Business Travel: Why do airlines insist on ticket changes through agents?

I could not change flight online and over phone but had my way at the airport! Thank you, SIA!

Singapore Airlines and the Changi airport are the pride of the nation. SIA has always been my first choice and will remain so. You recognise their charm only when you experience inefficiencies with rival airlines and airports.

Singapore girlSIA has never let me down anytime. Even the issue I had with them on Saturday (April 30) in Bangkok was not unpleasant, though the experience could have been better.

  • I am confident a customer-friendly airline such as the SIA will not overlook it.

Bangkok to Singapore: I wanted to change my SIA flight from Bangkok to another one which was a few hours earlier than the one I was booked on.

  • It was not a ticket with any restrictions which meant I could make flight changes, if necessary, without any penalty.

Not a Reasonable Demand: But SIA told me that since I had booked the ticket through a travel agency, I would have to go through them for any changes. If I wanted to do it myself then I would have to lose 50% of the fare, I was told. This is what I heard from the Sheraton travel desk who were working on the change on my behalf.

Singapore_Airlines_Airbus_A380_file84_WMI thought it was unreasonable, so decided to stick to my original schedule and checked myself in online.

I did not give up on it wholly. I took a chance and went to the Bangkok airport six hours ahead of my scheduled flight time. I checked with the SIA counter there if I could be accommodated in an earlier flight.

Tickets were available, so I was able to board an earlier flight without any penalty. That saved me two hours of my time.

Why the Fuss: It left me wondering what the earlier fuss from SIA was all about. If I could get the change done without any hassle at the airport why not over the phone? They could have easily facilitated it.

Business travel always means the tickets are booked through a corporate travel agent. It is thus an impractical stipulation that business travellers must make flight changes only through the agent.

I will not hold it against the SIA as I was still able to have my way. I realize all airlines have this silly practice. I just thought SIA would be flexible.

It is time all airlines removed any such ticketing provisos that appear to lack logic.

G Joslin Vethakumar


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Filed under Singapore Airlines, Travel

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