Wednesday, April 04, 2012


Ever heard of customer care, Royal Air Maroc?

When I booked my flight for this Friday with Royal Air Maroc from Valencia to Fez last December, I was grateful for the almost five hour lay-over at Casablanca on the way out, as it gave me time to get into the city and back to the airport in time to attend a meeting before the second leg of my journey.

This evening I had a phone call from RAM advising me that the flight from Casablanca to Fez was being brought forward by more than two hours, so I wouldn’t have such a long stay at the airport between legs. Ordinarily, no bad thing, but on this occasion definite bad thing.

I explained that I had a meeting in Casablanca and couldn’t get back in time for the flight, so would they be able to put me on a flight the following day? No, apparently, they wouldn’t, as there were no flights available at this price. This price I assumed to be the price I had paid three months earlier, about 85€ (946MAD), being a quarter of the overall ticket of 340€ (3,787MAD). So he wasn’t saying that there were no seats left, only that there were none of the cheaper seats left. When I checked the seat price for the Saturday I found that the price I’d paid was almost the same as the second level of pricing, so I wasn’t trying to get one of the cheapest seats. When I tried to book one of the lower-priced seats later under a false name, I got to the point where the RAM online booking form accepted the reservation and only needed my credit card, which proves that either there were seats available on the flight or RAM are prepared to take bookings under false pretenses.

When I told the representative that if there were no seats I would have to go by train, and as it was them who had changed the flight time at relatively short notice, were RAM prepared to refund the cost of the Casablanca to Fez flight to pay for my train ticket? Definitely not is the answer. “We don’t do that. We’ve arranged for the on-going of the passengers, so that’s okay for us.” Well, it’s certainly not okay for me, sunshine.

Even after leaving me hanging onto a tediously repetitive message for more than ten minutes to he could speak with a superior, the answer was still the same. Take or leave it, earlier flight or sort yourself out.

I fly regularly to Marrakech, but this was the first opportunity I’d had to go to Casablanca, so the long layover was a bit of a godsend and gave me the opportunity to arrange an important meeting. It would be very stupid and nonsensical to expect any airline never to change their schedules, but to be so abrupt and unaccommodating as Royal Air Maroc have been only reiterates what I’ve heard of their appalling reputation.

If I could see that there were seats available in a few minutes by simply going online and pretending to buy one, then surely it is within the realms of possibility that the person who called me could. So why lie and tell me there were no seats available? Probably because they hope to sell them, that’s why, and to hell with being even the least bit amenable to a customer who now has to cough up the cost of a night in Casablanca and a train fare.

Story by Derek Workman for The View From Fez



Anonymous said...

I do hope the view from fez doesn't turn into a forum allowing its contributors to vent their travel woes. This article is more suited to tripadvisor and does not sit well alongside the other excellent and informative posts on this blog. We all have gripes with airlines and like to have a moan but please not here.

Anonymous said...

While you were on hold, he went for a coffee break and a smoke hoping you will get tired and go away. I flew ram once in my life during the 90s and now I go out of my way to avoid them. Lesson learned for you.

Bob the Builder said...

Hi Derek, thanks for sharing this. The flights from Casa to Fez is problematic. It seems that if the numbers are not high enough they simply dump the flight. It has happened to me twice and so I now always go by train - it is a nice trip that way.

@anonymous - I am sure the View will not go in the direction you mentioned, they are too eclectic for that. And this is a good example of their wide coverage which my family and I have been enjoying reading for the last three years.

Simon said...

!Hola Derek - how di you score a gig writing for The View from Fez? Way cool! I am green with envy, mate

Anonymous said...

I agree - this is not news! If we all published pieces every time we had an airline drama (as I do regularly with Jet4you and Ryanair), we would need a whole blog dedicated to these sort of gripes.
Honestly VFF? Boring! Get it off the blog.

Paddy (UK) said...

Oi comrade! Leave Derek alone! He is new and it is good to hear these stories I am sorry that anonymous is such a jaded traveller he finds it boring... screw him and keep up the good work.

Tricia (Trillion!) said...

Hei Derek - don't let the armchair critics get at you. We enjoyed the story and certainly did not find it boring in any way, shape or form. And above all - don't panic!