Refusal to be allow to board Interjet Flight 880

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May 23, 2019
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#1
I’m writing to bring your attention to an incident that occurred with your customer service staff on May 14, 2019 at Cabo San Lucas International Airport.

After a series of unforeseen and very stressful transportation delays in route to the airport, we arrived at the Interjet counter at 2:00p.m. for our scheduled 3:00p.m. departure. Upon arrival, we acknowledged that we arrived late to the airport. Rather than even attempt to help the three passengers in our party (myself, my wife and an friend), the customer service agent curtly stated that there was nothing she could do to help us because we missed the three hour check-in cutoff requirement and began unplugging and packing up her equipment. No acknowledgement of the fact that were ticketed passengers, no suggestions as to what our available options were, nothing. Much to our dismay, she didn’t even give us the courtesy of eye contact. Needless to say, we were frustrated and disappointed by the complete lack of customer service and empathy shown by your employees. As a result of Interjet’s refusal to allow us to board our flight, we were left to seek out other options (which were limited at best) and purchased $1,500 worth of tickets on Delta.

We are aware of your policy which recommends passengers arrive three hours prior to departure. We understand the reason behind this policy and appreciate Interjet’s desire to keep and maintain their on-time arrivals and departures. However, what we don’t understand is the way this policy is applied. It became apparent to us after our brief interaction with your customer service personnel, that several of the passengers on our flight in fact checked in after the 3 hour cutoff time, but were still allowed to board the flight. As a practical matter, in an airport the size of Los Cabos, one hour is more than plenty of time to go through security and board the flight. At what point do you actually begin denying passengers the right to board their flight? We observed this policy to be applied in a very arbitrary manner, which increased our sense of frustration and feeling that we were being discriminated against for a variety of reasons, including my wife’s disability.

Quite frankly, we have never been treated so poorly by any airline personnel. Notable, when we were filling out a complaint form at the airport, the airport staff manning the desk confided that your airline is frequently the target of complaints.

I sincerely hope that you do not choose to disregard this communication or simply put it in a file with others. In this digital age, the likelihood of accountability for poor customer service, discrimination and disregard for the well-being of passengers should not be underestimated.

We are reasonable people that enjoyed our vacation in Los Cabos but ended up with a horrible feeling about traveling to Mexico. The airline business is still a customer service business. You would be wise to train Interjet’s employees on how a “little kindness” or a little “bit of compassion” goes a long way. Doing so could go a long way to improve your reputation.

We await your reply and hope that you will respond to this communication with an apology and an offer of reimbursement or, at very least, vouchers for future travel.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#2
I’m sorry you got a less than pleasant employee. The agent had no choice but to pack up everything at the counter because the computers lock an hour before the flight leaves and they can’t do anything to over ride it. Her shift was also over and she had to leave. Did you argue with her about not being able to check you in? They do hear things like this all day long when people get to the airport too late for check in unfortunately.

You also chose a highly discounted airline and many of them don’t hire the best quality employees. You don’t get much customer service with these discounts lines either.

Why would you have a poor opinion of Mexico because you arrived at the airport late and couldn’t check in? An unpleasant airline employee shouldn’t have anything to do with your perception of an entire country. I get plenty of lousy service right in the US and that doesn’t make me hate this country.

Interjet doesn’t read these boards. Did you send this to them? We have company contacts on top of our pages that you should send your letter to. The most you may get is an apology though about the employee being abrupt - is that what you are looking for? If you are looking for a better experience, don’t book with discount airlines- they work on volume, not service. In the airline biz you get what you pay for - getting from point a to point b and the discounters have less then happy employees. I wish it were different but that’s how flying is now.

In the future make sure you are at the airport three hours before an international flight and two for a domestic. Them you shouldn’t be subjected to an employee who can’t help even if she wanted to:
 
Jul 13, 2016
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#3
As Neil said, the clerk had no ability to check your party in. The computer locks off and closes the flight 60 minutes prior to departure. Airline personnel cannot over-ride it.

Interjet apparently does not interline (have agreements with other airlines) so they would not be able to put you on another carrier. Frankly, why would they, even if such as partnership existed? If I miss my Alaska Air flight to New York, Alaska could put me on their alliance partner airline, American, but Alaska would have to pay American and the cost would be higher than what I paid Alaska in the first place. Alaska would only do this if I missed the flight due to their controllable actions (lack of maintenance causing a canceled flight). Even in those circumstances, the original airline is very reluctant to put their passengers on other airlines. In your case, the airline was in no way responsible for your late arrival.

It became apparent to us after our brief interaction with your customer service personnel, that several of the passengers on our flight in fact checked in after the 3 hour cutoff time, but were still allowed to board the flight.
just means that they made the hard cut off of one hour. In your case, you missed the cutoff. The airline computer was locked, and the flight closed. No further tickets sales allowed. You are due no compensation.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#4
There is a reason that the computers lock and that is because of immigration in the arriving country -- in this case the US -- wants to have the passenger list -- so at 60 minutes prior to departure the computer program locks down.

The OP says that they took Delta -- well this is what Delta has to say about international departures

When you’re traveling outside of the United States, we make the suggestion to arrive at least 3 hours prior to your departure. You must be checked in at least 1 hour before your scheduled departure. Additionally, we recommend being at the gate and ready to board 45 minutes before your scheduled departure time.

Notice -- checked in at least 1 hour prior -- that does not mean arriving at the check in desk at exactly 60 minutes before departure.

Interjet wants people at the airport 3 hours in advance -- because of possible lines and such --

If you need to check baggage, you should arrive to our check in counters at the airport at least 2 hours prior to your flight time if traveling within Mexico, and 3 hours prior to your flight time for international flights.

https://www.interjet.com/en-us/interjet-experience/customer-support/frequently-asked-questions


So the two airlines have similar requirements.

There was no discrimination. As long as someone is there and checked in before the computers lock at 60 minutes prior to departure then they get on the flight.

The letter is written in a manner that does not advance the cause. Claiming that the check in cut off, which is the same as Delta's, was done because one passenger is disabled is really baseless. And claiming one hour is enough to get through security -- well that does not matter.

Why does the airline have to close down the check-in -- as mentioned the passenger list has to be cleared by the Department of Homeland Security. This is a post 2001 law after the 9/11 attacks and is supposed to prevent people from boarding the plane who are on a terrorist watch list.

So 60 minutes makes sense, as the computer system needs time to search for a match and and then communicate to the airline if there is a passenger that cannot be transported to the United States. Customs and Border Protection has to have the passenger list for each and every international flight into the US -- does not matter if it is a low cost carrier or a billionaire in a private plane -- the passenger and crew list has to pass CBP screening.

At what point do they deny passengers boarding -- when the passenger has forfeited the right to board by not checking in on time.

According to the DHS:

"the carrier will not permit the boarding of a passenger unless the passenger has been cleared by CBP "

Airlines cannot transport a passenger to the US who has not been cleared -- and by not being on the passenger list one misses the chance to be cleared by CBP ---

Security is nowadays more than just passing through the metal detectors; the US government wants the advance passenger information and no air carrier is going to mess with that list. This has nothing to do with how small the Cabo airport is -- so the OPs idea of 60 minutes being adequate does not square with the reality of what is mandated.

Interjet is a low cost airline -- low cost means having as few staff as possible and perhaps by offering low pay they may not get the best employees. That being said, how many times has this person likely been the recipient of anger for something that is not their fault. The ticket office at the Cabo airport closes at 2 pm on weekdays,

It is stressful to have transportation problems and arrive late to check in. But arriving late is not the fault of the airline. And claiming discrimination does not help the situation. Interjet has a fairly strict no show policy.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#5
A very unpleasant experience that could have been mitigated by a show of concern on the part of the airline agent. My colleagues have given you excellent explanations of why it happened. If you haven't yet submitted your letter to the airline, I would suggest that you compose a concise, polite listing of the facts. Keep in mind that this is a low-cost airline with little customer service. Admit responsibility for the problem and ask them for a voucher for a future flight. Your letter is much too long and probably won't be read by the airline.
 
May 1, 2018
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#6
How did other passengers on your flight check in after the 1 hour cut off? How did they manage to do that if the agent packed up the computer and left?
 
Likes: krisseye
Apr 8, 2019
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#7
What everyone is referring to are the rules set forth by the US Government which follow. It is not just your record that has to be examined in this short one hour period, but all passengers and crew aboard the aircraft.
U.S. law requires airlines operating international flights to or from the United States to provide travel document data for all customers via APIS.
In addition, ATSA mandates that both foreign and domestic airlines that operate flights to the United States provide passenger and crew manifests and, for either inbound or outbound foreign air flights, passenger name records (also known as PNR data) to the CBP. PNR data is the reservation information contained in an air carrier’s electronic reservation system that sets forth the identity and travel plans of each passenger or group of passengers in a reservation record.
 
Likes: krisseye

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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#8
How did other passengers on your flight check in after the 1 hour cut off? How did they manage to do that if the agent packed up the computer and left?
They didn't: "several of the passengers on our flight in fact checked in after the 3 hour cutoff time "
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
17,511
15,843
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#10
They didn't: "several of the passengers on our flight in fact checked in after the 3 hour cutoff time "
All that means is that they may have arrived two hours before the flight instead of three and had an hour to check in.

Unless any of them were standing and trying to check in at the same time he was checking in - they arrived before cut off time. The three hour time frame is recommended to be able to check your luggage and get through security.

If the OP had checked in on line and printed his boarding passes 24 hours before and got ther early enough to check his luggage he might not have had this happen either. Check in 24 hours before your flight matters in may cases. Especially if a flight is overbooked.
 
Likes: R.L.