Am I being unreasonable? Or is ASL being a pain in the....
Just after a few opinions on this one.
I've got an exam booked for Friday in Maroochydore, it's my last one so I'm super keen to get it over and done with. I have to travel from Bundaberg to do this exam which is fast becoming a problem. The Bruce highway is cut in a few places between here and The Sunny Coast (mainly Gympie) and nobody is sure when it might re-open.
I called ASL today and asked if I couldn't make the exam due to the roads being flooded will they help me out and transfer my exam. The short answer was no, because it's now under 4 days before the exam and window has closed to transfer it, so I'm now locked in to the exam date, come hell or high water.
Am I being unreasonable expecting ASL to help me out by allowing me to transfer the exam due to a natural disaster?
P.s. Thanks to the young lady at ASL who suggested that I transfer my booking to the Rockhampton exam centre. Cause there's no flooding around those parts is there?!?!
Hi, you need to call back and ask for some-one higher. I had the same problem a few months ago when the sunny coast was cut off. I phoned them and the young lady said that they would do something if I could not get there due to flood waters. As it was I did get there so I did not test them on it. Try again as they can't do what they are doing. I sometimes think the flood is between their ears.
The problem is there's not enough people who care.
Things like airline airfares, supermarket pricing etc all strike a chord with the general public, but who in the general population is going to care about a few student pilots doing some exams. Especially when flying is likely still seen as a hobby of the rich.
Even within the industry, the vast majority of pilots have finished their exams and never have to go near ASL again, so you won't even get a big response from the people that the issue does relate to.
I've been going on about the rubbish that is ASL for years: the overprices exams, the lack of exams at night and on weekends causing people like me who are working to have to take unpaid time off.
If change is really to occur, it needs to have the support of the entire industry, which I just don't think is going to happen.
Don't even get me started on ASL but it is good to know that half a decade or more later they're still as rude and useless as ever. One of my students had his exam cancelled by ASL prior to Christmas because he was the only one who had made a booking for that time slot. Forget that he had prepared for it, they weren't interested in providing the promised (and paid for) service.
Well it would appear that the answer that you get out of ASL depends allot on who you talk to in Canberra.
Called again, explained situation (again), a helpful lady says she understands as she has family in the floods. I explained how desperate i am to get there to do the exam and she said that it wouldn't be a problem to transfer my exam to another date if I let them know the day before. FINALLY!!!
I agree with the points that a few of you are making about ASL being the only approved testing centre. I believe that if CASA allowed for a second provider to come in that prices would fall, and possibly more testing centres would be opened up in different locations thus reducing the amount of traveling some of us have to do to sit exams. CASA have done it with ASIC cards, why cant they do it with testing?
It seems that CASA does need to conduct more oversight into ASL. And if they are already providing some oversight then they need to advertise that to training pilots to help keep a level of transparency with ASL's conduct.
In terms of prices they are expensive but for a reason. One of CASA's requirements is that each particular exam is the same price throughout the country. The reason they are expensive is because there are quite a few very small testing centres around the country that have a room permanently rented with a couple of computers but only run a couple of testing sessions a week. This of course means that particular testing centre runs at a big loss. Therefore the prices are higher so the more profitable testing centres can pick up the slack.
Its been a coupla years since I last dealt with ASL, but when I did have arguments with them I demanded to speak to the girls manager (if unavailable, then managers contact details, and also mentioned speaking to CASA and ombudsman) - they were then helpful and quite reasonable.
When the hell did they change it to 4 days? When I was doing mine it was 24 hours and that wasn't long ago. Airlines don't need 4 days, doctors don't need 4 days what makes ASL's operation so critical that they need 4 days notice!
Well worth pushing the point. 4 days is completely unreasonable.
I think the monopoly ASL has over the aviation examinations is a disgrace. I'm willing to take back that statement if someone were to advise me where my $180~ per exam goes? Keeping in mind this is an automated, multiple choice exam, done on a PC. I also don't even understand why casa has to charge $60 as a fee for this when there is little to no administrative work to be done to get test results on a database and on a KDR sheet. While on the topic of ASL, why is the system so outdated as to not recognise we have passed BAK by seeing we have passed PPL theory for instance? Why must we bring our log book into the testing centre for every single CPL/PPL exam? Isn't the first exam enough to put your name on the "I have passed BAK" list?
While I agree with you 100% that the 4 day rule ASL adheres to is BS for the type of business they are operating, I will still play devils advocate for a minute...
Since you can alter your bookings using their online system... why wait until the Monday the week of your exam before trying to change the booking when the flooding at Maryborough and Gympie has been known and expected since last week? I now live interstate (still a Queenslander though) and even here in Victoria news about these floods has been pretty widely reported.
If this is your last ATPL exam then you've agreed to their terms and conditions a minimum of 7 times so far, not including any CPL exams, failures and subsequent re-bookings that might have occurred. The 4 day rule is pretty clearly stated in those terms and conditions as well as on the booking confirmation sheet that you are REQUIRED (though not enforced) to print out and take to the exam.
It is pretty piss poor that the level of compassion an employee of ASL can show is rigidly limited by some corporate rule, but hey, this is ASL and CASA we're talking about. It has gotten to the point that I no longer expect any special consideration from such organisations as it seems that employees generally aren't willing to risk an ear bashing from their manager, or do the extra little bit of work that is required to provide what was once called customer service
It's good to hear that someone there used some common sense and that you've been helped out, just make sure you can get it in writing before the fact though otherwise they might get selective memory.
The fee structure that ASL use are pretty insane, although being able to have the exams instantly submitted and marked is a 1 billion % improvement on the CASA supervised exam system that existed before (for ATPL, CPL is a different issue). It's a great thing that the month or two wait before finding out that you've failed and then having to restudy when nothing is fresh anymore before resitting an exam are over. The balance would be somewhere between the two, but anything CASA organises usually turns to sh!t pretty quick
No I wouldn't cancel my exam at the hint of rain, but then again I am not in the position of having to travel over 250km of coastal road during the worst wet season in 37 years with known flooding and road cuts between me and my exam centre. If I WAS in that situation, I'd probably investigate my options a little earlier given the known policy that ASL has (just like this bloke has, albeit a little late according to the policy).
FYI the flooding in Maryborough peaked on sat and more rain has meant a second peak is likely today. Also the Mary River has been expected to cause flooding and road closures in and around Gympie since late last week.