BA – Terrible service when trying to rebook cancelled flights

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

  • SwissExPat
    Participant

    I have generally been reasonably favourably disposed to BA over the 25+ years of travel in All cabins.

    I am now experiencing the hell that is trying to rebook a cancelled flight.
    It starts off well in that I go into “Manage my booking” and see the cancelled flights and then select new flights that are offered. There is availability on some days (not all) but I find a combination of suitable flights (4 sector journey from Europe to USA via LHR)

    I get to the final button “Click to confirm selection” and then after a few seconds, there is a message “Something went wrong, please try again”.
    So I try again, after reselecting flights again, and I get the same message.
    I try again 24 hours later and same again. Another day later and the same message.

    I am now into territory I always try to avoid, i.e. having to call BA.
    I try the local number in Switzerland. “All lines or your correspondent are busy”

    I try the Silver Exec club line in th UK, after a few menu options, I get a recording that they are very busy and then wait times are over 30 minutes. I continue to hold but 5 mins later the voice says “Please hang up”.

    It seems that there is largely no way for me to actually change this cancelled flight!

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    Shamsh1
    Participant

    Dear collegue,
    This is the way BA treats its premium pax. Sorry to say, but it’s a fact.
    I had similar experiences when rebooking a cancelled flight VIE-LHR-SIN earlier this year. It’s simply a nightmare, even if you are a gold-card holder and travelling in C. As a result I changed to QR. The service when booking and onboard is miles above BA’s, the tickets are even cheaper and living in VIE it’s even shorter to fly via DOH than LHR.
    Where are the times, when BA set new standards in business class. Today we are cramped into 7 across in a BA’s B777, compared to comfortable little suits in QR’s 787. Both call it business class.


    SimonRowberry
    Participant

    Had the same problem today with cancelled LHR-ZAG flights in Club Europe. Availability is showing when trying to make a new booking, but not available (on the dates showing available when making a new booking) when trying to change the existing flights through Manage My Booking.

    Trying to call them is impossible, as SwissExPat has pointed out..

    Hey ho. Good old BA…….


    TimFitzgeraldTC
    Participant

    This is perhaps where the value of using a Trusted Agent / Corporate travel specialist comes in………..??!!

    Seriously though – I understand your frustrations and the airlines don’t exactly make things easy for themselves. But then gives others the opportunity to demonstrate the value they bring into the travel equation.

    7 users thanked author for this post.

    rferguson
    Participant

    I don’t think BA is the worst in this respect. I’m not sure if any airlines are really excelling at handling changes.

    Just a couple of my own experiences since the pandemic started with contacting airlines:

    BA – i’ve fortunately had access to the BA Gold line so have not experienced the longest of waits. What I appreciate about BA is once you DO get to speak to someone, they can generally deal with your issue. Instead of the dreaded ‘i’ll have to connect you to another department’ i’ve experienced at some of the other airlines i’ve had contact with.

    ETIHAD – I called them just last night to change a BKK-LHR flight due to an involuntary schedule change by Etihad. On ‘manage my booking’ there was the button to ‘change’ my own booking. When I pressed it I was immediately directed to contact the call centre. I pressed the ‘First/Business Class’ option and waited over 40min. The first agent I spoke to however was able to deal with my request.

    Avianca LifeMiles – BAD. I had an ANA flight booked via Avianca Lifemiles from HND – SYD. ANA cancelled the flight and I had to contact Avianca Lifemiles to get my miles refunded. The call was answered in around 10min but the agent couldn’t process any change or refund and had to ‘transfer me to another department’. I waited two hours to be connected. The most frustrating aspect was the constant recording stating ‘you don’t have to wait in line! Simply cancel your own booking on Manage My Booking’…which doesn’t work.

    TAP – I had to call to to re-route a Sao Paulo to LHR via LIS flight to MAD when hotel quarantine became a thing on return from Brazil. I had to speak to three different ‘departments’ and it took around three hours. No option online.

    KLM – Had a flight booked MAN – DXB via CDG using miles which I need to cancel. Not possible online. KLM DOES seem to offer quite a few channels to contact them – whatsapp, Messenger etc. It took around three days for them to reply to my Whatsapp message. Although obviously this is prefarable to being sat with a phone against your ear.

    4 users thanked author for this post.

    Justin Germany
    Participant

    The issue has been compounded by various short haul flights last week being taken of the future schedules. Berlin to London has been cut to just five flights daily in December (when I travel), down from 6 last week (mine was cut) and versus a pre-pandemic schedule of twelve per day (to LCY and LHR) – have they really taken so many aircraft out of service (other than the B747-400s) that they can’t even offer half of the previous seat volume when people are desperate to travel again? The fact that one cannot rebook easily online is adding unnecessary call volume to already overstretched call centres.

    I also agree that the rebooking function on the BA.com website is very poor for a major airline. I have a night stopover in London before a longhaul flight and cannot select any alternative flights whatsoever and also cannot reach the call centre by phone. I did reach the call-centre quite easily two weeks ago though, so I am hoping it is just a temporary call volume issue caused by random issues like this.


    fastphil
    Participant

    I have found email is far better when contacting BA Exec Club – response is swift and they are good at dealing with all changes as well as refunds.


    Justin Germany
    Participant

    Thanks for the advice Phil – I’ll give it a try!


    Montysaurus
    Participant

    Perhaps I’ve been extraordinarily lucky but I, over the past year, have had no trouble making changes either online or by phone. I’ve never had to wait more than about 10 minutes for a call to be answered. When my calls were answered the agents were all charming and able to sort things out quickly. I have been fairly critical of BA through the Cruz years but need to offer praise when it is due.
    I recently came to the conclusion that BA had finally got its IT and call centres sorted. I really hope I am not mistaken.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    I agree getting through to most call centres is a challenge, most still using covid as an excuse with long rambling recorded messages starting “due to covid 19 etc etc…….”

    However, once through to BA, whether UK or a call centre overseas, I agree the agents can solve most problems. When I cancelled a trip in August to Israel on favour of Malta, I ended up giving a golden ticket to a lady in India for the way she handled the refund, cancellation, rebooking and seat reservations for 2 tickets, part of which was avios.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    christ
    Participant

    Generally find it takes no more than 5 minutes and usually great service (especially if goes to UK). I usually find the gold line between 2200 and 0000 the best time as seems to be when very quiet (I think they used to close at 2200). I imagine during peak times, it is a lot worse.


    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    I don’t think BA is the worst in this respect. I’m not sure if any airlines are really excelling at handling changes.

    I very rarely disagree with you, rferguson, but have to say that during our recent challenges trying to get home from Europe (as Hong Kong kept changing the rules about how we got back) we had bookings on numerous airlines (HK don’t just keep changing the rules, they keep banning airlines for things that aren’t their fault). Far and away the easiest was QR. Calls answered in 5-10 minutes, couldn’t be more helpful, flights refunded the next day. They excelled.

    Lufthansa weren’t bad. BA were (sad to say) uncontactable. Fortunately they cancelled the flight themselves in the end so we got our Asia Miles back. Iberia were extraordinary – MC Esher couldn’t have come up with a more circular and never-ending turn-back-on-yourself scenario in his wildest dreams (or nightmares).

    I still haven’t flown QR (dammit!). I was really looking forward to trying the much-vaunted QSuites but HK banned QR for the period when we were due to fly. Presumably QR deliberately poisoned their own passengers with Covid just for fun.

    Quite why our government thinks that – just because an airline happens to bring in people who test positive for Covid after arrival despite complying with the Government’s pre-travel testing requirement – the airline should be banned thus punishing huge numbers of innocent travellers* rather than just the arline – is a mystery to me.

    * bear in mind that quarantine hotels are expensive and, generally, bookings are non-refundable. Anyone who loses their quarantine hotel booking because the government bans the airline may get the airfare back, but not their hotel costs if they need to rebook for different dates. Alternatively they may need hugely expensive new flight tickets to get back in time to keep their original hotel booking. And getting a new quarantine hotel booking – a prerequisite to flying back to HK – is incredibly difficult at short notice so they may well have to delay their return and face huge additional accommodation costs while waiting to get a combination of flights and quarantine hotel bookings that work. We went to Spain for three weeks expecting one week’s quarantine (as we had the then-permitted antibodies tests to shorten the quarantine period). We ended up paying to fly to Italy and staying there for three weeks plus two week’s quarantine. That’s an extra flight, three week’s accommodation in Italy (and car hire, and food, and airport transfers etc) plus changing our return flights plus a new two-week quarantine hotel booking plus plus plus. AND my having to spend five weeks (instead of one) working remotely on a 12-inch laptop. Not fun

    I said that why our government does this is a mystery to me. But then most of the things our government do are a mystery to me. And since I value my liberty, I shall say no more (sigh).

    5 users thanked author for this post.

    TimFitzgeraldTC
    Participant

    IanFromHKG

    Do you think if IATA managed to convince all the airlines to stop flying into HKG for a period of time that the HKG authorities would change the ridiculous position they are taking?

    Read this and sounds like Businesses have had enough of current position:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-59059092

    4 users thanked author for this post.

    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    IanFromHKG
    Do you think if IATA managed to convince all the airlines to stop flying into HKG for a period of time that the HKG authorities would change the ridiculous position they are taking?

    I’m not sure why IATA would do that…. Obviously it would be a huge problem if they did, given how much food comes in as air cargo, but no doubt Beijing would offer to step into the breach and increase trucking of food across the border giving Carrie another opportunity to laud Beijing’s generosity, care and love for Hong Kong blah blah.

    But ultimately, no – I don’t think the HK government cares. If they can ignore ASIFMA (I can’t see any mention of the government commenting on ASIFMA’s letter) then they can certainly ignore IATA.


    SGJNI1961
    Participant

    I just reviewed my phone bill for the “pleasure” of having to resort to ringing BA Holidays. The bloody awful website simply refused to show all the available flights to make a simple connection in and out of LHR. At one point it didn’t recognise LHR as a destination, this has happened to me before. £18!!!!!!! WTF!

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