Travel blues and…(reds- Jazeera style)

I am sure all readers, especially expatriates,  will agree with me when I say that there is no feeling to match, when you get ready to travel home for a holiday. Energy is flowing, excitement levels are high and you just feel on top of the world. You plan a budget and start making lists of the things you plan to take, the gifts you are going to buy bla bla bla? These lists are never final?even when you are on the flight you keep thinking. Oh sh*! I missed this and I missed that.

So finally, the big day dawns, you say your travel prayers and start loading your luggage into the car and you?re set for the journey. The passports and tickets are checked for the nth time and you set off for the airport feeling on top of the world. Now let?s fast what happens when you get to the check in counter. So here we were, my family traveling to India after a two year gap. After a few minutes it was our turn to put our luggage to be weighed in and by now my back was creaking. My family was flying Jazeera Airlines and we were just thanking our stars for all the money we had saved on account of the cheap air-fare tickets on offer.

We were carrying luggage in excess, since my wife was traveling with two kids so there had to be some extras. We were advised to pay an amount of KD. 87/- initially, for the excess. We started the usual requests (negotiations-Indian style) and pleadings for some relief in the amount to be paid. Unfortunately for us, all the counter staff was having a bad day simultaneously. We approached the NAS staff who, were magnanimous to permit 5 kgs excess for us and we were then asked to offload one small handbag reducing the excess luggage fare to KD. 48/-. We made one last request to the counter staff if they would allow the handbag to go through in luggage, as my wife was traveling with an infant and the joint instantaneous response was.. "THIS IS NOT MY BUSINESS".. How?s that for customer service!!

""…it is only a handful of individuals but it is enough to tarnish the reputation of the entire organization…""

The whole episode left a bad taste for us. All of a sudden the mood had changed from excitement to sullen. The payment of the excess baggage was acceptable but what was not acceptable was the behavior of the counter staff, which simply put in one word was "RUDE"! The choice of being a cheap airline was taken by Jazeera and it was not forced on it. Does it mean that just because a service provider is offering cheap service to its clients, it can behave rude or arrogantly? At the end of the day a customer wouldn?t mind paying an additional charge if it means getting a decent level of service. How much would it cost any service provider to be polite?? It was distressing to see passengers being asked to pay for even 1kg. of excess weight. Is this the way that the airline plans to recover its costs?? Seems so to me.  Being a part of retail business I know how important customer service is and how it can affect business when the right level of professionalism / customer service is not provided.

I am sure, this experience of mine is shared by many others, probably in different service industries. Why do we keep quiet? Why do we have to go through life having to put up with this kind of behavior? Isn’t it time we bring it to attention of the concerned people so that something can be done to avoid the humiliation meted out. I am sure it is only a handful of individuals but it is enough to tarnish the reputation of the entire organization.
As for the travel "reds" of my family, they did reach safely and got through customs at the CS airport in Mumbai, without any further misdemeanors. Three cheers to that!!

Author: Vivek Miranda- Kuwait