I’ve been on flights where an announcement was made at the start of flight that the internet didn’t work — only to find that it worked just fine. That worked out great, not only was there internet but no one else was trying to use it so I had plenty of bandwidth.
I’ve also been on plenty of flights where internet doesn’t work and the crew was aware of this from the prior flight but didn’t say anything until we were up in the air. That’s frustrating because I’d have treated the half hour I was on the plane (on the ground, still with connectivity) differently.
When internet doesn’t work in the air the most crews can do is reset it, they won’t really be able to troubleshoot beyond that.
Recently I flew Washington Dulles – Austin on United and the internet didn’t work. Flight attendants reset the connection, but it still didn’t work. About halfway through the flight I managed to connect, was able to download some email one time, but couldn’t do anything beyond that.
Connectivity is one of the most important things in the air for me. Every hour matters, and I work all the time. Plenty of passengers see a flight as a way to disconnect. I see it as time alone where I can focus on getting things done. And much of what I need to get done involves getting online. I do keep plenty of entertainment on my laptop though so I don’t have to rely on an airline’s entertainment — to work, or to have anything I want to watch. United’s streaming entertainment wasn’t working either.
So I replied to my email receipt — the next day, because I couldn’t even download the receipt while I was inflight — and let Gogo know that I paid $12.99 for internet but never got it to work well enough to render a single web page. I asked for a refund.
Customer service replied,
I apologize for the issues you faced during your flight on [date]. I see that you had slow speed and low data usage on your pass. I was checking and according to my system there was an issue with the equipment onboard the plane. I’m going to open an incident in order to report the issues you faced and your account as well.
I’d like to offer you two 100% off codes that you can use on any future flight to connect totally for free, in case you’re not flying on American Ailrines. One to honor the pass you were unable to use and one due to all the hassle. This is in order to show you that I do care about the experience you had with the service.
I was impressed that they acknowledged I pay for Gogo monthly service on American Airlines. I asked for a refund and they offered me future use credit instead. I do fly airlines other than American (and Southwest, but their internet isn’t provided by Gogo) however I asked for and believe I should receive a refund. So I pressed back.
They replied – no dice – I get future use passes,
Thank you for contacting Gogo.
I’ve offered you codes due to the slow service issues you experienced. An alternative solution.
Now I get annoyed. I understand they offered me codes. However they charged me for something they did not provide. Keeping my money is not acceptable, so I insisted on a refund. They acknowledged this and did provide a refund.
We have processed a refund for your Gogo purchase on 11/15/2018 in the amount of $12.99.
Your refund confirmation number is: XXXXXXXXX
We sincerely hope you reconsider using our services again, the next time you fly.
If you have any further questions, we can be reached at 877-350-0038, 24/7. You can also contact us via Live Chat by clicking https://custhelp.gogoinflight.com while you’re in the air or on the ground.
Your Friend Luis at Gogo Customer Care
The refund was processed. They did also take back the future use passes that had been added to my account. That’s appropriate — I wanted a refund not passes, largely on principle — though the hassle it seems to me ought to have involved a refund and one future use pass (versus two) since Gogo acknwledged one fo the passes was for the inconvenience which was only magnified by their customer service.
The biggest reason I want to fly American, Delta, or Southwest over United is because I find their internet to be more reliable.
Should I have just taken the two passes, knowing they have greater value and that I’d certainly use them within a year, instead of insisting on a refund? What do you do when inflight internet doesn’t work?