BA – Advice please!Back to Forum
Firstly, I have tried so so hard not to whine about BA. We all know it’s not what it used to be. I am thus seeking any ideas as to how I can deal with today’s drama.
Situation: My wife (Silver) and I (Gold) are booked to fly back from CPT > LHR in WT with our little 7 month old boy. It is our vacation trip return leg. We had to book separate tickets as part of my trip was for business. Prior to leaving LHR on the way out, I called BA and got the booking references combined and seats assigned so we would all be together on the flight home. Great.
Today, I came to check us in. My wife has been assigned to one side of the plane. I have been assigned to the very back row in a Window seat. Both seats have no cot (trying flying with a 7 month old without it). I called the BA Gold line. There are no cot seats available and denied that we had i) ever linked the booking or ii) reserved seats. There is literally nothing they can do about this (apparently).
I realise that this is leisure travel in Economy, but between my Wife and I, we spend 20-30k plus a year on travel with BA. I cannot for the life of me see how we were short picked for seat deselection. Long term, I am finding it increasingly difficult to justify flying with BA – this is the last in a long line of quite miserable experiences. Asides from avios, their major benefit is the route network….but I’m beginning to wonder if putting up with a transfer in AMS or the like would just be worth it.
Complaining over. Does anyone have any practical ideas as to how I can raise this with BA? (Bashing cabin crew isn’t our style… it’s not their fault)19 Apr 2017
My advise would be to cancel BA and fly KLM via AMS. Raise your request with KL via social media. Typically they are most helpful and you could save quite some money compared to BA. Cabin crew is fantastic with small children (experience based comment). Not sure where you depart from, but AMS has better connections to almost anywhere in the UK and transfering in AMS is quite pleasant.
BA seems to be ahead on the “hard” Brexit. They seem to absolutely do everything to discourage the British public to fly with them any longer.
All the best with still making this an enjoyable trip.19 Apr 2017
unfortunatley the only advice i can offer is if you are gold and have not yet done your outbound then go to the F checkin area at T5 and talk to them face to face about the situation, you can get prissy in there without having to upset the crew19 Apr 2017
How far out is the flight? I would try calling BA Gold again (its amazing how different call takers can do different things), explain the situation and see what they can do.
As you both have free seat booking at time of purchase, did you get an email confirming your seat requests?19 Apr 2017
I gather that you are travelling this evening. The flight is overbooked. The first thing is to go to the Menzies ticket desk. They are very helpful and will hopefully sort you out…they work miracles at CPT. Good luck….!19 Apr 2017
I hope you can find a solution. My feelings about BA are the same as yours and I now try to avoid them, and only fly with them if I need to go via London from other points.
What strikes me as odd is that they have assigned your wife and 7 month old baby a seat without a cot. The designated seats for infants are limited in number and are normally bulkhead seats to allow the fixing of the bassinet, and most crucially, they have two oxygen masks. You could use this approach when you check in. Most of the BA check in staff at CPT are helpful but poorly trained, so you may need to ask a supervisor to intervene.
As a matter of interest, on our last trip back from CPT to LHR in WT+, my wife and I were on separate PNRs due to different dates of travel on another sector. The check in staff were utterly unhelpful but the on board staff did their best to help us to sit together, but due to the attitude of the most unpleasant man sitting next to my wife, were unable to do so.
I hope you’ve enjoyed your visit to CPT and find a successful outcome. Please post and let us know.19 Apr 2017
Out of curiosity, do parents with babies, get preference with the bassinet seats ?
Sorry for my distasteful humour, I wonder if the seats you were originally allocated have been re allocated to crew or staff??19 Apr 2017
Tonight’s BA 58 is just 1 seat overbooked, which will probably not result in offloading.
Tomorrow’s has 15 seats available, of which 6 in economy, so that may be a good bargaining ploy if they can’t get you a better seat tonight, although by now I’m sure you’ve finalised your flight and checked in, so you might not see this until after the event.
There is a quota of bassinet seats on every aircraft. There is an ICAO mandated minimum number of seats that have to have an extra oxygen mask, I think it may be 10% but I’m not sure. Some aircraft have one BSCT seat in very row.19 Apr 2017
As they are the post Easter Holiday flights back to UK, not surprised they are busy and probably full of families.
Nevertheless I find it truly amazing that many Airlines are so unhelpful to the passengers. As an Accountant, I go to the ends of the earth to keep my clients happy – even when they are being unreasonable or stupid, after all I am, like the airline industry, in the repeat business sector.
What is the point of all the money spent on marketing, when airlines and staff cannot be pleasant and helpful. No doubt the inflexibility leads to more Profits, but this is a service business and good service leads to happy customers and more Profit.19 Apr 2017
All – many thanks for your response and advice. I perhaps should have been clear that our flight home was via Jo’burg on the A380. What ended up happening wasn’t really what we expected……
We arrived at CPT. They couldn’t change our seat on the CPT>JNB flight for “operational reasons”. We thus had to negotiate with our fellow passengers who obligingly moved. Not an issue but we were both left slightly more irritated. At JNB, the same story. BA check-in staff were unable to change the due to operational reasons. Irritation levels continued to grow. Surely this was a reasonable request?
Boarding was fine but packed with many families coming home from Easter. However once onboard, it was clear that neither the crew nor many of the passengers were very happy. People with re-assigned family seats were complaining (this was a packed family orientated flight). A couple next to the emergency exit who paid for the seat allocation had broken screens. Unfortunately the lady who had ‘taken’ my seat turned out to have walking difficulties. This somewhat diffused our anger. It wasn’t her fault and I only wish BA could have dealt with this better. Still we were left with the prospect of my wife, in a middle seat, alone, trying to breast feed/get up for nappy changes every 2 hours – clambering over the poor lady who needed assistance to stand.
As we taxied for take off, my wife and the mother next to her began breastfeeding (2 babies obviously! This helps with a babies ears during take off). At this point, the stewardess barked at my wife and the lady to turn the babies around for take off. The reaction was two tired mothers both barking back something along the lines of “get stuffed”.
After take off, 20 minutes went by and a bassinet had still not arrived. 10 further minutes went by and eventually I got up to see what the delay was. Further down the plane, I noticed 1 bassinet already up…but other babies still sprawled on parents laps. I asked a Mum and was informed that the plane had not loaded enough for the journey. Stunned, I walked to the galley demanded to know who was the CSD who duely raised a hand. Barely able to speak due to my anger , I explained that this wasn’t good enough, we spent £1000+ on each of our tickets, both my wife and I are Silver/Gold etc. At that point, the CSD interuppted me with “We have a spare seat in First, how about I pop your wife and child in there? Would that help to resolve the issue?”. Utterly stunned, with the wind take out of my sails, I managed a “Yes, wow, thank you, yes this resolves it”.
So my wife and baby spent the flight in First. The couple with the broken screens ended up being bumped to club too. We were happy – to my relief nobody in First objected to my wife and little (quiet) boy being there. (sadly the remainder of the parents who didn’t rant and rave just had to put up with no cots).
I feel that what the CSD did was very unorthodox but dealt commendably with what was a miserable situation for 2 frequent flyers. We never get to fly First, so this was a great way of getting us to stop frowning. The CSD came to see my wife 2 further times during the trip.
I do however remain baffled as to how the handful of BA people we spoke to in the 24 hours leading to this were just completely unable to do anything about the problem (and really we didn’t ask to be bumped up by 4 cabins, we just needed two seats next to each other). As a company director running a small, specialist consultancy, I get to choose who we fly with…but unfortunately due to the places we go to, BA remains by far the best airline although we are getting increasingly fed up with crap service. The actions of the CSD have led me to give BA a “last chance”; but I do wonder if we just got lucky with our good resolution. Whilst we will continue with BA for now, I think back to the very miserable families who endured the journey minus cots. Will they book again with BA? Or next time will they choose other airlines offering good prices down to JNB?
BTW – Cape Town was just wonderful 🙂25 Apr 2017
Glad you enjoyed CPT, of course it’s wonderful but of course you knew that before you went!
It is individuals such as the CSD whom you mentioned who maintain the old reputation of BA as an excellent and caring airline. Fortunately there are plenty of them, but they are being replaced by another breed, youngsters who really don’t care, who have been badly trained, and have no idea of customer services.
What happened to you and others in terms of seating is typical, BA have ‘upgraded’ their various IT systems, to click and point idiot boxes, over the years to make them ‘easier’ to use for the type of imbeciles they are employing to use them, and many of these changes have a negative impact on the final outcome, the service levels that customers should be able to expect from a decent, or even a half decent, airline. ‘Computer says no’ sums it up.
Every time I see something like this, it gives me further reasons not to use BA. Sadly, for the routes I most commonly travel between Europe/UK/ZA, BA would be my most logical choice, but I make strenuous efforts to avoid them, usually using KLM, Swiss, and Lufthansa instead. I am even considering Virgin for a forthcoming trip. Luckily I am not in the price sensitive sector of the market so I don’t have to use BA, even when they are cheaper than the foregoing carriers. The ME3 are usually the cheapest but I won’t set foot on them.
I’m glad your saga eventually had a happy outcome, I hope you’ll write to BA with your views, positive and negative.25 Apr 2017