Let me start with some serious travel advice, NEVER FLY NAS AIR, especially when it’s the rush season. This is a personal account of the worst ever customer experience I have ever had. I will be updating it on daily basis until the issue is resolved. At the end of this post are the customer experience lessons learned from this situation.
Day 0: Oct 26
After waiting for more than 90 minutes in a queue that did not move for 60 minutes for reasons not explained to passengers, I finally got the boarding passes for 4 of us. I booked 3 bags and had one hand carry bag that had spare clothes for the kids, Rayyan (5+) and Raed (1+). We were really excited to visit our parents and siblings after more than a year. Since we were going for Eid we had bought gifts for everyone and were looking forward to share the happiness with our family members upon arrival in Lahore.
Day 1: Oct 27 (Eid Day in Pakistan)
Nas Air XY 702 took off from Riyadh at 2:00 am and landed in Lahore at 7:30 am. My father and sister had come to receive us at airport. After clearing the immigration around 8:00 am we kept on waiting for the luggage for hours. Around 11:00 am the conveyer operator staff announced that there was no more baggage from Nas Air XY 702. More than 20 passengers that were waiting for their bags were shocked. After 30 minutes of confusion a person turned up at a counter in baggage claim area and asked passengers to provide their information such as name, luggage tag numbers, and contact number. There was no other information given by that person, let alone any compensation. The passengers were sent home.
It was Eid day and we did not have appropriate clothes to wear, thanks to Nas Air. We also did not have the gifts that we were supposed to give to our family members.
Luckily I was carrying my laptop with me and upon reaching home I sent a tweet to @nasair. I got a response from @nasair that required of me to email my problem to csu@nasaviation. I was expecting a more proactive response from @nasair. Without wasting time I sent the first email to the given email address with all the details.
Day 2: Oct 28
Next morning we got a rude shock! The flight that had come came from Riyadh did not have our luggage on it. Thankfully we had an extra pair of clothes for kids. My wife borrowed clothes from my sister and I borrowed from my brother.
I sent another tweet to @nasair but this time there was no response. I then picked up the phone and made an international roaming call to 00966920001234 (Nas Air Customer Service). After waiting for over several minutes when I got through to the agent, she told me there nothing she can do and I should try calling on 3rd November. I was frustrated and helpless!
Day 3: Oct 29
Another day passed, another flight from Riyadh arrived in Lahore, but the luggage was not on it. Due to Eid, markets were closed in Lahore and we could not even buy clothes. I called the local Nas Air help line in Lahore and was confronted with a very rude person. He was totally indifferent and asked me not to bother them again before 3rd November. I wrote second email to csu@nasaviation and tweeted to @nasair again. There was no response.
My father’s birthday falls on Oct 29. I had carefully selected a gift for my Dad but could not give it to him because it was in one of the bags I had booked. I really felt low and frustrated that day because of Nas Air.
Day 4, 5: Oct 30 and 31
It had now become a daily routine to call Nas Air help line, send a tweet, and use sources at Lahore airport to send telex to Nas Air office in Riyadh to inquire about the luggage. There was no response from any of these channels. As the markets opened I had no choice but to buy clothes, gifts, toiletries, and other things which I had not budgeted for. This was turning out be an emotionally traumatic and financially burdening situation.
On the evening of 31st Oct we got information from Nas Air to visit the airport next morning to collect the luggage. It was a moment of relief.
Day 6: Nov 1
I turned up at the airport on the morning of 1st November to collect the bags. Other passengers of the same flight were also there. We waited at the airport for more than 2 hours and to our extreme disappointment, found out that no luggage had come with the flight. Passengers who had come from different parts of Lahore and from other cities had to return back empty handed. There was not even a single word of apology from Nas Air. Upon reaching home I again called Nas Air help line and was told by the agent to call 0096612166666. I tried that number only to hear an automated response that the line was closed till 3rd November. I sent another email and tweeted to @nasair. As usual there was no response.
Day 7: Nov 2
In a breakthrough progress, the Nas Air help line agent told me that I should try sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org. This was the third email address for Nas Air customer service provided to me from three different channels. The other two emails are email@example.com (communicated to me by @nasair) and firstname.lastname@example.org (as per website). I sent the 5th email to all three email addresses and I tweeted to @nasair again. As usual there was no response from any channel.
Day 8: Nov 3
The flight that came from Riyadh on Oct 8 did not have our luggage. Two passengers of that flight also had bags missing. I received a call from Nas Air Customer Service in the morning and the agent wanted to know what were the details of my complaint. Apparently the 6 emails I had written were not read. I explained the issue in detail on an international roaming call. I received another call in the evening from Nas Air but the agent could not tell when the luggage would come. Another disappointing day!
If the luggage does not arrive on Nov 4, we will not be able to attend a very important family wedding in Islamabad as the kids would not have warm clothes to wear and we would not have the wedding clothes and gifts.
Day 9: Nov 4 (Luggage Received)
On the morning of Nov 4, I finally received SMS from Nas Air that the luggage had arrived and I can collect it from airport. It was such a relief! The 9 days of agony had come to an end. Another pleasant surprise was a personal email and a phone call from CEO of Nas Air, Mr. Francois Bouteiller. Although it was late but I appreciate that Nas Air management took notice and acted upon the issue.
Customer Experience Lessons
Below are some of the key customer experience lessons from this incident that are applicable to any company operating in any industry.
- Responding to customer complaints in timely manner is more important than actually resolving the complaint
Nas Air made it worse by not responding. Uncertainty is the last things customers want.
- Be mindful of your peak season and plan your resources accordingly
Vacation season (Christmas/Eid/Diwali) is the peak season for airline industry. Nas Air could have avoided this situation by better managing availability of ground staff and customer service staff.
- Have an effective compensation ready in case of expected and unexpected eventualities
Nas Air could have made it easier for passengers by giving compensation based on the number of days the luggage was missing for.
- Have an escalation process in place at all customer service channels to identify and act upon serious complaints
Nas Air management was probably unaware of the situation even after repeated contact with various customer service channels.
- Integrate customer service capabilities with your social media accounts
The twitter account of Nas Air turned out to be only a marketing channel. Customers will turn to social media in case of complaints. Nas Air could have effectively reduced customer effort in getting help if @nasair could register and work on complaint resolution.
- Before contacting the customer for complain resolution, make sure you have complete information about customer’s complaint.
Nas Air in this case called me to inquire ‘what was my issue’. Although I had sent 6 emails, and made multiple contacts through phone and twitter.