Reply To: Why do people fly on British Airways?

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I would appreciate any input on my hellish trip with BA. I relate the story here: Bologna to Heathrow, flight scheduled for 1240pm,May 13, 2013

We board on time, taxi out, pilot reports a mechanical, taxi back, offload onto buses, back to Gate 1 hauling our carryons up and down stairs.

No announcements are made, we all just stand around . After 20 or 30 minutes, an agent quietly steps up to deal with connecting flights, 50 people line up. Not a single announcement or instruction is forthcoming. I look over her shoulder and see that the next flight is at 655, it’s now about 245. The monitor shows our flight departing at 430. I ask an agent at the next gate and she says that’s just something that the airport posted, no truth to it.

By 3pm it’s obvious that the 1240 flight is going nowhere so I break into the line (earning a few nasty comments from a man with a very stiff upper lip) to ask one question, which is should we rebook on the later flight. It requires a yes/no answer so I felt justified in being pushy. The same BA agent is still dealing with the entire planeload of people, nobody ever shows up to assist. She doesn’t have any (quick) response for my question.

We decide to leave the secure area, return to the checkin counter downstairs and try to rebook for 655. There’s NOBODY THERE. Not a single agent. We seek help at the BA Lounge, are told they know nothing and are advised to ask at the “General Tix Counter”. Two agents are at this counter which apparently serves many airlines. One agent is busy with the same customer for 35 minutes while the other agent deals with the 5 people in line ahead of me. By now we have formed a little group of 10 people trying to get some help. My turn is next, but the scout we have sent to checkin comes back to report that the maintenance guys working in the ceiling say that someone from BA will be there at 4pm. I envision 200 people on their way down there, so we give up on the general tix counter and traipse down to checkin for the 9th time.

A lovely BA agent shows up 15 minutes early and after only 35 more minutes in line, we are rebooked on the 655. Good news, right? Well, it seems that we have to go pick up our bags in a special locked place and recheck them. By now there are 50 people in line behind us but the lovely agent tells me to go have some lunch and come back directly to her with the bags. We go to reclaim the bags, the door is locked and nobody responds to our knocking. An unfortunate maintenance man comes out and I stand in the open doorway so it can’t close. My husband’s bag is there, mine doesn’t show up. At least there’s an agent there with a radio who keeps reassuring us that the bags will be up momentarily. My suitcase is bright red with large white Ns painted on each flat surface; I beg her to let me go back there and just pick it up but that ain’t happening. By now there are 15 very annoyed people looking for their bags, most of which never appear.

Now I ask you … the 655 flight left out of the same gate as the 1240 flight … why on earth doesn’t BA just put the bags on the 655 flight? And all this time the 1240 flight is still flashing 1630, even tho by now it’s 1730 … all those people are probably still standing around at Gate 1.

I refuse to wait any longer for my bag and go to back to Gate 1 to board the 655 flight, since I suspect there will be plenty of double-bookings in this mess. The 655 is now delayed until 730, we can’t believe it. I assume somebody will have the brains to get my suitcase on this plane. The flight does take off at 730, and we are in the warm waters of the Crown Plaza swimming pool by 10pm with a nice room service dinner to follow.

I thought that British Airways was an established, respected airline. I could run things far better with no experience. I could have booked Alitalia.

How can BA behave with such blatant disregard for their passengers? Do people fly on BA because there is no other choice? We deserve a full refund of our very expensive tickets … but I’m sure I’ll have to be content with the delivery of my suitcase to my office in California yesterday.

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