British Airways Complaint - Verbally attacked by BA staff
DEFENCE STATEMENT - PARKINSON ‘v’ BRITISH AIRWAYS
I would like to point out to the Court that I have given BA at least 5 to 6 chances to resolve this matter with letters being sent to them since April 2010. Last of all I sent them a copy of my ‘Small Claims Court’ summons dated 15.12.10 asking them to reconsider their position and refund my money before I take Court proceedings against them. See photocopy (A)
I am 67 years old and was on my way to America to sail my Catamaran which I keep in the USA. I was looking forward to my trip and not looking for trouble, not wishing to pick a fight and I am not a load mouthed drunken trouble maker, as is being inferred by British Airways.
My wife and I are seasoned Air travelers flying long haul 3 or 4 times a year to Hong Kong, Bangkok, London, New York, Boston & Washington, and are well versed with Airport security, and I might add, we agree with the high level of security necessary in today’s air travel.
Having stated I agree with the high level of security required at airport check-in, I am therefore unlikely to object to being search a second/third time, as is being suggested by BA, as long as I know what is happening, which is not the case at Heathrow.
The charge against me is not cooperating with the Staff, even though I cooperated in full with gate 10 staff. There seems to be a difference of opinion between how gate staff interprets cooperation or being rude and the Supervisors version of rude. Gate 10 staff got full cooperation from me and my wife without being rude, the Supervisor was out of order shouting in my face.
I suggest BA staff take a leaf out of the ‘Customs & Border Protection Agency’ in the USA; they pledge to ‘Treat the public with dignity & respect & to perform their duties in a professional manner, unlike the BA Supervisor who acted like a Football hooligan. I get called Sir in the USA, not treated like a PIG.
The shouting Supervisor was almost foaming at the mouth and is claiming (and I quote) I was rude to gate staff & impeding the pre-flight search procedures & I refused to discuss the matter with her.
Let’s look at all 3 charges as we go through my statement, I think you will find her to be wrong; and while we are at it, what shall we call her unprovoked attack on me – Customer Service BA style.
1) I was rude to gate staff. Asking questions is not being rude.
2) I was impeding pre-flight search procedures. BA impeded them selves.
3) I refused to discuss the matter with the Supervisor. I was never asked to discuss anything, I was only shouted at. Where was the discussion, I never had one.
My wife and I arrived at Heathrow Terminal 5 in good time for our flight to the USA, we preceded through all security checks and arrived at gate 10 with time to spare, ready to fly. No trouble so far, everything was fine.
We sat down, I was reading my book, 5 to 10 minutes later the Tannoy announced that Passengers Parkinson and others are to come to the desk, I went forward and quietly asked what they wanted, and was informed that an additional search was needed, did I objected. I thought for 5 – 10 seconds saying to myself, if I ask questions they will become suspicious of me but, I thought my baggage might have raised an alarm, because of the ‘Metal Bolts’ inside the case (see photos). I replied, can I ask questions without jeopardizing my position, the answer was YES, but as it turns out she meant YES it will jeopardize your position, as is the case.
I then said, I don’t mind the search as long as I know what sort of search my wife will be subjected too, on reflection I think I am the only person to ask this question, all the others just said yes, and this is what dammed me, they took objection to being asked questions they could not or did not wish to answer. I was told the American Government requested it, which is not the answer to my question.
I was then told by gate 10 staff that if I refused to have the search I could not fly. This put me on my guard not to say or do anything objectionable, just stay cool and ask questions, no need to do anything to prevent me flying and you have been given permission to ask questions.
I was mindful of two things; my wife was searched & questioned for nearly 4 hours when she first arrive in England back in 1996 and 12 years ago when I went to Hong Kong I was stopped by security and had my suitcase searched in an adjacent room because I had metal objects in the suitcase, like I had this day, see photographs of the metal Bolts in my case.
I asked was there a heightened state of security because my Baggage might be suspect (bearing in mind I had metal Bolts in my case) I was told NO. I then asked what sort of search was my wife to be subjected too, staff member (1) said - The US Government required the search, I asked the question again because they were telling me who required the search, not what sort of search was required, the second staff member stepped forward and repeated the answer, puffing up his chest and standing there gesturing with back off body language, with which I did.
I pointed out that neither answer told me what sort of search it would be, only who required it, could I be told more about the search please. I felt I needed to know if my wife needed to 1) Remove her clothes. 2) Internal search. 3) Who would be conducting the search, a man or woman, NOBODY KNEW THE ANSWER? I thought this was very strange, considering that the Security service conducting the search did not know what sort of search they intend to carry out, only that the US Government required it.
So here I was, on my guard not to upset anybody but BA staff were not answering my questions and making things difficult for me. I was sent to the main desk to ask there, I posed the question again to a Lady who replied ‘I don’t know I will phone and find out’.
No problems so far, just quietly went through the process of getting answer. I stood waiting for a minute or two without saying anything to staff members; nothing was going on, when out of the Blue the Lady suddenly said, the search was a simple touch search, there was no requirement for clothes to be removed, neither was there an internal search required and it would be conducted by a woman. I agreed straight away and said I would send my wife over to be search.
NO PROBLEMS AT THIS POINT but I thought BA have not been very helpful & wasted time.
I was told my wife should bring her hand luggage because once through gate control she would be ready to fly.
MY THOUGHTS SO FAR - I wondered why she phoned somebody to find out the answer to my questions when she knew the answer all along. Why not answer my questions in the first place, instead of being difficult. She was impeding per-flight proceedings, not me, which I have been accused of and I might add I was not rude either – To be rude you have to say something detrimental to a staff member, I only asked – What search and who by – That is not being rude.
On two counts of the accusations I am not at fault. BA staff caused their own delays by not answering my questions which they knew the answer too & I was not rude.
I went back and told my wife to have the search done which she did.
WITNESS STATEMENT At this point my wife’s witness statement should be taken into consideration:- I was searched without any reference to my husband having been rude to anybody, I was asked to join the queue, I was searched and cleared to Fly, I even got on the Bus ready for the flight. At this point there was NO trouble, NO acquisitions that my Husband had been rude or had done anything wrong. I could see clearly from where I was sitting that my Husband was simply asking questions.
Having sent my wife off to be searched, I sat down to read my book again, (Not causing trouble) after about 10 minutes all hell let loose, I heard a thundering noise like a herd of Elephants thundering towards me, I looked up and saw two BA staff members heading for me, I have no idea what she was shouting at me for, I have no idea what this was all about, everything had been agreed and sorted.
QUESTION:- Why did the Supervisor choose to charge at Mr. Parkinson shouting at him, what did she hope to gain ? 1) A shouting match. 2) Civil discussion. NO SHE WANTED BLOOD. Why not approach him in a civil manner, firstly introducing yourself to him; he did not know who you were. Why not speak to him in a calm & normal voice instead of shouting at him. Do you normally conduct yourself in this unruly manner, Mr Parkinson is an OAP, not a kick boxer, wisely he just sat down and waited for the Supervisor to calm down - that did not come to pass, she wanted revenge and got it.
What happened next was outrageous, I was verbally attacked, there is no other description that describes what happened, I was reading my book and got verbally attacked by the BA Supervisor, there was no discussion as claimed by BA, I was just shouted at. And I want charges brought against her.
I was taken aback by the heavy handed approach, I was not asked to explain anything, I was not asked to do anything, I did not have to comply with any request, I was just being shouted at.
Not being used to people shouting at me for no reason, all I could think of was that the first Lady who made the phone call must have said something derogatory about me to the Supervisor, stirring up trouble, otherwise why where they both thundering towards me looking for blood, after everything was sorted out without trouble and without being rude.
What was in her mind, what had changed the situation, I had done nothing wrong, what turned a quite Thursday morning into a blood bath, I had not even spoken to the Supervisor before, who had said something to change the situation from all quite, to a Supervisor shouting match. What made her thunder towards me and start shouting at me, what had happened to cause this, I have no idea.
Under this barrage of abuse, I felt it best to say and do as little as possible; do not I said to myself enter into an argument for fear of being stopped from flying. After a while of listening to this barrage of abuse, I said to the Supervisor - from my point of view, would you please:-
1) Stop shouting at me and conduct yourself in a professional manner.
2) Get out of my face, it’s not polite to shout at people and it’s very rude.
3) Everything has been agreed with your staff and sorted out; my wife has had the search.
4) What is all the shouting about; everything is under control and I have conformed and complied with BA staff instructions. (Under BA rules 7a7 – 7a8)
I just sat down to distance myself from being shouted at any more, hoping to take the sting out of the confrontational stance taken by the Supervisor, also hoping that by doing nothing she would calm down. She did not calm down; she just stuck the knife in so to speak.
I just sat there; I guess she was standing there fuming because I would not enter into a slanging match with her, giving her reason to ban me from flying. I was trying to cool the temperature down.
There was no further discussion as claimed by BA, I was not asked any questions, I was not asked to explain why I asked questions of the gate staff, she did not seek further cooperation from me, as claimed by BA, she did nothing but stand there Glaring at me fuming with rage. The next I heard was her saying ‘THAT’S IT’ and she walked off. I HAD DONE NOTHING WRONG.
MY QUESTION IS: WHAT DID SHE WANT TO DISCUSS a) why her staff did not know what sort of search to conduct. b) why did I want to know what sort of search was required. c) was my Baggage suspect with the Bolts inside. d) which of BA rule have I not conformed with, in truth I conformed with all BA rules 7a7 or 7a8. She asked me nothing, she said nothing and there was no instruction for me to conform with. She just stood there bolt upright, staring at me with rage in her eyes but asked me NOTHING.
I continued to sit reading my book waiting to check in. When I arrived at the gate I was told I/we were not flying today, I asked why, she did not have a clear answer, just something about I was rude and she decided to cancel my flight. I could fly tomorrow on BA, but not today.
That was that, I collected my baggage and booked on the BA flight the next day. No problems from me the next day, neither on the return flight 5 months later, I am not a trouble maker.
1) I was not rude to BA Staff in my opinion; BA staffs were rude to me.
2) This Supervisor does not know the words Diplomacy and Customer service, all she knows is attack, shout load and be rude to people and she should be dismissed.
3) I confirmed that asking questions did not jeopardize my position, but it did.
4) Being told I could not fly if did not have the search done warned me to be civil, I was civil.
5) I conformed with all BA rules & requirements in a civil manner under section 7a7 & 7a8.
6) I do object to being shouted at but, did not react adversely, I just sat down.
7) Not being asked by the Supervisor to say or do anything, not being asked to explain anything, not being asked to cooperate, is not being belligerent, I was waiting for the Supervisor to calm down and conduct herself in a professional & civil manner, she did not, she stormed off in a rage and took out her vengeance on me by stopping me Flying.
8) Trying to stay out of trouble by sitting down is hardly me being abusive or non cooperative as claimed in BA letter dated 22.11.10 third paragraph, (You refused to discuss the matter with her, that is why you were refused travel) (there was no discussion in a civil manner, only a shouting match by the Supervisor) I was not load, rude, drunk, disrespectful or bad mannered. In truth it was BA Supervisor who was load, rude, disrespectful and bad mannered, not me.
9) I WOULD LIKE TO BRING CHARGES OF ASSAULT & VERBAL INTIMIDATION AGAINST THE BA SUPERVISOR IF I CAN ACQUIRE HER NAME & ADDRESS.
I arrived the following day, having purchased a second ticket off BA to fly to Washington. BA offer a 5* service for customers with 5* manners and codes of conduct and requirements, only to find that the staff they employ are AGGRESSIVE 2* SUPERVISORS, with the manners and up bringing to match the Gutter they come from, and are ill-equipped to provide a 2* service, let alone the 5* service both BA and I require.
My out of pocket expenses I am claiming back are as follows:-
2nd BA Flight on 30th April to USA 862.00 Car ride back to Poole Dorset 20.00 National Express coach back to Heathrow 42.90 Taxi to Hotel in USA 48.00 2nd Hotel booking in USA 93.00 Total 1,065.90 plus 8% compound interest from the 29.03.10