31 October 2007

Can't Breathe This (gulf) Air

You gotta love Gulf Air. They're one of the few airlines that actually make me laugh (cry?) from offering a service so bad, it's a suprise they're still actually in business. Luckily for me, I haven't dealt with them for years, but yesterday I somehow made the mistake of booking a weekend flight to Dubai with them; bad idea.

Now, with all our technological advances, online booking, e-tickets and so on, it should be very, very straightforward to book a flight. I mean, for the past three years i've completely disregarded travel agencies and actually visiting any sort of travel office, and booked almost every single flight and hotel for all of my trips online. Not so with Gulf Air. First, the website wouldn't accept my online booking, since the departing and returning flights were less than 72 hours apart. UUUUUUHHHHH, hellloooooo, i'm going for the weekend? Ever heard of 1, 2 or even 3 day trips? Never mind.

So, the online booking had to turn into a phone call; not really a very bad one actually, as the reservation didn't take much longer than a few minutes. For some reason, their agent couldn't charge my credit card though, and asked me to pass by one of their branches instead to pay.

Bloody hell.

So the agent tells me I have a time limit till 11:00am the next morning (which was today), so I get the booking number, thank him, and hang up. Today, I gave Gulf Air a call to figure out what time their closest branch opens, which turns out to be Seef Mall branch, at 10:00am. Great. I'll just take a quick 15 mins off work, cross the road to Seef, finish paying, and run back to the office.

So there I am facing their branch at 9:55am; a few minutes early, just so I can be the first to get my payment done and get back. This should be quick:

9:55AM

Yup, it's closed. But hey, that's normal.. They open at 10, and i'm here 5 minutes early.

10:00AM

Ok, great it's 10! They should open their doors any minute now.

10:05AM

Eeeem... Anyyy minute now...

10:10AM

10 is technically the opening time for all stores in Seef, and yes, they were all open except Gulf Air. I called their hotline just to confirm, hey, I might have got the opening time wrong? But no, they confirmed, it was supposed to be open at 10:00am.

10:15AM

Getting a little silly now... I decided to go buy a donut with my credit card just to make sure it was working, and guess what, it worked fine. I wonder what the hell was wrong with GulfAir's system that wouldn't pass my payment.

10:20AM

Yup, still closed... And people are piling up...

10:25AM

Still closed...

10:27AM

AH! Can't believe it! A Gulf Air employee ACTUALLY bothered to come to work today! Yippeeee!!

So I guess it's not only the GulfAir flights that never leave on time; it's their branches that never open on time too. Anyhow; after waiting for almost half an hour, it turns out they cancelled my booking at midnight! DUH! But the phone agent said 11:00am? Well, that didn't matter. They had to make a new booking, and seems the guy I had the misfortune of being served with was either mentally retarted, or had no idea how the GulfAir computer system worked, because it took almost another half an hour and a lot of help from his supervisor to actually complete my booking.

And after all that, they charged me an extra fee for actually using the physical branch, instead of the phone or online service. I explained that it wasn't my problem, but hey, remember this is GulfAir, and they really don't give a damn about you. So instead of complaining and wasting my time, I decided to just pay the damn fee and get on with it. And this was just the booking. God knows what headaches will appear when checking in.

Seriously, next time i'm taking Emirates.

41 comments:

'GreY said...

May be they are trained by either Kuwait Airways or Air India dudes' lol !

Confessions of a moody crab said...

My experience with Emirates was not great either.

Lulwa said...

Why am I not surprised?

A.K said...

Don't worry! It's a Muslim Country thing. You've never been to PAkistan. The TORTURE is immense.

Semaj said...

great post, I can't believe they charged you extra.

I work in an airport ramp, so I understand some of this too. Delays seemed to be the normal of airports.

Amjad said...

I'm trying to convince my father that Emirates airlines is way much better & cheaper than Gulf Air but he is not listening to me! All our flights are by Gulf Air for the past 20 years and I'm really getting sick of them.. They have the highest fares and the crappiest planes & service.

LiB Team said...

So much for our "National" carrier, eh? Now it's fully national, too!

Gulf Air will NEVER change and they will remain the shitheads that they always were.

Here are our Gulf Air related posts:

http://lifeinbahrain.blogspot.com/2006/07/come-fly-with-me.html
http://lifeinbahrain.blogspot.com/2007/02/its-good-to-be-back-or-is-it.html
http://lifeinbahrain.blogspot.com/2007/04/now-this-has-to-be-good-news.html

Oh and u want a good trip to Dubai? Al-Jazeera Airways are honestly the best, oh and now they fly Maldives for BD 75 per person including taxes! How awesome is that?

Amu said...

Emirates is gone lazy with their service too. I would suggest take Qatar Airways.

Anonymous said...

i thought this kinda thing only happened in the govt sector :p

and i thought i was having it bad!

Missy said...

I prefer Qatar Airways. they're good, like really GOOD.

ehsanbros said...

It became an old company, more than 55 years of serving the gulf, and no progress...

Sunshine said...

ha! gulf air is so last year (century)
i stopped flying them since the day they booked me in as Mr.. MISTER, DAMN IT!!!

Amjad said...

Sunshine: they booked my sister in as Mr. more than once , lol.. Seems that it's a common practice from them! :-p

eshda3wa said...

u want gulfair to look good?
try kuwait airways :)

Funaki said...

The whole thing with the pictures was totally cool.

its bad that you had to wait this long. They obviously dont know what they are doing, i had to keep going to their office for 2 weeks to get a refund and every time i had to start from scratch.

ammoontie said...

Almost everyone has got a very bad experience with GulfAir, especially when onboard..the food..the stewardess...anyway I hope you will have a nice weekend in Dubai, to compensate it.

ammaro.com said...

grey; perhaps they should merge into one crappy company, make huge losses, and shut down! better for all of us!

confession; yes, but in comparison theyre great

lulwa; because theyre crap?

Ak; i guess it is. total inefficiency experts

semaj; delays are normal but gulf air just excels in that area

amjad; change. for the love of god, change

LIB; unfortunately they had the only available late night flight. bluh. yala, next time...

Amu; emirates are expanding faster than they can handle so theyre slowly going down. i dunno about Qatar air, i had a bad experience with them on my way to italy, but it was just once...

anon; gulf air is the airline version of govt sector...

missy; maybe ill try them next time

ehsan; yeesh... being in service a long time is SUPPOSED to be a good thing!

sunshine; ooh. maybe you need to wax your mustache...

amjad; they can call me miss if they want, as long as they offer me a reasonable service!

eshda3wa; eheh... no thanks

funaki; not suprised.

amoontie; bluh. im going to maldives for 75bd, the hell with dubai (for 90bd!) !

Reza said...

well come to think of it all ME airlines are the same. In Emirates you get crabby hoes(tesses) more than in Gulf Air. Qatar Airways..........no Comment

Blue Dress said...

look at that you found the perfect job!

you can workd there 10 30 ya salaama

N. said...

Wow.. I was in bahrain lask weekend actually, and I flew gulf air through an agent. Everything was peachy. Sorry your experience didn't go so well. The plane did leave about a half hour late, BOTH times.

I think their motto is, "We care, Just a half hour later"

ammaro.com said...

reza; maybe so. at least they entertain

blue dress; !!!!!
hahahahahaahahahhahahahahahahahahohohohohohohhehehehehehehahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahaahhahahaah :D

n; you were lucky!

Woozie said...

lol, good story.

Blue Dress said...

lool ;p

you can work there, ya salam! *
fixing my spelling mistkes ;p

Its good that you lughed ....

Spread the love ...

Blue Dress said...

laughed* krkrkrkr

Blue Dress said...

laughed* krkrkrkr

moon-light7 said...

I could've cracked up at them any time! like really say bad things, but you held your temper fine, good 4 u.
hope ur trip goes fine as well:)

Merlin said...

The great news I would like to share with you all is that I have permanently left Bahrain. Thats right emigrated and not looking back. It is stories like this that bring joy to me now!

Incompetence and corruption in the island of golden smiles, oh and by the way the only reason their smile is golden is because they dont brush their teeth, but that would say alot about the place, wouldnt it??!

There is no hope there, the system has failed, failed us and all it is doing is breeding a generation of morons who are clueless, who think this is as good as it gets. Someone should just put that island out of its misery, sell it to Iran, to Saudi, the Palestinians maybe, they need a country?? hell, sell it on ebay?? Theres no use the Bahraini population is just no good in a no good system.

taqo said...

SAUDI AIRLINES ALL THE WAY BABBEH!



actually...they're no all that. but i gotta represent, y'know?

but yea, Emirates is pretty good :">

Joel said...

Happy holidays!!

Shoaib said...

loved ur blog.. like the way u contibute... way2go..

well, u shudn't have made the mistake of going with Gulf Airlines.. i mean even a blind man wudnt do tat :-/

KJ said...

Oh man, wow... can't believe this shit still happens!

The Criticizer said...

Not as bad as Kuwait Airways. :P

ammaro.com said...

woozie; yes. based on a true story.

moonlight; not much time to relax unfortunately :(

merlin; congrats dude!!!! im so frickin happy for ya, where r u now?

taqo; you just keep representing :p

joel; more like weekend, bluh...

shoaib; i know, silly me... but no more, last time i go with them!

kj; all the bloody time...

criticizer; ill wait to see your post on KA :p

LiB Team said...

Merlin, Good for you!!! Elfaal for the rest of us who want out of this hellhole... All the best to you!

Fawad said...

which city are you in where this happened?

I have actually booked a flight with them cuz they are offering the cheapest rates.

My last (and only) experience with them was pretty good infact.

Fawad.

Adel said...

I used to work as a team leader in Gulf Air's call center but I left them. I was a very hard worker and tried to help any one contacts me on spot, I had a policy called one-stop-shop-call, but unfortuantely, Gulf Air dont care about its employees, so thats why I left! unfortunately, Gulf Air do have the biggest network in the middle east, but as our dear blogger said, Fly Emirates !! pay a few more bucks and purchase a peace of mind !!

Adel said...

BTW, if for whatever reason you had to travel with GF, contact me and i will assure that you will get an unsurpassed quality from reservation till you step the airport's parking barrier gate, and then God knows what you will face in the Airport (!)

ammaro said...

Adel; whoa man, i feel your pain! anyhow, i'm actually flying tomorrow morning, so if you can bump up my tickets to first class, I won't say no :p

Adel said...

loool :D I acctually can bump it if you wanna "pay" them, but what I can do is pray for you that you will be gifted with angelic ground staff in the airport who may bump you FOC (free of cost) << I used this abbreviation a lot in GF :p. trooo7 oo trja3 bssalama :D

Imran said...

The late opening is a Bahrain thing. I had the same experience with Etihad office in Bahrain. They were supposed to open at 8 am but didnt open till 8:45. About Gulf Air, rubbish service and highest fares but I am stuck with them. I fly once or twice every month on LHE-BAH route and gulf air is the only airline operating direct on this route.
They are good with one thing though. They mostly give me a free upgrade (about 75% of time) but their business class on this route is also pathetic.

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