It was my trip from Makassar (UPG) to Bandung (BDO) via Surabaya (SUB). The first section of the journey was on November 30, 2016 scheduled with GA 670 departure on 12:55 Makassar time, and I had already have my boarding pass from internet check in. I arrived at the Hasanuddin Int. airport at 11 AM (Makassar time) and I went straight to check in counter to report my present.
The Garuda official in the check in counter did not say anything about the problem, at least not until I asked if the flight was still on schedule, he then told me that the flight was postponed to not yet specific time due to the late arrival of the plane from previews flight from Yogyakarta, and he just stopped explaining. He did not give me suggestion how to cope with the situation, not until I asked again for his advice to solve the problem, he then ask me to go to customer service room. I checked my phone if I had a message telling me about this cancellation, but I didn’t get any. I wonder how Garuda do the training for their check in counter officials if something like this happened. Wouldn’t it be better if he explain everything nicely, starting with apologize and assist the passenger to deal with the situation?
Though I still a bit irritated, I walked to customer service room. Only to find two other GA flight 670 passenger waiting in that room. I chatted with them, and they said they had been waiting for 15 minutes but not yet talked to any of Garuda official, and just told to be waited in that room. So I waited for 10 minutes. When no single person came to see us, I went to check in counter again and saw the same person I had shown earlier. He was busy explaining to each passenger who came after me, demanding for the same answers I was looking for. I told him that nobody in the customer service room, he then asked me to visit another official in the ticketing counter. I felt like I was a ping pong ball!
I started to be more irritated than before, but I walked to the ticketing counter anyway. Only to find some other passenger there who were talking in rather high tone to the Garuda official, and I assumed they were all GA flight 670 passenger. I waited in line for my turn and only that moment a short message came to my phone telling that the flight is postponed until 17:20 that afternoon. In the message Garuda did said sorry, but failed to give solution. Instead in the message receivers were asked to contact the premium call number (08041807807). Wouldn’t it be better if the number was a toll free number? It is the unfortunate situation for passenger, then why on earth that Garuda even want to make profit out of it and we should even pay the call charge? Especially calling from a cell phone, it would be rocketing expensive for each minute! What a lousy solution!!
Anyway, when it came to my turn to talk to one of Garuda official in the ticketing counter, I addressed my problem to a lady who was there. She then asked me come inside to the waiting room and told me that Mr. Hariman would come to see me. Mr. Hariman later explained to me the complete picture of the situation. He said that the previews flight was supposed to come from Yogyakarta. But because the airport of Yogyakarta, Adi Sucipto was closed during the air force training, the Garuda plane was held on the Ground until 2 PM that afternoon. I told Mr. Hariman that I had to catch another flight GA 373 depart from Surabaya at 17:45 to Bandung. I don’t want to miss that flight since I had to be in Bandung by 8 PM that evening. Mr. Hariman suggested me to take Citilink flight to Surabaya which scheduled on 13.10 from Makassar to Surabaya (QG 607), and the time should be sufficient for me to catch the GA 373 flight. I didn’t have any other choice, and said yes to the offer.
I asked Mr. Hariman why did Garuda didn’t have any scenario how to deal with this kind of problem. Though it doesn’t happen every day, but the airline as big as Garuda should have all scenario for any kind of situation to make their work easier and far more important, to make the effected passenger at least feel more comfortable. Mr. Hariman could not answer my question.
There I was, paid by Garuda, took the Citilink flight 607 to Surabaya. But another discomforted condition happened. You see, I bought the Garuda ticket a couple of weeks before my trip. By then the Citilink ticket for this flight would be a lot cheaper compare to its price 1 hour prior to departure. Garuda gave me the refund but only IDR113,400. I am positively sure that if it was compare to the price at the same time I bought my Garuda ticket, the refund should be at least 6 to 8 times more than the nominal I received. It seems like Garuda doesn’t want to suffer the loss from this situation! By taking the Citilink flight instead; I lost the seat comfort, I lost the in-flight meal, I lost the in-flight entertainment, etc... only for IDR113,400! Wouldn’t it be better if Garuda also took a portion of the lost by refunding more to the affected passenger? And you know what? The money was transfer from Mr. Hariman private account, not from Garuda official account! And the money was only transferred later that evening before I was ready to go to bed! This is crystal clear prove that Garuda just doesn’t prepare for such situation!
I thank full to Mr. Hariman and other Garuda officials in Hasanuddin Intl. airport for all their effort. It was none of their mistake to cause me write this, instead they gave their best to solve our problems. But Garuda as a corporate, should take a lot of constructive actions to make something like this won’t happen again in the future. Garuda should create a scenario to handle such situation, Garuda should do more training to their staff, and Garuda should not take advantage not even 1 cent for condition like this. I know that this situation was not entirely Garuda’s fault for a condition that Garuda couldn’t control. But at least Garuda took a portion and took a share of the forfeiture with their passenger. At least Garuda prepare the ‘service recovery’, which turned out to be something that Garuda missed to deliver.
I wonder after I wrote this, if someone from Garuda would comment my review...
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