Thursday, July 21, 2011

Turkish Airlines: Worst Customer Service Experience Ever

An open letter to Turkish Airlines customer service:

Dear Turkish Airlines,

In the past, I've flown exclusively on your airline whenever there's been a TK option on my route. I'm sorry to say the flight that I just got off will be the last.

I booked a ticket from Tel Aviv to Nairobi with your company, despite the fact that there were cheaper and faster options available. When I got to the airport in Tel Aviv, the flight was delayed and they tried to reroute me. This was strike one. I had two more legs on my journey that I would miss if I didn't make it to Nairobi on schedule, costing me several hundred dollars.

After checking my passport in the system, the TK employee at the counter told me that there was no way to get to NBO that night, and that my best option would be to fly to Istanbul and TK would put me up for the night until the next flight. I asked if there were any way I could upgrade to business since the delay was costing me a day's travel and a great deal of money. The employee said there was none left, despite the fact that there were several empty seats in business when I got on the plane. Strike two.

When I finally got to Istanbul and went to the desk to sort out the hotel and flight for the next day, they informed me that my travel agency had not confirmed my ticket, and as a result they wouldn't put me up for the night. "Are you kidding?" I asked, "An employee from your company promised me a hotel room when I got here. If I hadn't been promised a room, I wouldn't have gotten on the plane." "The man at the counter must not have checked your ticket," he replied. I asked him if it was my fault that a TK employee had screwed up when he checked me in, and the fellow kindly informed me that it was in fact my fault. I kid you not. Strike three. This was, hands down, the worst customer service I have ever received in my entire life.

Now here I am, loyal TK customer, and I'm stranded in Istanbul with no hotel, no ticket out, and no help from any of your representatives. I have to say I'm sorely disappointed. I thought loyalty counted for something in this business. I guess I'll just have to find another airline for whom it does.

Sincerely yours,
Benjamin Cole 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Watching and Calculating, African Governments Learn From the Arab Spring

It's no secret that Africa houses some of the longest-serving and most repressive dictators on the planet. Even among the states that have progressed past authoritarian rule, many governments still restrict basic rights with heavy-handed and often violent tactics. It's also no secret that Africa has the smallest Internet penetration of any continent, though it also cannot be denied that the advent of cheap, web-enabled phones has been precipitating broad changes in the continent's Internet landscape. Up until recently, these two facts may have seemed only peripherally related. Most governments had taken a pretty laissez-faire approach to the Internet; it wasn't enough of an issue for most leaders to take the time to learn about, let alone address with policy. But as the Arab Spring continues to roar just a stone's throw North, tremors have rippled well into the heart of the continent. In response, many African governments have begun taking strong stances on Internet freedoms, even before most of their populations have had the chance to experience the free and open Internet as it was originally formulated.