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 bacterium 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 its entirety is voided. It's a policy that the governments around the world need 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 ** anyway? He will end up going away and we will have another hundred or ten thousand ** still to come. So what if we lose ** 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.
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 was 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 pointless as I have no intentions ongoing 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.
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.
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 provide a 75% refund (this level is set because of the length of flight), pay compensation, call for volunteers prior to bumping, and 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.
Worst Travel Program Ever - they 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.
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.
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 ** 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 10:40 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 to help us out (there were more people like me, whose 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.
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 raison d'être they say. Well Mr. ** – 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...
My husband and I planned for months a once in a lifetime trip to Italy and Switzerland. I started by purchasing new luggage. In May started buying all new clothing for this wonderful trip totaling about $2000. We bought our tickets from British Airways, thinking they were the premium airlines for international travel. Over $3000 for the seats.
On September 1st we depart Denver international airport for Rome, we are excited. We land in Rome and learn BA has lost her luggage. We file the lost luggage paperwork, including our contact information, cell phone and e-mail address. We are told we will get it within 48 hrs. We stayed in Rome 4 days making numerous phone calls to BA, getting the constant message, "due to high volume of calls we cannot take your call try again later" never was able to talk to a live person. We check the luggage tracer website daily.
On the 3rd day in Rome while in a crowded Subway, my husband is pick pocketed and his wallet is taken containing credit cards, driver's license and about 300. Before leaving Rome we purchase a new suitcase and some new clothes. All we ever read on the website is still tracing. We update our temporary hotel address to Naples for 2 nights, still no luggage and no communication from BA.
We update our address on World luggage tracer to Positano for 2 nights, still no luggage. We again update our temporary hotel address to Florence for 3 nights, checking the web daily, still tracing. Update our temporary hotel address to Verona for 2 nights on the luggage tracer website. It is still tracing.
We have now been traveling around Italy by train for about 16 days still no luggage and no communication from BA. We arrive in Geneva for 2 nights and while exiting the very crowded train station we have our backpack stolen containing my husbands passport, I-pad, I-phone, digital camera, rx sunglasses. We immediately go to the police station and file a report. My husband now has no identification at all. We check in to our hotel to figure out what we are going to do.
On Friday morning we walk to the US Consulate to see about getting a replacement passport. The web says they are open from 10:00 - 1:00, we arrive at 9:45 to be told by security they are closed today. Doing more reading online learn replacement, passports can only be issued at the US Embassy in Bern. Today took the train to the Geneva airport to talk to BA about our travel options, we have to cancel our trip home and buy train tickets to Bern.
On Sunday we will take the train to Bern, check in a hotel so we can be at the embassy at 9:30 when they open. While at the airport we inquire about the luggage, well they are still tracing and told us that after 21 days they stop tracing and consider it lost.
We asked about upgrading our seats for all of the inconvenience and were told no. File a lost luggage claim when we get home. No apology or anything, it's apparently the way they handle customer service. I really don't understand how the pride of the UK can do business this way. British Airways is worse than the lowest rated regional airline in the US. They at least sub out their customer service to some 3rd world country.
DEFENCE STATEMENT - ** vs. BRITISH AIRWAYS. I would like to point out to the Court that I have given BA at least 5 to 6 chances to resolve this matter with letters being sent to them since April 2010. Last of all I sent them a copy of my “Small Claims Court” summons dated 15.12.10 asking them to reconsider their position and refund my money before I take Court proceedings against them. See photocopy (A). I am 67 years old and was on my way to America to sail my Catamaran which I keep in the USA. I was looking forward to my trip and not looking for trouble, not wishing to pick a fight and I am not a load mouthed drunken trouble maker, as is being inferred by British Airways.
My wife and I are seasoned air travelers flying long haul 3 or 4 times a year to Hong Kong, Bangkok, London, New York, Boston & Washington, and are well versed with Airport security, and I might add, we agree with the high level of security necessary in today's air travel. Having stated I agree with the high level of security required at airport check-in, I am therefore unlikely to object to being search a second/third time, as is being suggested by BA, as long as I know what is happening, which is not the case at Heathrow.
The charge against me is not cooperating with the staff, even though I cooperated in full with gate 10 staff. There seems to be a difference of opinion between how gate staff interprets cooperation or being rude and the supervisor's version of rude. Gate 10 staff got full cooperation from me and my wife without being rude, the Supervisor was out of order shouting in my face. I suggest BA staff take a leaf out of the “Customs & Border Protection Agency” in the USA; they pledge to treat the public with dignity & respect & to perform their duties in a professional manner, unlike the BA Supervisor who acted like a football hooligan. I get called Sir in the USA, not treated like a PIG.
The shouting Supervisor was almost foaming at the mouth and is claiming (and I quote) I was rude to gate staff & impeding the pre-flight search procedures & I refused to discuss the matter with her. Let's look at all 3 charges as we go through my statement. I think you will find her to be wrong; and while we are at it, what shall we call her unprovoked attack on me Customer Service BA style. I was rude to gate staff. Asking questions is not being rude. I was impeding pre-flight search procedures. BA impeded themselves. I refused to discuss the matter with the Supervisor. I was never asked to discuss anything, I was only shouted at. Where was the discussion, I never had one.
My wife and I arrived at Heathrow Terminal 5 in good time for our flight to the USA, we preceded through all security checks and arrived at gate 10 with time to spare, ready to fly. No trouble so far, everything was fine. We sat down, I was reading my book, 5 to 10 minutes later the Tannoy announced that Passengers ** and others are to come to the desk. I went forward and quietly asked what they wanted, and was informed that an additional search was needed, did I objected.
I thought for 5-10 seconds saying to myself, if I ask questions they will become suspicious of me but, I thought my baggage might have raised an alarm, because of the “Metal Bolts” inside the case (see photos). I replied, can I ask questions without jeopardizing my position, the answer was YES, but as it turns out she meant YES it will jeopardize your position, as is the case.
I then said, I don't mind the search as long as I know what sort of search my wife will be subjected to, on reflection I think I am the only person to ask this question, all the others just said yes, and this is what dammed me, they took objection to being asked questions they could not or did not wish to answer. I was told the American Government requested it, which is not the answer to my question. I was then told by gate 10 staff that if I refused to have the search I could not fly. This put me on my guard not to say or do anything objectionable, just stay cool and ask questions, no need to do anything to prevent me flying and you have been given permission to ask questions.
I was mindful of two things: my wife was searched & questioned for nearly 4 hours when she first arrived in England back in 1996 and 12 years ago when I went to Hong Kong. I was stopped by security and had my suitcase searched in an adjacent room because I had metal objects in the suitcase, like I had this day, see photographs of the metal bolts in my case.
I asked was there a heightened state of security because my baggage might be suspect (bearing in mind I had metal bolts in my case) I was told NO. I then asked what sort of search was my wife to be subjected too, staff member (1) said - The US Government required the search. I asked the question again because they were telling me who required the search, not what sort of search was required, the second staff member stepped forward and repeated the answer, puffing up his chest and standing there gesturing with back off body language, with which I did.
I pointed out that neither answer told me what sort of search it would be, only who required it, could I be told more about the search please. I felt I needed to know if my wife needed to: Remove her clothes. Internal search. Who would be conducting the search, a man or woman, NOBODY KNEW THE ANSWER? I thought this was very strange, considering that the Security service conducting the search did not know what sort of search they intend to carry out, only that the US Government required it.
So here I was, on my guard not to upset anybody but BA staff were not answering my questions and making things difficult for me. I was sent to the main desk to ask there. I posed the question again to a lady who replied “I don't know. I will phone and find out.”
No problems so far, just quietly went through the process of getting answer. I stood waiting for a minute or two without saying anything to staff members; nothing was going on, when out of the blue the lady suddenly said, the search was a simple touch search, there was no requirement for clothes to be removed, neither was there an internal search required and it would be conducted by a woman. I agreed straight away and said I would send my wife over to be search. NO PROBLEMS AT THIS POINT but I thought BA have not been very helpful & wasted time. I was told my wife should bring her hand luggage because once through gate control she would be ready to fly.
MY THOUGHTS SO FAR. I wondered why she phoned somebody to find out the answer to my questions when she knew the answer all along. Why not answer my questions in the first place, instead of being difficult. She was impeding per-flight proceedings, not me, which I have been accused of and I might add I was not rude either. To be rude you have to say something detrimental to a staff member, I only asked “What search and who by?”
That is not being rude. On two counts of the accusations I am not at fault. BA staff caused their own delays by not answering my questions which they knew the answer too & I was not rude. I went back and told my wife to have the search done which she did.
WITNESS STATEMENT: At this point my wife's witness statement should be taken into consideration: I was searched without any reference to my husband having been rude to anybody. I was asked to join the queue. I was searched and cleared to fly. I even got on the bus ready for the flight. At this point there was NO trouble, NO acquisitions that my Husband had been rude or had done anything wrong. I could see clearly from where I was sitting that my husband was simply asking questions.
Having sent my wife off to be searched, I sat down to read my book again, (not causing trouble). After about 10 minutes all hell let loose. I heard a thundering noise like a herd of Elephants thundering towards me, I looked up and saw two BA staff members heading for me. I have no idea what she was shouting at me for. I have no idea what this was all about, everything had been agreed and sorted.
QUESTION: Why did the Supervisor choose to charge at Mr. ** shouting at him, what did she hope to gain? A shouting match. Civil discussion. NO SHE WANTED BLOOD. Why not approach him in a civil manner, firstly introducing yourself to him; he did not know who you were. Why not speak to him in a calm & normal voice instead of shouting at him? Do you normally conduct yourself in this unruly manner, Mr ** is an OAP, not a kick boxer, wisely he just sat down and waited for the Supervisor to calm down - that did not come to pass, she wanted revenge and got it.
What happened next was outrageous. I was verbally attacked. There is no other description that describes what happened. I was reading my book and got verbally attacked by the BA Supervisor. There was no discussion as claimed by BA. I was just shouted at. And I want charges brought against her. I was taken aback by the heavy handed approach. I was not asked to explain anything. I was not asked to do anything. I did not have to comply with any request. I was just being shouted at.
Not being used to people shouting at me for no reason, all I could think of was that the first lady who made the phone call must have said something derogatory about me to the Supervisor, stirring up trouble, otherwise why were they both thundering towards me looking for blood, after everything was sorted out without trouble and without being rude.
What was in her mind? What had changed the situation? I had done nothing wrong. What turned a quiet Thursday morning into a blood bath? I had not even spoken to the Supervisor before. Who had said something to change the situation from all quiet to a Supervisor shouting match? What made her thunder towards me and start shouting at me? What had happened to cause this? I have no idea.
Under this barrage of abuse, I felt it best to say and do as little as possible; do not I said to myself enter into an argument for fear of being stopped from flying. After a while of listening to this barrage of abuse, I said to the Supervisor - from my point of view, would you please:
“Stop shouting at me and conduct yourself in a professional manner. Get out of my face. It's not polite to shout at people and it's very rude. Everything has been agreed with your staff and sorted out; my wife has had the search. What is all the shouting about; everything is under control and I have conformed and complied with BA staff instructions?” (Under BA rules 7a7 - 7a8).
I just sat down to distance myself from being shouted at any more, hoping to take the sting out of the confrontational stance taken by the Supervisor, also hoping that by doing nothing she would calm down. She did not calm down; she just stuck the knife in so to speak. I just sat there; I guess she was standing there fuming because I would not enter into a slanging match with her, giving her reason to ban me from flying. I was trying to cool the temperature down.
There was no further discussion as claimed by BA, I was not asked any questions, I was not asked to explain why I asked questions of the gate staff, she did not seek further cooperation from me, as claimed by BA, she did nothing but stand there Glaring at me fuming with rage. The next I heard was her saying “THAT'S IT” and she walked off. I HAD DONE NOTHING WRONG. MY QUESTION IS: WHAT DID SHE WANT TO DISCUSS?
Why her staff did not know what sort of search to conduct. Why did I want to know what sort of search was required. Was my Baggage suspect with the bolts inside? Which of BA rule have I not conformed with? In truth I conformed with all BA rules 7a7 or 7a8. She asked me nothing, she said nothing, and there was no instruction for me to conform with. She just stood there bolt upright, staring at me with rage in her eyes but asked me NOTHING.
I continued to sit reading my book waiting to check in. When I arrived at the gate I was told I/we were not flying today, I asked why, she did not have a clear answer, just something about I was rude and she decided to cancel my flight. I could fly tomorrow on BA, but not today. That was that, I collected my baggage and booked on the BA flight the next day. No problems from me the next day, neither on the return flight 5 months later. I am not a trouble maker.
Conclusion: I was not rude to BA Staff in my opinion; BA staffs were rude to me. This Supervisor does not know the words Diplomacy and Customer service, all she knows is attack, Shout load and be rude to people and she should be dismissed. I confirmed that asking questions did not jeopardize my position, but it did. Being told I could not fly if did not have the search done warned me to be civil, I was civil. I conformed with all BA rules & requirements in a civil manner under section 7a7 & 7a8.
I do object to being shouted at but, did not react adversely, I just sat down. Not being asked by the Supervisor to say or do anything, not being asked to explain anything, not being asked to cooperate, is not being belligerent, I was waiting for the Supervisor to calm down and conduct herself in a professional & civil manner, she did not, she stormed off in a rage and took out her vengeance on me by stopping me Flying.
Trying to stay out of trouble by sitting down is hardly me being abusive or non cooperative as claimed in BA letter dated 22.11.10 third paragraph. (You refused to discuss the matter with her that is why you were refused travel). (There was no discussion in a civil manner, only a shouting match by the Supervisor). I was not load, rude, drunk, disrespectful or bad mannered. In truth it was BA Supervisor who was load, rude, disrespectful and bad mannered, not me. I WOULD LIKE TO BRING CHARGES OF ASSAULT & VERBAL INTIMIDATION AGAINST THE BA SUPERVISOR IF I CAN ACQUIRE HER NAME & ADDRESS.
I arrived the following day, having purchased a second ticket off BA to fly to Washington. BA offer a 5* service for customers with 5* manners and codes of conduct and requirements, only to find that the staff they employ are AGGRESSIVE 2* SUPERVISORS, with the manners and up bringing to match the Gutter they come from, and are ill-equipped to provide a 2* service, let alone the 5* service both BA and I require.
My out of pocket expenses I am claiming back are as follows: 2nd BA Flight on 30th April to USA 862.00. Car ride back to Poole Dorset 20.00. National Express coach back to Heathrow 42.90. Taxi to Hotel in USA 48.00. 2nd Hotel booking in USA 93.00. Total 1,065.90 plus 8% compound interest from the 29.03.10.