I’ve been meaning to type in this post for a long time and today Bansal is complaining about MakeMyTrip’s service as well. So it’s kinda pushed me over and here I am. In every Marketing class I attend these days, they tell me that brands have to manage their online presence. Here’s my drop in the ocean blowing MakeMyTrip’s brand to smithereens.
Even though it’s possible to use MakeMyTrip without ever registering on the site, I actually have a MakeMyTrip login.. so that should tell you that I am (or used to be) a pretty frequent user. When I started out using the site many years ago, I remember I used to check the results against the actual airlines sites to see if there was a price differential. There never was, MakeMyTrip wasn’t charging extra.. so that was cool! After a few times, I bothered checking.. then many years passed, I had to get some changes done to my flight and these guys put me on hold for 10 minutes.. and while I was on hold, Parul said to me, “Why the hell do you use these guys anyways?! They charge extra!”
I didn’t believe her, I told her I had done my research and so the next time she proved it to me. I don’t know when it changed but there was a 100-200 rupees price differential between the prices on MakeMyTrip and that on individual websites..
And then a few months ago, I don’t know why (I guess I was having a bad day) but I booked my return flights from London to Mumbai via MakeMyTrip. All was fine till the British Airways cabin crew announced their strike. I was supposed to fly on 20th, BA announced a couple of weeks before that that my flight may be cancelled but they weren’t sure yet. If I wanted to cancel in the meantime while they were unsure, they’d give me a full refund. I looked at other airlines and comparable fares were available on other airlines. Naturally, I figured I’d cancel BA and book myself on another airline. I called up BA and they said that since I was booked via an agent, I would have to contact them for the cancellation. So I called up MakeMyTrip and the ordeal began..
Please note that this was an international call. After being on hold for a gizillion minutes, I finally got through. I patiently explained the problem to their customer rep who had no idea BA was on strike. I told him what my options were and said that I wanted to cancel it. He told me they couldn’t cancel international flights. I was like, “huh?!” Then he said the airlines could cancel it, I told him the airlines said I’d have to contact MakeMyTrip. So then he put me on hold for a minute, came back and told me that it was possible and the amount would be refunded back to my credit card in 4 weeks or something minus the deduction from the airlines. I told him that the airlines is saying that if I cancel before such-and-such date, there would be no charges.. this is special because of the strike. He said he’ll have to confirm that with the airlines. I told him it was on their website. He said it will be done and they’ll give me a call back. They didn’t wanna call internationally, so I gave them Parul’s number.
There was no call. Parul called them, was put on hold for many minutes, then the phone got cut etc etc. After 5-6 attempts she finally got through and the rep this time told them that they hadn’t been able to contact the airline. They’ll call back by 6 pm.
There was no call. The next day I called them again. The rep I spoke too this time had no idea about what the problem was. I explained it to him, again the whole story of BA going on strike etc etc. I had no idea why I was being made to do this, surely the people we had talked to earlier should have put in some notes into whatever CRM software they’re using. Anyways, again this person put me on hold, supposedly while she contacted BA. She came back and said BA was not reachable, she’ll keep trying and get back to me within 4 hours.
This cycle continued for a couple of days.. Parul called them multiple times, I did as well.. in the meantime the prices on the alternate flights were going up.. finally, I got fed up and there was some thunder and lightning in my conversation with the rep. And they finally agreed to cancel it. “Yes, sir, so I’m cancelling your to and fro journey…”
Wait a minute.. to and fro? I still want to come back with British Airways, please only cancel my London to Mumbai flight.. I’ll still be taking the one back.
“No sir, we can’t do that. Both tickets have the same PNR number, both will get cancelled. British Airways will cancel both”
This seems like crap to me, if I had booked from the BA site, I could just go on their interface and cancel the “to” journey. I could see it on their website, the buttons were there.. they were just disabled in my case coz I hadn’t used their website to book in the first place. So, anyways, I call up BA and they tell me I’m right, only “to” journey can be cancelled. The lady also tells me that she’s added a note on my ticket which the agents should be able to see saying this fact..
I call MakeMyTrip again and again a new rep. The whole damn story is repeated again, I explain that BA is on strike and he replies, “Yes Mr Misra, I know BA is on strike”.. Well, excuse me, all the reps I’ve talked to in the past 3 days don’t seem to know, how am I supposed to know that you’re suddenly all knowledgeable?!
But still, the problem remains.. just the “to” ticket cannot be cancelled. “The system does not allow it.” I keep arguing and nothing changes. The system does not allow it.
Change your #%@# system then!!
Anyways, I don’t want to take a chance, so I do book an alternate flight without cancelling BA. If BA doesn’t fly, I’ll get a refund and I’ll take the alternate flight. If BA flies, I’ll cancel the alternate flight and lose a small amount of money on the refund fee. BA does fly, I lose money on the refund fee of the other airline.. needless to say, I lose it coz of MakeMyTrip.
You’d think it would end there, right?! You wish!
On pretty much the day of my return journey on the same trip, volcanic ash covers Europe. British Airways sends me an email saying the flight is cancelled and I can rebook on a later flight without paying anything extra. I can do this through their website if my original booking was through the site or.. wait for it.. I should contact the agent. I read those words and I know I’m screwed. But anyways, I guess I have to try, so I call MakeMyTrip up. I told them my flight’s cancelled and I want to rebook. He puts me on hold and quotes me the price for the alternate flights. I tell him I want to book BA and the airline says I don’t need to pay anything extra. He says that’s not possible. I tell him the airline says it’s possible and he says the system does not allow it. I should contact the airline. I tell him the email says that if I booked through an agent, I should contact the agent but he says he can’t help me. I try calling BA and needless to say, their rep repeats what’s written in the email. If I booked the original ticket through an agent, the rebooking has to go through the agent.
While I’m being tossed around like this, I’m looking around for alternate flight prices. And they’re going up every minute. It’s understandable coz every flight has been cancelled and people are rebooking. So I call up MakeMyTrip and ask them what the cost of this cancelled flight was. My ticket copy has the combined price of both the to and fro journey, I want to know how much just my Mumbai to London one-way journey was costing me. I’m asking this because I’m sure I’ll get a refund for this amount if I wanted (the flight didn’t fly, for God’s sake) and I want an anchor point. He’s a real pain about this, he just doesn’t want to tell me. I lose my head, what’s the big deal.. pull out my record and tell me the individual prices of the tickets were. I’m on hold for a minute and he tells me 22 thousand INR.
I put down the phone, get on the internet and book a flight from Mumbai to London for about 26k INR. I’m losing 4k but if I wait any longer, I’ll probably lose more. So this is done, I have an alternate flight booked and I call up MakeMyTrip again. Again, it’s a different person and I have to explain it all again. I tell him my flight got cancelled and I just want to make sure the money is returned to my credit card. He asks me how do I know the flight was cancelled, did I go to the airport? I told him I got an email. He gets suspicious for some reason, I tell him I didn’t need to go to the airport, every flight is cancelled, he should switch on the TV in his office. He has the nerve to tell me to get some confirmation from the airline and send it to them. They can give me a letter or put a cancellation stamp on my ticket which I should then scan and send to MakeMyTrip at a given email address. I start laughing. What else is there to do?! I tell him I’m doing nothing of that sort, he can go to the website or call BA, check the status of the flight and it will say cancelled. Every damn flight is cancelled, it’s the greatest airline disruption the world has ever seen! I want my money back. He puts me on hold. When he comes back, he tells me the cancellation will be processed and the money will be rolled back to my credit card within 4 weeks minus any deductions from the airline. I tell him, “Dude, the flight got cancelled. It didn’t fly. The airline can’t charge me anything.” He puts me on hold again and returns back to say that the full ticket amount will be refunded minus MakeMyTrip’s cancellation processing fee.
The next week I get an automated email from firstname.lastname@example.org (you’ve gotta be kidding me, this company sends automated emails from an employee’s account?! Who the hell’s Amrita?!) which says that INR 14k are being refunded to my account. Whoa?! I thought it was 22k! Parul calls them and gets told that the amount of the ticket was indeed INR 14k. On further inquiry I find out that INR 22k was the price of the London to Mumbai ticket, not the other way round.
At this point, I’m past caring. I know I’m not using MakeMyTrip again.