BA bullying passengers?

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This topic contains 18 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  AnthonyDunn 17 Jun 2014
at 00:20

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  • Anonymous


    £3000 F class ret lhr / las. Return flight confirmed as 1k at check in at las, 2hrs 30 mins before check in closure. Boarding passed issued as such. At gate, a non uniformed ba “supervisor” orla, said for “operational reasons” seat changed to 4e….WHAT!!!!
    When questioned directly, she claimed a gold + passenger in 1a had demanded his wife and precious child be moved to 1k and 2a respectively…..or he would “leave” ba!!!!!
    Unbelievably the orla woman succombed to his threats and claimed that london had instructed her to comply with his demands. Well she seemed to forget that at the time of my checking in, it was 2am at lhr and i dont believe, and neither did the csd, that there would be any sad ba soul awaiting a phone call on behalf of any such vile tatooted trash as would demand such a thing!!
    Ba conformed with the threat (i would not condone such behaviour from such an obnoxious creature and would not welcome his business) and consequently the poor csd had to move 5 people around to comply with his moronic attitude.
    I consider this bullying by ba. What do others think? This is certainly not “operational” as an accepted legal term so please dont reply if that is your tack!! Source – aviation lawyer!!


    I would take what she told you with a “pinch of salt” about the claim of the other passenger, unless you heard it for yourself.
    More likely they have made a mistake themselves and needed to cover their back. The easiest way is always to blame someone else and try to pacify you.

    It is strange, because 1A and 1K are normally kept exclusively for Gold customers and you can not choose them. Maybe they released it to you thinking that no gold card holder was on the flight and then realised the mistake, so tried to cover it up?

    Still, never nice to be moved, so I understand your frustration, and especially as 4K is not great being in the middle. Strange that, was the cabin completely full?

    I would be frustrated if it were me, but so long as I stayed in first and it was not a downgrade, I would not mind so much. Still, worth putting your concern to the BAEC and see what they say about the reason.

    I hope you at least enjoyed the first class service on board and tried to drown your frustration with the excellent Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle.


    I have to agree with TravelWise Nigel. It’s never pleasant losing your seat but that’s preferable to being downgraded or worse, bumped off.


    In the only occasion when this occurred to me and was a tad brassed-off, later in the flight I asked the guy in the seat I had originally thought I had reserved. Feeling usurped, in a bemused Columbo-esque manner which works better in this type of probing situation as opposed to being confrontational, I asked he how he came to have the seat – he informed me he had been relocated also!

    Smoke and mirrors.


    So 1A insists that his companions are in 1K and 2A From your details it would appear that he made things difficult for the the gate agent and, by the sounds of it, intimidated her to get his way. So how does this translate to “ba bullying passengers”?


    Bearing in mind that those at the pointy end are likely to have amongst the highest CIV ratings, it is entirely conceivable that if anyone is going to throw their weight around, it is likely to be amongst this select group. I am aware of at least one knighted former Chairman of a major quoted company who has been known to tell BA at check-in that 1A is “his seat” irrespective of who has previously chosen it. At that point, BA (and any other carrier in a comparable position) is in a cleft stick. I dare say that such occurrences are not unique to BA -not that this makes things any less irritating should you be on the receiving end of being bounced by someone else’s ego and/or sense of self-importance.


    Hi Nigel – you don’t mention your BAEC membership status.

    If you are Gold/Prem – I think you have justifiable cause to question the actions of Orla.

    However, if you do not hold status…… your only option was to hold your ground, after all – you held the boarding pass and you also “knew” that a call to the London ops centre at 2 am was highly unlikely……

    I too suffered a move in Club World last week from row 3 to 15, but this had been done at check in……….. I am Gold Status and a very embarrassed CSD found a solution, which incidentally none of the ground staff/managers could find……


    I’ve never been fortunate enough to enjoy the delights of BA ,so am happy to be corrected if my ignorance of BA 1st is evident in my question….

    Are there differences in seat quality between 1A/1K and the rest of the cabin seats?

    If there is I can understand Nigel’s frustration. And in that instance I would have thought the most diplomatic and respectful way to resolve the situation would have been to ask if a swap was ok . Personally I would happily swapped once I knew the request involved keeping a family seated together. Knowing that if I didn’t move I’d have to probably put up with mum and child making frequent visits to visit daddy through the flight.


    No difference is seat quality, but row 1 on the -400 (row 6 on VS. 747’s) is the most forward seat and with only the nose cone in front is certainly a favoured seat for most. Only maintenance crews come that far forward and you hope not in flight!

    Row 5 is the least favoured due to the proximity of the galley. Get a “loud” crew and you can kiss good bye to a quiet flight on BA!

    Row 1 us also unique, because on landing you can see forward by a very narrow angle. Landing in a cross wind with the aircraft “crabbing”, the view can be quite interesting.


    I think it is pathetic. While it is pretty normal that we may REQUEST that passengers move about to seat a family closer together (but by no means ‘reallocate’) people this would not involve request for ‘specific’ seats.

    I can’t imagine any CSD that would do such a thing as happened on your flight – Gold card to leave BA threat or not. As a gold card holder he would have had every opportunity available to secure his preferred seats from booking stage. -24hrs 1A/1K are up for grabs to everyone.

    How they manage things on the ground, i’m not sure. But I would consider a change of seat due to ‘operational reasons’ would mean an aircraft configuration change, faulty seat etc. Not to accommodate someone else throwing their toys out of the pram.

    The only thing I can think is perhaps he had been ‘mishandled’ on the ground on a previous flight (perhaps meant to travel day before etc etc) and provisions were made on the basis of this.

    I would definitely complain to BA. Ask them to specify exactly what their seating process is.

    It’s one thing that annoys me about BA sometimes. Would this Gold card holder (who is likely most often travelling for work with his employer picking up the tab and he not choosing his carrier anyway) really ‘leave BA’ if his seat demands were not met? I doubt it.

    Would two passengers in 1A/1K flying BA F for the first time (and perhaps looking to repeat) unceremoniously shoved to two middle seats to accommodate someone else likely be new regular customers to BA? Unlikely.


    Cheers and good morning Martyn….As they say everyday is a school day. : )


    AnthonyDunn, no point hiding the 1A man’s identity, just say Lord/John Browne/The Browne formally of BP….


    I would definitely write in to customer relations outlining your disappointment with the way you were handled and that, as you were in possession of a boarding pass with 1K allocated, you rightly should have held that seat for your flight. Moving to 4E was not like you were shifted a row or two or three further back but retaining a window seat. The DYKWIA in 1A should have plumped for 4E and had his little darling seated next to him in 4F if he needed to be so close in-flight.

    Moving seats for someone chucking their toys out of their perambulator is not an “operational reason” such as a broken seat. Clearly Orla and her team have given in to someone’s very poor behaviour. If I were Orla and someone tried that with me, I’d very quickly advise that, whilst we’d be happy to ask the customer that beat you to reserving seat 1K if they could move, you’d be stuck with the seats you reserved when you booked. Or I could look at flying you on a different day where you might have a better selection of seating. Or you can always fly with a different carrier who might give into your tantrum. Perhaps that’s why I’m not in a front-line customer service career, but first come first served sense of fair play should apply!

    Please let us know how you get on with BA, NigelHuggins.

    As an aside, I don’t change seats any more on flights. It seems most every time I have in the past results in a bad trip for me, and happiness for someone else. I’m getting too old, bitter and twisted to care anymore.

    I was very bemused once to watch a lady on an AA757 try to shuffle a good chunk of the cabin around to suit her and her family, all of whom had been upgraded at the gate. As I was revenue F (and crew later told me there were just 4 revenue pax out of 24 seats), I refused to move (hey, I’d booked my seats six weeks out, paid for the class of service and was happy with where I was sitting). The upgraded lady was really annoyed, but gave the game away when she said that now her family would have to sit apart and in seats by the galley and toilet. Uh, yeah…but you didn’t pay for the class of service, and you’re getting a more comfortable seat. There has to be a downside! She was really unhappy.


    I’ve found that when my seat has been changed getting to the gate before boarding starts and showing evidence of the seat booking often gets me it back. If that fails I ask for my bags to be taken off as I’m not willing to put up with the change works or at least has done up until now on 100% of occasions.

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