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The horror that was our experience with Royal Jordanian Airlines began on December 20, 2007. James and I arrived at the Chicago O'Hare International Airport, ready to board our 9:10PM flight to Amman, Jordan. Checking in, we learned that the airline overbooked its Hajj-season flights, allotting a five-hour delay to our schedule. Immediately, we expressed concern for making our connecting flights to Delhi (Royal Jordanian), Bangalore (Jet Airways), and Trivandrum (Jet Airways). A confident Royal Jordanian representative assured us that the airline would not only hold our flight to Delhi but would definitely see us through Trivandrum. Relatively calm, we departed Chicago at 2AM, December 21, 2007.
After a twelve-hour flight, we arrived in Amman, Jordan. We ran to the transit desk, hopeful that our connecting flight was held. Unfortunately, it was not, as doing so is "not Royal Jordanian policy." We were then shuttled to a somewhat sketchy hotel and instructed to speak at 8AM with the Royal Jordanian representative present there. He would arrange our new flights.
It is December 22, 2007 (the day we were supposed to arrive in Trivandrum). 8AM rolls around, and we make our way to the hotel lobby, where there is a Royal Jordanian representative sitting in an office, behind a locked glass door. I knock. He looks up and returns to his work. I knock again. There is no response. I decided to check my email. Maybe my parents had some luck finding an alternate flight route. In fact, they did send me an email, though not concerning our flights. That morning, they drove to our house to check on our pets. To their surprise, my suitcase was sitting on the porch. Now, I'm really angry. Why on earth would Royal Jordanian send my luggage back to Wauwatosa, WI. My bag was checked through Delhi! I march back to the office where the Royal Jordanian representative is actively ignoring frustrated airline passengers. I sit on the floor - and wait. Finally, an administrator exits. I grab the door and sit. I'm not leaving without some answers. He tells me that there is no flight to Delhi that day and maybe I could get on the Sunday flight. Either way, he could not issue new tickets, even though the manager at the transit desk told me he would. Time to take some action. James and I decided to go to the airport. After several hours of being ignored, the Royal Jordanian manager finds us a new flight, but on a different carrier. At this point, we don't care. We leave for Doha, Qatar (which was never in our flight plan), with instructions to find a Royal Jordanian representative. He would arrange our domestic flights.
We arrive in Doha and learn a few disturbing details. First, we find that the one piece of luggage we have en route has already left for Delhi. But wait - I thought "there [was] no flight to Delhi" until Sunday! We also learn that we have a ten-hour layover. At this point, we're hungry and very tired, so we think it best to find the Royal Jordanian representative we were instructed to find and put in a claim for food and lodging. Of course, no one is present. We speak with an airport administrator, who manages to find a contact number for Royal Jordanian within Qatar. We phone 9-4658383 and then 9-4622055. One was a fax number. On the other line, we got through to a representative. At first, he refused to help us with our connecting flights. We would have to talk to the Royal Jordanian representative in Delhi to do that. My husband asked for his word that someone would be present at the Royal Jordanian office. The individual we were speaking with assured us that in fact someone would be there to help us. He also stated that neither lodging nor food will be provided while in Doha. Great, we'll just have to go hungry and continue without sleep.
It's December 23, 2007, and we're finally in India. We get off the plane and prepare to find a Royal Jordanian representative. We find the office and knock on the door. Knock again - and again. No answer. We find the administrator's office, only to learn that Royal Jordanian doesn't operate customer service in Delhi on Sundays. We're stranded and can't even claim our forwarded luggage. Now we're desperate. We decide the best thing to do would be to speak with Jet Airways. Maybe they would allow an exchange of our two-day old, unused tickets. It was a long shot, but it worked (THANK YOU JET AIRWAYS).
After twenty-five hours in the Delhi Airport (again, no lodging or food thanks to Royal Jordanian's continued absence) and two hours in Mumbai, we reach Trivandrum on December 24, 2007, two days late. We're tired, aggravated, and without any luggage. Lesson - never fly Royal Jordanian!
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