Friday, 22 June 2007

Life, fate and STA!

I've become accustomed to how unpredictable life can be. Perhaps its in my stars but my life seems to have more unexpected diversions than most. One week I can be content in Australia the next backpacking around India. I embrace change and surprise in my life whilst friends question how I cope with the uncertainty. I've never understood the need for corporations to pour money into change management.

Thats launches me into my current situation..... I'm back in Australia! Enrique and I arrived back to the UK from the Czech Republic the evening before we exchanged vows, my sister arrived from Australia that evening too. The morning of our civil ceremony I was busy organising my suit, finalising the catering and drinking champagne (calm the nerves)! Anyway, get ready for this, in all the excitement I forgot to change the dates for my flight back to Australia! Damn! Basically my flight was scheduled to leave for Australia in two days time..... no problemo I hear you say! Well it shouldn't have been a problem except STA travel were apart of the equation.

Never, never, NEVER book a flight through STA travel! Yes, it was my fault that I forgot to change the dates on my ticket and I accept responsibility but in this modern world we live in, shit happens and business needs to adjust accordingly.

Firstly, STA advised me that I needed to contact British Airways UK to change my ticket. WRONG! British Airways didn't have access to my particular fare rules and regulations issued by STA.

I called STA again, this time I was told to contact British Airways in Australia! WRONG AGAIN! British Airways in Australia advised me that my ticket was a Qantas issued ticket but regardless all changes had to be made via STA.

I decided to go straight to my nearest STA office to sort the mess out pronto! BIG MISTAKE! I was informed by the 'friendly' STA staff that I would need to make changes to my ticket via their 'new customer service email service'! Shouldn't that be an oxymoron? Customer Service email service?! My flight was due to leave in approximately 24 hours, STA's estimated response time using the 'customer service email'.... about 24 hours! I sent the email requesting a change in my ticket but after 10 valuable hours and no response I had lost faith in STA.

I then called STA Australia (British Telecoms share price spiked thanks to my consumption). I 'luckily' spoke to the woman who I booked my ticket through. She suggested that I now call Qantas Australia to change my ticket! UNBELIEVABLE!

I eventually changed my ticket...... I phoned an independent travel agent on the sunshine coast, who managed to change my ticket! Unfortunately it was only by one day but it gave Enrique and I more time together.

Can you believe the shit customer service STA provide?! Can you believe, a small independent travel agent that a friend recommended managed to change my ticket in less than 1 hour!

STA can waste their squillions on marketing but consumers don't trust or believe their spin..... nor should they. What consumers do trust is the experience of other consumers, STA can't buy that. My blog has had about 76,000 hits and counting, I'm a university student who operates within STA's target market. Word of mouth is the most powerful weapon in the marketing stratagem.

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