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!
I recently flew BA to England and while there learned of their threatened walkout by cabin crew for the 20, 21 and 22 of March. My return date was amongst them. I checked their website daily to see if my flight was cancelled, and it said that overseas flights were still going - mine was amongst the list that were. Less than a week before the threatened strike, I was informed my flight was cancelled and I would have to make my own arrangements to get home. They would give me my money back (which wouldn't have got me to the runway at Heathrow, let alone to North America) or I could take my flight any time within 365 days (subject to availability).
There were NO seats available on any flight home until at least the end of the month so we would either have to stay an unknown length of time or fly back on a different airline at about six times the cost of our BA flight - neither of which we could afford. As an alternative, they would fly us to an airport they served nearest our destination (it is 500km away and we had to pay our way the rest of the way!!!) The travel agent found one of these flights which we took as it was the least expensive alternative. It meant we had to leave several days early but we had no choice because there were only four seats left and nothing at all until the end of the month.
British Airways leaves you stranded and don't care whether you get home or not or how much it will cost you. Morally, if not legally, they have a responsibility to get the people they have stranded to their destinations when they agreed to or as soon as possible afterwards even if it means booking them on competing airlines, which I understand is often done in North America when these situations occur. I will NEVER fly BA again and will tell anyone I can about my experience.
HARMONDSWORTH, WEST DRAYTON, MIDDLESEX, ENGLAND -- In August 2009, being faced with a travel emergency, I had to hastily and at the absolute last moment make a round trip booking from Boston to Cape Town via London. Since I have been a loyal British Airways customer and executive club member for over 25 years, I turned to their website and bought the very expensive $2.300 round trip. I was confident that the airline would look after me as they always have done in the past. Even though I had to make this booking as quickly as possible, I carefully read and reviewed all of the steps of the online process. In the past I have been able to make changes for a nominal fee or even cancel my booking if needed.
Once I had paid, I felt confident that all would be well. On my return home to Portland, Maine, I logged on to BA.com as usual, accessed my booking and attempted to make the changes to my dates that were now necessary. All the choices were grayed out and unavailable. I contacted BA in the U.S. by phone and was told that I was not allowed to make any changes online and would have to drive to Boston to make the changes in person at Logan International Airport. I drove the two and a half hours to Boston and presented myself to their customer service agent. He informed me that any change or future changes would incur a fee of $270.
Although courteous, he could not give me more information on my booking and why BA would not allow me to make changes online apart from some confusing explanation about credit card fraud in South Africa… I hold a Visa card and U.S. bank account and made my original booking in the U.S. Unfortunately I had to pay the $275 along with the extra costs of having to drive to Boston.
I have since contacted BA customer service politely inquiring about this booking and explaining all the difficulties I have experienced. After I had written several detailed emails to them, they have simply dismissed my concerns and stated that in their opinion, the matter is now closed. The reply to my email did not even contain the representative's last name. This behavior is impertinent, discourteous and underhanded. I have supported this company for so many years and it is very sad that it has sunk to such depths. Their staff is obviously not trained sufficiently and seem uninterested in both their job and their customers.
After so many years as a loyal customer I am utterly disappointed. What BA probably fails to understand is that it is their loyal customers who keep them in business. I will never fly BA again and from now on offer my business to companies who know how to treat their customers in all aspects. Etihad Airways and Emirates will now be my airlines of choice to and from Africa.
This is a letter I sent to BA: Good morning. I was in the process of purchasing tickets for my wife and I was using a government computer which is a secure network. While choosing the date's of my flight I had a credit card alert from my bank (Citibank) so I had to call them during my internet purchase from be.com. After approving my transaction I went ahead and clicked ‘make purchase” after completing this a few days later I paid for seating.
It's at that time when I looked at my seating I realized that I purchased the wrong dates for my travel. I'm not sure if because it took so long to purchase the ticket on your website it reset the dates or not. I immediately called British Airways who advised me to make the change online. When I went to the website and managed my booking, I canceled the booking and tried to change the date. Now I realize that I spent over $2200.00 and only got back $266.00. I called BA again and they advised me that they can sell me another two tickets for $2200.00. That is just crazy.
In any event, due to all this trouble I was able to get my employer to approve the days that I selected in the first place by mistake on the BA website. This is a business trip and was able to reset a meeting that I had with some officials in Oslo. I sent BA a letter and complaint which they received under Customer Relations Number: 8042096. I asked if they could just keep the original ticket dates or give me the dates at another time. But to pay over $2200.00 and attempt to refund me $266.00 is horrendous.
I flew with BA on Jan 7th from Rome to London. Not only was my original flight cancelled due to “weather” when every other airline was flying, but the flight I was rescheduled on was 3 hours late (yet, that is not enough time for them to refill the water, since there was NO water on the flight: for drinking or in the sink).
After sitting on the runway for 90 minutes because we were so late, they could not get a gate for us, and sitting in front of the baggage reclaim for 3 hours until the flight disappear off all the reclaim screens nowhere to be found, I tracked down someone from BA who said that the baggage is actually in the airport, and they will put it out as soon as they are good and ready. Not just me, the entire flight was baggage-less. And the flight after us. 20 hours to get from Rome to London and no luggage.
It only gets worse, b/c today is Jan 22, and I still have no luggage. 2 suitcases packed for a 3-months long trans-Continental trip, 15 days without it, and BA caps its compensation at GBP1,100! The suitcases along without any content cost that!
The most frustrating thing is that they “found” the bags 48 hours after we landed in Heathrow. Since then the bags had been in the process of being delivered. To my multiple inquiries about ETD, or offers to pick up the bags if they tell me their physical location, BA was blaming the contractor they employ to deliver the bags. Well, here is the cherry on top, BA is saying they cannot reach their contractor. Apparently, Rico Logistics is not returning BA's calls/emails.
I want to start a business, get a contract with BA, get their money and then just not pick up the phone. By the time they get around to actually doing something about it, I would have finished furnishing my villa in the Bahamas. NEVER AGAIN WILL I STEP A FOOT ON A BA FLIGHT! I hope the company and everyone who works for them evaporates, so they cannot go on poisoning other firms with their incompetence!
My one and only experience with them sucked. I went on a trip to Dusseldorf in February with 4 friends, one of who was a BA employee, and a friend of a friend. It was he that booked this 3-day trip. On the third day, my four friends left for the airport before me having not given me any flight details. I followed on the next train and discovered I had missed my flight by 15 minutes.
I was then told I had to pay a further 250 euros to get home! OK fine, I understand the policy about last minute bookings but had the BA employee I was travelling with bothered to give me my return flight details, I would not have missed my flight. I was already stressed and amazed that 4 "friends" would abandon me in a foreign country. What if didn't have a card on me, how would I have got home? Would they have cared?
On my return I contacted Customer Relations, who were quite understanding and forwarded my claim to BA Refunds. BA Refunds however, just completely ignored me. Eventually I got a reply which said the flight was not refundable because I hadn't missed it! My point was that I shouldn't have had to pay for it the first place, to which they said it was not their problem. I then relayed this back to Customer Relations, who I have been told, do have the authority to pay a "goodwill gesture" but after two weeks now, I have still had no reply. The long and the short of it is this:
The BA employee I was with should not have left me in a foreign country to find my way home.
BA are taking the mickey charging me 250 euros for a single flight back to Heathrow, a completely unnecessary charge in my eyes.
Customer Relations and the Refunds department are not worth the time of day.
They absolutely have no time for us, the customers. You are left with the feeling they hope after time you will just go away. Well I won't!! Hence I will post this tale on every forum I can find. My case reference with customer relations is **.
LONDON -- Tried to deal with BA today to get an upgrade from Economy to Economy Plus using my air miles to make my long haul flights bearable. I have 4 times the BA air miles I need to do my upgrade but the staff say I cannot upgrade my seats because of their latest policy. So basically since the credit crunch came in and BA need more money the miles can't be used. You instead need to spend money even though you have the air miles to upgrade. It means the supposedly valuable air miles are worth **.
Come on people not many people are flying it's January for goodness sakes and you want to make things so much worse for us? Come on, get with the real World. People are hurting financially and the mockery, abuse and ridicule I faced today trying to use air miles stung. It really was unacceptable customer service. I dearly hope the nasty people I spoke to today reap what they have sowed.
I was in a good mood and polite when I called and got fobbed off and moved around on the phone where nobody was interested in helping me or in speaking to me like a human being. The whole experience was depressing and miserable. I was crying when my boyfriend got back to our home and so he has also vowed not to fly BA again. Despite my outstanding 'executive' miles I won't fly BA again. I will also tell everyone I know and meet not to fly them and about my experience.
Flew United at Christmas (yep, in economy for 28 hours in total) and had a good experience with them. Why?Their staff are nice to customers! They are human beings and just decent. I am British so it's not as though I am anti BA for nationality reasons. What a let down and con. Bernie Madoff has nothing on BA. They need to sort their customer service training out and to just value their customers. I always fly BA but not after today, no more. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.