We interrupt our regularly scheduled posts to blog on a particularly annoying issue. In poking around among expats here in the Chapala area, we found that a number of expats have had similar experiences with our local airline, Volaris. Hopefully, Volaris will accept the challenge to fix these issues.
If you’ve read this blog with any regularity, you already know we really like the low-cost Mexican airline, Volaris. Their prices are outstanding. And they’ve expanded their service to a lot of U.S. destinations.
For example, we travel a lot between Guadalajara and Houston. If we can travel toward the middle of the week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday), we can get a fare of about $230 U.S. For a direct flight. The only other direct we’ve been able to find is typically over $500 U.S. And many flights from Guadalajara to Houston cost $300 or more and route through Mexican City with a ten, eleven or twelve hour travel time. Not very attractive.
Not only is the pricing on Volaris excellent, the service is excellent as well. We’ve always had four flight attendants on every flight; the planes are clean; the flight attendants actually help with boarding.
Bet you know what’s coming. There’s a big BUT here. Yes, there is.
Volaris strongly encourages passengers to check in online, or via their mobile app, or even via Facebook Messenger. Actually they charge you to check in at the airport.
So what’s the problem? Well, in our experience, and in the experience of at least a number of expats we know, sometimes you can check in online; sometimes you can’t. Sometimes you can check in with the mobile app; sometimes you can’t. And, the same with Facebook Messenger.
When I say you can’t check in either online or via the mobile app, I mean that you fill in the information Volaris requests, verify it, and submit and you get back a message saying there’s been a problem and you can’t check in.
And waiting an hour or so doesn’t help. Nor does trying multiple times. If it doesn’t work the first time, it’s not going to.
Last week I had a flight scheduled and couldn’t check in online. And then I missed the flight because of horrendous lines at the Guad airport and the rigmarole of checking in and getting through security and dealing with immigration.
So I bought another ticket for a flight a couple of days later and, voila, I actually did get to check in via the mobile app.
However, for the return flight scheduled for today, I tried to check in on Sunday, and no. Couldn’t do it.
My brother-in-law poked around and discovered that the problem is definitely in the Information Technology (IT) settings that Volaris has instituted.
Volaris: this is totally fixable. So, please, please fix it!
I’ve tried to communicate with Volaris about this problem. Unfortunately, their contact channels are something else in dire need of upgrading.
So, here’s the oddity. Volaris has the operations side down. They’re really good at what I need an airline for. Thumbs up! The customer service side? Well, certainly not the worst I’ve ever encountered. That’s about as kind as I can be.
So, use them. We do, but we do so knowing the risks and the hassles that may, and are likely to be encountered.
And if you know anyone who knows anyone upstairs in Volaris, please have them read this blog page. I’d love to have these issues fixed.