There is nothing in this world I dislike more than someone trying to fool me, a lie or a bad service.
Since the last couple of days, I have been trying to book my flight from Spain to North Carolina (USA), task that is proving to be close to impossible. The reason? I want to fly with my dog. This is just the beginning of a long, painful and annoying process for those of us who consider our pets as part of our own family.
This is my dog, a three year old Golden Retriever. She is peaceful, afraid even of the smallest Chiwawa, and just likes to play, eat, sleep and be with people.
Because of her size, she is forced to travel in the cargo zone of the plane. I understand this, as there are a lot of people who don’t like dogs or even are allergic. No complaints there.
When I first started considering buying the tickets, I saw one for an affordable price. Proceeded to enter all my data and, before buying it, I made sure that I would be able to take my dog with us. Surprise! US AIRWAYS does not accept dogs. OK, no problem. I will try with another one.
Found other tickets, more expensive but affordable. This time I checked the pet policy of the airline first. Surprise! DELTA and AIR FRANCE don’t accept dogs between May 15 and September 15. I must travel between these dates.
I found another flight. This airline had severe size restrictions for dogs. I would consider my dog as medium size, being just 72 cm tall. However, she has the maximum permitted size. 5 centimeters taller and she would not be able to fly with AMERICAN AIRLINES. Luckily for me, she did not turn out to be as tall as her parents!
I proceed to buy the tickets and realized that one of the flights was operated by IBERIA. I put the ticket on hold, called AA to make a reservation for my dog and they told me that I must contact Iberia to do the same for their flight. I called Iberia and they told me that I must provide them the specific locator number for the flight. I called AA, and they told me that once I would buy the ticket, I would get the right locator number. Silly me, I bought the tickets.
Today, I called AA and Iberia more than 10 times each. My frustration and anger increased exponentially with each call. Every time I called I spoke with a different person, and every time I got different answers and information. I called back AA and got the locator number. I called Iberia, gave them the number and they told me that was incorrect. At the end, AA and Iberia’s system seem to not get along well, they have different flight codes and they cannot make a reservation for a flight operated by the other airline. The outrage is that the plane where I would fly will be the same, regardless of buying the tickets to AA or Iberia!!
They have integrated their services, but in a wrong and incomplete way. When trying to check a pet as luggage, their systems will not let them, and the solution they gave me was: the day of my departure, arrive three hours early and book a spot for my dog at the check-in window. They were speechless when I asked them what would happen if space run out and Iberia would tell me that I could not fly with my dog. AA did not give me any solutions, and Iberia just told me that it was not their problem, as I didn’t buy the tickets to them. I bet I would have the same issue if I had done it the other way around.
There is NO WHERE stated that a customer can face this issue when traveling with a dog. They sell each other tickets, they get the money and then they don’t care about anything else. This is an example of a lousy service poor preparation, and a colossal indifference.
At the end, I managed to speak to an AA supervisor, after having to wait more than 45 minutes on the line. Finally, he was able to request the cancellation of my plane tickets and order a refund. Hopefully I will get it back in 7-10 days.
They say that dogs are human’s best friend. Not for the airlines! If so, they would try to make it easier to take our furry family members with us without having to make endless telephone calls, pre-reservations and having to deal with the airlines owner of the planes.