We’ve all heard the expression “All’s well that ends well.” But is the opposite true?
Apparently it is for Megan Kroc. Her Apple vacation ended badly. And she wants her money back for the entire vacation.
As Kroc describes it, the last day of that trip was pretty horrible. The family woke up early that morning in time for the 9 a.m. pickup for their transfer to the airport. That didn’t happen.
Upon arriving at the lobby with suitcases and bags, Apple notified us that our 1 p.m. flight could be “five hours late.” Apple could not inform us why the plane was delayed. Initially, we were told that we could bring all of our luggage back to our room, which we did. After eating a quick breakfast, we then were told the heart-sinking news that our flight was pushed back to 11:30 p.m., which Apple still could not even confirm, and there was still no explanation as to why there was a problem. We were then told that Apple would not pay for us to use a hotel room due to this delay, our Apple representative snatched up our key cards, and our suitcases had to be dragged back yet again to the lobby and put into a storage room.
After waiting all day in the lobby, the Krocs were informed that the flight would be canceled altogether for that day.
“Apple finally realized that they would have to do something so we would not have to sleep on chairs in the lobby, so a couple of hours later vouchers finally came through to our hotel so we could have a room to sleep in for the night. Again, our suitcases were dragged back to a different room and we unpacked our dirty clothes.”
The next day’s flight also experienced a series of delays, but the Krocs finally made it home that evening. However, the relative from whom they’d arranged a ride wasn’t able to wait, necessitating a $60 cab ride.
And, says Kroc, there were consequences at each of their work places.
“My husband, who is the vice president and loan team leader of a commercial bank, missed an entire day of work. I am a teacher and I also missed an entire day of work. Our lost wages alone due to this delay were over $1,000. I received a verbal warning from my school’s principal as it is highly discouraged by my district to take any additional vacation days after our holiday break.”
And so as she puts it, “…after returning from what was supposed to be a relaxing vacation this has been the most stressful week we have had in years.”
Apple offered them a $200 voucher, which they didn’t feel was nearly adequate, but they eventually gave up trying to fight for anything more. That is, until they found themselves on a flight this past January, with folks who were on the same earlier trip.
“We talked with a couple who told us that they received full compensation because their travel agent fought with Apple. The were on the same flight as we were 15 months ago. We unfortunately booked directly with Apple.”
Kroc had read some of Christopher Elliott’s articles, so she reached out to see if our advocates could help.
Our advocates wondered if the claim they heard from their fellow passengers might have been exaggerated, but offered some advice nonetheless.
They noted that the scathing letter Kroc originally sent to Apple was filled with extraneous information that only obfuscated her main complaint about the flight delay at the end of the trip. And the letter threatened that “the whole world will know about this” if they weren’t compensated for their entire vacation.
As we’ve said to many other travelers, a concise, polite letter has a far greater chance of producing a positive outcome. Sadly, the kind of delay they experienced happens more frequently on vacations like this, because operators like Apple often use chartered aircraft companies, which don’t have access to a large fleet if something goes wrong. But they are careful to cover themselves in the terms vacationers agree to. The terms of service for Xtra Airlines, which provided the aircraft in this case, states:
XP undertakes to transport the passenger and baggage with reasonable dispatch. Times shown in timetables or elsewhere are not guaranteed and form no part of the Contract of Carriage. XP may without notice substitute alternate carriers or aircraft, and may add, alter or omit stopping places shown on the ticket in case of necessity. Schedules are subject to change without notice. XP is not responsible, or liable, for making connections, or for failing to operate any flight according to schedule, or for changing the schedule of any flight.
And Apple’s terms of service state that “All air travel is subject to the terms and conditions of the operating carrier.”
Kroc was advised to resubmit a much more concise, less threatening email, and referred to the forums at our advocacy website with her complaint. Unfortunately, it has been far too long since the original trip for us to advocate this case, and Apple did give them each a $200 voucher.
Should it have been more?