Fuck you, Iberia Air. Sideways. With a syphillitic cow.

So I’m trying to book a flight to South Africa. Logistically, it hasn’t been easy because my husband is paying for the ticket with his credit card, which is not a US based card, and we don’t have a lot of money to work with. This is a huge obstacle - most places that I can book a cheap ticket will not accept a foreign card. Fine, I can accept this, but I have been scouring the web trying to find a good deal, and a way to get it paid for.

Finally, I land at Iberia Air. Scour the site, the terms and conditions, everything. Nothing that says it has to be a US based card. Great. Start filling out the booking form, and it comes up with a great deal based on my dates of travel. Beautiful - by far the cheapest I’ve found anywhere (probably because of the monstrous layover in Madrid, but I didn’t care.)

“Just so you know,” the website tells me, “If you plan to use E-tickets, the holder of the card will need to present at the time of travel.” It makes no such disclaimer for the use of paper tickets, so that’s the route I choose. Fill out the billing information, and sure enough, the option to pick a country other than the US exists. Beauty!

So I complete the form, get a confirmation that all is well, and smile.

Well, I smiled a little. Then I called Iberia to make sure everything was indeed hunky dorey.

So Jose answers the phone, and I have the following conversation with him:

“Hi, I just booked a flight on Iberia.com and I wanted to ask a few questions to make sure everything is okay.”

“Sure,” Jose says, in a reassuringly helpful voice.

“OK, one - the card I used to book my flight is my husband’s card. He lives in Egypt, and will not be able to be there with me at the airport. Is this going to be a problem?”

Jose is quiet. “Hmmm… well yes, he must be present with you when they do the e-ticket.”

“Ah!” I say, “It’s not an e-ticket, it’s a paper ticket.”

“Oh, yes, then that is not a problem, he will not need to be present at the time you fly.”

I smile a little bit more.

“Next, the card that I used to book the flight is not a US based card. Is this going to be a problem?”

Luis is cheerful. “No, this will not be a problem, ma’am.”

“Are you sure?” I prompt, “Because if it is, I will need to make other arrangements today if I want to get a decent fare.”

“Oh, no,” he assures me, “this will not be a problem.”

So, I smile even more, and ask a few other mundane questions about baggage allowances, etc. and hang up the phone.


Cut to today: I get a phone call from Iberia.

(Guy whose name I’ve forgotten): Yes, I am calling about the booking you have with Iberia Air for next Monday. There is a problem with the credit card.

Me: (Thinking, did it get declined? Was there not enough funds?) What sort of problem?

Guy: Yes, it seems that the card is actually a foreign card. We can only accept US based cards for payment.

Me: … I spoke to someone named Luis yesterday who assured me it wouldn’t be a problem.

Guy: Oh, no, it is most definitely a problem. There is no way we can bill this card. Do you have another credit card you can use? Or a Visa or American Express? We can accept foreign Visas and American Expresses."

Me: No… What other options do I have?

Guy: Nothing. You can’t even pay cash at the airport because this is a web-only deal. You must come up with a US-based card, or a Visa or American Express.

Well fuck me. I was caught off guard, so I stammer something about trying to see what I can come up with, and to please hold the reservation until I can figure something out. I hang up.

And then I start to think. How fucking ridiculous is this? Fine if they don’t take US Based cards, but you’d think they’d TELL me somewhere. And, you’d think they wouldn’t have given me the option to select the country that the card’s billing address was in. Nor that they would send me an email saying everything has been confirmed, thank you for shopping with Iberia Air. I go back to the website, looking for anything that says that it has to be a US based card. I come up with nothing.

So I check the rates online to see what my other flight options are, and see what other route I can take. But now, because my travel dates are less than a week away, all the prices are astronomical. We’re talking hundreds of dollars more expensive. So I start seething, and I call Iberia back.

Guy: Blah blah blah.

Me: Yes, we spoke earlier. I am trying to figure out what my options are. I can understand if your system is unable to accept foreign Mastercards. Fine. But the fact of the matter is, I called Iberia specifically to make sure this WOULDN’T be an issue. I was told, in no uncertain terms, that this would not be a problem for me. Nowhere on your webiste does it say it has to be a US bas-

Guy: Yes it does.

Me: Oh? Where?

Guy: It says it.

Me: Fine, tell me where it says it, because honestly, I’ve scoured the site. I have looked everywhere for some indication that I just missed a statement. I can’t find it. Not to mention, Jose specifically told me that it was not going to be a problem.

Guy: Yes, well sometimes there are workarounds, and maybe he trie-

Me: No, he did not say that “sometimes” it isn’t a problem. he said “It will not be a problem”. I said, “Are you sure” and he said “Yes.”

Guy: It’s on the website.

Me: WHERE? Tell me where on the website it says it, so that I can read it.

Guy: No, I don’t need to tell you, I’m telling you it is there.

Me: …

Guy: It says it.

And we argue back and forth for a while like this, and then I ask to speak to his supervisor. And nothing. Zilch. Zero help. “Even though the fact that Jose told me something that was apparently completely wrong is costing me a few hundred dollars?” Zip. “Even though there isn’t anything on your web-” “It’s on the site. It isn’t my job to tell you where.”

And that’s when I hung up.

FUCK. So now I don’t have a ticket. And I don’t have enough to pay the huge amount extra to get a regular ticket. And, I don’t have a way to actually GET that payment to anyone anyway. My husband could Western Union me the money, but not until Sunday, and I’m supposed to be flying Monday.
Good fucking grief.

Sorry just had to vent. And no, the guy’s name isn’t really Jose.

Well, it may not do any good, but you might file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. This sounds like a classic bait-and-switch, and the BBB occasionally can bug a company until they honor their commitments. What the hey, it worked for me once. :slight_smile:

Yeesh. When I thought I might be going to Spain this summer, Iberia Air was one of the carriers I was considering. The trip was cancelled :frowning: but at least I didn’t have to deal with that kind of crap…

I’ve found that filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau is a waste of time. At least with the BBB here, all the company you’re complaining about has to do is send a response – any response – back to the BBB within some specified time, and the BBB considers the case resolved. You can rebut the response, and all they have to do, once again, is respond – they can even send in a copy of their first response. The only way the BBB’s records will show a complaint against the company is if the company fails to respond within the specified time.

“Whose job is it? Let me speak to that person.”

I get like 30 credit card offers in the mail each day. Why not just grab one of the instant approval ones and use it?

Well, to be honest- it doesn’t sound like Iberia Air screwed up so much as "Luis )or is ot “Jose”? :confused: ) did. Now, what you should do is start talking to supervisors, and supervisors of supervisors until someone can fix this- unless they tell you they aren’t going to stand behind what their employees tell you. Foryunately you have his name and time you called.

If worse comes to worse- write a letter to the CEO of the company- it’ll be too late, but…

Doesn’t SA have it’s own airline?

Also- if you husband has a CC, or even cash, he can wire you or the Airline the cash.

No, that is an IA screw up. They have to give Jose the information and tools to work with. It is possible tha IA changed policy the day that TellMeI’mNotCrazy called, but if the IA employees don’t know about the change, then IA has to honour what Jose said (maybe not legally, but morally anyways).

I agree. Raise holy hell wether you fly with them or not. At worst you may end up with a couple of free tickets.

I have spoken to the second guy’s supervisor, but she insisted on standing behind what second guy said - that they wouldn’t stand behind what first guy said. SA does indeed have its own airline, but this Iberia ticket was far cheaper. As far as why I don’t just get an instant approval credit card - there are several reasons why it just isn’t feasible.

I asked them about the possibly of wiring directly into their account somehow - they said it wasn’t acceptable. Don’t ask me why - I tried finding out but their only response amounted to “Because we said so.” I asked if he could go to an Iberia Air counter there in Cairo. No, that isn’t possible either. He can wire me the funds, but again, that will bring us to a few days from now. At this point, I’m going to call Iberia Air in the morning and insist that they hold the reservation, and the rate, until Sunday. By then, hopefully I will be able to get the funds from my husband and onto a debit card and get the whole stupid thing taken care of. Which annoys me on principle. If it weren’t for the fact that the flight was so much cheaper, I would just go with another airline.

OK so I finally have a ticket. I don’t have the mental energy to rehash the events of today, but let me just say they were equally frustrating, involved the words “I’m sorry but the passenger and the card holder must match,” and the thoughts “If I have to walk, I will never fly Iberia after this flight”.

But the site now shows the ticket HAS been issued. It is being Fed Exed and will be here tomorrow. And my mother will be taking me to the airport, so even if they decide to be assholes and demand the cardholder’s presence, she will be there.

A fucking men.

I’ve got my fingers crossed for you.

And you make sure you bring home a nice T-shirt for your momma, who’s so good to you, y’hear?

:wink:

Congrats on getting Iberia to see sense. This side of the pond, they rank somewhere near the top of the “avoid at all costs” league. They’re an unreconstructed flag-carrier airline, which doesn’t understand the meaning of ‘customer’, let alone ‘customer service’. At least, that’s what I’ve picked up from everything I’ve heard about them from numerous sources.

So I got an email confirmation and itinerary from Iberia. I scanned over it, making sure everything was correct. A good 75% of the email was in Spanish (though the fine print was repeated in English). However, I did notice that it said: Numero De Billete: ETCKT #####

ETckt, thinks I? I was told just this afternoon that it was a paper ticket. So should I be waiting for tickets tomorrow or not?

So, I called Iberia again. I asked the woman who answered the phone what the deal was. “E-Ticket” she says. “OK, I don’t have a problem with that, but I was told that it was a paper ticket, and that it was being Federal Expressed tonight.” “No,” she says, “It’s always been an e-ticket.” So I told her that my original quote was for Fare + 20.00 shipping, since it was paper. She assured me that when the charge went through this afternoon, it was minus the 20.00. And assured me that I didn’t need anything. And, of course, assured me that the cardholder doesn’t need to be present, since it was a Visa.

So if you see me posting on Tuesday morning, it’s a safe bet that I’m very, very unhappy.

Off to pack. I’m going to envision the faces of every Iberia employee I’ve dealt with as I kneel on clothes to get them to fit.

I hate Iberia. Every time I fly with them, they go on strike. They are a cartoon of Spanish efficiency.

I happen to be friendly with a couple of Iberia pilots – which of course, rather helps when I travel with them. The airline, not necessarily with the pilots themselves.

At any rate, you’re welcomed to send me an e-mail with the particulars of the case (as listed in the OP, but in business-like fashion) and I’ll forward it to them with the understanding that it’ll reach whichever higher-up need be.

Hope that helps. And further, that it doesn’t deter anyone from visiting Spain and/or flying Iberia. Not like I have anything to do with them financially, but I love my place of birth and I very much like Iberia – just hoping I can spread said sentiment. Disclaimer: obviously one has little to do wiuth the other, but I do have a bit of an emotional tie to Iberia due to the friendships.

Paul – I’m willing to do the same for you, though I don’t think the “higher-ups” will be able to do anything about strikes. Unless of course, they are willing to surrender their wallets. :wink:

Von Vogage!

More business like fashion…

I suppose that means I have to leave out the part about the cow? :wink:

Thanks, I just might take you up on that offer. But not until morning. After the day I’ve had, I really need to go to bed.

I will say this: one of the things I’m really pleased about re: Iberia is the Madrid Amigo program. With a 14 hour layover, it’s going to be a big benefit. (For those who don’t know it, the program offers me free shuttle to a 4 star hotel, and a room at the hotel during my layover.)

Which reminds me, one of the people I spoke to today was Guy from yesterday. I asked him if I might get upgraded to the highest Amigo program (which includes lunch at the hotel, and entertainment options in the city, such as museums, etc.) Of course, he said that it wasn’t going to happen, and I didn’t feel like fighting anymore. Plus, I didn’t feel like seeing my ticket “accidentally” canceled out of spite or something.