The following is feedback given after being humiliated whilst boarding a flight to Darwin last week. I have removed the name of the airline as I am waiting for their response. If the response is unsatisfactory I will have no hesitation in naming and shaming.
I am writing to express my extreme disappointment in the way I was treated when boarding a flight to Darwin with my Mum on Monday evening. I was humiliated, in front of other passengers waiting to board, due to my hearing impairment.
At check in the lady behind the counter had commented there was no one sitting in the emergency seating, would we like extra leg room. No terms and conditions of the seating were mentioned. Of course we jumped at the chance. We walked away commenting how helpful she was and how grateful we were for her wonderful customer service.
When our flight was called to board we excitedly joined the queue, eager to get to Darwin to see my sister. I handed my boarding pass over to the female customer service representative, who scanned the pass and, looking at the computer screen, mumbled something so quickly that I had no chance to understand what she said. I said "sorry" and she looked at me blankly. My Mum commented "she didn't hear you, you need to speak clearly." At which she replied "what do you mean?" My mum told her that I was deaf in one ear. Without warning, the female customer service representative very loudly shouted "we can't have that". She then started to get flustered and began to rant that we were not entitled to sit in those seats as we needed to be fully "capable". Whilst we were made to stand aside like naughty school children the staff member shouted out "is there anyone who would like to sit in the emergency exit seats?" Of course everyone began to stare at us with the commotion that we had inadvertently caused. At this point two people came forward and said that they would be happy to sit in these seats. No effort was made to seat us together nor was any communication directed my way. The staff member spoke to my Mum and totally ignored me. I was made to feel like I didn't exist and felt totally humiliated. What was suppose to be a happy adventure had turned into a nightmare and all I wanted to do was turn around and go home.
I understand that you have policies that you need to abide by. My complaint is not that I had to move seats it was the way in which it was dealt with. I was not treated with respect or dignity. Her mannerism was rude and abrupt and she made no attempt to engage with me after learning of my impairment. There was no apology made for the inconvenience or the way in which we were being treated. The boarding passes were shoved onto our hands without any further acknowledgement.
Your website states 'We are very proud of our service, and the Service Promise we have in place to ensure that it always exceeds standards and expectations.' The staff member in question should be anything but proud of her service. In fact she should be ashamed. What she has most likely not given another thought too, has been on my mind all throughout my holiday and as a result I am anxious about the return flight on Tuesday.
It is my hope that no one else encounters the terrible service that was delivered to us last week. Having a disability, no matter what it is, does not mean you should be treated any differently. Everyone has the right to be treated with respect, me included. My experience with your airline makes me question if I would ever fly with you again.