TAP is still one of those old fashion airlines yet to figure out how to be customer oriented.
Feels like they still do business only with travel agencies. 80’s flashback? 🙂
Everything direct with the final customer is not easy if you don’t have the Victoria Number.

Victoria is TAP’s loyalty program.

Attractive prices and convenient routes catch me for 6 years, when I used to fly from The Netherlands to Brazil.
And, to be fair, they do have good onboard service, always friendly.
Even that time, I had never used my Victoria points because was not an efficient program.
So, I do add others loyalty programs to TAP reservations. Do it from the US is quite complicated.

First, I went online.
TAP website only works well once login with your Victoria#.
I was afraid to login with the Victoria# and the system would add it to my reservation. And indeed, it would have done exactly that. I didn’t want that! I was looking for to add my MileagePlus not Victoria. I look everywhere on the website, googled it, spent a long time trying to figure out how to do it by myself.

Not having achieve to find a way to add my MileagePlus to my TAP flights, I decided to call the call center.
I know, I know, call center is the contemporaneous worst punishment.
TAP has a 800-line in the US with a funky menu that mixes English, Portuguese and some Spanish.
I opted for English at the beginning but it continues to mix languages. It was not really a problem to me because I do speak theses languages.
The waiting on call was loooooooooooong.. I mean, really long. My second call I count 52 minutes of waiting and listens a funky mix of waiting messages.

Wait..what the hell.. I do speak Portuguese. Why not call the number in Portugal? It should be easier to connect with their local call center.. Right? Noooo, no way! Not even spending international call tariff from my mobile phone was taking me anywhere but FrustrationLand.

After some curse out loud at my notebook, I went to Social Media.
That’s the place to be heard!
I look for TAP’s Facebook page in the US. Found it! And was in English… yeeey :-/
Start to read the last posts, some positives and some more negatives.

I was frustrated and annoyed to had lost so much time on a simple task.
I’d give it a try anyway.
I posted a simple direct question:

“Can you guys help me add my MileagePlus#* to my TAP reservation?”

Surprise.. surprise! ..They answered me in less than 5 minutes!
They asked for my reservation# via Facebook Messenger.
I ask them to book my seats as well, windows seats, as in the front as possible.
I had 3 flights yet to book seats, plus the return outbound.
I wrote all at once, all my requests for add my MileagePlus# (yes, I wrote the number), to book my seats at all my 6 flights and my seats preferences.
No sign of any answer for 10 minutes.. and.. Voilà!!
They answered me back with all my seats booked, its numbers, and saying my MileagePlus was added to all my flights as well.
All solved in 10 minutes.

Why do things need to be that way with TAP-Portugal Airlines?
Why just simplify the website customer interface?

Be customer oriented is not a choice for any business anymore.
Even super über big corporations have to change B2C to survive.

Listen to what you client complains.
Your client is your best thermometer for customer service changes.

Look around, what the edge completion is doing to delight their clients.
Get out from the dark ages of the 90’s internet.

Make easier for customers to everything by themselves online, as much as possible.
B2C interface have to be simple, organic to deal, intuitive.

We don’t need travel agencies to book and make changes with Airlines anymore.
We don’t want anyone else doing all that for us, the customers, anymore.
We don’t want to call the Airline’s call center, anymore.
We hate wait hours to be talk to somebody. It’s annoying!

My theory is that the decision makers from TAP might have assistants to book their flights and make changes when needed.
Don’t they see how painful the process is?

Well, I’m enjoying on my way to Portugal writing this post, using on board Wi-Fi from JetBlue.
Took me a while to find out that TAP uses JetBlue in US domestic flights as a partner.
No, Tap doesn’t mention this anywhere in the reservation. No signs at SEATAC Airport neither. The JetBlue check in person took a while to find my flights, looking to me as I was lost or something.

Nothing that a chilled Port Wine wouldn’t cure 🙂

Can’t wait be land in Portugal.
It’s an effervescent cultural scene with great wines, exquisite food and great people.
Or… get yourself a glass (or two) of Port Wine to make your day better.
Port Wine have this power, transports you to Terra de Alem Mar (kinda means overseas, in Portuguese).


Originally posted earlier at http://startupoutloud.blogspot.com
* To be accurate, I asked to add another mileage loyalty number from a Brazilian Airlines, Azul.
But the process is exactly the same. I used MileagePlus on the post just to be US-friendly.

** I’m traveling to Portugal invited by the Port Wine Day organization, they sent me the TAP flights.


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