British Airways - Treated Very Badly
Customer Service - Complaint
SUDBURY -- Basically I used 300,000 bonus points via my British Airways executive membership of which I have belonged to for a number of years i.e. 2005. I have previously made flight both in first class and business class both for myself and family members. The points on this occasion were used to fly first class from Vancouver to London, London to Edinburgh and of course return.
At the time of the booking i.e. via the internet I was denied access to cancel the return flight from Edinburgh to London but since I was flying from London to Vancouver on the return journey it wasn't in my opinion a big deal to forfeit the flight from Edinburgh to London. Bearing in mind my points did have a monetary value and in my opinion that was a loss I could live with. British Airways executive club website did not allow me to cancel or manage the flights in question, it was return flights only.
On the return journey my wife and I arrived at the first class check-in counter at Heathrow and were informed that our return flights from Heathrow to Vancouver had been voided. The agent informed us that since we didn't get on the flight in Edinburgh that they automatically made the decision to void the ticket. This ticket i.e. Edinburgh to Heathrow had one boarding pass and the flight from Heathrow to London had a separate boarding pass and so I saw no connection or rational in BA's mentality or reasoning. After all, whether I booked using bonus points or money it was irrelevant in the sense the bonus/executive points had like I previously mentioned a monetary value.
My wife had a bacteria infection in her intestine and was extremely ill and it was necessary that I had to get her back to Vancouver a.s.a.p. I asked the first class ticket agent as well as the executive club agent what they could do for us. Both responses were a strong "Nothing". I was directed to the British Airway's ticket counter where I was informed that my first class seats were still available and I could purchase them for around $30,000 + if I wanted to. I called for a supervisor as I thought this was outrageous. Here I was being denied my tickets that my points paid for. The supervisor was in one sense sympathetic but she also confirmed that the airline had done nothing wrong. The supervisor told me to wait while she went away to check on something. She returned fifteen minutes later only to tell me that she could do nothing as the (My) first class seats had been sold. Can you imagine how I was feeling and what this meant to my wife and I?
The agent then informed me that I could fly Club World but it would cost more for the upgrade from economy. My wife was poorly and this was not helping and I needed her to be as comfortable as possible. There was no compassion being shown towards me or my wife or her severe health condition. I had to pay 4800 pounds sterling in order to get home that day. The idea of my points/flights being voided and my seats being sold was an insult but British Airways didn't care one iota.
My thinking was that I would pay and accept being held to ransom by a company that speaks of customer service often but has absolutely no regard or understanding of what it feels like to have stood in our shoes that day. Please see attached letter re flight schedule, time date etc. My thinking was that my first priority would be to get my wife home and safe, then contact British Airways and hopefully discuss what transpired and again with the expectation that someone in all their wisdom would understand and appreciate what happened.
I immediately went on the internet and contacted the customer service dept. as well as BA's executive club. I sent them copies via registered mail of my documents. British Airways replied to me (See Reply #1) and in the last paragraph they mention that they did not meet their usual high standard on this occasion. The e-mail also mentions that as a "Goodwill Gesture" they have credited my executive account with 100,000 points and that they hope I will travel with them again - No chance. In this e-mail they in a sense accept responsibility for the shabby way in which they handled the situation. Here I was an executive account member, with a sick wife, stranded in Heathrow airport with absolutely no compassion or empathy from British Airway employees. On the return flight I spoke with the crew and they couldn't believe how badly we had been treated and strongly suggested that I take this matter further.
I then contacted British Airways in response to the #1 response and told them that the points meant nothing to me and that I wanted a complete refund i.e. 4800 pounds sterling. I could have easily asked for more but I didn't. I received a second response, basically this response said that they did nothing wrong and that was that. I contacted them for a third time and insisted that they think this over. The third and last response from British Airways mentions that they have credited my Visa account for the sum of $704.00 X 2 for tickets. I have no idea what tickets they mean unless it was for the upgrade from economy to Club world. This third response from British Airways once again is proof to me that they do in fact find themselves at fault, hence, why would they offer goodwill gestures and then deny responsibility and later credit my credit card account. I contacted them once again and informed them that I wasn't interested in points or small offerings. I am only interested in getting my complete 4800 pounds sterling refund.
British Airways may have sold my seats from Edinburgh to London to standby passengers and if they did, that's fine. I had already given/paid for the seats via points. British Airways sold my seats in first class for approximately $30,000 or roughly 19,000 pounds sterling. They were also paid 150,000 points by me of which I saw nothing. I also paid $2400 in taxes to British Airways and lost half of that amount as they took it upon themselves to void my tickets with no tax return. I had to pay further taxes in order to return home when I had to purchase two Club World tickets. All in all, British Airways did wonderful on this transaction and the customer was robbed. This to me and to most reasonable minded people is double dipping, whereby British Airways could have easily have turned around and issued me my tickets in London or sold them to standby customers or offered them as an upgrade to other passengers had I not checked in on time but they had no right to sell my tickets and charge me a ridiculous amount in order to get us home. To the average person reading or hearing this 100% true story brings disbelief and anger. My wife and myself were not only treated badly monetary wise but there was also a complete disregard for reasoning, understanding or even kindness. The British Airways staff act as if they are walking on a tightrope and they obviously have no decision making skills or authority to make a judgment call. They are robots who strut around and no doubt read "company policy" everyday of their sad lives. They must remember the key words - "Did you read the fine print?" "I'm sorry but there's nothing that can be done but we could or can make you an offer in the meantime." They are not customer service orientated, they are sales driven.
I realize or have since realized that most if not all airlines have this stupid policy of missing the start of a journey means that the journey in it's entirety is voided. It's a policy that the governments around the world needs to take a serious look at. There is absolutely no way an airline should be able to void a ticket from one destination to another if it has been paid for. If it has been paid for and nobody shows up, so what? They could I suppose try and sell it like I mentioned to a standby passenger but why should the person who has already paid for it be punished? It's a loophole whereby the airlines are rubbing their greasy palms. I won't even consider flying with British Airways after this event. They say one thing and mean another, they tell you that they are sorry for their performance and then they deny any responsibility and then they make a small credit to your credit card account hoping you will go away. British Airways are a huge company and without doubt feel that they are untouchable. They no doubt think "Who is this Tom McIntosh anyway? He will end up going away and we will have another hundred or ten thousand Tom McIntosh's still to come. So what if we loose Tom McIntosh's account or business, who cares? I'm sure the people of the U.K. and Canada and the U.SA. care and would be equally appalled by British Airways failure to use some common sense and reasoning . I'm sure that they will see what sort of company British Airways are and how they treat their regular travelers.