A few weeks ago, I booked myself on a Mexicana flight from Bogota to San Antonio, Texas so I can attend the Meet Plan Go event in Austin…which I´m hosting. Not long after, Mexicana announced that it´s filing for bankruptcy. They also announced that even though they’ve suspended sales of new tickets, those of us with purchased tickets can rest assured that our tickets will be honored.
I woke up today with the news that Mexicana has suspended several of its international flights due to cash flow issues. I looked at the site announcing these changes to its flight schedule and I saw that both Bogota and San Antonio are affected. As of August 9, according to Mexicana, the flights to these cities are being suspended.
I understood this to mean no more flights exist on Mexicana to Bogota and San Antonio until further notice. However, apparently that´s not what it means to Mexicana.
Customer Service, Please Hold
I reached out to a couple of my travel blogger brethren to see what they had heard. And, nothing they sent me gave me any ¨warm and fuzzies¨ that I would be taking Mexicana to San Antonio in September.
I next went to Twitter to see what the company was tweeting out. Life @MexicanaAir is all clear blue skies it seems. It´s all under control.
- On August 6: 10:37AM they tweeted ¨Mexicana Airlines continues operations as scheduled in the interest of protecting passengers whom already have tickets & flight itineraries.
- Looking good so far. But, then there´s this tweet
- On August 9 in the morning: We reaffirm our commitment to our customers and thank you for your preference. http://bit.ly/CMAinforms That bitly link takes you to the page announcing their suspended flights.
- I am not feeling the love and am not comforted.
- I thought that the link to purchase a ticket on mexicana.com on the Suspension announcement page was a particularly naive and hopeful sentiment by the airline.
Next, I go online to find out how to contact Mexicana directly to get some answers. The only contact numbers are for Mexico and North America. Mexicana flies all over Latin America. What are we in Bogota to do? I find a chat function and click to engage. The form asks for a detailed question about my issue…but only accepts 120 characters. Hmmm. I enter my details and proceed to wait, and wait and wait.
So, I find the toll-free US number and make a call via skype. I got a customer service rep on the phone who was quite friendly and he confirmed my ticket and said that I would have a place on Mexicana in September. I asked him what it meant to say ¨Suspended flight¨ to Mexicana and mentioned that use of wording confused me. He assured me that announcement had no relevance to my ability to board my flights in September. I finally dropped it realizing that he didn’t have the answer I needed.
So, I now wait to see if I really will be boarding my flight in September.
Lost in Translation
I speak fluent Spanish. And, even so, I still have occasions in which slight differences in word usage change the meaning of what someone is trying to say. Let’s just say that I recognize the signs very well when one means one thing but says another. This is not one of those instances. The verb to suspend means the same thing in Spanish as it does in English. I understand that Mexicana has a lot going on trying to deal with its bankruptcy. But, whoever manages its customer communications should be fired.
It is inexcusable to communicate with words like ¨Suspension of Flights¨ when that may not be what Mexicana means. But, who knows, maybe it is what they mean and they are not telling the customer service representatives so as to avoid a full-scale customer revolt and PR nightmare.
Mexicana is not being up front with its customers in communicating what the real situation is with its flights. Either flights are being suspended or they are not. Either they have the cash to continue operations as scheduled or they do not. Either people´s purchased tickets will be honored or they will not. We will begin to know the situation shortly. And, Mexicana’s poor customer communications will only serve to make the situation worse for its passengers.
Tags: travel advice