BA nightmare

Back to Forum

This topic contains 45 replies, has 19 voices, and was last updated by  CathayLoyalist2 16 Sep 2015
at 20:02
.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 46 total)

  • Anonymous

    StephenLondon
    Participant

    I’ve had it with BA. They’ve cancelled my flight now for the past two days, citing “weather” as the issue. What weather? We’ve hardly had a drop of precipitation in London, I’ve been at LHR and the runways are clear and functioning, other airlines operating on time with no delays or issues. Why are BA cancelling so many flights?

    Looking at the board today, they’ve cancelled a range of domestic UK flights, plus some other long-haul flights that they operate once daily – Bangalore, Seattle, Montreal, etc. The weather isn’t too cold out (it is above freezing) and there is no major fog. What, then, BA is the weather issue?

    I’ve had to find my own hotel for two nights at my expense, plus pricey meals in hotel restaurants, and the staff at T5 are rather flippant, one lady giggling “oh, you’ve been cancelled again today, sir”. No email, nothing pro-active from BA. I finally lost it. Someone from “customer experience team” was dispatched to speak with me, and confessed that BA are having trouble de-icing their planes, as they don’t have enough equipment.

    How can this be?

    Surely sufficient planning would be in place with a major, prestige carrier such as BA. Clearly not. But de-icing is an operational issue, not a weather issue. Are BA shirking their responsibility to their customers, and perhaps flouting their exposure to European law? How do the home airlines at airports such as Moscow, Frankfurt, Paris, Chicago and Tokyo manage to get their planes up in the air with all their sub-zero, windy, snowy climates, yet BA cancels with hardly a worry in the world? Maybe loads were so light on BA, they are combining some flights? Who can say…but it is hugely frustrating.

    I’ve now opted for a refund, and have booked a business class ticket with another carrier, who, oddly, are operating all of their flights on time today.

    And although I’ve been asked to “write in to customer relations” and request a refund, I doubt I’ll see a penny. Perhaps my letter will get lost in the snow?!


    JackyLek
    Participant

    Hi S

    Dont be afraid, you can contact this company to claim your right if BA dont compensate for you.

    http://www.euclaim.co.uk/

    BA cant cancelled your flight and say that due to the weather, BAA Heathrow will confirm for you if you need one.

    Good Luck!


    Wildgoose
    Participant

    So, where are BA’s loyal, die-hard defenders this afternoon? What have you got to say?


    basti10
    Participant

    BA has a better service than RyanAir or easyjet.
    E.g. Easy Jet doesn’t allow 2 bags as handbags. You can take a suitcase and a laptopbag onboard. If I had enough money I would fly only with BA.
    I remember that a passenger was early enough at check-in and he couldn’t take his flight with RyanAir and had to book a flight at his expense. And BA doesn’t have any fees if you check your luggage in.


    Expat_Consultant
    Participant

    StephenLondon

    I know the feeling and empathise with you.

    If the other airlines are indeed operating and BA is not, then you should contact the Air Users Council in the UK and get their opinion.


    AsiaPacific
    Participant

    Got 2 flights to Bulgaria in the next couple of weeks ex LHR , certainly not looking forward to it… lets see…


    Binman62
    Participant

    I think this requires a little perspective and whilst I would not wish to blindly defend BA I would like to make a contribution that is supportive of them.

    Firstly this is the worst winter since 1963.

    BA operate at the most congested hub in the world. A hub that has two runways which are planned at full capacity every day. This capacity allows for 48 to 52 landings per hour and this is what the airfield is scheduled to handle. In addition these runways have some of the worst ATC/Noise and other restrictions of any airport in Europe. As a result, when there is any deterioration in weather, be it snow, fog, heavy rain, thunder or even strong en route winds, the number of aircraft that can land is reduced. This happens on around 60% of all days in a year ranging from 0 per hour to the full capacity.

    When capacity restrictions are put in place it is the BA that suffers disproportionately due to LHR being their main hub. When the capacity is such that short haul flights get delayed significantly, BA must look to, firstly, changing aircraft (limited by type and crew availability and also by stand congestion.) and then cancellations. These, when planned are based on revenue with the highest revenue routes being protected.

    They have spare (standby) aircraft, flight crew or cabin lying around but these are quickly used to protect services

    Their home in T5 whilst being state of the art is not yet finished because the airport authority have failed to deliver the infrastructure. The BAA built T5 with a train service that does not allow security cleared passengers to move from T5B to T5A and this situation will not improve when T5C opens. The effect of this is to make gate/stand planning more complex and when fact is added to the ATC and runway restrictions it makes BA operation significantly more difficult to manage.

    There may not have been precipitation in the LHR area however de icing has been ongoing almost non stop since Dec 17th. BA de ice all short haul services ready for the first departures over night and this helps. De icing delays flights as it can only be done prior to push back as the BAA have always refused to allow a central de icing point on the airfield ( similar to Munich). As a result all passengers need to be on board and all holds and doors closed prior to de icing.

    There is no benefit to BA cancelling flights and it is done as a last resort and to protect the rest of the operation. Some flights may have been cancelled as their staff could not get to airports as a result of the bad weather and lack of gritting on minor roads. A week after the snow I am still struggling with over 8 inches of slush and ice and I live within 40 minutes of Heathrow.

    None of the above means that you would not be entitled to some compensation but the fact that other operators keep flying is due more to their limited operations than BA incompetence. Nor does any of this make the experience any less painful or upsetting.

    I would pose one question however, who does benefit from this disruption?

    I would suggest the answer is the BAA, their shop’s, their car parks and restaurants’ make a killing between bored passengers and generous airlines that provide refreshment vouchers. Perhaps if they had to compensate passengers for delays then they might provide a better airport experience.


    CheamTraveller
    Participant

    Absolute Disgrace

    BA are going down. After Christmas I vowed never to fly with them again.

    Easyjet are infinitely better than BA. Committed, happy staff, a real sense that they do care about customers, good policies if you miss your flight or want an earlier one home (compare that to BA!) and overall they try hard, that’s why they are expanding whilst BA is shrinking. Simples.

    BA cancel flights because its easier than trying. I had 6 flights booked with them last year. How many did they cancel or change? 4. Not good odds is it… I have seen it time and time again. One example was 2 flights leaving to the same destination at the same time. One was BA, one was Easyjet. The airport had problems with air traffic control. I was on easyjet and I went, BA cancelled their flight. Typical.

    RIP BA.


    PaulJennings
    Participant

    Binman62 makes some very good points. BA has a harder job than many other airlines, although one could say that that means it should get better at it.

    BA offers many benefits that easyjet doesn’t, not all of which are always of interest to every passenger but many of which contribute to a better travelling experience: for example, reserved seating, connections with through check-in, separate business class, and so on.

    There’ll be as many experiences as travellers, but, for the record, my BA flight from Spain to LHR on Saturday was fine – faultless, apart from (i) badly managed boarding by Iberia ground staff and (ii) the seemingly inevitable bus transfer at BAA’s LHR.


    JordanD
    Participant

    CheamTraveller – you’re clearly hard to please.

    This last week I’ve had two flights, two different airlines and two different delay experiences. What links them both: excellent care and service by the crew.

    My first was with BA from BOM, originally scheduled to LHR, last Wednesday (6th Jan). The inbound aircraft to BOM left LHR some 4 hrs late – BA informed me well in advance of my journey to the airport that the departure would be delayed, by both text (twice) and e-mail. They let me know I need not check-in “on original time” and that the new departure time was “confirmed”. And when I got to the airport, they offered refreshments voucher, and departed the aircraft on the new departure time.

    En route, they apologised, and they kept us informed of the potential for diversion from LHR. As soon as we were diverted (initially to NCL, then GLA, before landing at STN), the pilot was briefing the passengers every few minutes, and the crew being helpful to the many passengers who had onward connection, despite having limited information themselves.

    Once on the ground at STN, buses were promptly organised, steps attached and us deboarded to the terminal – considering the sheer number of limited mobility individuals and individuals with young children, the crew helped each with care and consideration and carried a number of individual’s hand luggage down the steps (definitely beyond the call of duty).

    Fast forward to yesterday and my easyJet flight to Madrid from Luton. Madrid shut down due to snow (this from an airport with four runways, so ease of Heathrow!). We were kept onboard, but in the interval, the crew were friendly, chatting with passengers, allowing some to deplane (to cancel their trip) and the flight deck was opened up to allow young and old alike to view whilst we were on stand with the doors open. Once we took off (4hrs late) the crew offered a free refreshment from the trolley (this being easyJet and the circumstances being Force Majeure, I thought was a nice gesture). And throughout – especially from the Senior Cabin Crew member (Jo) – they were very friendly, polite & helpful.

    The point of the above is that whilst we all have nightmares in the bad weather, let’s not just slag off one airline, but let’s commend those who go the extra mile.


    AsiaPacific
    Participant

    Guys,
    This thread started on asking whether BA had sufficient De-Icing equipment at LHR to prevent delays when others appeared to be flying.
    Seems to have drifted into the inevitable supporters and detractors of BA… which is tiresome..
    Does anyone happen to know whether LHR or BA happen to have sufficient de-icers to run their operations? Please … none of the … ‘this is a terrible year stuff’…. you guys suffer ice every year albeit this year has had a lot more snow.. granted… so I would have thought there should be enough de-icers available … but would be interesting if anyone actually knew???


    Binman62
    Participant

    Asia Pacific…..No, they do not have sufficient and given that the weather is the worst for 30 years you would not expect them to have. It would not make any business sense to spend millions of pounds on equipment that is used rarely.
    Nor is it reasonable to expect an airline to make such an investment when the infrastructure does not support the operations in normal conditions let alone in the extremes they have now. My previous post on this detailed the issues faced by BA at LHR but of course this applies to most airlines with any operation of more than 4 a day. Qantas for example have had an awful time in recent weeks in terms of punctuality but they have at least operated. Lack of stands, remote bussing operations etc have all had an impact. If they and other minor operators can be affected in this way, then larger operations such a BA, BMI etc will suffer significantly more. This is particularly true of short haul where aircraft integrations are fundamental and where turnaround times are planned around 60 to 70mins.

    I might add that CAA engineering requirements for carriers at home bases are of a higher standard than for carriers not at their home base. This means that a departure allowable fault in SYD would not be allowable in LHR for BA but the opposite holds true for non UK based airlines.

    So it not simply a case of having de icing equipment you have to take a holistic approach.

    Since the move to T5 BA operations have been transformed, that is a fact, and their punctuality and reliability is at record levels, also a fact. That they continue to have problems in these conditions is inevitable but without a 3rd runway, a new landlord and perhaps a move to a new off shore airport ( my personal preference) then cancellations and delays year round are inevitable.

    None of this absolves BA or any other carrier from their responsibility to take care of disrupted and inconvenienced customers but it hopefully provides a background to the real issues BA and others face generally at LHR. In all our businesses we make decisions based on costs, profit or revenue protection and airlines, especially those run well, are no different.


    Expat_Consultant
    Participant

    Asia Pacific…..No, they do not have sufficient and given that the weather is the worst for 30 years you would not expect them to have. It would not make any business sense to spend millions of pounds on equipment that is used rarely.

    Frankly, this is an unacceptable way of thinking.

    Cutting costs in the short term may bolster the P&L, buit in the longer term it leads to competitive disadvantage, e.g. the British car and motorcycle industries etc.

    Heathrow is a premier international airport, charging a premium compared to others.

    Some of that income should be ploughed (pun intended) back into
    extra equipment.

    In the context of the turnover of this airport ‘millions’ is petty cash and business travel is very time dependent.

    Heathrow’s performance is often not acceptable when things go wrong.

    That’s one of the reasons I seek to avoid the place when connecting.

    I’m not the only one.


    AsiaPacific
    Participant

    Hi , Thanks for the explanation… the flight I am taking to SOF next week can either be through BA or Czech Airlines. The departures this morning were interesting .. the Czech Flight was delayed by 70 mins and the BA one by 3hrs 10 mins…
    I understand your comments about BA ( and please I am not partisan in any way ) but I find it hard to accept and understand their service levels and approach to customers at times, especially on the ground. The cabin crews are usually marvelous and try to make up for all the @#$% lumped on them by the rest of the operations.. thats not to say all cabin crew are saints… but generally they do try to help … Lets hope yr weather clears up for everyones sakes..

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 46 total)
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription

To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below

Polls