A little help please.

Today I booked a flight to New York for Thanksgiving. I decided to use some Air Canada frequent flyer points and book through Aeroplan, so I went to their website to do so.

I tried three times to select flights, enter passenger names, and complete the purchase, failing every time. I then tried to call their customer service toll free number. Forty times. Nothing but a busy signal every time.

So I called the web technical support line, and the woman explained that it had failed because I checked a box that said "add this passenger to my profile". Apparently that feature doesn’t work, but rather than indicate it on the site they prefer to tell me over the phone. I then tried to complete the transaction and failed. So the web tech support person transferred me to a regular customer support person.

The regular customer support person told me point blank that the website didn’t work, and hadn’t since it had gone live a few weeks ago. She tried to find the flights I wanted and told me that she would have to transfer me to a ClassicPlus customer representative, and explained that because it was their problem they would waive the normal booking fee since the website wasn’t working and I was unable to use it.

She transferred me and when the ClassicPlus rep got on the phone the first thing he told me was that I should have booked my travel using the web so I wouldn’t have to pay the booking fee. I explained what the previous person had told me and he then agreed to waive the fee. After a comment about the fact that the poor service was a result of the fact that the company president wanted to make more money, the representative located the correct flights and booked them for me, which took all of five minutes.

It took me about 45 minutes to accomplish what should have been a very simple transaction, and was given a birds-eye view of an organization that doesn’t communicate, clearly has low morale, and obviously has a very high cost of support per transaction, given that it took three people to sell me a couple of tickets.

So the lesson to be learned here is make sure your website works perfectly before you open it to the public. And if it doesn’t work, make sure everybody knows, and just admit the problem. And please don’t waste my time.

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