sees excellence everywhere, because she's looking for it. What a great way to live your life! If you want a good dose of this kind of thinking, read Linchpins, by Seth Godin. I know - we talk about this guy a lot. It's because he's Spot On. Which, I suppose, means he agrees with my view on things.

OK. I'm putting my soapbox away. Thanks for listening. 


Please send good thoughts to Jessica. She's got one hell of a job, and one crappy boss to work for.

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Reader Comments (11)

So short-sighted! That kills me when they do that. I had a flight canceled due to weather with United, I think, and they offered to put me in a hotel in Guatemala or in Miami (the first layover). I picked Miami and when I got there they were like, "um, no, we would never offer you a hotel". So infuriating.

Apr 28, 2010 at 4:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristineGilbert

Brenna, you are calm and cool and your fashion sense is unparalleled. I'll bet Iberia Air has never seen the likes of a Brenna blog style can of whoopass, hee hee! Poor Mr. Nonamesupervisor, I'm so glad I'm not you. Karmically or otherwise.

Attaboys never cost a dime and the returns come not in trickles, but in Niagra-esque waterfalls of giggly wondrous joy. We're all made better when we share the good.

God Speed, Jessica.

Apr 28, 2010 at 8:27 PM | Unregistered Commenternoho1960

Brenna, I can only say "AMEN!"

P.S. I have a soapbox that I like to jump up on, too. The shop where Melinda works has the perfect T-shirt for us. It's a line of shirts made by a company called "Sweet Tea" and they all have Southern sayings on them (or "Southernisms") My favorite is "Don't Get Me Started!"

Apr 28, 2010 at 8:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterGina in Arkansas

Loved this post.

Apr 30, 2010 at 6:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterAG

Thanks for the heads up on Iberia Airlines.

I am constantly amazed at how little people care now. Everyone wants to be a rock star and is waiting for their big break but they can't even deliver basic levels of human decency. Every connection we have with another human is a chance to make a difference. It can be small like a smile or just holding the door for the next person behind you. Or it can be bigger like a customer service rep that will make an effort to refund the money you were cheated out of on your flight.

Caring about fellow humans has nothing to do with your position, salary or how good or bad your bosses are. Caring is what makes you a decent person.

Apr 30, 2010 at 10:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Bardos - JetSetCitizen

You go Brenna!!! You are the second master of the silent phone when asking a question of someone who gives you a lame answer. The MASTER is your dad. Never learned it but I try very hard.
When a business does not recognize the power of the blog they are way off balance or just don't care. In this economy you would think companies would do everything to make customers happy. It isn't only Iberia Air however. In Atlanta Delta is everything, but Delta screws over everybody. I standby the fact that what"" goes around comes around".
The comment by Gina in Arkansas is priceless.............I hope tofind Sweet Tea on the innernet. I want a shirt that says, DON'T GET ME STARTED!

May 1, 2010 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterMOM

I'm constantly amazed that companies don't get it. And having lived half a year in Spain many moons ago, I'm particularly perturbed that this Spanish company doesn't get it! Come on, Iberia! No me digas! so disappointed. & once again, Brenna, you're so right on: this reminds me I really must show appreciation for the RARE good service I do get!

May 1, 2010 at 5:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterIris

I have actually flown Iberia. It's been many years ago, I had never heard of them and wasn't sure I was going to live through it. The food was good. Our flight was very short and we had no problems, but I have to say that is clearly wrong what they did, and I LOVE the message you left the manager.

Enjoy your travels.

May 7, 2010 at 5:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterAmy

I enjoy very much your blog. Since you stay in our house it is interesting to know how you discover the area. We also love Barcelona and enjoy the fact that it is so close. Happy travelling

May 11, 2010 at 10:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterElisabeth McLean

British airlines bought/is buying/will buy Iberia. So if you fly to Peru on BA it will still be the same. They should refund your money no questions asked, otherwise I'll make sure nobody I know will ever use Iberia and BA again.
Very good post. Very good blog. Take care.

May 14, 2010 at 9:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterMihai

If only more people would hear about this.

May 31, 2010 at 3:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterJame Weiss

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