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We flew with Avianca from Aruba to Guatemala City via Bogota and San Jose. Short flights with two stops on the way, all of them with Avianca. We checked in one suitcase in Aruba: a beautiful new suitcase, protected with a colorful cloth cover. When we landed in Guatemala City, the cover was gone, and the suitcase was totally broken - holes in its side, missing wheels. Of course we contacted the airline right away - after we rushed to buy a new suitcase, because we still had a long trip waiting and the old suitcase was unusable.
After some annoying communications - we were asked to fill the same form several times, had to send in photos of the ruined suitcase several times, and half the emails we sent were rejected by the company's server - we finally got a compensation offer that let us choose between several options. We chose a refund for the new suitcase through our credit card. We got one last email from them, telling us the case number and promising they'll take care of it within 15 days - and that's it. They haven't sent any further message. Of course they did not refund anything. They've stopped answering emails. We live at the other end of the world, but we're considering suing them - customer service can't get any worse than that.
I want to start by saying this is possibly one of the worst airlines I have ever flown with and I have been traveling the past 10 years, 3/4 times a year. May 25, 2018 I was set to depart from JFK at 10:20 am with my best friend, we arrived at JFK at 8:45 am and was through TSA by 9:00 am. As we approached the gate we noticed it was a small area that was already overcrowded, so we went to grab some food and sit on the opposite side. As the time began winding down we realized we hadn't heard any announcement and got up to walk over and ensure boarding hadn't began.
It was about 35 minutes to departure and we were told we could not board the flight because boarding begins 1 hour prior to. We asked why our names hadn't been called and the women stated she called our emergency contacts as that was the procedure. I am unsure why they wouldn't call the actual passenger, but as I looked out the window the plane was still there and one of the girls was closing the door as the other told us we had to rebook. We could not understand such a thing and as a frequent traveler of Jet Blue, American Airlines and Delta I was appalled by their attitudes and unwillingness to help us.
The three women stood there with the worst attitudes and one said, "Oh well you have to go upstairs and re-book, pick up your luggage and go upstairs to figure it out with them." It took everything in me not to curse them to the high heavens as there was no compassion, no empathy, nothing! As someone who works in customer service, my job is to ensure I do all I can especially when people are spending their hard earned money. My best friend began to cry because she was overly frustrated by this treatment!
As we went upstairs to rebook the women at the counter was closing up. We explained our issue and she stated "her shift was over the booth is closed, call customer service." I honestly could not believe this was the staff responsible for helping people when all anyone did was be rude and disrespectful. We sat on the floor and proceeded to call customer service. We had to call 4 separate times as we would keep being connected to people who stated they could not understand our accents.
We speak English from New York. There is no accent!!! When we finally got someone who understood us that rep advised us we would have to pay 400$, 200 per ticket to re-book and this is about when I lost it. I demanded to speak to a supervisor and was connected to Valentina who was like our savior. After 3 hours (no exaggeration) of being on the phone, not only did she over apologize for the disgusting treatment of the entire staff at JFK she got us re-booked at no additional cost, unfortunately for the next day as that was the only next flight available. We were super grateful for her understanding and support and I even left a compliment for her as she was true representation of customer service.
Not only did we lose money on our accommodation, cab rides to airport, car service for our landing we lost a night of our well deserved vacation. It is beyond me an airline would hire people who treat others in a disrespectful rude manner. I would caution those who are sucked in by the cheap flights to really consider paying a little more with the more popular airlines as they seem to genuinely care more from my experience. I was beyond frustrated that I paid hundreds of dollars to travel with a company like this and would encounter not one, not two, but 5 of the most disgusting customer service people ever.
They simply do not deserve to deal with the public and should consider another department within the company where they do not have to look people in the face as if their disgusted and then treat them so poorly. What sucks is after we got to our destination and dealt with the staff in San Salvador and Costa Rica they were amazing and very sweet but I could not shake the experience I had at JFK. Not to mention none of the other flights we took boarded an hour before departure and actually on our way back a couple had a hard time during security check and was able to board 20 minutes prior to us leaving. I truly hope this review helps others and I will actually be escalating this up to a supervisor or management there, as I feel some kind of acknowledgment is due to us.
I asked for a refund because of political strife in my destination country that caused my humanitarian trip to be cancelled. The customer service rep in English was friendly and advised me to put in a refund request with Avianca's refund department which I thought would be a black hole of bureaucracy. However, after a week of limbo, they granted my refund. I was very pleased with this interaction and although the refund process could be clearer and they could have contacted me regarding my refund status/when it was authorized, their customer service was good and I ultimately was able to get a refund. I appreciated their understanding for something that was out of my control.
Avoid Avianca at all costs, or it will cost you, dearly. I booked a flight from San Salvador to San Jose, Costa Rica. When I arrived for my flight, the Avianca agent told me I could not board my plane without an exit ticket from Costa Rica. This is total BS - Costa Rica does not require an exit ticket, check the embassy website - this is Avianca forcing you to book an overpriced ticket and swindle you out of money. I bit the bullet and purchased a $450 ticket to fly me home to San Francisco later that month.
Nearing the end of my travels, I received word that my grandmother was dying. I called Avianca to change my ticket to Dallas to be with family. They told me my only options would be business class, or to take flight paths lasting over 40 hours (both would cost me well over $1000). I opted to cancel my ticket for a $150 fee, with a promise that I would get a refund after I submitted my refund request online. Of course, the agent is unable to process anything related to the refund over the phone, can't even give me a confirmation number for the reservation cancellation...
After returning to Texas and in the middle of helping for funeral arrangements, I attempt to input my refund request on the website. I take the time to enter all of my details (they even ask you for a death certificate!! What an invasion of privacy...) and click submit, and of course the website does not respond. I try on 2 different computers/browsers, and on my iPhone - no option works.
I call Avianca customer service to ask if they can help me, of course not, they just very condescendingly repeat over and over again that I have to input the request online. I then get transferred to web support, who also cannot help me, but they give me the following email address firstname.lastname@example.org. I am told to email and explain my situation and give my credit card number (because everyone loves emailing their credit card number...) and just cross my fingers that they will process the request. Not gonna hold my breath on getting my $300 back...DO NOT FLY AVIANCA. They will swindle you out of money with no remorse. Thieves.
To say that Avianca has bad customer service is a gross understatement. Avianca has no customer service. Website has a terrible user interface and is very glitchy and frequently goes down. Attempted to cancel a reservation for a flight from Costa Rica to USA within 24 hours and they would not cancel it even though it is US Department of transportation LAW to do so!!! They follow their own set of Colombian rules and don’t care about US laws. I spent five hours on the phone with various customer service reps and supervisors. All of them had bad attitudes and spoke very broken English. I even incorporated the assistance of an employee of the US Department of Transportation Consumer Complaints Department.
Avianca was so belligerent they would not budge and conform with US Law even when contacted by an employee of the US DOT on my behalf! I will be disputing the fee on my credit card for this reservation and have already filed an official complaint with the US DOT. Luckily I have a very pissed off and baffled government employee on my side so I hope Avianca gets a big fine for this! If you use Avianca, you’re crazy and have very low expectations from your airline provider. Every other airline is 100% better at customer service.
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Due to pilots' strike in November my flights were changed and I requested a refund which 60 days later they indicated that my tickets numbers were changed which made my refund invalid so I request a new refund and they both were rejected against the other. So I filed a complaint and they are working in the case so if you are in the same situation file a complaint here http://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer.
It would be hard to overstate how terrible Avianca is. I have been traveling for 45 years and never had to go through even one of the experiences this airliner put me through, let alone all of them in one trip. I’ll try to be brief but if you don’t have time to read the following, my advice is, DO NOT FLY AVIANCA. YOU’LL BE VERY SORRY IF YOU DO. In November I bought a ticket to go to Roatan via San Salvador. I took my time choosing the exact flights, with one day in San Salvador each way so I could meet with people I was slated to interview. Just before the holidays, in late December, I received an email from Avianca letting me know that my flight had changed. With the new flight, I no longer had a day in San Salvador. Worse yet, the first flight back, from Roatan, arrived in San Salvador after the second flight, from San Salvador to Chicago, left.
After looking at the email three times to make sure I was reading it correctly, I called Avianca. I spent at least 10 hours (no exaggeration!) on hold for the next three days, trying to resolve this before I left for the holidays. On the third day, after hours on hold, I finally reached a representative who asked me to call again because she couldn’t hear me well. I refused. It took another 1.5 hours before she found another set of flights that worked for me. Sometime later, I got another email. They changed my flight again in the same way! Another series of phone calls and being on hold eventually got me another flight. Then it happened again! Eventually I made it to Roatan. The night before I was to fly back, I tried to check in online but couldn’t.
When I arrived in the airport I learned that they didn’t have my name. I showed my itinerary, at which point the representative told me my tickets were with United so I had to pay for my bag. She read to me the phone number of my supposed emergency contact, from an area code I didn’t recognize. It became clear that they had someone else under my itinerary’s reference number. The rep had to call the company to figure things out. Thirty minutes later, she told me they would send me on another flight to Chicago via Washington DC that day.
I told her I was meeting people in San Salvador and needed to be there that night. Another 30 minutes on the phone. I’d have to stay in San Salvador for two nights in that case. I made the flight at the last minute and ended up in San Salvador for an additional night, where I couldn’t get any money out of the ATM’s because I was supposed to be back in the states. I filed a complaint and asked for reimbursement. The automatic response promised I’d hear back within 7-10 days. It’s been over two weeks and, of course, I haven’t heard a word from them.
Made the request for a refund almost 5 months ago and still keep being told just to "wait longer". Multiple calls, e-mails and filed complaints has still not resolved this. Such a shame since I've flown with Avianca and the actual flight experience was good. Flight attendants were friendly, seats fairly comfy and free movies. However, I will never book with them again due to this refund experience.
I am an "Elite" Status Avianca customer. Think that means anything to them - NOT. I travel LAX - AXM 4-5 times a year. I can count on 1 hand the number of times my luggage has NOT been lost. My luggage is tagged "Priority" think that means anything NOT. Then trying to contact baggage claim is a horrible waste of time. Don't bother. They WILL lie to you at every opportunity. Just sit back as calmly as you can as your luggage will eventually be delivered even if it's at 2:45 am when it was supposed to arrive by noon 3 days after you arrived.
I am writing this complaint based on my personal experience traveling from Medellin to Washington DC. I was traveling under medical conditions due to a recent surgery and AVIANCA was aware of the situation and agreed to put me in a flight that was going to take 6 hours to reach my destination. However they started to break the contract leaving from Medellin with a delay of 1:30 hours. Of course I lost my connecting flight in Bogota. And without any consideration to my condition (traveling in a wheelchair and unable to move by myself, AVIANCA representatives gave me new boarding passes to El SALVADOR (no to Washington). They did not consult with me, nor take in account my health condition.
AVIANCA sent me to El Salvador where I was expected to take another flight to Washington. But when we were ready to depart from Bogota, and doors were closed, we receive an announce from the Captain, who said that AVIANCA realized that one of the flight attendants couldn't flight, because his schedule was completed. Of course we have to wait for one replacement another hour and a half. I lost again my connecting flight in San Salvador to Washington.
After three hours waiting in the airport of El Salvador. They took me in a bus to a hotel in the City of San Salvador, located one hour from the airport. I was put in hotel room, without any assistance, without any company. It was a nightmare that night in that hotel because I was unable to move by myself. The following day I was taken again in a bus to the airport at 5 in the morning and finally I reached my destination 33 hours after my departure instead of 6 hours later. According to representatives of Avianca oversold tickets without any consideration with the passengers like me that have special needs and have bought the airfare with much anticipation.
Booked a flight from BOG Bogotá to IAD Washington Dulles for June 2017, no issues beyond the normal Avianca hassles and annoyances. Had to change next flight, appalled at $300 change fee but it had to be done, no problem as far as I know. Flight had to be postponed yet again, cancelled flight online and requested refund online, as instructed by Avianca rep; due to unknown flight date and not willing to cough up yet another $300, this would cost me $175 - erroneously thinking “better lose $175 and get full refund of original ticket plus $125 out of the original $300 change fee” rather than a total addition of $600 for flight changes. Hahaha. Riiight. Suddenly I’m in a twilight zone of nothingness.
It is now February 2018. Have called Avianca countless times and every time they come up with more utter nonsense to not issue my refund. Their policy changed. Now you have to wait 30 business days. You have to wait till the first of the next month. Why? Because your request cannot be processed until then. Then you have to wait until you can talk to a (non-existent) supervisor who may be able to expedite your refund request. Expedite? I requested this refund four months ago. There’s nothing to expedite, I would like to know why it has not been processed. I always have to call back next day, next morning, next Monday, mañana, later. Then you have to wait until the next year as policies are changing again and nobody knows what the new policies are.
Then I must wait until February. Why? Because your request cannot be processed. Well, why has it still not been processed? Why hasn’t it begun to be processed after more than four months? This airline relies on peoples’ frustration to avoid giving people their rightful refunds - they keep all these funds in some account earning interest for Avianca while we lesser humans kill ourselves paying interest to our credit cards. My utmost fury is at all employees and their customer disservice, who just cannot and will not do anything, who put far more effort into denying you any semblance of service instead of doing anything at all; who leave you on hold for hours at a time, who overcharge you for everything, who do squat, who leave paying customers hopelessly and helplessly hanging and ignore them all.
At all employees in general as they sift through my personal belongings, dump my stuff on tables and drop it on floors, toss and destroy my luggage, steal my lighters and my tiny stylus flashlights, grope between my legs, take so long to do anything at all you miss your flight and then have the gall to charge you $300 for changing your flight. They really do need to crash, burn, and rot. Like others I have flown Avianca out of necessity but at this point I will take a boat before I ever use this airline again. A boat probably wouldn’t take as long and would be far more relaxing.
Updated on 04/10/2018: Left a review here over two months ago regarding Avianca refusing to issue my refund for a flight cancelled in September 2017, had not realized I specifically need to demand a refund - numerous times. When I called in October 2017 to request my refund for a flight canceled a month before, I was instructed to process my refund request online. Many phone calls and much frustration later, in February 2018, my refund was finally authorized. I was told I had to wait six weeks to see my refund. Why? This company had my money for four months after my refund request and still forces me to jump through hoops to get my money back. It is now well into April 2018. I still have not received my refund.
Began calling yet again over a week ago and rep claimed he did not understand why my refund had not yet been issued and that he would file a report to expedite the issue. Here we go again with expediting - there is nothing that needs to be expedited but everything that should have been done months ago. It’s been more than a week. Two days after my phone call the website shows that my refund has been accepted. But IT STILL HAS NOT BEEN ISSUED. Flight service is fine and airline staff has been acceptable.
Airport staff is horrendous, gropes your body without advising you, sifts through your dirty underwear with disgusting thoroughness going as far as holding them up to the light; steals lighters, tablet styluses, nail scissors, empty aluminum water bottles with regularity despite all these items being carefully selected to comply with international safety regulations, and my carrying printouts that the items I am carrying are in fact permitted. Nothing should ever be left to any employees’ discretion, this invariably leads to tremendous abuses of perceived power.
After being on hold for close to a half hour I was just informed again that my refund should be processed within 10 business days (just as it was five business days ago) and that the rep would expedite my refund. I am so tired and fed up with this crap. Avianca has owed me more than US $700 for more than six months. That’s a lot of money. They are in no hurry to pay it back for services not rendered. I will make efforts to never, ever fly with this airline again.
My wife traveling with wheelchair assistance lost 2 connections flight. One to Bogota, and one to El Salvador. She was coming back to Washington, DC. She had a surgery to her leg so she was not supposed to be seat for too long. We requested a business class seat for this reason. She was on the airports and airplane for more than 12 hours. She has to spend an overnight to El Salvador, we lost medical appointments that we had the next day. Avianca refused to take any responsibility for the all thing. Avianca was not able to tell me what was going to happen to my wife once in El Salvador in wheelchair. I called several times they kept me in the phone holding for hours. It is ridiculous that a company can keep doing business with this bad service.
3 adults and 2 minors vacationed to El Salvador for a couple of weeks round trip from JFK on December vacation. Non-stop flights. Called to confirm return a few hours before, and pre checked. At the San Salvador airport the flight got canceled last minute. Got in contact with a call center and the only return flight was till December 27. A 3 week wait. Other options were to other airports with long wait and stops. Had to wait one more week and came back to DC and had to drive 7 hrs back to NY. The kids end up missing 10 days of school. We could not go back to work. It hurt our budget.
This was the worst experience I’ve ever had when traveling. My wife travel on a suppose non-stop flight and she had to travel to San Pedro Zula, Honduras and change planes. Terrible, terrible!! This is not fair at all and someone should do something about it. They steal from people and do not care. I’m considering not using this airline. Airline TACA had way better service. TACA would hold passengers on hotels and transport them in the next couple of days. It's not the customer fault that the flights gets cancelled. We all pay a lot of money. Hope there were other options to San Salvador with better prices.
I bought 2 tickets 2 months ago and I call 24 hrs before departure and the flight doesn’t exist and never told me about it or let me know about changes until I called. Terrible experience. Didn’t give any options. Supervisor doesn’t exist. I request name of supervisor and never got their name. They said no supervisor at that time. They offer flights next day with more hours and many stops like a bus. This airline should not exist. The worst. It is my first time and the last time.
In mid Sept 2017, I purchased 3 tickets to Cartagena, Columbia for myself and 2 friends. In mid Oct 2017, I was notified that Avianca was experiencing a pilot strike and my original flight was cancelled. They requested I change my flight date. Because I had involved other airlines to make my arrangements along with lodging, I could not change the dates. My flight reservations were cancelled with Avianca. I was told I would receive a refund within 30 days. I waited the said 30 days and 9 calls and 5 e-mails later with Avianca customer service representatives, I still don't have my refund. It is now Dec 21, 2017. The last call I made the representative stated they changed their policy and it will now be 90 days before I see a refund and that she would expedite my case. I call **. I even asked for a supervisor on one of my calls and the representative refused to get a supervisor on the line. AVOID THIS airline at all costs!!! You've been warned.
My miles balance was 17,975. I haven’t used even a single mile and now the statement is showing 15,000 miles redeemed during November. Kindly check and confirm on this/it’s a very serious matter as how can my miles be redeemed by someone else without my knowledge. I wrote to 'email@example.com' - On Nov. 23rd immediately upon receipt of an email about redemption - however still waiting for the feedback. Request you to kindly look into the matter and revert ASAP with the solution.
Okay so I went to Machu Picchu, I was heading back home in July, 2017 from Cusco. The plane was leaving at 7:22 AM but the plane wasn't working, they got us off the plane after an hour. Then they told us the plane was working, it wasn't and they got us off the plane once again. We waited six (6) hours running around the airport until we got assigned to another flight. They sent me through Colombia and made my trip last longer. I was supposed to take another flight in Mexico City but guess what, I lost that flight. I had to purchase another ticket on my own because I lost the flight to the previous one due to Avianca's inefficiency. It's December 2017 now and still calling and e-mailing the company every week to get a refund but no solution. They say the supervisor already knows about the situation but still no solution. Look for other airlines, seriously!! The only thing they did is give us a voucher to purchase really nasty food, I will upload pictures.
Terrible experience. Avianca canceled my return flight and rescheduled it for an entire day before without my consent. As it was impossible to make my rescheduled flight (the day before was the point of the entire trip), I called customer service to express my needs. After 2 hours on hold, they could not accommodate a return flight; therefore, they canceled my flight with 0 refund, and I was made to purchase an additional flight for $700+. I filled out a refund request, sent in photo ID, etc. with 0 response from their staff. Rude staff on the phone with 0 supervision or accountability.
Terrible exp. Got screwed by them multiple of times on the same ticket. First they change my ticket to arrive 36 hrs after my original stated time and changed my flight from a 5hr direct to an 14hr stop lay over. So I'm suppose to miss the wedding?? Asked to change it and they could not accommodate. So I had to book another direct flight last min. on Jetblue at my own expense!!! To make matters worst on the return flight with them they changed it from a 5.5 hr direct flight to an 8hr flight because they added a stop!!! They wait until 4 days before to advise of this so you can't cancel and get a refund since all other flights are either too expensive or booked!
I asked for compensation via voucher or at least an upgrade and they just smiled with a "No we can't." Said they can cancel and return my money. NOW WHY WOULD I WANT THAT I'M STUCK WITH NO OTHER FLIGHTS OR PAY 3X THE AMOUNT WITH ANOTHER AIRLINE LAST MIN. Neverrr again will I fly Avianca. Stay clear. They don't care how they screw you over.
On August 13th, I flew from Houston to Managua and paid for overweight on my bag, I got to Nicaragua and my luggage was nowhere to be found, the agents at the airport only acknowledged it had not made it to Managua but had no idea where it actually was, the next day I contacted Avianca's Call Center and even at the afternoon they still didn't know where my luggage was. It wasn't until the night of the 15th that my luggage was found and delivered to me. I immediately submitted a complaint for the delay and the lack of information, not to mention the horrible customer service I received, and it wasn't until August 30th that I received an email from one of your agents stating that the luggage was delayed due to overweight, even though I was charged for overweight, and I believe that still doesn't explain the two days delay.
Ever since I have been battling with your baggage complaint department who refuses to communicate my complaint about their rudeness to the supervisor. I honestly don't understand why being educated to your customers should be so hard or why you think you can get away with bad service and rudeness. I am overall tired of the constant issues I have had with the Airline, every flight I've had with them have been filled of issues: Mexico - Managua: cancelled flight. Managua-Washington: cancelled flight. Managua-Houston: cancelled flight. Brazil-Managua: delayed flight. Just to mention a few. All I've ever asked is honesty, information and kind service. But it seems my expectations are too high.
I had to buy an Avianca return ticket at the boarding gate at LAX when I was going to Costa Rica. The Avianca staff were not letting me get on the plane if I had no return ticket. What I don't understand is when I entered on Costa Rica nobody asked me my return ticket... Anyway I bought a flight from Costa Rica to Panama which was refundable. I paid with cash and one week later at the Avianca office in Costa Rica I applied for the refund online... It is already 1 year and half. My refund has been accepted but no money yet. I am waiting for them to send to my bank the 750 euro... I cannot speak with the refund office, the call center answers to my mail but they do not know anything more about my case, there are no real news from the refund office. Is anybody can advise how to receive this refund... thanks.
This review is exclusively made to the customer service provided by the Ticket Office locate at 11 East 42nd Street, Suite 2525. In one word: NASTY. I asked questions about how the compensation worked, and the lady who answered was completely rude, and unwilling. I suggest Avianca trains their associates on how to properly treat people, and sanctioned those who don't take care of its main source of business: CUSTOMERS.
I arrived 45 min before my flight was to take off. They told me I couldn't board because I was too late and furthermore that I would have to pay $300 if I wanted to change my flight to the next day. I called Travelocity to help me and it showed im their system that my ticket had already been changed and that I didn't have to pay anything. They called Avianca in Colombia who stated that I wouldn't have to pay. So I stayed the night in a hotel and showed up at airport 4 hours before my flight. Marta told me that I needed to pay $300. I told her what Travelocity and Avianca said that I didn't. She wouldn't listen to me and the manager refused to talk to me. I called Travelocity who were great and talked to Avianca who sent me a new itinerary and told me it was all set and I didn't have to pay.
I gave them the new itinerary # and they claimed they couldn't find it. Then 15 minutes later they found it but said it had to sync before they could check me in. By this time it had taken 3 hours to try and resolve this. I went back up and they told me once again that I needed to pay. I left the airport and called Travelocity to help me get a refund which they did but Avianca charged me $175 cancel fee. The attitude of Marta and all the rest of the cs reps in Miami was terrible. Travelocity told me they could have helped me but it was clear for some reason they didn't want to. The problem is that this company is from Latin America where customer service is non-existent and customers are treated like crap. I know because I lived in Costa Rica for 10 years and saw this every day. This company should be ashamed of their horrible customer service that doesn't belong in a first world country.
I am flying from Cartagena to Quito with a connection at Bogota. The first flight delayed by 3h because of one crew member being "sick" or unwell. The second leg from Bogota to Quito cancelled (same day) and need to wait 9 hours at the airport for a red light flight. All that was offered was a Burger King. Joke.
I booked flights from Vancouver to Roatan, Honduras with Avianca through FlightHub in May, 2016. A family issue arose and I had to cancel the flights. I was told by Avianca that I had one year to use the credit, and could use it on a partner airline. I would have to pay a change fee of $150 plus any price difference of the ticket. Now I have tried to use the credit to book flights on Air Canada, who is a partner airline, and they now say at least one flight must be on Avianca. So I changed plans and tried to book the exact same route as I had originally, and I get the same result as others on this thread: they doubled the price, and say it is the prices for changes, not the same as for a new ticket.
First they told me they could not book that route without going through LA, and at this point I'd prefer not to enter Trumpland for any reason; after insisting that I was looking at the route online, he finally admitted he could book the same routing, YVR-MEX-SAL-RTB, and that's when he hit me with a fare well over $2000. This is clearly an intentional scam, to avoid letting customers use credits and make higher profit. This is an unscrupulous airline, I would not ever fly with them now, and I recommend that nobody else does, either. I am going to report them to Transport Canada, and I may file suit in small claims.
To provide some background: I booked as a solo female traveler from Toronto (aka non-Spanish speaking) to Managua via El Salvador. I was notified one day prior to my outgoing flight that my connecting flight from El Salvador to Managua was cancelled (only in Spanish). No details of whether I would be stuck at the airport overnight, or if I would be getting a hotel room and transportation. I asked at the Toronto airport, and they said I would have to find someone in El Salvador to provide me with details. I then received a voicemail in the middle of the night (again, ONLY in Spanish so couldn't run this one through google translate). This had me very nervous, not knowing what to prepare for, and if I would be alone or with a group.
When I arrived in El Salvador, I decided to find the Avianca lounge to ask them about this. They then directed me to a terminal where someone said there was a shuttle coming to take the entire group to a hotel. We waited approximately 40-60 minutes for this, plus the time it took to all go through customs. Although there were hotels down the street from the airport, the airline arranged a hotel that was 40 minutes away from the airport. We arrived there at 10 pm and were told the shuttle would pick us up at 2:45 am (aka barely slept at all, considering how many people had to individually check in and still have dinner). For this hassle, all we received was a $50 compensation document that could only be used towards specific items (potential upgrade, baggage fees, etc.) for the next year. I asked if I could upgrade my return flight, and they said to wait until the day of my flight to arrange this.
Fast forward to my return flight. The computers were down at Managua, so people were stuck waiting to check in less than an hour before the flight, even though we're lined up 2-3 hours before boarding. Turns out they were hand writing each person's boarding pass! I asked for a second time about the upgrade, but they said to wait until El Salvador to get our connecting boarding passes because they had no access to their system (would this ever happen to a Canadian or American airline?? Probably not!).
We arrived in El Salvador, and figured to ask for our boarding passes at the gate desk, but turned out this airport is set up so that we still had to go through security again at our specific gate. We got stopped because we obviously did not have boarding passes yet, so all we had to show them were our handwritten passes for our originating flight. We handed them to a lady while going through security and had to wait a while. So much for communication... Why didn't Managua call anyone about this?? After quite some time, the lady returned, handing my friend her ticket (free upgrade to business class) and said that they had no seats left on the plane for me, and I might have to wait until tomorrow.
FIRST of all, after being "wronged" on my original flight, you would think they'd prioritize me in a way that would make up for the inconvenience (other than a useless $50 voucher)... especially considering that I had to ask multiple times for an upgrade that never happened. NOPE. What should have rightfully been my option to upgrade went towards someone else with no previous negative experience, and I was completely bumped off my flight... and not even told about it until mid-transit! Again, completely nerve-wracking as I was no longer part of a group, but singled out this time in the middle of a country I have never actually been to and can't speak the language.
The only reason why I was allowed onto the plane in the last 20 minutes of boarding was because someone did not show, and got shafted to the very back row of the plane, with barely an apology and nothing to make up for the drama. Had I been forced to wait for the next flight, I severely doubt they would have accommodated me enough to make up for their SECOND screw-up within a single trip. I will NEVER EVER fly with Avianca again, even if it means not visiting central/south America in the future.
Flew to Guatemala with my wife and son to meet his birth mother for the first time. 2 days later after a wonderful and emotional mother-son reunion we were scheduled on Avianca to fly to Costa Rica then to Belize as there are no direct flights from Guatemala to Belize. The airport was jammed, and as we were getting our boarding passes the Avianca agent suddenly disappeared saying she would be right back. 20 minutes later, after we were freaking out she returned saying our tickets had been done incorrectly and she had to redo them.
After an interminable wait to get through security (only 2 metal detectors for the entire airport) and then customs, with NO calls for passengers that were in danger of missing the flight), we ran to the gate, arriving 8 minutes before takeoff. We were rather rudely told the doors had already been locked and they would not unlock them, that we should have arrived much earlier to be at the gate 15 minutes before takeoff.
2 other passengers arrived as well fluent in Spanish and English and they confirmed Avianca had made zero announcements for passengers. All our luggage had already been pulled. So they led us back to get our luggage, walking at a snail's pace and then to re-booking. No more flights from Costa Rica to Belize that day or until midday the following day. But we could fly to Costa Rica, then to El Salvador, spend the night in El Salvador (where we had no hotel booked) and then fly to Belize the next morning. We had to complain to the manager to get our flights for free. This took 1.5 days out of our vacation, added greatly to our emotional stress given the birth mom reunion with our son... all because of the re-ticketing.
What irks me most is the attitude of the Avianca folks at the gate that took great relish in denying our request to open the plane door. Why our ticketing was "wrong" to begin with and made us lose the 20 minutes and more (because the lines grew) was never explained. Avianca representatives at the gate did not make any attempt to understand our position or admit that they caused the delay that put us at the gate 7 minutes late. I have been on many planes where the door has been opened to accommodate last minute passengers. I am left with a very bitter taste in my mouth.
The hotel in El Salvador was at our expense. The auto rental in Belize was gone as we arrived a day and a half late. Our new rental took hours to arrive and at a upgrade on us of course. Do not fly this airline. Looking over these complaints, ours now included, should be enough to convince anyone to make other arrangements, fly other airlines. What should have been a time of reflection on a great occasion was turned into a nightmare thanks to Avianca airlines.
I paid $1700 for two tickets to South America for my honeymoon. Our resort unexpectedly closed down for the season, so we opted to cancel those tickets and rebook at another time. We knew the change fees were $200/each but saw that their flights from $400-$600 to other destinations, so we figured we wouldn't lose any money. When I talked to the Avianca representative about changing my ticket they said I'd have a credit for one year from the purchase date, and that I could look up the flights I wanted online and then call in to book them with my credit. If only...
When I finally called back in to use my flight credit, they said that the flight prices for CHANGED tickets are double the flight prices for NEW tickets, so the prices we saw published online were just a fraction of what they'd actually charge us. The most affordable flight I could find online would still cost us an additional $400 to book, which would be a whopping $1,100 a person for flights listed online at $421. I was on the phone for 45 minutes to find this out, and when I tried to ask if the flight prices were abnormally high they hung up on me. Then I called back and spoke to another person, who again hung up on me when I asked to speak to a manager. At this point I think it's $1700 down the drain. We never would have canceled the first flight if we'd known how much trouble this would be. So much for a honeymoon...
I am bound to miss 3/4 days of my hard earned vacation because this airline is set to rip people off. We missed a connecting flight of which the other airline took responsibility for and was willing to fly us out the next flight but it was 24 hours later. Avianca had every flight scheduled for the rest of our vacation. They were unwilling to accommodate any change whatsoever and made us buy all new reservation. That is $4k in addition to $5k we had already spent on original reservation. We show up the next day and they canceled our reservation. No one has authority to do anything at the airport level and everyone you speak to through customer service is not willing to provide any assistance even after they ripped us off for another reservation just cancel.
My trip I've been dreaming my whole life has turned into a nightmare. How is this company allowed to be in business? I've never heard such absurdities in over 25 years of travel. Oh and I just had surgery and was supposed to have a stress-free relaxing vacation to help recover and get some energy back. I have had multiple anxiety attacks and upset stomach through this ordeal. Can't put a price on my mental or physical health they have affected. Not like they care about that either. Crooks!
Yesterday my flight Avianca 522 coming from El Salvador arrived at LAX at 11:05 am. I had to wait for my bag until 1:15 pm and still wasn't in the belt as well as other 35 bags. Everyone was trying to get responses and we just got rude answers and this is what the agents were saying "we are sharing the belt with another 3 airlines." I had to go to work at 3 pm and two of the worst agents gave me attitude and let me know they couldn't take a claim without having a bag tag and since not all the bags were in the belt.
I have worked for 4 airlines - AA, AF, LAN & Iberia for doing ramp, operations, security, etc. And I couldn't believe they couldn't just take the description and details of my flight plus my contact information to get the claim going. I had to explain them exactly what they need it for me and at the end they didn't even want to give me a copy of the claim they took for me to have in my records! The agents name were: Jazmin ** & Martha **. What a horrible customer service & lack of experience - I definitely would have handle this situation better - I travel 3 times a year to El Salvador & send tickets to my family members. I take Avianca per the convenience but you just lost my business - Please have a manager reach me.
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