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Horrible service + lost bags = never using BA again
By -

DENVER, COLORADO -- On Friday 13th July I checked in at Paris CDG. I was travelling on a business class ticket to Salt Lake City via Heathrow and Denver. Upon arrival at the check in area I could only locate self-serve kiosks... no "real" person. I checked with an airport steward to verify that this is where I was supposed to check in since normally business class travelers get a "real" person to deal with. I was told to use a kiosk. There were no signs or anything else to indicate a separate check in area.

I used a kiosk and received my boarding cards. Then I proceeded through Passport Control to find the bag drop (which is after Passport Control at CDG). I was dismayed to find about 150 people waiting in line to check their baggage (for economy class). I spent several minutes working my way around the line just so I could get near the counters and see if there was a business class counter but there was not. When I asked a BA rep she told me the business counter was... back outside Passport Control in a different check in area.

I was furious at the concept of having to go back outside but it still would be faster than waiting in the economy line so I made my way past the luggage carousels, through Passport Control, and eventually found the business class counter. I double checked to make sure I had not simply overlooked it before but there were no signs or any other indications to it. The counter was 50m down from the BA kiosk area.

Upon reaching the business class counter/bag drop I waited a few minutes while the BA rep processed three gentlemen in front of me, all the while speaking on her phone. When it was finally my turn, I checked in two bags (she was still on the phone). She put bright orange "Priority" tags on my bags, evidently to indicate that my business class luggage should receive special handling. All the while she was still on the phone. During the process I asked her to verify that my frequent flier number had made it onto the reservation; the ignored me or forgot about it. Eventually I got my claim tags and headed off to go through Passport Control (again!) so I could find the BA business lounge.

Arriving at the lounge I approached the reception desk to check in and dealt with a man that at first wouldn't speak any English, apparently just intending to check me into the lounge. When I asked him about my frequent flier number and presented him my frequent flier card, it was evident that he didn't speak English very well at all, nor could he operate the computer because he told me that my FF number wasn't in the computer...nor could he put it in!

Disgusted, I resolved to deal with the FF number at Heathrow. Meanwhile I was astonished that I was met at that counter with someone that couldn't communicate in English...even though it was a UK based airline and I was flying to the UK!

Upon arrival at Heathrow I made my way to the business lounge and was able to verify that my FF number had in fact been on the reservation. The 9hr flight to Denver was uneventful. The aircraft was older and the seat did not meet my expectations for business class but the staff were nice so I figured that maybe I had seen the end of troubles for this day and that the rest of my journey would be better.

I was wrong. Upon arrival at Denver I was dismayed to find that only one of the two bags I checked in at CDG had made it to the USA, despite having those nice pretty orange "Priority" tags. Furthermore I was confused as to why one bag would make it and the other wouldn't, but that's an impossible mystery to solve. Interestingly enough, there were about 10 to 15 other people on my flight who also had bags that did not arrive, and yet the luggage carousel delivered about 30 bags that nobody claimed! Was BA just randomly sending bags around the world?

I went to the luggage service counter to file a report and was presented a photocopied form with my name already on it. Amazing technology BA has that can tell them--in advance of my arrival--that a bag has been lost, and yet they can't actually just get my bag on the plane. I re-checked my other suitcase with the BA attendant (having cleared US Customs) and made my way to the gate for my final flight (a united flight purchased through BA). Upon arrival in Salt Lake City a few hours later I discovered--you guessed it--my second suitcase was lost. I checked in two bags at Paris CDG only to have them lost (separately!) before I got home.

Again I spent a few minutes of quality time at the luggage desk, filing a second report. United Airlines, however, managed to find my bag the next morning and it was delivered to my home that afternoon. BA, however, still has not located my other suitcase and it's now the third day since my flight home. Their online tracer service perpetually reports "no information available" and I can find no place on their site to communicate with a real live person.

There is a page for filing a claim for lost luggage but it only applies to UK & Ireland residents. After stumbling around the website I eventually found a link titled something like "online claim form for lost luggage--USA residents" but it wasn't even a claim form, just a link to a generic customer service inquiry form. I did call the 800 number for lost luggage but it simply duplicates the online tracer and does NOT give any opportunity to connect with a real live person.

My employer informed me last night that I will be flying back to London either Tuesday or Wednesday. I suppose there is a chance I can collect the bag myself at Heathrow but I'm really skeptical about this, assuming at this point that I'll never see the bag again, nor will I ever receive compensation for the lost bag and its contents.

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Lost Baggage
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LONDON -- My daughter is in a 1-month study abroad program in South Africa (traveling from Los Angeles). She transferred at Heathrow (British Air) to South Africa. She arrived and her single bag (luggage) did not. It is now 10 days later… She is now 1/3 of her way through her study abroad program with No books, no proper clothing (winter), NONE OF HER PERSONAL ITEMS AND NO RESPONSE FROM ANYONE AT BRITISH AIR.

She is in classes most of the day and does not have easy access to transportation to re-purchase all she has lost (it is winter in South Africa). She also does not have the time to wait and find someone at British Air to help her. As parents we have spent 3 hours daily trying to get a "live" body to speak to. British Air's website based luggage locator service is only updated when someone actually finds the luggage, versus minimally letting you know someone is actually working on the issue. British Air (baggage service in South Africa) did give her a debit card with a value of about $70.00 (US), but it did NOT WORK when my daughter tried to purchase emergency items.

We have made over 50 calls, getting a live person 10 times (from the baggage department in London and South Africa and the Customer Service Department). From this we received 8 different stories ranging from "it's likely to be on the next flight", to a more honest, "it will show up when it shows up". Most of the time the employees would tell us about their difficulties and how others have suffered (I am sorry, but I refuse to feel sorry for you because it is clear customer service is not a priority at this company, if it was they would have the resources and the will to help).

We were told 4 different times that someone would follow up and contact us. We have e-mailed 8 times to baggage and customer service (where they note that we are important and they will contact us). Though this entire fiasco, Nobody has once called us (or responded to our e-mails) to update us on the situation. Recommendation: Pack only what you can carry on, and if your baggage is lost..."it will show up when it shows up".

PROS: When calling the customer service department, we were switched to a reservation call center! The gentleman was very helpful, but he could not call the London baggage department (they are both departments of British Air). He gave us information we saw on the internet. He did send an internal computer message to the London unit and told them to update the automated luggage locator page (this is accessed on their website), and to call us. Of course 36 hours later, none of this has occurred.

They do have an automated luggage locator service on their website, but nobody ever updates the information until the bag is delivered. The baggage services unit will give you a debit card for inconveniences and for emergency purchases, but make sure it works (my daughter's did not).

CONS: It is amazing that through all of our attempts to find one person to "step-up", take responsibility and follow through, we have not found that person, but I guess we still have 20 days to try. NOTE: After reading similar horror stories at this site, my wife and I have decided to quit sending e-mails to BA or calling them. It appears that there is no customer service and they really do not care!!!

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Who Cares
By -

I was refused to board a flight on the basis of insufficient documents. I was to fly to India from Vancouver via. Heathrow. The British Airways airport authorities told me that since my Canadian Visa has expired I would not be allowed to board the plane. This was unexpected for me because: 1) I had my valid Canadian Work Permit. 2) The purpose of my visit to India, was to renew my Visa, since I cannot renew it in Canada; therefore I have to fly out of it and get the Canadian embassy overseas to renew it.

I was not informed by the travel agent from whom I bought the ticket that I would need any documents, even upon telling him that I am not a resident in Canada. He said all should be OK since India is a part of Commonwealth, and promptly issued me the ticket. After being refused boarding I was told by the airport BA official to seek help for rebooking. We talked to one of the officials who cancelled my flight before couple of hours departure. I come back home and talk to my agent, who says it was not his responsibility to inform me of any paperwork, but my stand is that he should not have misinformed me either, he could have avoided the whole Commonwealth issue.

Now I research the www.britishairways.com to find information on Visas, only to find the following. "Passport and visa information is temporarily unavailable on this site, we hope to restore the service soon." I have a legal passport, I have valid work permit, so these documents provided by Indian and Canadian government are useless for my 1 hour commute over Heathrow. I was not staying in London for even a day or overnight, only till my next flight took off.

On 26th I talked to a British airways representative over the phone and she said that the only way to deal with this situation is to rebook my flight for a future date, which would still leave me with my problem of not having a valid Canadian Visa. But I would try to get my documents to salvage my ticket. Another agent Kimberley said rebooking would be possible only through the agent, so I called my agent again, he said that the notes on the ticket did not talk about the cancellation before departure and I have to get a note from the authorities at the airport saying that I cancelled my flight before departure in order to get any refund or rebooking.

So I had to go to the airport again. How can the officials be so irresponsible as not to add such important data to my file, however, the mistake was rectified and note added. So I would think I can still rebook my flight for a future date since 2 BA agents had told me that I could rebook it and in the meantime I can try and get a transit visa. However, on 27th I called again at the BA information center to rebook my flight, and they said I could not get a REFUND, I cannot REBOOK and I cannot TRANSFER my ticket to someone else and I need to talk to my agent.

What sort of a policy would this be, if you check out BA.com it is not that British airways is doing all it can to inform their customers. I don't think it is my fault at all, since I went home last year under the same circumstances, I flew Cathay Pacific and I had no problems at all even though my visa was expired even then and I was going home to renew it. I think BA and Flight centre need to polish the way their deals with people and not have irresponsible staff who forgets to mention entries and who mislead customers saying that rebooking can be done.

They need to have correct information on the website and above all they need to have employees who understand individual problems and do not constantly repeat "We can do nothing about it, it is not our responsibility."€These people just wash off any responsibility by mentioning misleading information or " Passport and visa information is temporarily unavailable on this site, we hope to restore the service soon." They don't have to ask customers to run to airports and get documents. There are lots of airlines out there but British Airways is simply a misanthrope.

This has been such a cruel and horrible experience and I would recommend people never to fly British airways, because they are all psychotic and unreasonable. In the end I have not got any money back, lost time and effort in getting people to listen to me and have been held responsible for everything. And I never got a call from flight centre to follow up on my issue after the first 2 days, after that I went and visited them a few times but they were all smiles with less than a hello to say.

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British Airways - Whether believable?
By -

With anger & disgust, I am bringing to this forum that I traveled along with my 4 year son in British Airways #BA 118 (Bangalore to London) & # BA 95 (London to Montreal) on Date: 12 April 2006. Upon arrival I found one of our checked in baggage missing. Although we sent all the documents to their Toronto office, there is no information about the baggage as well as compensation that should be given for lost baggage. We have great doubt about the existence of their office in Toronto as it is given in British Airways website and also as mentioned by the people at Montreal International airport.

The agony we underwent after losing our essential things and passionate belongings in a new place is known only to us. The stress we underwent upon loss & for the ignorance shown by them for our complaint, letters, phone calls, e-mails and not meeting the needs of their suffered customer is inexplicable. I have to state that my family & all the people known to us are upset at the services of British Airways.

To begin the story, we were able to contact BA through a toll free number (1-800-828-8144) for initial 10 days where the people attending the calls used to give irresponsible reply. After 10 days, our complaint is so programmed that we are not able to contact any person directly. The automatic message says, “If your luggage is lost for more than 10 days, press 1”. If we press 1, the message we hear from answering machine all the time is really shocking. “Please leave your message; we will call you back soon”. In fact, they don't have contact phone number for checking the status of our baggage claim.

For our every e-mail an auto responder replied that they will reply in 24 hours. But, there is no reply for our e-mails sent for the last 5 months. As soon as a mail is sent, we used to receive the following message. "This is an automated message to confirm receipt of your email to British Airways Customer Relations. Your email is important to us and we will reply to you as soon as possible. While you are waiting for your reply, it is not necessary to re-send your email or send a follow-up communication”.

I am very upset to say that British Airways lacks basic customer service, not to mention their business ethics. We advice everyone we know to stay clear of BA to enjoy the trip. I had enough bitter experience & I don't want anyone I know suffer from the worst service like British Airways.

When the luggage is lost, their customer service department goes underground or they have discovered a nice way to cheat in this way! However, I am sure this will never work in the long run. I am disgusted & no longer feel as for giving about the situation. I wonder, how could they care so little about their customers? I also will stop not until they have the decency to respond and explain, and solve the problem!

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BA Terminal 5 - Dishonesty, Incompetence, Total Lack of Service
By -

LONDON -- I flew Business Class on Sat 5th April from their new Terminal 5. Prior to check-in they said that the 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 them 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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Should you Fly British Airways?
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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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British Airways – Misleading its gold card holders
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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 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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Executive Club Misleading Customers Buying Flights
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I'm new to using British Airways. The first time was last November when I bought two round trip tickets one for me and one for my boyfriend. The service was more than awesome on my way to London, on our way back, all I have to say disgusting!

We sat about two seats in front of the back toilet and it had clogged and the whole flight smelled like poop! I kept asking my boyfriend if he had farted? But he kept on saying no. Well later that flight we found out where the smell was coming from. I never complained about that as I didn't want to cause a huge thing I thought well things happen that is out of their range.

Last night I tried booking a flight for my boyfriend through our executive club membership. On that page it said you can complete this booking using your air miles if you only purchase 5,445 more miles for just $190 us dollars. I thought well great that is a great price for a round trip flight, and so I did. Well the miles didn't get added until this morning and when I went back to book the flight again, well guess what? Maybe you know 'coz you are the main boss of this airline, but it wanted me to pay an extra $751 dollars extra and use my 25,000 miles.

Do you feel like me now and think that this is just a rip off? 'Coz I then went to the BA home and tried to book the flight without any miles and the total price for the flight was $851 US dollars. So tell me what is wrong with this picture? Your company wants me to pay $751+190=$941 plus 25,000 miles or just pay $851 with no miles. So tell me which one would you pick? Even my first grader would give me the right answer to be honest with you. So I called your company and asked for a refund and to cancel the transaction and they said, “Oh I'm sorry ma'am but we can't do that!” Oh really! Well that is just great!

Because I happen to really like your company and was planning a wedding where many family members were going to fly from London to Denver and we thought of using BA but now I'm concerned about your customer service. Is there anything you can help me with since you are the CEO of this great company?

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Pointless cancellations
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My partner and I were among those caught up in the farrago that ensued following a fall of snow in London last December. The whole country knew snow was due to arrive during the day, but we were banking on the fact that our flight was early and that we would miss it. However, as we waited, the departure boards asked passengers to “refer to airline”: a bit disingenuous since BA is the only airline that flies from T5.

All flights after 10.00am had been cancelled. We were called forward to proceed through security to the departures lounge, where,10 minutes later, our flight was also cancelled. It should be stressed at this point that non-BA flights from other non-BA terminals were still departing. Indeed, there was a TV screen showing BBC News 24 in the lounge. A reporter was speaking to a man in T5 who was complaining that his friend had just boarded a flight in T3, while his BA flight to the same place had just been cancelled.

Shortly after, the BBC had a still picture of a BA plane on a runway in a blizzard. The caption read Heathrow T5. They were saying that BA had decided to cancel all flights after 10.00am because of the weather. Only there was no blizzard. No snow at all. None. And they also cancelled flights before 10.00, just for the record.

Neither of us was prepared to take BA and BAA up on their offer of re-booking and waiting for our luggage to be forwarded to our destination. Obviously, if you cancel flights when a runway is clear, you stand no chance of flying once there has actually been snow. The problem we anticipated with re-booking is that the flights are already full of pre-booked customers, and there was no guarantee of anything leaving for days to come. My partner found alternative flights and soon we were booked on a flight from Birmingham the next day on Turkish Airlines neither of whom, thankfully, spit out their dummies at the mere suggestion of snow.

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British Airways and UK, a Nightmare
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We are a couple with terrible experience with British Airways, in general with UK as well. We booked our flight and hotel together on British Airways' website. Huge mistake! We wish to warn others against it, so here are the details of our nightmare.

First of all, UK treats all as criminals and terrorists. Just for a 3-nights vacation you have to go through an extremely complicated enormous gigantic amount of paperwork and a sky-high fee (non-refundable). Then they look down under their nose and turn down, as if a ”royalty” is looking down at some “low-life”. So every time they are making lots and lots of money at our expense, but we get practically nothing other than torture and insult.

4-star hotels on the British Airways website are not really 4-star, they are rather worth a 2-star. These hotels charge sky-high amount of money per night. However they provide some stinky, stuffy, closet-size tiny rooms with matchbox-size bathroom, no bathtub, no refrigerator, no minibar, no internet, no elevator, no concierge, no air-conditioning! Carpets would be stained and worn-out. Walls and furnitures would be chipped and 200 years old. The customers pay 10 times as much, then the hotel would put the customers in the basement on arrival.

A “full-breakfast-included” reservation would be denied. Even though the customers have already prepaid their one year's salary's worth charge for full breakfast, they would get just coffee and juice as “breakfast” and would be forced to pay around 25 British pounds (around 40 USA dollars) for that!!! They should come to Scandinavia or Germany to learn what actual “breakfast” means, learn numerous varieties of cheese, meat, dairy products, bread, cereals, egg preparations and greens can be served in breakfast, which UK probably never heard of.

Here comes the most scandalous part. British Airways has made their reservation cancellation/alteration policy as brutal as possible. It's almost impossible. Again a sky-high charge, again one year's salary down the drain. And we are from frying pan to fire. Once you make the reservation, you are doomed to hell, no way out, so British Airways can laugh all the way to the bank. While most of the flight+hotel booking website has a “totally free cancellation” policy!

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1.0 out of 5, based on 7 ratings and
157 reviews & complaints.
Contact Information:
British Airways
75-20 Astoria Blvd
Jackson Heights, NY 11370
1-800-545-7644 (ph)
www.british-airways.com
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