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!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
I recently traveled from London Heathrow to Wellington with BA/Qantas. I made numerous phone calls ahead of my check in to make arrangements for additional baggage of one snowboard. Both BA and Qantas advised that once I checked in online I would have the options to purchase a, the additional bag with BA at a 20% discount and b, the additional weight with Qantas. Once online check in opened I was able to complete the process with Qantas and printed all relevant paperwork. Unfortunately the BA online check in did not give me the option so I was unable to book ahead and get the discount.
On arrival at Heathrow the BA customer service helper advised I could request a refund on the 20% rate as the online option did not work. As I had to process the additional baggage I now had to join the long queue. Once at the front I explained the situation and that my flight through to Sydney was with BA and the final leg between Sydney and Wellington was with Qantas. I showed them all paperwork for the Qantas baggage. The lady went to seek advice and returned to advise me that she could not check my bags in all the way to Wellington (despite my paperwork for Qantas).
To cut a long story short I was advised to collect my baggage in Sydney and check it in to the final leg. At Sydney I was denied entry at immigration as I did not have time to make the connecting flight also, I did not have an entry visa. I was tired, stressed and humiliated to be turned away! Qantas very much saved the day and the connections counter were very helpful spending time with me (clearly I was exhausted from the long haul flight) and they recovered my bags and got the checked in.
They commented that BA should have accepted my paperwork and that at the very least they could check the bags all the way and Qantas would have dealt with any problems/additional bag queries/other questions direct with me. I have complained twice and received an apology via email which I appreciate but no refund on the 20% baggage cost or anything else to compensate me for time and stress. Long haul travel alone is tiring and difficult enough without this poor advice. I am very unhappy with the response.
JACKSONVILLE, UNITED STATES -- I would NEVER travel with British Airways again! It is one thing when they tell you, infant bassinets are given out on first-come, first-serve basis when you try to reserve one ahead of time, and then when you get to airport they say they're out because people checked them out online!!!
Also another when they tell you on BA's web page, that an extra baggage costs $60, but then at the airport charge you $165 w/ the excuse that there is a charge for the 2nd part of the trip!!! NOT mentioned on the web anything regarding flights w/ a stop!!! Not a fair way to do business, is it?! But the worse was that they told us at London airport, that our infant baby doesn't have a ticket from London to home!!! How do they sell a half-way ticket to an infant traveling with her mom?!!!
Unfortunately, the second part of the trip was sold to us through BMI. If BA partners w/ another airline and provides "service" through them, I believe BA should be held responsible for the "service" or lack of provided by that partner. When BMI was told that the ticket for the infant was purchased through BA and they need to resolve the issue with them, the response was that BA CANNOT do anything about it and that we had to pay another 168 pounds for the baby in addition to the money we had paid for her ticket!!!
Very disappointing and unacceptable. That last thing one needs when traveling a very long distance (22 hours of traveling) is to hear your baby doesn't have a ticket to continue traveling with you and you have not enough cash or credit card on you and they don't even accept you providing the credit card number (you forgot at home).
To be fair, after calling BA's 800 and being transferred to some "Breaze" airline or so (due to high volume of calls), they couldn't help after trying for about 20 minutes or so trying to figure out what had happened. We were transferred to a manager who in turn transferred us to back to BA and after about 50 minutes or more on the phone, they finally resolved the issue.
That was after our mom started feeling sick and almost fainted and mother of the baby crying her eyes out for more than an hour. EVEN worse part was the way to be treated at the airport counter where staff are supposed to be helpful & not act like they couldn't care less and they're there to torment you and act like "highway robbers". Seriously?!!! At least pretend you care to help by calling to see how this could happen when the baby was added to the itinerary!