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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


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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BA Ex Club Policy: Win Some Lose Some
Posted by Bruce s on 05/16/2012
JAMAICA, NEW YORK -- This is what I was told when I attempted to have BA honor their promise that when I joined the Ex. Club my miles for my upcoming Business class trip would be credited to my account.

When I discovered that they did not apply my miles they responded that I just went over the time period to contact them about their mistake. After about an hour on the phone and emails back and forth over a month's time I finally said that I could not stay a customer with an airline that treats their (at least this one) customers so dishonestly. Their reply from Supervisor Mr. Melody ID#101721 was "you Win some and you lose some." I could not believe he actually said that to me so he repeated it several times more.

I did email CEO Keith Williams at "Keith. x.Williams@ba.com". For some reason I am not expecting a reply from him.
Have you received this kind of disrespect from your conversations with them?
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Posted by trmn8r on 2012-05-17:
I have had nothing but good experiences the 3 times I used BA, but there were no issues to resolve. Did you join this club after purchasing the tickets? What is the time period that was referred to? Who promised that the trip would be credited, and was it a verbal one, on paper? How long did it take for you to notice this and contact them?

"You win some and you lose some" is not necessarily disrespect. If there is an irreconcilable disagreement over facts/terms, it isn't a surprising comment to pop up in a conversation, in my opinion. But I wasn't there.
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Where Are My Freaking Bags.
Posted by Rusper55 on 04/06/2012
I don't ask for much and I am a patient person, but for the love of god please can someone from British airways tell me where my freaking bags are!!!!????!!!!

Manuel from the Madrid call center was a useful as a snooze button on a smoke alarm and the experience is totally awful.
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Posted by trmn8r on 2012-04-06:
How long have you been patient?
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Food Poisoning
Posted by Lisajparker33 on 12/21/2011
I think that my daughter and I contracted food poisoning from salmon eaten on this flight, Is there anyone else out there who has the same problem. I am not criticising just trying to find out where I got this horrible bug from!
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Posted by trmn8r on 2011-12-21:
I hope you are able to find out if others experienced the same problem.

Your issue reminds me of one faced on another flight:

Elaine : Dr Rumack, Mr Hammond ate fish, and Randy said there
five more cases and they all had fish too.
Rumack : And the Co-Pilot had fish, what did the navigator have?
Elaine : He had fish.
Posted by momsey on 2011-12-21:
Yikes, I hope you're still not sick after a week! And of so, head to the doctor!
Posted by madconsumer on 2011-12-21:
did you seek medical attention? did they confirm what type of food poisoning you had? this will be critical in upholding your case.
Posted by Dharmendra sharma on 2012-12-08:
I am a frequent flier with British Airways and surprise to know that there is single hot case/mirco wave for vegetarian and non-vegetarian, some time co-passenger taking non-vegetarian food , some vegetarian passenger do not like or even to see outtry to sought it, if possible, suggesting- vegetarian passenger to allot separate category-thanks
Posted by eileen mumy on 2013-08-02:
My daughter got extremly sick frim bad oeangw juice served on a british airways flught from la to london in business class. All they did was deney deny deny.
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Student Visa Scam
Posted by Devoberger69 on 11/23/2011
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY -- My son was not allowed on a flight from Newark airport to Tel Aviv because he did not have a student Visa. The Israeli consulate told me that that is not their policy for anyone with an American passport. They have 3 months to obtain one. They bumped him off the flight, re-scheduled him for a 3 month flight and told me to change it for a longer stay once he leaves. The changing fee is $275 and now they want another $200 because there's a rate change for that date. The "case Manager" for this does not respond to my calls. The BA phone reps are all out-of-country and I can't understand them. I am furious with BA for their lousy customer service and untruths and will never fly with them again.
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Posted by olie on 2011-11-24:
Israel has an extremely strict policy on who gets to enter the country and who does not.

It's not the responsibility of any airline to make sure that a passenger has the proper documentation to travel ANYWHERE. It's the responsibility of the passenger, or, in the case of a minor, of the passenger's parent(s).
Posted by Ben There on 2011-11-24:
Even if Israel gives three months to get a student visa, students in this case will still enter the country on the standard 90 day tourist visa.

The convenience of getting the visa once in the country comes at the expense of only being able to enter the country on a 90 day visa (hence the 3 month ticket). Airlines get huge fines for not complying with visa rules.
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Should you Fly British Airways?
Posted by Sgainford83 on 09/26/2011
I should have arrived at the airport three hours early for my British Airways flight to Verona however when I got to Victoria station to take a 35 minute train to Gatwick airport, a water main had just exploded and flooded all the train tracks. I quickly jumped on another train going to East Croyden where I then got a replacement bus service to the airport. I could have still made my flight but 2 miles outside the airport the traffic completely stopped. When I finally got into the airport I had 20 minutes before my flight, but British Airways wouldn’t let me fly, which is understandable enough.

But the understanding stops there. British Airways then charged me a hefty £60 to change my flight to the next day. Hundreds of people missed their flight because of the transportation problems that was no fault of their own, but British Airways charged them all £60 to transfer their flight to the next day. However other airlines were a lot more understanding, like Easy Jet, which didn’t charge their customers anything.

I asked British airways, who are always advertising how much they understand their customers and care for them, where did they get the arbitrary charge of £60, why did they have to charge so much, and why did other airlines like Easy Jet not charge their customers anything? They wrote back in a cold robotic way and basically told me to piss off.
British Airways definitely made a lot of money that day. And I actually originally paid £20 more to fly with them because I bought into their brand and thought they were more reliable and understanding. But from my experience, and other people I have talked to since then about their negative experience with British Airways, I think those days are over and I think they need to change their brand song from the Flower Duet to John Lee Hookers ‘I need money’ song. At least I’m giving my money to Easy Jet next time.
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Posted by Ben There on 2011-09-26:
I find British Airways to be one of the better airlines in the air, but their ground staff is just horrible. The staff is rude and robotic, so I am not surprised that a low cost carrier like easyjet would have better customers service on the ground - of course easyjets in flight service of hawking products the whole flight can't even be compared to BA.
Posted by trmn8r on 2011-09-26:
When you didn't fly the day you were scheduled, that empty seat of yours did. That costs money. Your excuse is that the train was interrupted, which is pretty fair as far as excuses go. But it doesn't reimburse the airline.
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Vacation nightmare
Posted by Rrahlf78 on 09/23/2011
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 web site 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, drivers license and about €300. Before leaving Rome we purchase a new suitcase and some new clothes. All we ever read on the web site 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 web site. 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 arrrive 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 Consolate 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.

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Posted by At Your Service on 2011-09-23:
Sounds absolutely horrible.

How does the airlines determine the value to replace your luggage at? Really good question for anyone who may know.
Posted by trmn8r on 2011-09-24:
There is a very set procedure at each airline for making a lost luggage claim. I don't believe any of them upgrade seats as a form of compensation, and in any event no compensation will be given prior to processing the claim.

The inconveniences of being pickpocketed and robbed are unrelated to your problem with British Airways - lost luggage. I've flown BA, and found their customer service to be prompt and courteous. There isn't much the CSR's could do for you except tell you to file a claim per the procedure.
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-09-24:
A lot of extraneous in your complaint that isn't material to BA but was to having an overall crummy trip. Typically if declared lost you can claim compensation up to about 1000 SDR - with a weak USD you can come out ahead.
A few tips.
Unless we are talking some Middle East or Asian carriers, longhaul coach service is ok to mediocre - irrespective of US or in this case British carrier. Flying as you did from DEN to FCO thru London makes no sense as you pay a hideous APD tax - approx $80 USD each.
Scan and email yourself a copy of your passport.
American's always stick out as marks in Europe...the sneakers are a dead giveaway, thus a moneybelt is a must.
Posted by trmn8r on 2011-09-24:
Great suggestion, to email yourself your passport, Bete Noir!
Posted by Ben There on 2011-09-24:
Hopefully the OP has a good travel insurance policy.
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British Airways – Misleading its gold card holders
Posted by on 08/21/2011
Over the last year I have taken numerous business class flights on British Airways, renewing my Gold Card (1,500 points) along the way. When I reached 2,500 for the year I received in the mail a certificate for a free one-class upgrade for two to be used “on the next flight you book.” There is no fine print on the certificate or indication of any restrictions in its use.

I went ahead and booked flights for a trip for my wife and myself in World Traveler Plus online and then tried in vain to upgrade them to business class using the certificate (which said I should redeem it via the website.) I then called the reservations number for help; they were unable to and referred me to Customer Service, who referred me back to reservations. Eventually I established that the 2,500 point upgrade certificate is secretly restricted in the same way as using miles to upgrade – which, in the case of BA, means you can almost never upgrade to business class. (I have over one million miles in the BA Executive Club; I can never find flights I want on which I can use them.)

In the month we want to fly there are no seats at all available for upgrade - so much for the bold statement that I can use the certificate “on the next flight you book!”.

I told the agent I felt I felt I had been misled and asked to cancel the flights I had just booked online; I was told I would have to pay a substantial cancellation penalty. I suggested they might waive the fee for a gold card holder who spends thousands per year on BA tickets. Forget it, I was told. I emailed the CEO and received a standardized, meaningless response.

BA won’t be seeing me in future.
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Posted by trmn8r on 2011-08-21:
This is a very helpful post, but it does not surprise me.

Planes are flying close to full on many routes these days, so the availability of the few upgraded seats that are allotted is probably few and far between.

Is the program that you have to buy the ticket before you attempt to upgrade? If so, it sounds like a raw deal. Sounds like the moral is, only buy a ticket if you are sure to use it, with or without an upgrade.
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-08-21:
All the certificate says is use it on "the next flight you book" - whether booked for cash or miles. That is all it says. We booked for cash as award tickets were not available - as ususal. Before booking the flights I checked that business class seats were available on the flights we wanted and there were plently. They just won't make them available for the "use on your next flight" award. I wish BA said to book by calling rather than instructing me to use the website, as least I would not have wasted my money. When they treat loyal "gold card" customers this way I feel sorry for the occasional traveler who has a problem with BA. They don't deserve my business (or yours.)
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-08-21:
I am speculating as I'm not familiar with BA's FF program but does the upgrade open more seats on a different fare bucket?
If you have 1 million BA miles I'm sure you know you can redeem on any One World carrier. CX, QF, RJ, heck even AA flagship service is nice in F.
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You Should Be Ashamed
Posted by ArgieDem on 06/21/2011
You manage to forget a stroller of an 13month old baby outside the plane after boarding, you didn't had the sensitivity to help the mother and the baby in their stop over in Heathrow, you told them THAT YOU CANNOT GIVE THEM THE STROLLER BEFORE THE FINAL DESTINATION????YOUR CREW LIED TO HER!!!!! And ONLY in Chicago you informed them that the stroller is missing???!!!!!!!!! Where is the respect to the customer or a simple humanity????

A week after and no news and there is not a phone nr we can call to talk to a physical person?????? YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE IS NON EXISTED....You should be ashamed I wish you go out of business sooner rather than later.

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Posted by Anonymous on 2011-06-21:
When someone feels they are wronged, why do they wish the company would go out of business? Would making thousands of people become unemployed really help the situation?
Posted by PepperElf on 2011-06-21:
Little - probably the same reason little kids tell people "I hope you die" when they're mad...
Posted by olie on 2011-06-21:
I'm hoping for a more, um, linear description of events.

Seems to me, that OP had a stroller at some airport, which may have been left in the jetway, as instructed. A BA employee did not place said stroller on the plane.

So when OP and her toddler reached Heathrow, there was no stroller for the ?visit? ?layover? OP was advised that the stroller would be delivered at the final destination.

Posted by Partofthecourse on 2012-11-09:
It is disgusting the lack of regard given to the customer. I'm surprised the premium pax don't complain about the token "we'll be extra nice to you because you've paid more"sycophancy that must exist in business and first class. They dont go out of business because most airlines are now all the same. The competition for business is now cut throat. They'll do anything to get your money and then the customer service stops i'm afraid. Narcissism must be rife in that industry to treat people like that. They can't seem to even get down on paper that they are sorry. Complete lak of respect. The customer serves them!
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