Lahore woman shares stressful experience with Air Blue’s ‘faulty’ website and ‘incompetent’ staff
Recently, Team ProperGaanda, reached out to Neeshay, a Lahore resident who wanted to travel to Dubai via Air Blue but was unable to due to their ‘faulty’ website and ‘incompetent’ staff.
A few days back, Neeshay and her friend were set to buy tickets online, “We went to the Air Blue website and picked the days that suited us and booked our seats. We made a payment of 1 lac 15k through HBL for two return tickets from Lahore to Dubai.” Neeshay claims that the transaction was made but the website still showed their status as ‘unpaid,’ After multiple refreshes when it didn’t change, Neeshay called Air Blue’s helpline who told her that the money must’ve gotten stuck in the gateway, “It was 8pm at that time and our tickets were only booked till 8am next morning. We asked them what we should do and they told us that we’d get our reversal but nobody told us how many days it would take, for sure. They suggested we should send a complaint via email, and we’d get a response in two days, meanwhile if we wished, we could go to the Air Blue office and buy the tickets with cash.”
Money gets stuck again:
Neeshay and her friend then called HBL to confirm, if they’d get the reversal for sure, to which HBL official confirmed but yet did not give a set time period stating a minimum of 2 days to 15 days for the process. “We were relieved to know that at least we’d get the reversal and thought that it just might be a one-time thing that happened so maybe if we try again, the payment would get processed and hence we did, and this time with a different bank account too. Again, the transaction was done but the status showed ‘unpaid’.”
“With our 2 lac 30k stuck somewhere in the gateway, we went to the airport. We told them the entire situation and the officer there told us to avoid the HBL gateway as the money tends to get stuck in their gateway.” Neeshay says that it is their staff’s duty to inform their customers about this on the website and mark the HBL link faulty to avoid this sort of situation, “How are we supposed to know? Humen ilham thori hoga ke HBL doesn’t work.”
How it went with the Air Blue officer:
Neeshay claims that Air Blue’s staff was not compensating or accommodating her by putting the ticket on hold, and kept repeating to complain on the email and wait for their response, “Since I was desperate to get the ticket, the officer suggested I could make the payment again right now and get the ticket right away.” It is pertinent to mention that you don’t need a visa, but only your passport to buy a ticket online, so having gone through the same process, Neeshay went to the office with the same mindset, not having her visa on her at the moment, imagining it wouldn’t be needed.
“I gave the officer my card and she made the transaction without inquiring anything about my documents, perhaps imagining I would already be aware of the process. Rather, a while into it, I inquired myself if my ticket dates could clash with my visa dates, possibly, to which she immediately responded asking me if I had my visa on me, which I didn’t. “
Neeshay gets fined:
Neeshay said it’s the staff’s duty to make sure everything is in check before making any sort of transaction or payment on the customer’s behalf, “But instead she turned it around on me and said the transaction was made with my consent. How am I or any other person travelling for the first time would know about the process? Aren’t they there to guide us?”
The officer then immediately cancelled the ticket and requested for the reimbursement of the amount just paid and informed neeshay that she has been charged the cancellation fee worth Rs 12,000.
How it went down:
The Air Blue staff then made Neeshay sign a document which stated that she paid the 12k fine with her own consent which according to her, “was never asked for, to be fair”, and kept the original copy and the only copy of the document themselves. “Now in this whole situation, a lot of our money, some of which now retrieved after 2-3 days, was stuck somewhere in the gateway; I eventually had to go for a different airline altogether due to the urgency of the situation at my end.”
Why it matters:
Neeshay says she had the money that’s why she was able to try for the ticket a couple of times but what about people who are tight on their expenses, “Can Air Blue be trusted when there’s an emergency? There are innumerable scenarios where people need to travel urgently, for instance when a loved one dies, or any such emergency, would Air Blue be a wise choice to take such a risk with, in that case? Would they be able to accommodate the customer? Because in my case there was no cooperation whatsoever from their side, until it was too late that they even reached out.
How it went down:
Neeshay’s booking was cancelled after 12 hours while her money was still stuck in the gateway, “My emails were also directed to the spam initially, which after a couple of tries finally reached them, and responded to in another couple of days. Imagine the time lost just for them to respond. While none of this mattered anymore because I went for a different airline altogether in the meanwhile due to the urgency of the situation on my side.
Hence for me Air Blue was only an extremely inconvenient and stressful experience, worth nothing at all. And I would want everyone to beware of the potential hindrances and issues before going for Air Blue”.