June 7, 2011

SQ-us for the inconvenience

The people behind the current finished product of the Singapore Airlines new website ought to be fired. I now officially declare the once very highly-esteemed Singapore Airlines and its fuss-free, convenient online booking highly repulsive and stupidly appalling!

Between Silver Bullet and I, we both have clocked up a good 4-5 hours minimum combined, in trying to book ourselves a flight back to Singapore for sometime in August over the last three days. Seriously, who does THAT these days? Three days later, a few phone calls and a couple of complaints later, we still have no tickets booked!

To give you the gist of the problem we have been facing, here is a complaint letter which Silver Bullet wrote to SQ:

” For the past 3 days I have been trying to book tickets for my family and myself from Bangkok to Singapore and back. Until now, I have not succeeded in doing this. I have been forced to enter my particulars several dozen times in the process, and have been greeted by a plethora of error messages. The final error message that prevents me from progressing onwards tells me that the combined titles, names etc, for the passenger and the infant (we’re traveling with our 10 month old daughter) cannot be longer than 34 characters. Yet I have to fill in all the names as specified on the passports. Obviously if the names combined are longer than 34 characters, there is nothing I can do about this. Perhaps SQ would expect me to go and officially change my or my daughters name to something that does fit in your database?

The first call to your ticketing office for assistance was brushed off by the lady that she WAS able to do the booking and if I would please try again tomorrow. Following said instructions I met a different error the following day, and the day after the original was back. A second call in the mean time was answered by, dare I say it, an answering machine. This on a supposedly 24 hour call center. When I called again this evening, the gentleman on the other end of the line calmly explained to me that i would have to book the flight for the adults only, then call back and ask to have the infant booking added to the original. When I dryly mentioned that I was already on the phone with Singapore airlines and requested if he could take the booking for all 3 passengers right now, I was told the same rate could not be given as on the website.


While I understand that some problems will arise whenever a new system is implemented, the fact that the call center starts off with a message that the new website is experiencing teething problems, that I am asked to leave messages on an answering machine, and that 3 days later the problem is still not solved all proves that the company was woefully unprepared when the decision was made to use this new site. But apparently it was deemed more important that people can address themselves as Venerable, Duke, Earl, King, His Royal Highness quickly rather than first test the heck out of this system. Considering that it is not possible to book all flights online, a little more flexibility for telephone booking would have been an obvious and customer friendly solution. Yet here I am after calling 3 times and speaking to a call center employee twice, and I STILL do not have my tickets.


I will try to book the tickets for a similar price through a travel agent tomorrow, and if that is not possible I will fly another airline, no matter what the cost. I used to choose SQ because of the overall excellent service, but the way that this is being handled is beyond belief. I sincerely hope that some people are listening to the complaints that are no doubt pouring in, and that lessons are being learned from this. Shameful does not begin to describe this blunder.


Sincerely yours, Silver Bullet”

The new site is just awful, awful and incredibly awfully stupid. Not only do they italicised the fonts (which essentially, is just a “no no” on a corporate site), they have got like a LIST of prefixes which you can select from their drop-down menu before you key in your name. And I mean, not just simple, Mr., Mrs, Ms but a bunch of them which included things like “Earl”, “King”, “Duke” and  “President” to name a few. I mean, WHO DOES THAT?! It makes me wonder if they had hired a bunch of fraudster to design and manage their website or something.

As soon as the complaint was sent, Silver Bullet got an immediate (automated, no doubt) reply:

I thought it was hilarious that he chose HRH from the drop-down button on the online feedback form! A nice touch, I must say. The reply to the feedback of course, sounded so non-committal and impersonal; it makes me wonder if they are ever going to do anything about it. Googling about it further seems to convince me that they probably are just gonna be sitting on their asses

This is simply because, we found a discussion forum about this matter and apparently, this issue was raised a few weeks ago already. And guess what, to date, they have not done anything about it! How disappointing is that?

Coming from a very reputable airline and one of the strongest global brand, I am utterly disappointed with how they have handled this. It makes me wonder if being all successful and global have made them too conceited for their own good.

And those prefixes…I just cannot get over it. Five fucking seven of them. Seriously, what the hell is with that?


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