Breeze Airways owes this traveler a refund, right?

Breeze Airways owes me a refund, right?

Joe Herman believes Breeze Airways owes him a refund after he recently missed his flight. Not only that, he wants the airline to reimburse him for a car rental as well.

But is that something the airline is prepared to do?

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My wife and I flew our first flight with Breeze Airways from Hartford to Charleston, SC, recently. When we arrived at the Charleston airport for our return flight, the airport monitors and the Breeze app on my phone showed the flight delayed.  The gate wasn’t announced yet.  We went to Terminal B to get something to eat and I tried to contact the airline. I received an automatic reply saying Breeze Airways was “experiencing high call volumes.”

About half an hour later, I received a reply saying the flight had already departed and in fact left on time.

Our only options were to book the next Breeze flight back to Hartford three days later, fly to another city, or get back to Hartford at our own expense. We picked the least of those unattractive options and chose to fly Breeze to Providence and then rented a car to drive to Hartford.

I see several points of failure causing our issue.

First, the Breeze app and Charleston TV monitors failed miserably by not displaying current information.

Second, the gentleman who checked our bag failed to inform the gate agent that we were on-site and could have been located fairly easily in the small confines of the Charleston airport.

Third, we learned later that the announcement to find us only went in Terminal A and not to Terminal B, a short walk away, where we had innocently sat down to eat during our waiting time. In a smallish airport like Charleston, I see no reason that Breeze Airways couldn’t have made both an announcement in both terminals.

I spent several years managing customer experience for a Fortune 20 company and genuinely hope Breeze will look into these human and systematic glitches to prevent future customers from having our frustrations. I believe Breeze should reimburse us for the $175 rental car. Breeze offered us $100 of Breeze points but its agent didn’t seem empowered to offer more or address the underlying issues. Can you help? — Joe Herman, Boston

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Breeze Airways should have found you in the terminal — or at least texted you before your departure. We’ve had a few mysterious cases like this before.

I’m not sure why you missed your flight. And while Breeze Airways isn’t legally obligated to help you, it shouldn’t have blown you off.

Your case is a reminder that airline notification systems are imperfect. Flight schedules can change, and then change back, at a moment’s notice — and sometimes without any notice. If you’re waiting for a flight, don’t walk away from the gate.

Breeze is a new airline that prides itself on fast and efficient customer service, and above all, on “niceness.” But being a new airline, it is also bound to experience some turbulence on its way to customer service excellence.

In reviewing your correspondence with Breeze, I felt confident that the airline would listen to you, a former customer service manager. But the back-and-forth with the lower-level managers looked frustrating. You’re right, Breeze Airways had not empowered those representatives to do more for you. That’s why I always recommend escalating a complaint up the executive ladder if you find it impossible to resolve your complaint at the customer service level.

The good news: Breeze Airways is processing your refund

We publish the names, numbers, and emails of the Breeze customer service contacts in our database to make that process easy. You reached out to them after finding those company contacts through the button in the top menu of our website.

The company reviewed your case and apologized for your experience. You received not just any apology, but an email from the chief operating officer saying he was “extremely sorry.”

Breeze Airways agreed to refund your rental car, as you requested.