Etihad Airways - Shocking Customer Service Treatment From Etihad Duty Manager Alida / Alina at JNB- ORT Earlier today! Horrendous! And Mortified Guest...
I arrived at 05h10pm local time to board my flight which was scheduled to leave JNB, ORT at 07h25pm local time this evening. I was assisted by an ACSA Check – In Agent a lady whose name I didn’t get upon entering the line. The check in agent at the desk told me that I would require a Seaman’s Book as I am crew traveling to join my vessel in Croatia, which was my final destination via Abu Dhabi. I showed her all the documentation that my company provided me with and I informed her that I have never owned a Seaman’s book nor did my company booker from Norwegian Cruise Lines Head Office state that I needed one, which I have for your perusal via email attached below. She said its fine and that I should hold the cue while she speaks to an Etihad Customer Service Agent which was Alida / Alina (the duty manager) to get final approval as to what they will decide. Horrendous
The check in agent then went to the Alida lady, the duty manager and told showed her my documents. Alida came directly to me with an attitude and said I won't let you board. I asked her why? She said because I don't have a Seaman’s Book. I then proceeded to tell her she doesn't have to be rude to me as I didn’t know nor did my employer state that I required one. I tell Alida that she needs to elaborate & explain why I needed this Seaman’s Book to board because this is my fourth time traveling to work abroad as a student and that I have never been asked for one before and my employer knows I don't have own nor have I ever had one. She proceeded to shut me down by being condescending and being blatantly rude saying to me in front of other guests ‘I WON’T LET YOU ON BOARD.’ Now I am really hurt and upset about her initial approach from the beginning to the point where I was at a loss for words and felt RACIALLY ousted & prejudiced she was towards me because I am black customer and how she looked down upon me. Alida as a manager did not greet me, did not acknowledge my presence, did not pull me aside to speak to me politely away from the eyes of prying guests, she was not empathetic towards me as a first time Etihad flyer and did not explain a single thing or what the airline policy was in terms of letting me on board she was just plain RUDE!
She was rude to me even when I had seen that I was not going to get anywhere with her and when I was walking away from the line I told her you have not helped me at all firstly as I simply don’t know, and that she does not have to be rude and then I added ‘I cannot believe ‘how f**king rude you are to me’ as I left the line and the guest a white woman behind me adding ‘I cannot believe how she is treating you, good luck with calling your employer.’ Alida continues to be condescending while speaking to me and not hearing me out trying to explain all the while trying to ask her what this Seaman’s Book is and that's when I lost my cool with her and told her for a 3rd time not to be rude because I’m clueless and that I have travelled thrice times prior without a Seaman’s Book to the USA and these are the only documents my employer has issued me with, and still Alida did not want to hear me out and continuing to be prejudice towards me, I could feel her tension towards me.
I had left the line without raising my voice even though Alida caused an unnecessary by bullying & attacking me in front of up to 10 guests and ACSA check in lady saying to me ‘don’t stoop to her level by being rude further’. All of this occurred before I left the line peacefully without any malice. I stood away from the check in area while guests were whispering & talking about the appalling manner that Alida handled me as a guest. Alida then continued to help other guests while I was far away from the Etihad Check In line and then 5 minutes later, while I am trying to contact NCL Head Office in Miami after having left the line with no help at all and assuming that it was over with and done, the racist Alida then called security on me because I was a young BLACK man! And if it was a white person she was speaking to, she would NEVER have done that. Out of nowhere literally after the dust had settled without warning and I was perplexed as to why she did that as the verbal altercation towards me was long over and we were done and I had left the scene (the line) and she was helping another guest who was behind me and I was gone and nowhere near Etihad Check In Services, CCTV footage at the airport can prove that too and I was minding my business calling my employer informing him of what happened to and how I was attacked by Etihad Staff and if he can help me by getting me on another different flight that was not Etihad Airways seeing as Alida did not want me on board the flight.
Local Airport security approached me and asked me if I was okay as I looked sad which I was and I said no I’m okay. Both the security guards armed heavily with weapons said that Alida said that I was being I quote ‘aggressive’. I tell the security guards how dare she LIE and tell them that I was being aggressive. I explain to the security guard that all I said to her is that I have travelled trice before and I have never owned or been requested to produce a Seaman’s Book. I further explain to them that she did not even come to me when she first approached me in a nice manner even when I tried to reason with her & asking her to please explain what a Seaman’s Book is and why I required one now as I’ve never needed one before. I told the security guard I asked her not to be rude to me twice and when I saw that she was continuing to attack me that I don’t appreciate her being f**king rude to me in front of guests as I turned and walked away from her and the line of people while Alida continues to chirp me ad disrespect me in front of other passengers waiting to check in.
The BOSASA Security Guards apologized to me and empathized with me something which Alida did not once do, not once even and they really understood where I was coming from when I explained the matter which I though was over as there was no resolution at all or help from your employee. The security guarded then proceeded to say in Zulu I quote, ‘ngiya mazi lo mama we china wase Etihad ukhuti ubhlaza kakhulu, vele nathi sim’ jwayele, siyamazi ende vele unje yena.’ This directly translates to say: ‘We Know This Asian Lady from Etihad That She’s EXTREMELY RUDE & INSOLENT, were used to her unlawful ways & complaining & she is always like this.’ WOW WOW WOW! So is this the kind of people Etihad puts in as managers? This is how you allow Alida to treat your guests? And who has the final say in our airport in JNB, ORT for all passengers? And that Alida doesn’t even consult a second opinion because Alida is a fascist like as a leader in your organisation, even according to mere employees who don’t work for your organisation at all, and is a racist woman who bullied me purely on the basis of being black not knowing any better! I have never been so HUMILIATED EVER in my life and I demand an apology from Alida, she is DISGUSTING. I have never dealt with someone in a managerial position who has no Customer Service Skill Set, no leadership principles & EMPATHY for your consumers including FIRST TIME Etihad flyers and NO RAPPORT or consideration AT ALL…
I called my employer in Miami and inform them of what transpired and that your Etihad Manager blatantly biasedly denied me boarding entry. My Ship Agent said that to me clearly on the phone that ‘I don’t need one and that I should state the letter he sent me from immigration in Croatia says I’m OK TO BOARD & my visa will be issued upon arrival in Dubrovnik my final destination.
The security guards listened to my entire word for word conversation as I spent my last bit of pocket money I had on me to explain how I tried to prove and validate why I have been denied boarding by one person, that being Alida. My agent again confirmed that upon booking with my ticket I would be okay without a Seaman’s Book. Alex my agent said that I should just reiterate and tell the ACSA Agent to read my immigration note and please highlight to her that it states that my alternative to a Schengen Visa as she mentioned earlier that if I produced it, that I WILL be allowed to board the JU 8537 flight to the UAE. This was around 05h25 pm this afternoon today and I put Alex on hold.
I then inform the ACSA agent again while holding Alex on the line from NCL Head Office in Miami stating that my visa will be issued upon arrival in Croatia which is my final destination. The ACSA Agent says you may need a Schengen Visa and that will be the only option I will be let on board since I do not own a Seaman’s book. I tell the ACSA Agent that my immigration letter (attached on mail states that my EU Crew Visa will be issued upon my arrival. The ACSA local agent tried to go and informed Alida while me and the security guards are watching about the transgressions and guess what Alida did not even look at my document, shut it down regardless of the ACSA Agent trying to explain while I’m holding my agent and absolutely NOTHING from Alida and I confirmed to agent to please rebook me new flights as I was not going anywhere, I was mortified.
Security being understanding and hearing and seeing my frustration from far away, apologized profusely including the ACSA Check – In Agent but absolutely nothing from Alida from Etihad or sympathy or understanding. No explanation or apology or trying to reason or help at all, NOTHING. I still had an hour before the boarding & check in gates closed and I still could’ve made it onto my flight. but because Alida tried to prove a point with her vulgarity and rudeness.I am a master of education student, I am not violent, I work with children on the cruise ships and this is my fourth contract for Norwegian Cruise Lines. I am a childcare professional and I work in customer service for a 5-star cruise line I understand what it’s like working under pressure or difficult guests but never ever am I aggressive, it’s not me because I work with kids, I am thee most patient person ever, the reason highly annoyed with Alida is when she first approached me she was rude. Did not explain, she shut me down even when I requested she assist me. I asked her not to be f**king rude that's all I said as I was walking away. She did not even allow to explain why I was frustrated and did could give me context as to why I'm being denied boarding.
She shut me down completely in front of guests, embarrassed me and made me look like a fool. She was purposely racist and biased and made me look out to be *** by even when I tried to explain how I have travelled prior, but nothing from her. I hope she FEELS GOOD about herself. The least empathetic or remorseful Etihad employee. She was disgusting and it was very low of her to call security on me because I didn't raise my voice or shout at her, I was just mortified at how she spoke to me from the beginning and how rude she was and not even willing to assist me as a guest of Etihad even when my employee confirmed I was carrying all the legal travel documentation which I had in possession nothing. She took away a pay check from a poor student paying he’s way through life by working abroad and sacrificing being away from my family whom I take care of, I am utterly disgusted by the way she treated me. I did nothing to her to be attacked by her. And now not only will I suffer but my family that I am the breadwinner for all because someone wanted to prove her power trip and embarrass a student all feed her authoritative ego. Thank You Very Much Alida for taking away all of that from me and my family. Not was I stuck at the airport, I have now incurred unnecessary costs I cannot afford, I have to arrange new travel arrangements with my employer if I still even have a JOB and I won't make it to Dubrovnik for Sunday and all because of one insolent unemotional and unempathetic Etihad Airways staff member! I am still shocked and upset by how I was treated by that manager / woman.
I am still in astonished as to how you treat guests and for a MANAGER on duty at JNB, ORT. She should not be allowed to work with GUEST if that’s her attitude! I expected better from someone of her seniority and to be civil & courteous with guests. It was my first time traveling with Etihad because of the way she treated while I NEVER want to fly with Etihad ever again. I am traumatized as to how your manager treated me and I am still in disbelief! She was RIDICULOUS! I still can't believe the kind of people you employ and how I was treated as a first time passenger on my first experience with your airline. Totally uncalled for! It was so unnecessary how she behaved. It could've all been avoided by simply calling me to the side and explaining what airline policies / rules & regulations require. I demand and will await an apology from her. Alida’s behaviour was highly UNACCEPTABLE and SHOULD NOT be excused and tolerated at all. I would be fired from job if ever treated customers / guest like that. Highly distraught and distressed student!
I want this matter escalated with the highest urgency!!!!!!!!! My travel docs mail that were issued will follow...
Product or Service Mentioned: Etihad Airways Customer Care.
Reason of review: Poor customer service.
Preferred solution: Let the company propose a solution.
I didn't like: Services and treatment towards customers or its passinger, Customer service very poor, Attitude of ground-staff, Duty manager at or tambo jnb airport.