Astounded by British Airways lack of care.. yet again

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This topic contains 65 replies, has 22 voices, and was last updated by  rferguson 12 Jun 2019
at 10:19
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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 66 total)

  • KE LONDON
    Participant

    I have been left shocked and frustrated by the decisions British Airways make yet again.. I would value your feedback and even ability to get some assistance…

    I booked a flight from Shannon via London to Doha in business class for my mother. The flights were booked as a BA code share operated by Aer Lingus and Qatar Airways.
    I had been advised that passports need a minimum of 6 months validity from my agent, however this slipped my mind…..

    My Mum went to the airport in Shannon, checked in (bag included) with Aer Lingus, she was given her boarding passes all the way to Doha.
    She flew the first sector, Shannon to London, when boarding at LHR for the Doha flight, it was picked up that there was less than 6 months validity on her passport so she was denied boarding.

    We fully accept that valid documentation is our responsibility….however…

    To my knowledge, documentation should also have been checked by Aer Lingus at Shannon airport, had this have been done, it would have been picked up there and she would have been denied boarding, made to pay the change fee (she checked in at the airport well before departure time) and re booked the entire ticket to travel at a later date.

    Instead, my Mum and her bags were checked through to Doha, she was given both boarding passes and she flew Shannon to London.
    When boarding at Heathrow for the Doha flight, the passport was checked again and at that point it was noticed there was not enough validity on the passport so, she was denied boarding.

    Someone at the airport made contact with an Aer Lingus agent who re booked her existing London to Shannon flight for the following morning, which meant the London to Shannon flight was used before the London – Doha – London flights meaning the ticket was used out of sequence which, we now know voids the entire ticket.
    At no point was this discussed with us, the ticket was just re booked, we were never told we should buy a new ticket to avoid using the existing ticket out of sequence and in turn losing the entire ticket.

    On return to Shannon, we made contact with Aer Lingus, at first it was looking good that there was going be a solution, we were told to give the new dates urgently and to leave it with them (this was done through our agent) we re booked for about 5 weeks later.
    I know there was communication with Aer Lingus and we were constantly informed of the progress ( or lack of) by the agent. The day prior to the new travel date (some 5 weeks later) Aer Lingus advised they could not fix the issue and it had to be raised through BA customer relations but it would eventually end up back with Aer Lingus, given the circumstance.
    This was the day prior to travel so to fly the following day would double the cost as the existing ticket we had was a 28 day advance purchase, so we cancelled the flights that had been held for the new travel date.
    We wrote to British Airways with a full account of what happened, BA wrote back saying it was our fault and apologising but the ticket was lost.

    We wrote back, again accepting our part in the problem but reiterating that Aer Lingus had a part to play in this and that we should have been re booked for travel at a later date and charged a reissue fee, making it clear that the issue was made worse by the fact that Aer Lingus had re booked the ticket out of sequence (without consultation to us of the ramifications ) voiding any further use of the ticket and that they needed to make contact with them as they are aware of the issue and asking that BA reconsider their decision.

    Again, BA wrote back saying they stand by their decision and are not willing to reinstate the booking as Aer Lingus should have given correct information, (see below response from BA)

    We have asked BA to make contact with Aer Lingus to help reinstate the booking but the simply don’t seem to care.

    I feel there is a total lack of customer care happening with this booking. After discussion with friends and colleagues, I since learn this kind of attitude is not isolated with British Airways. What do you suggest I do? We’re willing to accept our part in this oversite and pay the reissue fee but becuase Aer Lingus made the error of re booking teh ticket out of sequence, we are being made to pay the cost of the round trip business class ticket….

    KE
    LONDON

    Dear Mrs xxxxx

    Thanks for your recent response. I understand this is something you feel strongly about and I appreciate why you’re unhappy with our previous response.

    I’ve had another look into your claim for compensation, and I’ve taken the time to make sure our response is accurate and up-to-date. Based on your booking details I’m afraid the response you’ve received is correct.

    Although I understand your reasons for asking for a reinstate your booking. I’m afraid the changes were made by Aer Lingus staff and it would be up to them to provide you with the correct information around your ticket and rebooking you. I appreciate your reasons for asking, I’m afraid we are unable to contribute toward any refund or reimbursement.

    I know this isn’t the answer you were looking for and I’m sorry to disappoint. You may be able to pursue a claim through your travel insurer and I will happily provide you with any documentation you require, to support you in making such a claim.

    Thanks for getting back in touch. Please feel free to contact me directly on the blue link below if I can assist you with any separate issues.

    Best regards

    XXXXX
    British Airways Customer Relations


    superchris
    Participant

    I feel your pain here. Yes you are at fault but surely this is partly shared as a result of EIs lack of picking this up at initial check-in in Ireland.

    Codeshares are horrible though and seem to allow airlines an excuse for otherwise poor responses. It seems to me that BA should apply some common sense here but I doubt they will.


    KE LONDON
    Participant

    Yes they should have picked it up but didn’t, then they reissued the ticket using the LHR to Shannon out of sequence which has caused the void of the rest of the ticket and BA will will do anything about it. How can they be such bullies?


    rferguson
    Participant

    KE – it’s a shame what happened to your mother.

    However…I read and re-read your post and cannot understand why it is not titled ‘Astounded by Aer Lingus lack of care’.

    I’m not sure if I have this completely right but the impression I get is you booked a BA ticket for travel on Aer Lingus and Qatar Airways from Ireland to Doha. So, BA would have taken your money and according to a pre arranged formula given $X to EI, keep a small ‘commission’ for themselves and the bulk to QR. Which seems fair. In fact BA operates no part of the journey and you would not have had contact with a single BA staff member.

    So…Aer lingus makes three mistakes.

    Firstly they do not check the passport validity in Ireland.

    Secondly, they used the ticket sectors out of sequence voiding the whole itinerary.

    And thirdly (although not mentioned) – they altered the ticket at all. Each ticket has an ‘owning’ airline. In this case, BA owned the ticket. ANY changes should have gone via BA regardless of who is operating the sector. If I am flying Cathay Pacific from Hong Kong to Sydney but I booked it via qantas.com as a codeshare and I call Cathay to make changes to my booking they will say ‘sorry, call qantas’. So, three errors on Aer Lingus’ behalf.

    I’m sure Aer Lingus have been mighty nice and helpful saying they’ve been chasing BA for X Y and Z and big bad BA have said ‘no’ and there’s a good reason for that. Because your mothers seat left that night for Doha with no one in it yet it was too late to re-sell it. Are Qatar going to give the money back to BA? Unlikely. Is BA going to give the money (or another seat which is in effect money) back to Aer Lingus because of a SERIES of errors?

    7 users thanked author for this post.

    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    I will preempt with those immortal words “I AM NOT A LAWYER”….

    Technically the problems occurred in London & I therefore presume comes within UK law.

    If you feel that strongly, (which I admit I would also), I would try your luck in the County Court system. Whilst your contract appears to be with BA, the service failings (if they can be described as such) are with EI.

    I would firstly suggest you run this past someone that can give you factual guidance, rather than some one that used to watch too much LA Law..

    I would be interested in the outcome….


    KE LONDON
    Participant

    Thank you for your reply, You are right, it is Aer Lingus who have caused the full cancellation of the ticket, they tried to help as much as they could but because of the BA code share, they could not rectify the issue as BA own the ticket ( I may not have the terminology exactly correct) we were made to raise the issue with BA customer relations and we were told they would then make contact with EI about the issue to sort it out.
    Despite numerous attempts, BA have said their decision is that the ticket is now non refundable, end of story and EI will not help unless it comes from BA.


    openfly
    Participant

    After reading your post again, I agree with Rferguson in that yes it was your fault in the first place, but all the blame is on EI for not picking up the problem initially. There is nothing here where you can blame BA.
    Do you have a small claims court in Ireland?


    SimonS1
    Participant

    Amidst the talk of court action, small claims etc I would encourage the OP to stop and reflect. Whilst this is a difficult situation, I am not convinced that the chances of success are that high.

    First, having the correct travel documents for a journey is entirely the passenger’s responsibility. If the argument here is that EI should have picked that up and stopped the traveller departing then I doubt you will make that stick in court, Aer Lingus will in any case argue that they checked that the traveller had the correct documentation for the flight to London where the traveller was heading to a different country on a different airline (so not their issue). By the way the fact that the traveller had both BPs is completely irrelevant, a BP does not guarantee you access to fly without the right documents, many people print BPs at home but it does not guarantee travel.

    Second, re the return to Shannon. I’m not sure what else was supposed to happen here. Traveller was a no show for the flight to Doha, and your could argue that at that point the whole ticket was void including the final return leg. At least the traveller was returned to original point of departure, if pushed EI might argue they were not required to do that but it was preferable to leaving the traveller stranded in London.

    Third, this is nothing to do with BA at all so the thread title is complete nonsense. BA sold the ticket, they did not tell the traveller to turn up without correct documents, and they did not return the traveller to Shannon. So nothing to do with them at all. It is unclear whether the ticket was changeable, however if a discounted business ticket then probably not and they are right, nothing can be done here.

    The only bit I don’t understand is the bit about EI changing the ticket to a later date. If it was a non changeable ticket then this is not possible to do, as passenger would have been rejected for travel by Qatar anyway. The only chink of light here is if it was a flexible ticket, however even then wouldn’t the traveller have had to return home to resolve the passport issue?

    I would urge the OP to take advice on this before going too much further.

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    esselle
    Participant

    Looking at it another way, EI could (perhaps should) have denied boarding before the first sector was flown as the traveller did not have the correct documents.

    Then none of this sorry saga would have occurred.

    And certainly wrong to give the thread the title it has, as BA cannot be brought into this.


    SimonS1
    Participant

    Looking at it another way, EI could (perhaps should) have denied boarding before the first sector was flown as the traveller did not have the correct documents.

    Then none of this sorry saga would have occurred.

    They could have done, yes, and on a better day they might have done. However I doubt that forms grounds for legal action.

    EI will say that they were accepting the passenger for carriage to London, and the agent if questioned will say that they have no knowledge of Qatar as they don’t fly there. They will also point to the small print (and indeed the CAA website) which clearly says it is up to the traveller to ensure they have their docs in order. I was once questioned at Gatwick when travelling to India via Dubai, the airline picked up the lack of a visa (which was in a different passport in Dubai). The agent said to me ‘we have no grounds to refuse you travel to Dubai but unless your visa is there you will not be able to join the flight to Mumbai’.

    Once the passenger had arrived (legally) in London, I am not sure what else could really have happened that would be any better.


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    meaning the ticket was used out of sequence which, we now know voids the entire ticket.

    This is not entirely true. I have used tickets used out of sequence and the airlines have made the necessary adjustments, in one case after the all subsequent flights had been cancelled. Tickets only reinstated after airline agreed exceptional circumstances or I offered to pay an increased fare.

    My suggestion of the UK CCJ system – the problems occurred in London. It takes very little time to complete the forms online, perhaps send a copy to the airline before submission and see what happens.

    I think the airline is taking the easy option…


    esselle
    Participant

    SimonS1

    Fully agree. All fingers point back to the pax travelling without the correct documentation.

    The rest of the story is just a cock-up.


    SimonS1
    Participant

    meaning the ticket was used out of sequence which, we now know voids the entire ticket.

    This is not entirely true. I have used tickets used out of sequence and the airlines have made the necessary adjustments, in one case after the all subsequent flights had been cancelled. Tickets only reinstated after airline agreed exceptional circumstances or I offered to pay an increased fare.

    My suggestion of the UK CCJ system – the problems occurred in London. It takes very little time to complete the forms online, perhaps send a copy to the airline before submission and see what happens.

    I think the airline is taking the easy option…

    Which airline? And what exactly would you be suing for?


    KE LONDON
    Participant

    Yes, we agree we should have the valid documentation, We have said this all alone… we know!!
    The ticket was semi flexible, I think maybe EUR300.00 to change which could have been done in Shannon had EI checked the documentation and not accepted her for boarding as she was very early to the airport.
    This could also have been done in London had it have been picked up instead of just denying her boarding and reissuing the ticket out of sequence and cancelling the entire journey… all we had to do was pay the change fee.
    The reason for the heading is because there has been dialogue with Aer Lingus who have said BA are not assisting them directly and we must approach BA who should then go to Aar Lingus for the claim to reinstate the ticket ( I assume, at the cost to EI as they have a major part to play in voiding the ticket) but BA have refused to take it up with EI despite a few requests.
    So MY understanding is EI are trying to help but can’t until BA approach them and BA are just not bothering to sort it out with Aer Lingus so nothing is happening.
    I hope that makes it more clear.


    philsquares
    Participant

    Just to point out, you don’t need a passport to fly SNN-LHR, just a government-issued ID. I would be willing that is exactly what was done and the computer spit out the boarding pass.

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