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British Airways oversells business class and tries to evade legal responsibilities.
Posted by DC1970 on 03/26/2006
3 months ago, I paid £3650 (approx $6387 USD) to British Airways to fly business class, full flat bed service from London UK to Cape Town SA. They decided not to provide me with the service that I had paid for, and have since lied and altered their story to avoid paying an acceptable refund.

On trying to complete an online check in 20 hours before departure, I received an error message saying that I couldn’t check in online and could only check in personally. This I did in good time and was surprised to be told that there wasn’t a seat available for check in and I had to wait for “seat allocation”. 20 minutes before take off, it was confirmed to me that “due to the malfunction of a first class seat”, that first class passenger had been downgraded to my seat and I was being downgraded. Being a late evening flight, it was left too late to make alternative arrangements.

The thing was, I had three colleagues flying first class and they confirmed that there were no unused seats in first class. I questioned this with the purser on board who modified the story to say that the first class seat would not recline and so was being used as a “crew rest seat”. My colleagues confirmed after the flight that all first class seats reclined, and all people in those seats enjoyed the “full hospitality” of first class. Staff member on a “jolly” perhaps, or just a lie to hide the overselling of business class?

Needless to say being a business class passenger with British Airways, a company I previously thought to be of good reputation, I didn’t expect to have any problems getting my money back for the leg of the journey they chose not to provide. This is very much not the case though. 3 months later, I am still battling with them.

Their first response was to only offer a handful of air miles as “compensation”. Their second response was to say they had “lost” my claim for refund / compensation. Their third response was to claim that they had a policy that prevented them from ever making a refund of greater value than 50% of the one-way portion of a flight. When asked to show the existence of this policy, they couldn’t.

They maintained their story that one seat in first class had failed, and despite the statements from my three first class colleagues, BA maintained that there was one empty (broken) seat in First Class. (Remember the purser on board confirmed it was not empty).

Two months into my claim against them, they suddenly switched their story to confirm that British Airways had oversold the business class cabin. I believe they changed their story because they could now try and limit their refund by using a European law designed to protect passengers! While they held on to their lies about first class seats being broken, they were confirming that the business class cabin was not technically oversold, because there were an equal number of business class seats and ticket holders for that class. If they held this position, they could not use the European law that exists to protect passengers from the practice of airlines overselling seats.

In the event that a flight is intentionally oversold by a European airline, EU law requires that they (1) provide a 75% refund (this level is set because of the length of flight), (2) Pay compensation (3) Call for volunteers prior to bumping and (4) provide compensation and refunds within 7 days. Since I was blocked from completing an online check in 20 hours before departure, it was clear that BA chose not to ask for volunteers to be offloaded. Their responses to a refund request were designed to hide their legal minimum responsibility to repay at least 75% in the event of overselling.

Finally, they paid 75% (to the penny) of the one-way flight portion less tax as a refund, claiming that this is all the law requires them to do and “that is the end of the matter”. This meant that they still charged me over £450 for a one-way flight – an economy ticket on that route is £250!

As a business class passenger, I did not pay the airline the minimum amount for the minimum service. I therefore did not expect British Airways to initially hide from their legal responsibilities and then twist European law to make the absolute minimum payment available, whilst not complying with any other element of that law – for example making the refund automatically within 7 days.

My advice to fellow business class passengers who need an airline they can rely on to keep their business commitments is to avoid British Airways. Their clear policy of overselling BA business class means that your seat is not guaranteed no matter what you pay. Their true regard for you as a business class passenger is clear if you try to get them to make a refund for choosing not providing a service that you have already paid for.

     
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Posted by Anonymous on 2006-03-26:
British Airways sucks, I have flown with them before and the service varies from country to country. If you are leaving from Germany to London then you get an English crew. This means you get the worst of the worst. I learned from the British that when we say “British” we are talking about the whole UK and everybody over their hates the “English” and after working with the Scottish, Welsh, Irish and the English I know what they are talking about. The only European airline that was worst then BA is Air France and that is the most scariest flight you will ever take in Europe. BA sold my business class ticket twice and the same thing happened to me. I am with you man! I will never fly BA again unless there is no other way out. The English and French run it, what else need be said?
Posted by Doe3001 on 2006-04-04:
If you paln to use an online travel agency like EXPEDIA, think again: These online travel agencies suck. I’m spreading my horrible experience I had with EXPEDIA. Pleas read my case to avoid being the next victim of EXPEDIA: http://www.geocities.com/humbaba2000/BadExp.htm and http://www.my3cents.com/showReview.cgi?id=12466 Good luck travelers;
Posted by Sick of BA on 2011-01-04:
We have great sympathy with the shoddy treatment this passanger received at the hands of British Airways. My wife on returning from Vancouver in a three day delayed flight in December had to fightto get her paid for Business class seat becasue BA was going to give all the business class seats to the flight attendants who wanted to get home. BA tried to make her sit in economy class so some attendnat could ahve her bsusiness class seat. after putting up a fuss they reluctantly put in in her business class seat. what a bunch of jerks!!!
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BA Price Promise is a Lie
Posted by I Like Honesty on 02/11/2010
Here's a copy of the letter I submitted to BA:
To whom it may concern:

After receiving your response to my request for a refund on the price difference between the tickets I purchased on your website and the lower fare I discovered the morning after my purchase, I am stunned, aggravated and offended. I carefully reviewed the information given on your website and it is clear that you have been purposefully and deceitfully manipulative in your presentation of information regarding your "Price Promise" program.

You say "If you find the same British Airways flight you’ve purchased on ba.com cheaper on another website, we’ll refund the difference.*" The asterisk at the end of the sentence refers to a paragraph at the bottom of the web page, "Terms and Conditions," which further clarifies the rules of the game, yet nowhere in those T & Cs is there a mention of a midnight deadline.

In fact, nowhere else do mentions of your "Price Promise" program indicate any such deadline -- the only place said deadline is mentioned is buried deep in the language of "FULL terms and conditions," on a page quite cached away. There are no warnings about limitations to the program other than those mentioned on the first "Terms and Conditions," nothing that indicates that it's important to read further. You don't give any warning language such as "time limits apply" or "other terms and conditions apply."

The customer reads "Find Our Cheapest Fares to London All Year Long" on the home page; then when the prospective customer clicks through to book tickets, he reads, "If you find exactly the same flight cheaper on another US website, we'll refund the difference." No time limits or warning clauses mentioned.

When the customer clicks on the link to "BA Price Promise," he goes to another page to read BA's noble promises to the customer..."If you find the same British Airways flight you’ve purchased on ba.com cheaper on another website, we’ll refund the difference." And then, "Book With Confidence...Always feel confident you can book online at ba.com for our best fares. " And then, "If you have made your booking on ba.com and happened to have found the same flights, on the same day, in the same class but cheaper on another website, don’t worry, just complete and submit our claim form."

A Reasonable Person would assume that if a lower price appeared within less than one day after tickets were purchased, a refund for the difference would be happily issued by BA.

So Tuesday afternoon, after much research and study, I decided to buy our annual RT tickets to France on British Air. I didn't worry. I "Booked With Confidence. "

The next morning, I read an email from a price-shopping website and clicked on a few links to see what their prices were to Europe. Within a few clicks I came across the BA flight itinerary identical to that which I had just purchased from you (same date, same flights, same times, etc.), for approximately $50 less per person. I smiled...I wasn't worried, I was confident. After all, you'd promised to refund the difference. I reread the page about the Price Promise, dutifully clicked on the link to file the claim, patiently and carefully filled in all the boxes correctly and accurately and sent it on its way, thrilled I had chosen to buy tickets with British Airways this time instead of my usual airline, American Airlines. After all, you told me to book with confidence and you were guaranteeing me the best price. I was a very happy BA Customer.

Then I get your piece-of-mealy-mouthed-garbage response. Apparently, somewhere deep in the bowels of your "further terms and conditions," there's a limitation that the request for refund must come by midnight of the date of purchase. So, theoretically, someone could buy tickets on the BA website at 11 p. m., watch the late night news, go to shut down the computer and read a new email advertising a cheaper fare, and you would shoot them down on your promise because they didn't get their claim in by midnight.

I would like to know, on a HUMAN level, how you feel about this deceitfulness. How do you feel about blatantly LYING to your customers about this so-called "Price Promise?" I suppose you can always fall back on a smug, self-serving "Well, they should've read the fine print" response, right? Sure, I should've. I didn't realize I was taking out a bank loan to buy a house when I bought a ticket on your airplane. I actually believed your advertising, your lies of omission and your deceit. I read VERY CAREFULLY all the information on the BA Price Promise page, including the Terms and Conditions, and followed all the rules...except for the hidden rules (I should have clicked on "further terms and conditions").

Boy, BA, I'll bet you were a lot of fun on the playground when you were a kid, huh? Were you the one who won all the games, but had no friends, because you made up new rules all the time, in the middle of the game?

I would really like to hear back from a human being about this. It's not even about the silly $100 -- that really doesn't mean much to me. It's about the goodwill you just lost from me. I was your happy customer, looking forward to my trip, pleased with the reasonably priced tickets I'd found. And now I'm truly ticked off and will be telling this story to everyone I know. I will fly on your airplane for this trip, because I've purchased my tickets...but now, instead of extolling your virtues I'll be blowing the whistle on your deceit.

Very simple: I believed your advertisements, bought the tickets, found a lower price WITHIN 24 HOURS, followed all your apparent rules, and you shot me down for a lousy $100 US dollars. And made a hater out of me.
     
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Posted by Anonymous on 2010-02-11:
Same day means same day, not the next morning. I would have taken it to mean exactly that.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-02-11:
I'd be mildly irritated if this occurred to me but this novella that you sent is very ineffective - way too long. "To whom it may concern" in large corporations rarely works, most decide it doesn't concern them and your complaint ends up in the trash.
Airlines have pricing depts (humans) but for most changes a complex formula and software determine price changes. BA's price guarantee I suspect doesn't last long as Y class prices are volatile. There are ways to ensure you get the lowest prices on tickets on any airline but this too is becoming a novella.
Posted by PepperElf on 2010-02-11:
and i understand why there was no discount
the terms said "same day"
since you tried getting the deal using information from a different day they wouldn't let you.

as for how "buried" the info it
1) you did find it
2) gonna look to see just how "buried" it is.

THAT was "buried"? I looked up "british airway price promise" found a link at the bottom of the page and found the statement about the "same date" etc in less than 30 seconds


and yes it says same DATE, not next morning.
http://www.britishairways.com/travel/ba6.jsp/lowestfaretc/public/en_us

#6
Posted by I Like Honesty on 2010-02-11:
Just a note...I interpreted the "same day" to refer to the identical flight itinerary having to be on the "same day" as the one I had booked. And it was. To me, it read that the new, cheaper tickets had to be for exactly the same day, flight #s, times, etc., as the purchased ticket. I did not read it as my request had to be placed on the same day as purchase -- but that the new price had to be for travel on the same day as the purchased tickets.
I think the language is purposefully ambiguous. And I think that leaving the more clearly stated phrase about the midnight deadline on a page separate from the instructions page is also purposefully deceitful.
I just find the technique of bait and switch distasteful.
Posted by PepperElf on 2010-02-11:
Was this "same day" flight on the same DATE or was it only within 24 hours of your flight?

Cos this doesn't look ambiguous to me.



#6
The Lower Online Fare must be for the exact same flights, on the same dates for travel, in the same cabins, have the same fare rules and restrictions as the British Airways itinerary purchased through ba.com and be sold in the US over the internet. The website containing the Lower Online Fare must provide capability to book that fare. Websites showing fares but not providing booking capability will not qualify for the ba.com Price Promise.
Posted by I Like Honesty on 2010-02-11:
Yes -- the flight offer I found was EXACTLY the same flight I bought tickets for -- same DATE OF TRAVEL (April 7), same FLIGHT #, same TIME OF DAY...as were all the connecting flights, and the return flights as well. It is the identical flight to the one I bought -- just offered for $50 USD less per ticket. My reading of the terms made me think it would qualify. I discovered the cheaper flight about 15 hours after booking the BA ticket and sent in the request form immediately. But they say the form had to be sent in by midnight on the day I bought my ticket, and mine was sent in the morning after. So I lose.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-02-11:
It appears your interpretation of "same day" differs from that of BA. Meaning, you have to find the lower price on the "same day" that you found the higher price. Not that the itenerary for the lower price would have been booked for the "same day".
Posted by PepperElf on 2010-02-11:
ahh

that was # 8 on the list
same web page link i posted earlier

...the one that only took me 30 seconds to find


#8
Claims must be received by British Airways before 12AM (midnight) Pacific Standard Time on the day of purchase of travel at ba.com.


Posted by Anonymous on 2010-02-11:
You stated that it said if the same flights are lower on a different website they would refund the difference. This was on the SAME website. It also looks like you were too late in making your claim. Relax, you agreed on the price before so just go on, don't give yourself an ulcer.
Posted by I Like Honesty on 2010-02-11:
justthefax -- the new, lower price was posted on a DIFFERENT website, www.airfare.com.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-02-11:
#8 seems like the deal breaker. Most of these webfare guarantees are so restricted that I would be willing to bet many sites NEVER have to pay out a refund. Way to restrictive and they lure people in with their carrot. Very immoral, imo.
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BA moves complaints response overseas and results suffer
Posted by Jef on 07/08/2004
Customer service is very important to me. Obviously it is not for BA.

I redeemed my miles for a ticket from London to Frankfurt and then I flew Lufthansa business class to Havana. In Cuba I tried to find a BA a representative office. No airline could help with BAs tickets. I called BA in the US and they refused to help as I was in Cuba. So, I logged on to the BA web site which was down and then I could not access it as they encryption level was too high for Cuba as it is for some other developing Countries.

On returning to Frankfurt, none of the BA staff knew how to change my redemption ticket. They did not have a telephone number for the UK. I called on my mobile and I was on hold for 5 minutes, transferred to Sales, then to Customer Service, back to Executive Club and then back to sales.

I emailed a complaint to BA. They have farmed out email Tier One complaints to India which has resulted in poor or little or no response, standardised "we are sorry" replies. They lost my complaint on two occasions.

After complaining and demanding a response, I received from Allison McGibbon, Customer Relations

I have certainly looked again at what happened and taken into account
everything you have told us, but Im afraid there is nothing I can add. I have apologised for your disappointment with the service you received

No explanation of why BA Frankfurt could not help, no apologies for having to speak to three different BA departments, no apology for my complaint being lost, twice, or no explanation of why their was no email response.

Thank you BA, you were the worlds favourite.
     
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Why not to travel British Airways
Posted by Sushbee on 01/14/2009
WHY ONE SHOULD NOT TRAVEL BY BRITISH AIRWAYS

Our flight from Delhi to San Francisco via Heathrow started off on a rather bad note with fog delays causing the flight to move from 3:30 AM on the 30th December, to 7:30 AM. However, we were informed of the same by phone, and accordingly changed our plans to reach the airport by around 5 AM. I think I can pinpoint that THIS is probably where the nightmare started.

As we were standing in the check-in line, we were interrupted by a BA employee who surreptitiously informed us that the flight, BA 142, on the 30th December 2008 was further delayed to 11 AM. We looked around in confusion, since no sign reflected the change. However, due to her insistence, we called up our pickups in San Francisco, and informed them of the change. When we reached the counter, however, we were more confused since the BA check-in lady, a young woman named Ashika seemed completely unaware of any change and calmly disregarded the info change to pack off our luggage. Since she was so convinced, we called our people back to tell them that there had been no change in our programme. However, I insisted that she call the representative and tell her to stop spreading wrong information - which is when she made a call and realized that the flight had been changed. I found it highly unacceptable, that a BA desk representative did not even know that there was a change in itinerary and in fact after that, behaved like having that information was not her problem. Unbelievable!

The only high point was because of the mix-ups, we got to travel Club class for the first part of our journey (or rather because they had to stuff lots of people into our flight) which was to Heathrow. But since we reached Heathrow late, we missed our connecting flight to San Francisco, originally planned for 1040 AM on BA 285 and had to stay a night in London.

When we finally boarded our flight to San Francisco, which was the same flight as above, but an entire day later, I had to go through the entire flight (a good 9 hours) with no food - simply because the travel information had not been updated by BA, and so there was absolutely no extra vegetarian food on the flight. I was curtly told I should have informed the officials during the booking, and they completely ignored me when I insisted that my preferences were even on my tickets more than 3 months ago, it was just that BA had not bothered to transfer the data. However, through the trip, there was no effort made by the crew to try and help us out (there were more people like me, who's food prefs had not been updated by BA), and instead we had almost feel like it was our fault for not eating the 'sea bass'. (In fact one crew member insisted rudely that I should try it as an option - she just did not seem to understand that it was not a matter of fussy eating, it was a matter of vegetarianism.)

Finally when we reached San Fran, our troubles reached their zenith when out of our 3 bags, 1 bag did not make its appearance. On questioning the BA staff, they told us that it was coming on the next flight and would be couriered to our house. Tired, hungry and in no mood to argue with such incompetence, we didn't even put up a fight. But days passed, and there was no sign of the bag. Repeated calls were to no avail and finally after 6 days, we physically went to the airport, hoping to get some answers there. However, after waiting for almost 4 hours, the baggage services were nothing short of rude, saying that they had tons of bags lying at Heathrow and that we should stop complaining or creating a fuss - almost like its a gift to get your luggage along with you when you arrive at your destination! When we asked for at least compensation, since my husband was left in San Francisco in single digit temperatures with no shoes, coat, sweaters or clothes - we were made to wait till finally because of our insistence, anger or just because they wanted to get rid of us, they gave us $400 to temporarily keep us happy.

It has now been 15 days since we reached the US, and not once has BA on its own accord even called to let us know anything about our luggage. I am truly disgusted at their behavior, and what is more shocking is that everyone seems to know that BA is never to be trusted in terms of customer service or luggage. We have consciously decided never to travel BA again, and to inform all our friends and family as well (who already seem to know anyway) and would like to advise everyone to do the same.

Extremely disgruntled travellers,
Sushma Bharath & Gaurav Ghosh

     
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Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-14:
San Francisco doesn't get that cold..."single digit temps".


anyway...does sound like a hassle,but a nightmare?

Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-14:
Steve, they use Celsius over there, so 49' Fahrenheit would be 9' Celsius, thus the single digit. As for BA, sushbee you're not alone! The baggage problems with the new BA terminal have been going on for months now, thousands of bags have gone MIA. With the Olympics coming to London in a couple of years BA had better get their house in order very fast. BA is the 800 lb gorilla in the U.K. so they very seldom ever have to answer to anyone about the lousy job they are doing. You're very luck you got the $400.00, most people just get a good slap in the face from BA these days.
Posted by BokiBean on 2009-01-14:
Sure it does..if you're using Celcius. And San Francisco has a damp cold that goes right into your bones.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-14:
yeah,Super has already pointed that out...thanks

Super,I was thinking that when I was typing my post,but didn't compute
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-14:
When weather delays occur, lots is happening, keeping you informed is nice but not always properly communicated - catering isn't very low on the list.
You got a upgrade on your tix worth hundreds and you are complaining they didn't have a $6 meal. You get $400 compensation yet you still are complaining.
Posted by KCRovert on 2009-01-14:
Man, it would certainly suck to wander around San Francisco with "no shoes, coat, sweaters or clothes". Don't they have laws there about public nudity??
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-14:
I don't think it was the lack of the meal triggering that aspect of the complaint. It was the insensitive manner in which the OP (a vegetarian) was told to 'try' the sea bass. As such, it became kerosene on the flames. I keep kosher...I would be a little POd if the flight attendent merely assumed I didn't want to eat a ham sandwich because I wanted something else. I think a genuine, 'We messed up and treated you badly and we're sorry' would have played better than $400 in comps.
Posted by Marine 63 on 2009-05-18:
some more bad news.
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BA is Ruining my otherwise Happy Life - Honestly!
Posted by BABAD on 06/28/2008
BA BAD AT EVERYTHING - BUT TRY FLYING DOMESTIC!!!

I live in Newcastle and work during the week in London. I have a lovely (paid for) home in Newcastle, three great lads who I am proud of and a wife who I love even more than the day I married her (and she me by the way!). I live in a nice flat when down in London and earn a very handsome salary. Oh – I also really enjoy my job as well.

By any and all accounts I should be the happiest man alive and have no issues or stress at all.
BUT... I HAVE to fly BA Newcastle – Heathrow return every single week. Incredible as it may seem, this casts an enormous cloud of unhappiness over my otherwise complete life.

Why? Well, okay I said I enjoy my job, BUT, it is grindingly hard – hence the high pay - and I put in at least 60 hours over Monday – Friday. This leaves me with a 48 hour weekend of which I spend about 16 sleeping and another 2 – 3 hours keeping my company accounts up to date. So I get about 30 hours a week ‘downtown’ to relax and enjoy myself.

Over the past 12 weeks, the Friday 18:10 hrs Shuttle from Heathrow to Newcastle has departed thus:
1 Flight cancelled (no reason) – bumped to the 21:00 hrs flight. That flight delayed (no reason) 2 ½ hours. Got home at 12:30 am
9 flights delayed over 40 minutes or more (worst 3 hours, best 45 minutes)
2 flights ‘on time’ (and in fairness I call ‘on time’ delayed less than 45 minutes)

My weekend hours ‘stolen’ by BA = approximately 34 in 12 weeks (i.e. more than a whole weekend in twelve just ‘lost’ due to operational incompetence and complacency)

Statistically, this means an 88.33% operational failure rate to depart according to schedule over a 12 week period. Who reading this would accept such an incredible failure to deliver if you were the MD of the company?

So “Complain” I hear you say. Well, at Terminal 5, I have learned now NOT to complain to BA ground staff. Why? Well, because these people were and are uniformly excellent in dealing with frustrated and angry passengers. They are fantastic at (at least seeming) to give a damn, and are genuinely apologetic and sympathetic. It is simply not possible nor is it appropriate to take it out on them. So, I refuse to play BAs game of ‘shooting the messengers’. They tell me themselves, they are ‘just the firewall’ and urge me to complain in writing. They ALL say that they constantly tell their managers how difficult it is for them – especially regarding the completely routine delays on all the domestic shuttle services and they get genuinely frightened on a Friday when they know full well what is going to happen. They tell me their comments to their managers are ignored, and that their managers NEVER ‘walk the patch’ unless they are shielded by lower order supervisors and then it is all a sham anyway.

They seem to despise and loathe the bumbling little man (with a really bad case of ‘little man syndrome’) who has an Irish accent and purports to be in charge. ‘Slash and slash and burn’ to cut costs is his rasion dentre they say. Well Mr. Walsh – any idiot can slash and burn to cut costs. Easy as taking candy from a baby. No skill or intelligence required. Now cut costs AND maintain a decent level of service – THAT’s hard. Too hard for WW and BA clearly.

I HATE flying BA. I HATE the complacency of the fools in charge. I HATE the patronising and lying little ‘customer services letter’ I receive when I do put my issues down in writing, and I HATE the monopoly this most loathsome of companies has on the slots available at Heathrow.

Feel better now.

I hope you do too reading this!
Thanks for listening...
     
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Posted by DigitalCommando on 2008-06-28:
Maybe you need a little trouble in your life to remind you how the rest of us live. I would think
that your perfect financial world should have enabled you to buy your own plane as well. In your resume of accomplishments, did you forgot to mention your ability to juggle 12 watermelons using only your lips?
Posted by Nohandle on 2008-06-28:
Golly Pete and Gee Wiz!! You just joined our happy little family today and so much remind me of some of our siblings. Welcome aboard. Where would you like my private jet to be hangered? Newcastle or London? Name your pleasure, whichever is most convenient for you.
Posted by DebtorBasher on 2008-06-28:
You need to get a job in Newcastle or move your family to London...problem solved...NEXT!!!
Posted by chris513 on 2008-06-29:
I live in a one bedroom apartment, by myself...I have no lads, only a few idiots that call themselves my friends who like to come over and drink all of my beer...i will trade you, if you would like....i'll even throw in a first round draft pick for next season...
Posted by BABAD on 2008-06-30:
To the four losers who replied to my post. You are just saying "I haven't got what you have therefore you shouldn't have it".

Sad specimens. Work harder and YOU can have it too!
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-06-30:
Well, that seems uncalled for.
Posted by chris513 on 2008-06-30:
BABAD, actually, I was really trying to trade you my friends for your lads....i wasn't saying "I haven't got what you have therefore you shouldn't have it."...just trying to make a friendly trade.
Posted by blimey_oreily on 2008-12-02:
It is great that you are a success in your career and that you have a wonderful family and paid house. I wish I could have it all, just like everyone else who left comments. We're just jealous - me included.

I hope BA starts getting its act together. They used to be one of the best airlines, but now sadly it is rapidly becoming one of the worst.

I recently sent the board of directors a letter complaining at their call centre in Latin America (where I live). I doubt they will do anything about it. However, I bcc'd the same complaint letter to a couple of national newspapers. Who knows, maybe if enough of us complain to national newspapers and the aviation watchdog (Air Transport Users' Council (AUC)). Google them and see what they can do for you. It is better than yelling at those who have no authority to actually do anything.

;-)
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BA Terminal 5 - Dishonesty Incompetence Total Lack of Service
Posted by Williekp on 04/06/2008
LONDON -- I flew Business Class on Sat 5th April from their new Terminal 5.Prior to check-in they said that bthe problems were behind them and everything was working normally. This was the first lie. I left the security to try to go in the lounge to wait for departure. The door is beside security manned by two BA people. Despite being entitled to access I was told that BA/ BAA insisted that I walk past all the shops and go down a floor and up again to get in.
With my flight time approaching I inquired with staff in the lounge. I was advised that there were no delays and to proceed via the transit to the departure gate. Second lie.

Do not leave the lounge or get the transit until you are sure your flight is on time. You can't get back to the lounge. Sure enough I arrive at the gate and the flight is delayed for 1 hour. Reason given was problems with the baggage system meant that they were manually making sure that all our bags were on board prior to take off. Third lie.

We then boarded and sat on the ground for another hour supposedly looking for the bag of a passenger who hadn't showed. Finally we got airborne.

About two hours into the flight the pilot declared a hydraulics emergency and turned back , dumped fuel and safely landed at Shannon. This is where all the lies surfaced. Tons of bags were coming onto the carousel but no-one was picking then up. it turns out that these were the bags belonging to BA's victims on the earlier San Francisco flight that had not made it with their owners. Sure enough my bags did not show. About £2k worth of stuff.

There is no BA representation at all. We have been put up overnight and are still waiting to try to depart for the US. There is no information on the state of the aircraft. We all have had hours where we could have used the time to start the process of registering our lost bags. Despite calling the Executive Club and searching the web, I am told that the only way I can do this is to get in line in San Francisco, presumably with 300 or so other people and fill out a form.

BA have collected several thousand pounds from me and given me this experience in return. They deserve to go broke. They should start by firing their arrogant little bean counter Walsh. Avoid them if you can.
     
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Posted by Ben There on 2008-04-06:
I am certainly avoiding BA for the next couple months... Have you checked out Virgin Upper Class? I like it so much more than BA Club.
Posted by maxsleg on 2008-04-13:
I have just flown through Terminal 5. It is terrible. The staff don't know what is going on, the information screens didn't work and still the same old Heathrow problems. When I arrived at my destination - no bags and no help from British Airways, only rude staff. Don't bother trying to call, even as a Silver card you wait over 1/2 on hold
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Very Bad Customer Service and Airport Agents
Posted by Weehelpyou on 12/23/2013
APEX, NORTH CAROLINA -- Students who are flying to the United States should be aware of the rip off by British airlines agents at airports. I bought a ticket through British airlines from Mumbai - London- Raleigh. I called British airlines customer service weeks ahead and a day before my flight journey to make sure that students traveling to USA FOR THE FIRST TIME FROM SPECIFIC LOCATIONS are allowed to carry a third checked in baggage.

I requested in writing to avoid any unforeseen complications at the airport, but the customer service agent said, " We do not have any provision to email you in written at this time, but I assure you that if you show your I-20 and screen shot of our website where it stated that students are allowed to take an extra 23 kg checked baggage at the British airlines check in counter, you should not have any issues". I had no other option to believe what the customer care said, which was my BIGGEST MISTAKE TO TRUST BRITISH AIRLINES. At Mumbai airport, I was tortured by the adamant agent to pay for the 3rd baggage. I tried to convince them by narrating the prior story with the customer service, but they were adamant, rude and not ready to even hear what I was saying. My flight is in 1.5 hour and I called my sister in the United Stated to talk to the customer service and pay for the 3rd baggage with a credit card as I was having insufficient funds to pay for the baggage and the internet service was down at the airport. All in vain, even the customer service said that they cannot accept any payment 3 hrs before the flight departure. No option left to pay, I had only one choice left, to trash all the contents of the suit case at the airport and take the flight or miss the flight.

Finally, after 2 hrs of struggle, after realizing that there was no means to do the payment due to the lack of internet service they let me board the flight. Therefore, I advice students think twice before they purchase tickets through British airlines. I want to make sure that the British airlines agents working at airports and customer service know their basic rules regarding baggage allowance and what message they are conveying to passengers. I am filing a FCC consumer complaint against British airlines to make sure that this will not happen to any other passenger, especially students traveling for the first time. I hope this incident will awake British airways officials and take necessary action to train their agents and not to mislead passengers.

NOTE : this is from their web site. http://www.britishairways.com/travel/studentoffer/public/en_in


Special offer for students

Studying abroad is once in a lifetime opportunity and as you get ready to embark on a new journey of your life, we along with our partners have carefully handpicked special offers and privileges to make this a journey of a lifetime. We hope you will make the most of it.

Excess Baggage allowance of 23 kgs*
British Airways gives you an extra 23 kgs of baggage allowance when you travel abroad for studies just to make sure that when you arrive in a foreign land, you will have everything in your suitcase to make you feel at home.

* offer valid from Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Mumbai only.

The excess baggage allowance is valid on bookings made in all cabins.
     
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Treated Very Badly
Posted by POISEISLAND on 11/12/2013
SUDBURY -- Basically I used 300,000 bonus points via my British Airways executive membership of which I have belonged to for a number of years i.e. 2005. I have previously made flight both in first class and business class both for myself and family members. The points on this occasion were used to fly first class from Vancouver to London, London to Edinburgh and of course return.

At the time of the booking i.e. via the internet I was denied access to cancel the return flight from Edinburgh to London but since I was flying from London to Vancouver on the return journey it wasn't in my opinion a big deal to forfeit the flight from Edinburgh to London. Bearing in mind my points did have a monetary value and in my opinion that was a loss I could live with. British Airways executive club website did not allow me to cancel or manage the flights in question, it was return flights only.

On the return journey my wife and I arrived at the first class check-in counter at Heathrow and were informed that our return flights from Heathrow to Vancouver had been voided. The agent informed us that since we didn't get on the flight in Edinburgh that they automatically made the decision to void the ticket. This ticket i.e. Edinburgh to Heathrow had one boarding pass and the flight from Heathrow to London had a separate boarding pass and so I saw no connection or rational in BA's mentality or reasoning. After all, whether I booked using bonus points or money it was irrelevant in the sense the bonus/executive points had like I previously mentioned a monetary value.

My wife had a bacteria infection in her intestine and was extremely ill and it was necessary that I had to get her back to Vancouver a.s.a.p. I asked the first class ticket agent as well as the executive club agent what they could do for us. Both responses were a strong "Nothing". I was directed to the British Airway's ticket counter where I was informed that my first class seats were still available and I could purchase them for around $30,000 + if I wanted to. I called for a supervisor as I thought this was outrageous. Here I was being denied my tickets that my points paid for. The supervisor was in one sense sympathetic but she also confirmed that the airline had done nothing wrong. The supervisor told me to wait while she went away to check on something. She returned fifteen minutes later only to tell me that she could do nothing as the (My) first class seats had been sold. Can you imagine how I was feeling and what this meant to my wife and I?

The agent then informed me that I could fly Club World but it would cost more for the upgrade from economy. My wife was poorly and this was not helping and I needed her to be as comfortable as possible. There was no compassion being shown towards me or my wife or her severe health condition. I had to pay 4800 pounds sterling in order to get home that day. The idea of my points/flights being voided and my seats being sold was an insult but British Airways didn't care one iota.

My thinking was that I would pay and accept being held to ransom by a company that speaks of customer service often but has absolutely no regard or understanding of what it feels like to have stood in our shoes that day. Please see attached letter re flight schedule, time date etc. My thinking was that my first priority would be to get my wife home and safe, then contact British Airways and hopefully discuss what transpired and again with the expectation that someone in all their wisdom would understand and appreciate what happened.

I immediately went on the internet and contacted the customer service dept. as well as BA's executive club. I sent them copies via registered mail of my documents. British Airways replied to me (See Reply #1) and in the last paragraph they mention that they did not meet their usual high standard on this occasion. The e-mail also mentions that as a "Goodwill Gesture" they have credited my executive account with 100,000 points and that they hope I will travel with them again - No chance. In this e-mail they in a sense accept responsibility for the shabby way in which they handled the situation. Here I was an executive account member, with a sick wife, stranded in Heathrow airport with absolutely no compassion or empathy from British Airway employees. On the return flight I spoke with the crew and they couldn't believe how badly we had been treated and strongly suggested that I take this matter further.

I then contacted British Airways in response to the #1 response and told them that the points meant nothing to me and that I wanted a complete refund i.e. 4800 pounds sterling. I could have easily asked for more but I didn't. I received a second response, basically this response said that they did nothing wrong and that was that. I contacted them for a third time and insisted that they think this over. The third and last response from British Airways mentions that they have credited my Visa account for the sum of $704.00 X 2 for tickets. I have no idea what tickets they mean unless it was for the upgrade from economy to Club world. This third response from British Airways once again is proof to me that they do in fact find themselves at fault, hence, why would they offer goodwill gestures and then deny responsibility and later credit my credit card account. I contacted them once again and informed them that I wasn't interested in points or small offerings. I am only interested in getting my complete 4800 pounds sterling refund.

British Airways may have sold my seats from Edinburgh to London to standby passengers and if they did, that's fine. I had already given/paid for the seats via points. British Airways sold my seats in first class for approximately $30,000 or roughly 19,000 pounds sterling. They were also paid 150,000 points by me of which I saw nothing. I also paid $2400 in taxes to British Airways and lost half of that amount as they took it upon themselves to void my tickets with no tax return. I had to pay further taxes in order to return home when I had to purchase two Club World tickets. All in all, British Airways did wonderful on this transaction and the customer was robbed. This to me and to most reasonable minded people is double dipping, whereby British Airways could have easily have turned around and issued me my tickets in London or sold them to standby customers or offered them as an upgrade to other passengers had I not checked in on time but they had no right to sell my tickets and charge me a ridiculous amount in order to get us home. To the average person reading or hearing this 100% true story brings disbelief and anger. My wife and myself were not only treated badly monetary wise but there was also a complete disregard for reasoning, understanding or even kindness. The British Airways staff act as if they are walking on a tightrope and they obviously have no decision making skills or authority to make a judgment call. They are robots who strut around and no doubt read "company policy" everyday of their sad lives. They must remember the key words - "Did you read the fine print?" "I'm sorry but there's nothing that can be done but we could or can make you an offer in the meantime." They are not customer service orientated, they are sales driven.

I realize or have since realized that most if not all airlines have this stupid policy of missing the start of a journey means that the journey in it's entirety is voided. It's a policy that the governments around the world needs to take a serious look at. There is absolutely no way an airline should be able to void a ticket from one destination to another if it has been paid for. If it has been paid for and nobody shows up, so what? They could I suppose try and sell it like I mentioned to a standby passenger but why should the person who has already paid for it be punished? It's a loophole whereby the airlines are rubbing their greasy palms. I won't even consider flying with British Airways after this event. They say one thing and mean another, they tell you that they are sorry for their performance and then they deny any responsibility and then they make a small credit to your credit card account hoping you will go away. British Airways are a huge company and without doubt feel that they are untouchable. They no doubt think "Who is this Tom McIntosh anyway? He will end up going away and we will have another hundred or ten thousand Tom McIntosh's still to come. So what if we loose Tom McIntosh's account or business, who cares? I'm sure the people of the U.K. and Canada and the U.SA. care and would be equally appalled by British Airways failure to use some common sense and reasoning . I'm sure that they will see what sort of company British Airways are and how they treat their regular travelers.

Regards,
Tom McIntosh



     
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Posted by Pete on 2013-11-14:
You got caught by that rule (as far as I know all airlines do this), if you do not use any leg of your journey, the rest of the legs are canceled automatically. That means canceling a leg or not showing up for a flight cancels all the legs. It is just another way the airlines take money from the consumer - you are right, they can sell 'your' seats to someone else and make double the money.

But being a loyal customer using a tremendous amount of miles should have been a nice gesture on BA's part to reinstate your 'unused' miles.
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Failed to Make Things Right
Posted by Ramsey.moorman on 08/09/2013
DC, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA -- I am extremely disappointed with the customer service of British Airways. My situation may be unique, but it was one of the worst experiences my wife and I have ever had.

We booked a trip to London from DC leaving Aug 2nd and arriving Aug 3rd (BA0216). My wife is a Jamaican citizen but permanent resident in the US. She called the Customs Border Protection in the US to see what would be needed before the trip (she had her passport and green card). They never mentioned needing a VISA.

We checked in with the reservation agent at the Dulles airport who checked our paperwork and sent us to go through security. After going through security, the TSA agent checked our information and let us on the plane.

After getting to London, the customs agent asked my wife for her Visa. We were both amazed at this question and she told him that she didn't have one nor was told she needed one. The customs agent told her that the airline should never have let her on the plane and she was taken for questioning for 10 hours. I was not able to have contact with her the whole time. It was miserable. She was literally being treated like a terrorist or threat to the country. She was terrified as a result.

After the long drawn out wait, they told me that they were sending my wife back to the US and that I was on my own to find a flight back. I had to spend another 3 hours in the airport trying to get on a standby flight, which never panned out. Finally my only option was to pay a change flight fee of $278.04 dollars and then the difference in cost for another flight to Philadelphia, PA ($178.37), which left on Aug 5th.

I then had to find a ride from Philadelphia to DC. My wife in the mean time had to find a place to say until I got back since she did not have the car keys or house keys (again they did not let me see her).

After speaking with the Customer Relations person at British Airways, she stated that there was nothing that they can do as it is the passenger’s responsibility to know what documentation were needed. This is not correct as the customs agent specifically said that the airline should not have let us on the plane.

In addition, the reservations attendant in London for British Airways confirmed this as well. Lastly, the Customer Relations person also stated that customs would fine the airline $2000 for the mistake (which customs in London mentioned as well). If British Airways is to be fined, that tells me it is their responsibility to check the correct documentation before letting a passenger on board.

The only offer they provided for resolution was a travel voucher for $274.04. This is potentially point less as I have no intentions on going back to London within the next year. It was a $3000+ trip that was wasted already and like most people, a once in a lifetime trip that we would have loved to enjoy.

I am typically not one to complain and appreciate great service, but this was beyond miserable, it was horrific and something no law abiding person should go through. I am not asking for much to be whole again. A refund back to my card (not a voucher) for the change flight fee ($274.04), difference in airline ticket ($178.37) and seats paid for on the original return flight of BA265 ($52) is more than reasonable to make this right ($504.41)

If British Airways was able to check the necessary documentation fully and correctly as Customs stated, I would not have had to incur these extra fees nor experienced the traumatizing experience that went on for 12+ hours.
     
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Posted by Bee on 2013-08-10:
It is YOUR responsibility to check whether or not a Visa is required for travel to the UK. Checking with the US border agency regarding another country's requirements is not the correct route. They are only responsible for who can come in to the US and what is needed to travel to the US.

In all cases, check with the embassy of the country or countries you are visiting. A VERY quick search online ( Do I need a VISA to travel to the UK) pulled up

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/do-you-need-a-visa/

Which has a handy questionaire that takes all of 10 seconds to answer in order to find out if you need a visa or not.

British Airways is not responsible for making sure your wife has her visa. They simply need to make sure she is travelling with a current passport. It is HER responsibility to guarantee she has the documentation required.
Posted by Matelot on 2013-08-16:
You travel from A to B, it's up to you to ensure your documents are in order and up to date with the necessary visa. The carrier only has to check that you are in possession of a valid passport, that responsibility is the passenger's.
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Travel Points
Posted by Carol-lynnemills on 03/01/2013
Worst Travel Program Ever - the entice travellers with promo offers. Transfer your hard earned points from other Credit Card partners and they will give you a 50% bonus. Good luck being able to book a trip. Unless you plan it a year in advance, not during the peak season and perhaps to one of their less travelled destinations.

Dare you try to request YOUR points transferred back less the bonus, that can't happen they say ... once they have them, consider them GONE.

Points that I spent dollar for dollar to earn ... and better yet, they EXPIRE. Yes, I made the mistake of doing this, so I am here to warn everyone else not to fall for their marketing scheme.
     
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Posted by trmn8r on 2013-03-01:
Were the terms spelled out in a disclosure available to you when you signed up?

Often, promotional and complimentary flights come with a lot of scheduling resrictions - this sounds like a good example.
Posted by Robert on 2013-03-24:
The only way for you to get satisfaction from British Airways if you live in the US is to sue them in Small Claims Court. Under 10,000 us Dillars you can file your case online for a small fee ( California ) it's the only way they respond, and if they don't settle with you before court the courts will side with you the consumer
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