Online ticket purchasing at EVA Airlines


#1

I know this should really belong to the travel section. But, just wish to give it a better exposure.

I have been a pretty loyal customer of EVA Airlines for around twenty years. Back then, my brother's girlfriend was working for EVA. But, I stick with them even after that factor was long gone. In general, I found them to be very acceptable, even found their service delightful most of the time.

This is the first time I have done on-line booking on EVA Airlines' website. It is a round trip ticket, departing from LAX on 11/13. I tried a few days ago, in office, which didn't go too well, for lack of several pieces of information.

Yesterday, 11/1, I made another attempt. All went smoothly. Got to the page for credit card info and all that. Click on CONFIRM. Told to wait a moment. So I waited......and waited. The IE browser screen turn blank.

After a few minutes, I was pretty sure IE crashed. So, that browser window
was closed. Another attempt was made to make a reservation for exactly the same flight. Hang again after the credit card information was entered.

Moments later, my email received two confirmations for the exact same flight. And, they have indicated that I am going to be charged for both on my credit card! Called EVA Taipei office. They told me, sorry you must call LA, because the ticket is for departure from there.

11/2 1AM. Call EVA LA office (310)362-6600, with a phone card having 25 minutes left. Waiting about 20 minutes till a living being come on-line. Not in a good mood and with little time left, I spit out my frequent flyer number and all the other details to this otherwise nice lady. Also told her that I use a phone card and only have a few minutes left. She tried to guide me through the Refund Application on their website. I was on their Chinese web page. Somehow, she seemed to see different content than I do. Anyway, I couldn't complete the process. Because clicking on CONFIRM just pops up a message saying I have some illegal character entered. The one minute-left, was heard. So I ask if there is a direct number. Nope, she said. Must call that same number again, no direct line. Then, the phone got cut-off.

Tried again with Refund Application in their English page. Seems to go through OK. Now, it did seem go through. The problem is that the reservation inquiry still reveals double booking.

I called their number again. For three times, got hangup right after being told that all lines are busy. Are they trying to save me from waiting another 20 minutes? But, why not the first time? Anyway, on the fourth attempt, they were courteous enough to give me the privilege to wait only five minutes before the same lady picked up the phone. She as still nice and smooth to the fuming nut at the other end of the line. But, basically, I will have to check periodically on-line for the status of the Refund Application. They WILL NOT inform me through email, or anything otherwise. Basically, it is tough luck that I got into this mess. I will be charged for the double booking. They will refund me as they process it on their own pace. I thanked her. After all, she is just an employee following company policy.

As a technical support staff under customer service department of a medium size computer company, this whole event just seemed too ridiculous.

  1. The behavior of the phone system did not follow a logical pattern. Did they intentionally cut-off all incoming calls to ticketing, for those three calls I made?

  2. EVA is supposedly a global company, as should all international airlines. Why can't ticketing staff handle reservation made on their Chinese web page. Why does origin of departure matter?

  3. How can their computer system accept double booking, by the same name with the same membership number. That can be valid only for someone with supernatural ability to split their presence. In that case, shouldn't they give this unusual being a free flight in first class?

  4. Are they purposely making online reservation so unpalatable, in order to protect those travel agents that might be bring in more revenue than those pithy individuals?

It is over 4AM now. My double reservation is still there. I do believe that they will refund what shouldn't have charged on my credit card in the first place. But, before everything is settled, it is frustrating and excruciating. Perhaps, I should just move on, like my brother.


#2

I don't use EVA, but as a 20 year travel industry veteran, I might be able to take a stab at some of your questions.

1) You're asking for logic from a Taiwanese company? At the very least, they will follow Taiwanese "logic", not American "logic".

The phone reservations/ticketing staff may not be able to handle changing or modifying ticketing transactions from the web site because those transactions may be sub-contracted to a third party. For example, United airlines sub-contracts the reservations and ticketing on it's website to an outside company; in the US it used to be called ITN (Internet Travel Network) and now on the Taiwan web site it's World Express Inc. When I've booked a ticket on UA's website and called their reservations department about cleaning up schedule changes on my record, they've refered me to the web site's customer support. It has to do with how the money for tickets is turned over from retail outlets to the airline. The airline isn't going to void or refund a ticket for which they haven't received the funds. What if you dispute the charge with your credit card company and they don't pay the web site vendor, but the airline refunds your money?

2) See #1. Additionally, if you used the English site, their office/ticketing might be in the US, in which case all refunds would have to be handled there. The general rule for ticket refunds is that they can only be processed in the same country where the ticket was originally issued. Even if you submit a ticket bought in the US to the airline's ticket counter here, they basically only give you a receipt and the ticket is eventually processed in the original currency/country. (At least that was they way it worked when I was in the business.)

3) Double bookings are fairly common in the airline business, which is one of the many reasons airlines overbook. Some airlines computer systems do a better job scanning for and identifying double bookings. NW airlines used to be the most agressive, canceling both reservations when duplicate bookings were found, even if one or both was ticketed. When you restarted your web browser, it was a fresh, new booking, which may or may not been detected later. As far as I know, no airline's res system checks for duplicate bookings at the time of reservation. It might be a good program to write, though....... :ponder:

4) Quite the opposite. Airlines are doing everything possible to get consumer to use their web sites so as to eliminate commissions and other processing fees associated to selling tickets through agents. Also, they don't want travel agents to have the opportunity to convince you to take their competitor. If I recall, both China Airlines and Eva Air often have fares available on their web sites that are not available through agents. Trouble is, some airlines just haven't invested enough yet in their web sites to make them effective.

If you got through to the web site's customer support, chances are pretty good that the duplicate reservation will be canceled and the ticket refunded. In the mean time, you could contact your credit card company and dispute the duplicate charge pending the airline's processing.


#3

With ANY transaction or problem of this type in the US, you cannot only talk to the first person who answers the phone. They are the front-line call center people, and they are reading a script. They have no authority to go beyond the script. (My husband managed a call center for a long time, so we know.)

You have to ask to speak to the supervisor. Use those exact words: "I'm not unhappy with your service, but I would like to speak to a supervisor, please." If the calls are recorded, and you ask for a supervisor and they refuse to put you through, usually (but not always) there might be trouble for the call center person who answered the phone. Be insistent. When you get the supervisor, present the same information and see what can be done. If that doesn't work, ask for HER supervisor.

It doesn't always work -- some organizations are more bent on keeping you from talking to anyone who has any real authority than others -- but it's a sure bet that the first person who answers is truly unable to do anything else.

The other useful trick in the US is to call back several times and confirm that you get the same answer from 2-3 people. If you do, it might just be the "right" answer...at least at that level.


#4

While this may not have been the case at your husband's call center, but I am quite sure this happens a lot at airline res centers: The agent will gladly put you on hold and ask the person next to them to take the call, posing as a supervisor. There are not enough supervisors on the floor to take the calls of every unhappy airline passenger/customer. Americans, anyway, have learned to always ask for the supervisor when they don't get what they want, in hopes that the "squeaky wheel gets the grease" will take over, especially in the airline industry. There are legitimate customer service issues that should be escalated to a supervisor, but it's been abused by customers who just want to get what they want, regardless of whether they are entitled to it.

Bottom line for the OP, if the ticket was issued by a fulfillment center in the US, that's where he needs to get through to. It may or may not be a part of Eva Air, and the people in the res office are probably not going to be able to do anything about the ticketing. Further, the credit card refund processing will take time, often 2 billing cycles if it is in fact an outside ticketing contractor, so I'd recommend disputing the duplicate charge on his card.


#5

That's a brave task you attempted.

The user-friendly gap between EVA and ChinaAirlines websites, and Cathay (and KLM, and Emirates and etc. etc.) is frighteningly large. Go TaiwanLogic :thumbsup:.

EVA home page is very cluttered. They seem to waste a lot of space detailing tickets that must be booked with this Credit Card or that Credit Card.
ChinaAirlines doesn't even work on Firefox. 'Nuff said.


#6

Sorry, but I have enough experience of call centers to doubt that every first-line agent is committed to providing the customer with precisely what he deserves under company policies. Escalating is hardly abuse. If the front line is unable to explain clearly why something will or will not happenm the customer has the right to escalate. In the US thwt is often the only way you can get someone who actually speaks Fluent English.


#7

Diamond Card members who accumulate 200,000 miles on EVA Air/UNI Air international flights or traveled on 140 or more EVA Air/UNI Air international flights during the card’s validity period are eligible for membership renewal. Members who do not meet this requirement will resume Gold Card status.


#8

That’s why I prefer a live travel agent on the other side of the phone for bookings … instead of booking online …

… and often booking directly with the airline will be more expensive …


#9

[quote=“LPeterC”]Yesterday, 11/1, I made another attempt. All went smoothly. Got to the page for credit card info and all that. Click on CONFIRM. Told to wait a moment. So I waited…and waited. The IE browser screen turn blank.

After a few minutes, I was pretty sure IE crashed. So, that browser window was closed. Another attempt was made to make a reservation for exactly the same flight. Hang again after the credit card information was entered. [/quote]

Oh man, sorry to hear about this but…this was your mistake and you only have to learn it once. That website is insane. Always always always check your email before attempting to re-book. This had happened to me so many times that like others, I stopped flying EVA. China Airlines, too. Besides, these days, Delta/Continental is flying way cheaper ($1,100 vs. $1,800 on TW-based carriers).


#10

[quote=“Nuit”]That’s a brave task you attempted.

The user-friendly gap between EVA and ChinaAirlines websites, and Cathay (and KLM, and Emirates and etc. etc.) is frighteningly large. Go TaiwanLogic :thumbsup:.

EVA home page is very cluttered. They seem to waste a lot of space detailing tickets that must be booked with this Credit Card or that Credit Card.
ChinaAirlines doesn’t even work on Firefox. 'Nuff said.[/quote]

Oh yes, their websites are user unfriendly… don’t know how people can use then…


#11

[quote=“Nuit”]That’s a brave task you attempted.

The user-friendly gap between EVA and ChinaAirlines websites, and Cathay (and KLM, and Emirates and etc. etc.) is frighteningly large. Go TaiwanLogic :thumbsup:.

EVA home page is very cluttered. They seem to waste a lot of space detailing tickets that must be booked with this Credit Card or that Credit Card.
ChinaAirlines doesn’t even work on Firefox. 'Nuff said.[/quote]

+1. I tried booking on China Air last week and it wasn’t till I got to the final page that the system told me there were no seats available. A month previously I had a sudden need to get to Thailand over a weekend and was able to book and pay for a ticket on Cathay Pacific’s website in 5 minutes flat at a price cheaper than EZfly.


#12

One of the annoying things with the EVA website is that the only special offers they advertise in English are from US/Europe/Oz to Asia. But foreigners living in Taiwan would be interested in discount tickets and packages from Taiwan. There are a lot of these, but they are advertised on the Chinese homepage only.

In addition, EVA’s package holiday website “Evasion Holidays” evasion.aero/evad is available in Chinese only.

Maybe with enough complaint letters they’d realize they are missing out on business by not translating this stuff into English.


#13

It’s been almost a year. Thanks to all of you for advise and support.

I made another call to EVA after arriving LA. Telling them the whole story again. They cancelled the extra booking, but could not promise when to credit back. Since I left all my financial matter to a trusted friend, over twenty years ago. He then moved to Shanghai and have his trusted friend to take over. So, it was four month later that I was finally told that EVA did annul the credit card charge on the same month.

I am taking my annual vacation to LA again. This time, I will purchase ticket through a travel agent.


#14

Refunds usually take a long long time (about 5 months). Once they have your money they hold on to it :laughing:
Few days back I was flying to Japan (booked two tickets, one being a mileage reward ticket).
There’s only very limited redemption seats available so I booked and payed this trip 11 months ago (end of 2010).
In May 2011 I got a new credit card (cause I didn’t recall the PIN of the old one).
So when doing the check-in I was asked to present the ORIGINAL credit card (as it says on their website), which of course, I don’t have anymore. They forced me to pay a new ticket at their counter (which was very fast!),
This practice is already illegal in Germany since this month (reason is that someone who would fraud could also present a false credit card). Anyways I have a apply for a refund now and it will take 4-5 months to get the double booking money back…
Don’t think this would have happened with Cathay Pacific cause they give their “drones” more decision power.
The agent at the check-in from EVA didn’t even want to check if the status was “paid in 2010”. Just continued saying “I need the card”… Still thinking if I should just ask my credit card company to cancel the second issued ticket. But I don’t want to get to their level of screwing people. LUCKILY this was just a 19000 TWD ticket to Japan and not something long distance or business class.

Remember to bring the original credit card, even if its invalid within time…


#15

Reviving this thread with another EVA Air online ticket issue.

Recently bought a ticket online and received confirmation and e-ticket the same day. Now, 11 days later, received an email from a different email address titled “EVA Air Online Booking Verification” asking me to respond to this email or call (they provide a phone number) to confirm that I’ve purchased the ticket and will pay the required amount. It stated that this is to protect the credit card holder. Note that they did include my confirmation number in the email, although they called it a reservation number.

My question is: Is this common practice for EVA Air? Has any one received such an email? Just want to make sure that this is a legitimate email.


#16

Hmmm! I would be cautious here. Take the initiative and call EVA directly. If someone calls you, don’t give them your credit card info!

That’s my take.

Guy


#17

I’ve bought a number of tickets online from EVA (as recently as this summer) and I don’t recall ever getting an email like that. It sounds like the sudden glut of spam/phishing mails I seem to get from “FedEx” whenever I place an iHerb or Amazon order.

Does the email address it’s sent from look anything close to legitimate?


#18

It does look legitimate. The email is an evaair.com address


#19

OK. So I’d say it’s worth calling EVA directly about - but there’s no way I’d call the phone number provided on the email.


#20

I usually receive two emails the day I purchase the ticket and then one more on “Travel tips” closer to the flight, but never an email that asks me to verify like you describe.