Swiss’ Latest Email To Me Regarding Canceled Aeroplan Award Tickets

On December 7, 2017, I filed a complaint with the DOT regarding an Aeroplan award ticket for travel in Swiss first class that was canceled. As a reminder, on November 30, 2017, Swiss made some first class award seats available through partner programs. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened — for example, last year a similar thing occurred, and Swiss honored all those tickets (I even flew them in first class from Zurich to Los Angeles).

On December 21, 2017, I shared the response that Swiss sent me regarding my DOT complaint, and then later that day I shared the email I sent back, as I thought their response was bogus.

As a reminder, here’s the email I sent to Swiss:

Hi Rosemary,

Thank you for taking the time to reply to me, though I’d like to address some of the claims you m ake, as they don’t match my understanding of the events.

To start, your claim is that SWISS is not responsible for making these award seats available, and that “the affected itineraries were all mileage award tickets booked via Aeroplan on Air Canada ticket stock.” This is simply not true, as I know several people who also made bookings through other partner programs, including United MileagePlus. However, their tickets haven’t been canceled, even though the conditions were identical. Could you please explain how this wasn’t SWISS’ error if several airlines had access to these seats, and why only Aeroplan tickets were targeted for cancelation? Are you suggesting that partner airlines manipulated SWISS inventory to make these seats available, or how would other airlines have been able to book SWISS seats in the “O” fare class if it wasn’t SWISS making those seats available?

You also make the claim that SWISS first class travel is “not permitted” by Aeroplan. The footnote in Aeroplan’s award chart (which I hadn’t actually seen until after my ticket was canceled, and which otherwise doesn’t in any way show during the booking process) states that SWISS first class awards are “not available,” which is different than stating that travel in SWISS first class is not permitted. But clearly that wasn’t the case, since it was available when I booked.

For reference, I actually redeemed Aeroplan miles for a SWISS first class ticket from Zurich to Los Angeles back in June 2016, and that ticket was flown without any sort of issue. Could you explain what has changed between then and now?

Next, you make the claim that this was handled promptly. While SWISS may have canceled the tickets quickly, it was two weeks from the time I booked until anyone reached out to me to inform me that my ticket had been canceled. I wouldn’t call that swift communication on the part of any party. Do you consider that to be adequate communication to passengers when SWISS unilaterally decides to cancel a ticket?

[DOT Representative], I hope that the DOT can appreciate that this was not an “erroneously” published fare, but rather this was a first class award ticket booked at the published price, virtually identical to the one that I booked and flew last year. No attempt was made to contact me regarding my ticket until two weeks after I booked, and SWISS seems to be honoring some airline partner award tickets, but not others.

I look forward to your response, Rosemary.

Best,
Ben Schlappig

Just a few minutes ago I received an email from a “consultant” at Swiss (the previous email was from someone who referred to themselves as an “expert” — quite some job titles they have over there). Here’s the email I received (over a month after I emailed them), essentially telling me to pound sand):

Dear Mr. Schlappig:

We understand you are disappointed in the handling of the error in the Aeroplan First class award bookings on Swiss. We further regret that our original response did not meet your expectations.

As you are aware, all customers who requested First Class Aeroplan Award space on Swiss have been offered three alternatives. We trust that one of the following options will meet or minimize any impact on your travel needs.

1)      Rebooking in First Class on other carriers than LX
2)      Reprotection into Business Class on LX
3)      Full refund of miles

We again ask for your understanding that First Class Award redemption on Swiss flights is limited to HON Circle and Senator members of airlines participating in the Miles & More program. This limitation is known throughout the industry and is clearly published. While great strides have been made to harmonize the IT solutions of the Star Alliance partners, these IT systems are not infallible and in exceptional cases (i.e. system failures) a First Class Award booking is made erroneously. As you experienced in November 2017, when an individual error is identified, published in public forums and exploited, the error is amplified drawing the attention of the involved carriers. Due to the magnitude of the exploitation in this case, Swiss was required to take appropriate action.

We respect your right to disagree or further express your disappointment, however, we ask you to do so respectfully, professionally and without malice towards individual employees. As we have replied satisfactorily to the DOT and all customers have received alternatives, we consider the matter closed.

Sincerely,
[name]
Consultant

Not surprisingly, their response doesn’t address any of my concerns or points, but rather is just dismissive throughout, and now they “consider the matter closed” (which I guess is exactly what I was expecting). Conveniently they don’t address why they didn’t honor Aeroplan tickets but did honor other Star Alliance tickets. They’re also dishonest in the options they claim they offered, as most of us weren’t offered rebooking in first class on another Star Alliance airline.

I’m not sure where things go from here. I filed a DOT complaint because I was genuinely curious to see the DOT’s stand on this, rather than because I insist on flying Swiss first class. As this is my first DOT complaint, the part I’m not sure of is where the DOT’s involvement would be here.

The DOT is CCed on all of the correspondence, but is there a certain point at which they get involved, or they just sort of sit there and watch?

I’ll probably just cut my losses at this point. Like I said, I’ve been going through this exercise more because I’m curious about how it works than anything. I’m certainly put off my Swiss’ arrogance, dismissiveness, and dishonesty, but I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised. Live and Let’s Fly says he’s going to sue, so I’ll be watching from the sidelines with popcorn.

What do you make of Swiss’ response?

Comments

  1. When given a choice I avoid going with companies that treat customers like this. SWISS will likely be at the bottom of the list.

  2. Dude – they dont need freeloaders and are not willing to play along with the drama. They make money the right way – serving business customers and not points players. I applaud that.

  3. “I’m certainly put off my Swiss’ arrogance, dismissiveness, and dishonesty, but I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised.”
    Swiss arrogance? No way:)

  4. If you were doing that to see how DOT would respond, why are you stopping before you see DOTs final response?

    After receiving such rude and arrogant replies from Swiss there’s no way I’d stop! While I hated whiny customers when I worked in customer service, that’s just plain wrong.

  5. This seems to be the standard letter they are sending everyone. Live and Let’s Fly got the exact same. Indeed, not a proper response.

  6. Wow, what an arrogant response you received. I especially like their statement “we ask you to do so respectfully, professionally and without malice towards individual employees.” since nothing in your letter was disrespectful, unprofessional or malicious in my opinion. In fact, they should be taking a lesson from their own advice since their letter was very disrespectful towards you especially with their claim “We again ask for your understanding that First Class Award redemption on Swiss flights is limited to HON Circle and Senator members of airlines participating in the Miles & More program. This limitation is known throughout the industry and is clearly published.” Making a statement of fact without backing it up doesn’t make it a fact and a good writer would have instead handled this much more diplomatically and less insultingly.

    I would definitely respond again to their claim and ask them to provide written correspondence showing where they offered you first class accommodations on other Star Alliance partners since this was never an option presented to you and they are trying to cover their ass with the DOT and provide false information.

    I have never flown Swiss but definitely would put them at the bottom of the list of airlines to fly based on their handling of this situation.

  7. What’s so arrogant about this letter? They have the right to cancel your tickets so long as they either refund all miles and non-refundable expenses or provide an alternate routing in F or J (obviously with a refund of some miles). Just because you aren’t happy with the offered alternatives doesn’t mean they are in the wrong.

  8. I reread your email to “Rosemary” after reading the final paragraph of that email. I see nothing disrespectful, unprofessional (is that a reference to your being a travel blogger?) or malicious.

    What a gratuitously condescending insult to send your way. On top of that, they’re very pleased with themselves for having “replied satisfactorily to the DOT,” so don’t hold your breath waiting for them to get involved.

  9. They are correct to be fair Customers bad mouth companies on social media amplifying the situation to the extent they are reluctant to offer anything

  10. “We respect your right to disagree or further express your disappointment,”
    – But we really don’t care.

    “however, we ask you to do so respectfully, professionally and without malice towards individual employees.”
    – Aw, someone’s feelings got hurt!

    “As we have replied satisfactorily to the DOT and all customers have received alternatives, we consider the matter closed.”
    – Screw you.

    Well, as I said in an earlier thread I’m planning a Europe trip and Swiss was one of my potential airlines. Now, I won’t be booking with them. It’s not the fact that this issue came up, it’s the way that they’re handling it, essentially responding with arrogance and a complete lack of empathy and customer care. Sorry Swiss, but I’ll fly United and risk personal injury this winter when I fly to Germany and Switzerland instead of you guys.

  11. Chasgoose – If you feel lying and making false insinuations isn’t arrogant behaviour I’m incredibly happy I don’t know you in real life. I dread to think how your behaviour is!

  12. Try flying SWISS and selecting a kosher meal. Last time in economy I basically got a cold bread roll and a piece of chocolate. Wrote in to complain and was told that the meal was up to their “world class” standards and that they didn’t feel like anything was wrong. It’s always nice to see those seating around you eating hot meals that also have warm bread and then your whole meal be less than that.

  13. this is EXACTLY the same letter that Matt received, word for word. I don’t think you should give them a pass on this so easily. Looks like they are just sending out a boilerplate response to everyone….

  14. So SWISS say that they “replied satisfactorily to the DOT”? And that’s based on what; a statement from the DOT? SWISS’ own wishful thinking? Has the DOT made any public statement about this issue? Granted, it’s a lost cause at this point unless the DOT truly is going to pursue it further.

  15. will you fly swiss again? If you are a person who values principles more than my guess is not but I don’t know you. I am curious about your answer.

  16. Send an email to the CEO of Swiss Air directly to show your dissatisfaction of their employees handling this issue.

  17. Typical arrogant European reply: If you raise an issue with a company over there they immediately charge you with disrespect. These are nothing but weasels and corrupt people. Hired outsourced hacks who sit behind their keyboard and fire off ‘defensive’ emails. Welcome to war of the words. Ben’s letter to Rosemary has zero hint of disrespect. But the MO is to attack, attack the sender without regard to any merit. Hope you’ve learnt your lesson.

  18. Rebooking in another carrier’s (Lufthansa’s) First Class is an offer that sounds worth taking up at least

  19. @Willem – based on availability. Which makes it useless since if its available, you can book it on your own without them.
    They would not open availability

  20. Why not ask for DOT’s input directly. Just respond to the email to DOT, cc’ing SWISS. Ask for their input and express that SWISS’s responses have been unsatisfactory.

  21. It is a cop out to blame “system failure”. I think the reason these responses are so problematic is that they don’t own the error that they made. I think Lucky would be satisfied if SWISS said:

    SWISS’s policy is to not make FC seats available, however through an error, SWISS released seats to our Star Alliance partners. After tickets were booked through this availability, we quickly cancelled some tickets and have reached out to those affected to offer alternatives. We are sorry for the inconvenience caused by our mistake.

  22. Not entirely sure how this will turn out, but if the facts in Swiss’ responses are incorrect, I would call attention to that. Off the cuff, the footnote on the award chart helps them, but if you can successfully show to the DOT that they sometimes honor the tickets and sometimes don’t, that cuts in your favor. I would suspect that the DOT probably would object to uneven application of limitations on awards after purchase of the award absent a compelling reason. Promoting certainty as to the terms is important to the DOT, notwithstanding (or perhaps because) the passenger usually has not read them. Though I think they generally hope the airline and passenger will work it out themselves first.

    I did find it amusing about their offering F on another Star Alliance airline, since I could only picture F on UA. That would teach you to complain about LX business class not being good enough!

  23. This was the most interesting and telling part of the Swiss response:

    ” As you experienced in November 2017, when an individual error is identified, published in public forums and exploited, the error is amplified drawing the attention of the involved carriers. Due to the magnitude of the exploitation in this case, Swiss was required to take appropriate action.”

    Clearly all the bloggers are being called out here. ‘Magnitude of exploitation’.

  24. Just to put it out there, if you do email DOT directly and don’t hear back, you can reach out to your member of Congress. They all have staff whose bread and butter is making sure constituents get replies from federal agencies in a reasonable time. Knowing that a rep/senator is following it usually helps speed things up.

  25. Consider writing to His Excellency Dr. John Magufuli, President of Tanzania and tell him of the problem. Ask him to seize a Swiss aircraft the next time it lands in Tanzania until you are properly compensated. This is unlikely to work but Swiss might listen to you if it works. What can you offer to President Magufuli to get him to help you?

    How about complaining to Aeroplan?

  26. “As you are aware, all customers who requested First Class Aeroplan Award space on Swiss have been offered three alternatives.

    1) Rebooking in First Class on other carriers than LX”

    The fact that they are lying to the DOT by telling them that this happened is the primary reason why I encourage you to continue to pursue this. You KNOW that it didn’t happen, and you should make sure the DOT knows, too.

  27. FWIW, Aeroplan is indeed rebooking onto LH if space is available, but without adding the YQ, so that’s probably the best play. I think you should email the DOT folks cc’d and ask them if they are gonna let these chocolatiers really get away with this.

  28. Here a couple of observations (I try to remain as non-partisan and objective as possible):

    – There has undeniably been an error on Swiss’s side allowing tickets to be booked that are normally not up for sale
    – The error was exploited by many out there. It was clear to most of the bookers that it was indeed an error rather than a sale (even if some claim just that)
    – I trust you (Lucky) and Matt are seasoned enough frequent flyers to be aware of the restrictions in place. I therefore don’t think that you could, in good faith, claim that the cancellation took you by surprise. This is where the usual EF warning comes in: ‘Book but don’t complain about unfairness if the airlines cancels an obvious error fare’
    – The tone of the letter is obviously not very friendly. That said, consider for a moment that this was a boilerplate sent out to all those that have complained to LX. I have not an iota of doubt that many other complainants sent in hate fulled associations of insults and threats (this is the internet after all) which required a firmly reminder to all involved that nobody should be personally insulted or threatened.

    So here goes my conclusion: Yes, LX made a mistake. Lucky (and Matt) can’t however possibly claim that they didn’t know about the rule in question. Both are travelling, reviewing and spending points/miles for a living. Based on that I say: Nice try. Accept the alternative F booking and/or just let this whole thing go.

    Should this go to court you would be in the fastidious situation of having to explain everyone present why you, a person making his living with a blog dedicated to traveling and miles, does not know about a rule know to anyone calling himself a frequent flyer without blushing. The fact that you publicly acknowledged knowing of that policy several times will not help you.

    To quote the very first paragraph from last year’s Swiss F redemption:
    ‘Swiss has one of the world’s most exclusive first class products, in the sense that only Senator level elite members in the Miles & More program can redeem miles for it. This has been the policy since 2013.’

    I rest my case.

  29. Lucky, the only way you will get what you want is by continuing to complain. I think we are all enjoying the entertainment of it. Has Aeroplane been quiet the whole time?

  30. The bad guys are Aeroplan. Canada tends to be a very consumer unfriendly country despite it being a liberal country. Prices are higher in Canada. Canadians are constantly getting ripped off by Canadians. Trump should punch them in the nose until Aeroplan fixes it for you.

  31. I believe you should keep insisting on having your ticket honored. I have booked a F award ticket with Swiss using miles and more ff program and has not been canceled. Note that I am not senator or hon circle member. Their advantage is that mm charges a big YQ when you book swiss which probably makes them a profit and aeroplan does not charge this YQ.

  32. I think you should follow up with DOT and explain why Swiss’s response was entirely inadequate and did not address the issue.

    Also, I love the whole “we ask you to do so respectfully, professionally and without malice towards individual employees.” That can be translated to, “we know we aren’t actually responding to your concerns so instead we’re just going to claim you’re being rude and disrespectful.”

  33. I would sue one of their planes today. Have a sheriff seize the asset while it is in the usa. They have no assets in the USA so you are left with no choice but to attach an asset while one is in the USA.

  34. @ Steve s. Versus Americans who sadly are generally extremely fake when it comes to customer service at least in the service sector

    I love the US, however the past years I’ve received absolutely the worst service ever anywhere in numerous cities from airlines to stores to restaurants

    And you also want to lump 740 million Europeans with extremely varied cultures under one umbrella

    Social media and travel blogs are now turning into tools to blackmail companies into submission with customers making veiled threats etc

    Swiss is a brilliant airline I’ve had nothing but wonderful service from them, including a flight last week as I have with most other airlines.

    Move on …

  35. @Potato: “Should this go to court you would be in the fastidious situation of having to explain everyone present why you, a person making his living with a blog dedicated to traveling and miles, does not know about a rule know to anyone calling himself a frequent flyer ”

    Nonsense. How was Ben or anyone else supposed to know whether Swiss changed their policy without updating their website? Incorrect or out-of-date information on a company’s website happens all the time. The fact is that Swiss made the award seats available and then Swiss canceled the legitimately booked tickets. The only legal question is whether Swiss’ cancellations violate the contract between them and their customers, not whether their customers should somehow magically have known that a legitimate offer for sale was going to be considered illegitimate by the seller after the sale occurred.

  36. The Aeroplan Reward Chart clearly states “SWISS First Class is not available for reward travel.

    https://www.aeroplan.com/use-your-miles/flight-rewards-chart (immediately below the chart)

    In addition, the Flight Rewards Terms and Conditions clearly state “24. All flight reward bookings, including routing validations, are subject to approval by Aeroplan and/or the Partner Airlines on the itinerary and may change with or without prior notice.”

    It might also be worth noting “Business Class redemption on GOL Airlines is referred to as GOL Premium class and is offered on GOL International flights only.

    It occurs to me that Swiss and Aeroplan are acting entirely within the spirit and terms of their Reward Flights program.

  37. Can you take them to court? I would love to see what happens. You have free time anyways? Instead of flying some dubious airline that no one has ever heard of, why not put you time to good use?

  38. @Lucky – Don’t give up yet. Keep fighting to see the outcome. It goes beyond this ticket. What does DOT do to protect customers?

    I am not saying sue, but keep pushing DOT to take a stance… whatever that may be.

    And keep us informed!

  39. As Swiss RR told me several years, when I arrived at the station in Geneva to take my train to Paris, Ooh La La…..You can’t go on that train. Despite your first class tickets, we had other passengers who needed those seat…..AND, my tickets were paid for with good hard cold Swiss cash…Never again. If my best friend didn’t work there, forget it, would not go….Now, I travel south to near Geneve, and rent a car…. Apparently the CEO’s must be related. 🙁

  40. I think their response is fair enough and legally sound.

    Like Lucky, most folks exploiting this used Aeroplan (because it’s a sweet spot for partner airline F). Aeroplan has zero leverage, unlike a major airline in Star Alliance, and will be gone in two years.

    I don’t understand why anyone thinks that Swiss should honour these – Aeroplan knew the rules and shouldn’t have sold it – go ahead and turn your anger on Aeroplan, but they can’t afford it and like I said, they’ll be gone in two years.

  41. Apparently Swiss did not learn from the billions in fines against Swiss banks.

    One would think they could take a clue they are not going to be able to just violate the regulations. I hope

  42. @Lucky keep the complaint going and keep the b@stards honest!!

    The end result is less important than seeing the process through to a logical conclusion. I’m intrigued as to when the DOT will get involved and dismayed at the responses (so far) from Swiss.

  43. Wow the comments. Some of you really need to get outside more often and breathe fresh air.

    Let’s be reasonable, folks.

    Did most people really think when they made the original bookings that Swiss was going to honor them? Kinda doubtful. People knew they don’t allow such bookings.

    Did I think last week when I (like many others) got that too-amazing-to-believe $335 r/t fare from Newark to New Zealand that Air New Zealand would honor it and ticket it? Kinda doubtful. And guess what? They didn’t honor it or ticket it. Was I harmed? Nope.

    Swiss’ reply here was quite well-worded. Will be interesting to see how DOT reacts.

  44. Well, wow!
    This is arrogant: “We respect your right to disagree or further express your disappointment, however, we ask you to do so respectfully, professionally and without malice towards individual employees. As we have replied satisfactorily to the DOT and all customers have received alternatives, we consider the matter closed.”
    In other word, shut the f… up!
    That is an amazing customer service mega CRASH!

  45. In addition to DOT, I’d also bring this case to a EU-based enforcement body as a next step. I believe EC261/2004 may afford stronger protection.

  46. Guys I’ve had experience responding to DOT complaints from the airline side and this is written with one intention and only one – they know you are adept at exploiting weaknesses in the system and publishing them which dilutes their revenue. What they are saying here is they’ve had enough. Had you kept it out of the blog world youd’ve had your flight in LX F/C. Trust me when I say the airlines don’t consider travel bloggers neither credentialed journalists or revenue customers. LX is basically taking a stand that the rest of the industry is quietly applauding. Learn the lesson!

  47. The takeaway from this whole episode is not to blab to all and sundry in the fly-for-nothing blogoverse that these error fares are available! I realise you may find it impossible to restrain yourself, but you surely know the consequences if you don’t.
    The previous successful error fare travel you undertook maybe slipped largely unnoticed by Swiss, and your readers, and for that reason was not cancelled. Did you blab about that error fare extensively on this blog at the time? Did other blogs pick it up and run with it too?
    It should be obvious to you why Swiss pulled the plug, and why your indignant correspondence was given short shrift! Lesson learnt? I doubt it.

  48. You know what is worse? Nowadays Swiss is not worth the effort. At all.
    Really guys. Let’s go back 10 years ago. Things were different and Swiss really used to stand out.
    Nowadays? They are just average and this “exclusiveness” that they seem to offer is just based in their past aura/history.
    Their First class is good. But there are better ones out there (Lufthansa, Emirates, Jal, Ana, Cathay). Their business class and economy are average at its best. Qatar, United, Jal, Oman Air, Emirates, Etihad, Air France offer a better seat and the food is equal or better. Swiss lounges are good, but are they really the best out there? I dunno.

  49. I took advantage of that 887£ LHR-GYE in F that ended up getting canceled. I think there’s maybe a little bit of a difference in that scenario, but it’s similar.

    I think you should let it go. A lot of people above made some really good points. You know the rules. They offered alternatives, they followed the rules, mistakes happen and points people tried to take advantage of the mistake, and they got caught. LX is enforcing the policy and not only that this is a rewards booking. We all know rewards programs are subject exclusively to the Airlines discretion.

    Look at the Supreme Court ruling Benjamin Ginsburg v Northwest Airlines

    Miles and redemptions are programs airlines extend to people as a courtesy for loyalty. Anyone and everyone here knows they can take out their elite card in any program and read the T&C’s on the back of the card that it says that the airline has every right to cancel, modify, or revoke anything at anytime at their discretion and this was upheld in the Supreme Court case above.

  50. Well, Lucky — while I take your side, I think SWISS can legitimately say that it is done with your complaint. After all, they have offered all the legally required recourse to you. Why they choose not to cancel other people’s issued tickets is not really for the law to address. If they chose to respect those other tickets but not yours, you don’t have a regulatory standing to challenge that, because they actually have abided by the law for *your* ticket. Why they allowed others to book is not for the regulations to determine fairness. They chose to crack down on this one, and you / others weren’t really harmed by it as you probably knew that it was an at-risk ticket. Lesson learned / entertainment had!

  51. Keep up the complaint and definitely don’t stop until you have an official response from the DOT. And even then appeal the DOT decision as far up as possible. Would a class action lawsuit be an option here? Are there enough people for there to be a “class” in the legal sense?

  52. Okay maybe a class action lawsuit isn’t the best strategy…or even remotely realistic. But you get my idea-keep fighting them as long as you can!

  53. I hope that the dude’s lawsuit reflects on Swiss changing how people can book F with miles-open it up to all Star Alliance members, and not just Senator/HON people (btw what awful names to name a reward program status)

  54. What terrible PR.. SWISS isn’t the first or last company to make brand-damaging mistakes lol Ike this. Eventually it will catch up with them – it always does.

  55. I think you should continue fighting it with the DOT. It’s interesting to see that process as far as possible so that we know how a DOT complaint works if one takes it as far as one can.

  56. This reminds me of the time Best Buy (a large corporation) advertised a sale on TVs. I bought a TV at the price listed for the box that was available in the store. I took the TV home. Best Buy called me the next day and said I had to give the TV back because they made a mistake in putting too many models on the floor at that price.

    Ok, that didn’t happen, but if it did, would anyone say I should have known better and given the TV back?

  57. @jamie –
    DING DING DING! We have a winner.

    On the other hand, it also reminds me of the time someone wired a $1000 payment to my bank account – only what actually got deposited was $3000. But 5 days later, the extra $2000 was removed from my account.

    OK, that didn’t happen – but if it did, that’s OK, right? But the TV thing isn’t OK. Where do airline tickets lie – more like TVs, or more like cash money?

  58. you must continue to push the matter, if only because of this insulting response from SWISS

    no, SWISS did not answer the issue to the satisfactions of DOT. in any event, this is not up to them to decide. you should immediately forward the email back to DOT and seek if they have indeed issued an acceptance on which SWISS had satisfied them, and if so, why it is not copied to you.

    If DOT did not affirm SWISS’s position, you should immediately launch a separate complain on their misrepresentation towards their response that attempted to mislead a complaint resolution.

    Finally, you should consider getting an attorney. forget about whatever rules and terms they have, their existence does not in anyway affirm those terms are legally acceptable. years in dealing with customers tell me that a firm will not response in a provocative way if they are innocent

  59. Lucky, I find the response you received nothing short of disrespectful and condescending. I am disturbed that the airline took the position of attacking the general public for bargain shopping in a manner that takes advantage of the airline. First, this is an everyday common practice. If they can’t get a grip on IT to prevent such error, then they need to take a lesson from every other industry. Most have no recourse for mistakes. Second, as far as foul play, I think the guild lies with them – the airlines have taken full advantage of regulating the value of the currency within their points and miles. They have full control of the entire program, not limited to ticket prices, bag fees, seat charges, etc. Given that most of the players (United, Delta, and AA) essentially copy each others policy and practice, there really is no fair competition.

    As far as what you do, I say march on forward with this. I might feel differently had you not started, but you have invested this much. Press the DOT to get involved, and use every tool you can to press for what you know to be right. This country lacks consumers willing to take action. Most plaintiffs cases fail because the plaintiff cannot afford the costs to obtain justice. Car dealers, insurance companies, and many others take full advantage of the difficulty consumers must go through to obtain the rights they are entitled to. What good are the DOT and other policies if you cannot afford the money, time, and tenacity to enforce them?

    I don’t mean to make any personal attacks, but I ask those that advocate letting it go, if they feel the same about our freedom and the countless lives lost to protect it. Should we just let it all go?

  60. Lol. Another email by LX to slap their customers.

    “however, we ask you to do so respectfully, professionally and without malice towards individual employees. As we have replied satisfactorily to…”

    So you were not respectful, unprofessional, and had malice intent towards someone in LX? If you were not, you are letting such remarks go?

    And they gave “satisfactory” replies?

    Are you going to fly LX in future? 🙂

  61. They lie. They did not offer me those three options. I would have (somewhat) happily accepted J in place of F with a refund of the difference.

    I had every reason to believe my booking would be honoured, as it had been for others in the exact same situation earlier in the year.

  62. Europeans are all lumped together @Icarus. Since, the creation of the European Union, you are lumped into a political, economical, social, and judicial group. EU, EC, ECB, ECJ, etc. Europeans are lumped into one big group with European amabassadors representing your “lumped into” one group.

  63. I also didn’t get any of those options. I was originally rebooked into a business class flight 5 days later from the first booking but they’ve since changed that back to 1 day (after a few calls to Aeroplan). I did transfer 140k MR to book the two tickets and I’ve heard some people have asked Aeroplan to send the points back to AMEX but I haven’t heard how that’s ended.

    I’m not upset as much at what Swiss did (to me they had two choices – honor the tickets or don’t…and we know what they chose) but after going through this I doubt I’ll ever fly Swiss again unless I have no other option. I know I wouldn’t have made the transfer for biz if I had the choice offered to me again.

  64. That last paragraph is pretty stunning. I’m not sure I’ve seen particularly rudeness in the messages you’ve shown us.

    It is, however, pretty clear that they’re simply not interested in doing the right thing for you even though they can see we’re all watching.

    People propose getting a lawyer, and I think that’s pretty goofy … there’s not an easy or proportionate way to resolve this. I think your complaint to DOT is the way to go (and perhaps they may need some help to move this along, so maybe using your congressperson’s office staff to help get this resolved if there’s no response from DOT).

  65. @ Stanley. Each with their own diverse culture and language, although the US is equally as diverse in many places My point was in the US front -facing service is more often than not, extremely fake and staff are reliant on tips as the pay is so low. They expect a tip at every point in order to simply do their job
    Swiss’s response was correct however some thought it offensive ( so be it) and they offered an alternate which is reasonable and proportional

  66. #keepitup

    If you sell something to someone, that’s the end of it. Can you imagine your door knocked on by someone saying they didn’t mean to put that home on the market?

    Please continue this.

  67. I absolutely think you should email them back and point out that they haven’t answered your questions. It’s not a matter of getting to fly first class at this point – it’s a matter of transparency and honesty. If you can’t trust them to honor tickets, can’t trust them to rebook you (as they haven’t tried to rebook you on first class) and can’t trust them to respond to your questions, why should you have any faith in this airline? And why would you fly an airline you distrust?

    Plus, it’s really the principle of the thing.

  68. Someone messed up at LX but they won’t admit it. It goes to show what kind of management that runs the company.

  69. Dude why you so obsessed with these trashy European airlines. Their first class looks so ghetto, I would worry my safety if I fly this ghetto. Fly Asian airlines, welcome to the first world, just forget these 100th world nonsense

  70. I say continue to pursue it. Many times a mistake fare is obviously so, and if it isn’t honored, move on. But your description of the circumstances here puts the situation in a different category.

  71. I hate to say it, because I generally consider airlines parasitic single cell amoebas, but I agree with Swiss on this. A mistake fare and/or award is a “mistake,” and yes, public forums do present opportunity for the widespread exploitation of mistakes. And small technicalities are not an excuse to force the honoring of a mistake. Since the airline offered a full refund or alternative options of your choice, they have fulfilled their obligation to the customer and no one suffers a loss. If a deal sounds to good to be true, it probably is.

  72. I think it’s time to let this one go, bro. Clearly you made an impact and folks at Swiss have had to spend time thinking about this. I love Switzerland and I like that SWISS defend their FC product exclusivity. I think we gays can be a bit pedantic at times. We’ve been fighting the good cause our whole lives and sometimes that grit can get in the way. Frankly SWISS knows you are not their target revenue customer and they don’t care what you think of their product. I’m sure they will let you purchase a First Class ticket.

  73. I personally commend Swiss Airlines for protecting their employees from harassment:

    “We respect your right to disagree or further express your disappointment, however, we ask you to do so respectfully, professionally and without malice towards individual employees.”

    Some commenters have focused on this as somehow an arrogant thing for Swiss to say. Don’t forget that a number of blogs decided to post the first employee’s name over and over and over again (and for some reason STILL include it) allowing their army of weirdly dedicated followers to find this individual’s personal information and post it on these very blogs. There is absolutely no reason for a commenter to post such information outside of a tacit direction to go and harass that employee on twitter/facebook/instagram/whatever. And the bloggers hid behind ignorance or busy-ness as an excuse to allow the links to stay up for hours. Regardless of what you think about the main issue here, I would hope that my employer would do what Swiss has done with this comment – and good on Swiss for protecting their employees from anonymous online harassment after simply doing their jobs.

    Shame on the bloggers here for continuing to post her name. I hope for your sake that none of your followers harassed her because of your beef with Swiss airlines – Swiss specifically calling it out here definitely makes me feel as though that is EXACTLY what happened.

  74. Since it was clear from the message that Swiss is , pretty much, done dealing with all this, I replied back to the DOT representative telling her how Swiss nor AP has contacted me to offer me First class on another airline nor Business on the same Swiss flight I had my F seat booked on. The only contact I’ve had from AP has been their confirmation email for the re-booked itinerary on AC J with awful timings. I’m intrigued to see how all this will end.

  75. @DJ

    Swiss sent the same email to another complainant, so its really more of a form letter at this point. It wasn’t apparently an individual reply to Lucky, but a stock letter to all who complained essentially saying “Get lost.”

    As for posting someone’s name, as long as the employee’s first name was all that was posted, that’s okay. Lucky got an initial reply from Rosemary, whomever that is, if that is even her real name, and published it. When I worked customer service for a large auto maker, we NEVER gave out our full names, just a first name and/or employee ID number. So, I fail to see how anyone was personally and individually harassed. I tend to view that more as a knee jerk reaction or accusation from Swiss than reality, absent information to the contrary.

  76. Do the American thing, SUE them. There’s a lawyer called Sue Yoo, maybe she can help?
    Also, What the fuck is “reprotection in Business Class”?! Do they mean rebooking?

  77. @n. Reprotection is indeed the correct term in the airline industry. A simple google search would have revealed this

  78. I tried reading the redemption Terms and Conditions: https://www.miles-and-more.com/online/portal/mam/ch/program/information?nodeid=2549891&l=en&cid=18003

    and I don’t see any written out rule that F redemption is only for SEN / HON members, or am I missing something? An unwritten / informal policy won’t stand in court with Matt does go to court on SWISS. They can make it unavailable for booking if you aren’t SEN / HON with their program, but once it’s available at the correct redemption rate it should have been honored regardless of where the booking came from.

    Went through Aeroplan’s T&Cs too (who I think should really bite the bullet and shoulder the costs for these unintended bookings), and it does not put a limit on cabin class redemption for LX.

  79. @PTO and WYN –
    It says first class is “not available,” but it doesn’t say it’s “not allowed.” Since these bookings were made, it was clearly not available. My guess is, in court it’ll come down to the semantics of “not available” vs. “not allowed,” but I’m obviously not a lawyer. They don’t actually have any terms and conditions to govern what happens if it is made available, as far as I know.

  80. @Bob mcbibber
    “I would sue one of their planes today. Have a sheriff seize the asset while it is in the usa. They have no assets in the USA so you are left with no choice but to attach an asset while one is in the USA.”

    And if someone asks, there is an obvious flight risk here… *cough*

  81. @Anastasia and WYN –

    The SWISS First “not available” condition is stated in Aeroplan’s Reward Chart.

    Regardless of the semantics of “not available” vs “not allowed” or even “prohibited” or “not permitted” Section 24 of the Aeroplan Terms and Conditions states:

    “24. All flight reward bookings, including routing validations, are subject to approval by Aeroplan and/or the Partner Airlines on the itinerary and may change with or without prior notice.”

    Both Aeroplan AND Swiss had to approve the booking. In this case Swiss refused so the reservation was cancelled and Aeroplan offered reasonable alternatives.

    Nice try, but you got caught. It was “too good to be true” and a reminder of that great life principle.

  82. I know people are pissed off, but you have to take a step back and look at this for what it is. In a courtroom, lawyers do not defend themselves, they hire other lawyers to defend them if they get involved in a legal matter because of possible bias and blinders to their situation. I really feel that example is perfect for this scenario because that is what’s occurring.

    Let’s not forget this was an AWARD booking. Please people, look up the SUPREME COURT CASE (doesn’t go any higher than this) of Northwest Inc v. Ginsburg https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/12-462_p8k0.pdf

    It established case law that mileage programs are not a right, but a privilege. If this was a paid ticket I think there would be more room (whether right or wrong) for being angry, but it isn’t.

    The Supreme Court in the above case essentially ruled that frequent flyer programs are not a right, but a privilege extended by the airline. Airlines can take away whatever they want, whenever they wish. Any airline can delete any person’s mileage account, their mileage balance, or alter any part of a persons membership, and tell them to go pound sand. Much less cancel and award booking they don’t like.

    If you think you’re truly in the right, and it seems many are, by all means take this one to the Supreme Court. But in the end, I can’t imagine why any court in the US would note cite that above case as a legal precedent.

  83. Ant, in the UK, the High Court Sherriffs have seized BA aircraft for failing to pay compensation to passengers

  84. This whole situation since its onset is so childish and ridiculous, it makes you wonder how you spend your time.

    I enjoy your blog and your reviews, travel notes and general love for aviation but this needs to stop.

    The rest of the clowns in these threads commenting how you should sue them or email DOT or never give up really need to focus on their work because you all sound like a bunch of children with a pitchfork. Get over yourselves.

    1) Swiss First awards are NOT available to anyone other than HON or Senator status within M&M; not Aeroplan or whatever other programs you’re using to game the system.

    2) It’s their airline, their airplane and their rules. They decide how you fly – not you. They don’t want credit card churners in First Class, they want to keep it exclusive for the people who pay $15k for a ticket. This is reality. If you don’t accept reality you’re living in an illusion. Pay to play in life.

    3) Someone made a mistake, mistakes happen, systems are complex, antiquated and don’t always work. This was Aeroplan’s fault, not SWISS. You booked something that *you weren’t supposed to book in the first place (!!!)* – the mistake was rectified and you’re still whining and whining about it.

    This entitled attitude mainly present in America is the reason why this country is in the toilet. You can’t always get what you want, you can’t change a policy because you’re complaining and pounding sand.

    Want to fly Swiss first? Buy a ticket.

    Enough of this. It’s so ridiculous. It’s turned a great blog into a circus of BS with the rest of the pitchfork army in these comment threads adding fuel to a fire that is long been over.

  85. Wow, what an arrogant response you received. But what bothers me more is the DoT standing by silent. They know as well as we all know, that Swiss did not address any of your complaints but rather they wrote a whole letter full of nonsense. I’ve heard multiple cases where the DoT was involved but stood silent watching the airlines do what they like even though there were clear violations done. And I personally have sources confirming to me that the DoT officials are trained to do so by lobbyists of the airlines. Hence why you will (almost) never see the DoT take appropriate action against the airlines. Sad!

  86. I think you can’t let this one go. I think it’s fair for them to cancel the tickets but they have outright lied to the DOT. If those 3 options had truly been offered I think DOT might have been satisfied but the real 3 options were:
    1) rebooking onto LX or other carrier F class at normal cash price
    2) rebooking onto AC flights in business class that have award space available often involving multiple stops and long connections
    3) full refund of miles

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