Beware BA if things go wrong

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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 23 total)

  • Chris Pocock
    Participant

    Yes, a personal complaint, but just look at the passenger survey statistics on BA. Shocking.
    In my case, last flight CDG-LHR cancelled with no explanation. No assistance with booking hotels, no BA staff at the airport, only the handling agent. Many passengers had to sleep in the airport.
    I was offered miserly compensation and am now escalating my complaint to the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR). I advise others to do the same.

    BA has a new chief customer officer, Calum Laming. He cancelled a meeting of a group that I belong to last month. Too busy trying to deal with the backlog of complaints?


    ASK1945
    Participant

    “………I was offered miserly compensation and am now escalating my complaint to the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR). I advise others to do the same.”

    How long before the flight was the cancellation? From what you wrote it seems to have been less tha two weeks before – indeed the same day. Surely the EU/UK 261 rules apply here, so what excuse were you given for no hotel and meals assistance, travel reimbursement and only “miserly” compensation?


    Chris Pocock
    Participant

    Four hours before. They did hand out a piece of paper informing us that they would pay “reasonable costs”. My point was, they provided no assistance, and BA’s definition of “reasonable costs” for hotel, meals, taxis and communications was just £76


    ASK1945
    Participant

    If what happened is as you state then clearly BA were in breach of the regulations. It’s difficult to understand why BA think you could find a hotel for £76, let alone any other reasonable costs. And delayed flight compensation is at a fixed rate that is laid down in law.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Rferguson2
    Participant

    This is an awful situation, albeit not one unique to BA.

    I know there are a raft of complaints about these issues on review sites such as Skytrax but the reality is if you look at airlines such as Lufthansa, KLM, Turkish – in fact most airlines, even the QATAR’s and SQ’s of the world – the complaints most often stem from one of two issues. 1) baggage missing and delays receiving it. 2) Cancellations and the poor way they are dealt with.

    Even at an BA’s home hub their resources are stretched. Not so much in the actual staff numbers side of things, more in the staff skill set. Ten years ago it would be absolutely unthinkable for an airline to not have a ticket desk at their home hub. Now, this is the reality. Staff are not trained to the level they once were in terms of ticketing etc and if your flight is cancelled and the auto alternative does not work for you the staff you deal with at T5 do exactly what you and I would have to do – pick up the phone, call centralised ticketing and discuss options.

    And this is at their home hub. So at an outstation….well, you can imagine. Unfortunately it is very much a ‘sort your own arrangements out’ in terms of accommodation, meals and transport and reclaim these back later. There is a dedicated page of ba.com that lists what you can and cannot claim for. I really pity those who do not have the means to ‘pay now claim later’ in these situations.

    And thank god for EU261. In my experience, BA is at least reasonably swift in dealing with these claims. Unlike other airlines I have claimed from – Finnair being one of the worst. In situations where the airlines are becoming difficult or non communicative regarding EU261 I have just enlisted one of those online claim company’s that communicate on my behalf and take a cut. Once I have involved them I have never had a claim refused.

    4 users thanked author for this post.

    FDOS
    Participant

    “Even at an BA’s home hub their resources are stretched.”

    We are now +11 months on from the withdrawal of all Covid regulations, so it is no longer a viable excuse for lacking personnel or skills.

    I apply this statement to any carrier or airport and short staffing is a management choice.

    I have to disagree that BA is swift to deal with EC261 claims, as a generalisation. Some may be settled quickly, but I have had to drag them to CEDR for a claim where there adjudicator summarily dismissed their defence and found in my favour.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    Rferguson2
    Participant

    @ FDOS – ‘We are now +11 months on from the withdrawal of all Covid regulations, so it is no longer a viable excuse for lacking personnel or skills.’

    I didn’t mean to tie this is with COVID. As far as I am aware there are no plans to upskill ground staff with ticketing skills etc. The days of ‘get good staff, train them up, allow them to gain cross functional knowledge, reward them well and retain their loyalty long term’ are well and truly over.

    It is now a case of get the numbers in (which they have – there are plenty of ground staff), but train then up so far as queue combing, assisting with self check in, bag drop, simple check in system training etc. Centralise ticketing for the masses somewhere cheap and over the phone. Again, this is not unique to BA. A look at reviews online of many other ‘legacy’ airlines reveal similar tales of woe for the customer.

    While companies like BA are raking in profits of hundreds of millions or billions they will view this as a ‘successful strategy’. For those customers that get caught up in disruption however…..

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    CathayLoyalist2
    Participant

    So, and this is a question asked many times, where is the CAA in all this??

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    FDOS
    Participant

    Rferguson

    I wasn’t criticising your post at all – simply stating how things are now and how Covid has been used as a smoke screen for exactly what you describe, by a range of companies.

    Your summary of the business strategy is on the money and it’s not just BA doing this.

    What makes the risk with BA unacceptable to me, is the demonstrated lack of resilience in their IT systems and the ensuing chaos – choosing the company at the moment is akin to playing Russian Roulette.


    JonathanCohen09
    Participant

    Morning All,

    Last week I travelled to New York, with my wife to celebrate her birthday, on BA in CW having originally bought WT+ tickets and then offered an upgrade at a reasonable price, I could never afford the full fares.

    On the positive side, the flights were very good both too and from JFK. The new Club Suites are excellent, finally BA has a competitive hard product and the food offerings and service were better than I experienced previously.

    Where it fell down was at check in which was an absolute disgrace. There was a long queue, which I did not expect for a CW check in. The reason was threefold.

    1. Only 2 out of 12 desks were open.
    2. Many of the self service check in desks were not working and there were no staff to help people work the machines that were operational.
    3. There were many passengers in the queue who were not travelling in CW or who had the correct status to use those desks and why were they there, when I asked a member of the ground staff why this was happening, the response was that the other economy check in desks were very busy.

    I am sorry but none of the above should have been the case and are, in my view, unacceptable. You pay a hefty premium to travel in CW and therefore expect a premium experience which is something that my wife and I did not receive. It took us 90 minutes to check in which is ridiculous.

    Other posters have said that there are lots of ground staff in T5 which may be the case but it was not when I travelled.

    When I asked a manager why there were so few desks open for CW passengers, her response was, it is peak summer travel time and we are very busy. No apology, no recognition that there is a problem. Perhaps my experience is rare but I doubt that.

    If I had paid the full fare I would have been absolutely furious about the experience that I had compared to what it should have been.

    I agree with Rferguson2 that the situation i encountered is a management choice for which there is absolutely no excuse, especially given that the airline is now making huge profits again.

    Have a great weekend and safe travels!

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Rferguson2
    Participant

    @ FDOS 100%. BA aren’t even bothering with a COVID smoke screen when it comes to staffing levels anymore. This is just the new ‘how it is’. Automate as much as possible, recruit staff in numbers on a ‘market’ salary, expect them to stay a couple years then move on, replace with new staff again trained to a minimal level. Centralise anything ‘complex’ off shore or contract it out for the majority, have some small multi functional teams in the UK for the top %% of frequent flyers.

    And if the technology and IT were up to speed this wouldn’t be the worst in the world. But as you say, IT is lagging.

    I recently had a flight with QANTAS from Sydney and it was a similar story with a cancellation. Few staff at their home hub as everything is essentially automated and no one there that could actually issue me a new re-routed ticket. Given a number to call and after being in the queue for around 1hr20min was connected to a call centre in the Suva, Fiji. Put on hold for around 20minutes and then disconnected. Called back, another 50min in the queue. Eventually re-ticketed after nearly three hours on the phone – all whilst I was stood in their hub airport surrounded by staff.

    And the parallels between the airlines don’t end there. Two legacy airlines, both announcing huge profits.

    One aspect the OP raises which BA should definitely sort out though – their website page on what they will reimburse. In my case and the cancellation QANTAS essentially expects you to do the same as BA, sort yourself out with accommodation, meals and transport and claim. However, unlike BA the Qantas website places a $$ figure on limits for each category instead of the dreaded ‘reasonable’ term.


    CathayLoyalist2
    Participant

    And here is me thinking shall I treat myself and my wife to 2 x First Class Tickets at Xmas as the 1st Class tickets to Singapore on the BA 11/12,albeit on the A380 BA11/12, are currently only 10% more than CX´s Business Class. Everything I have read about BA over the past 6 months and beyond has been thinking “why should I give my hard earned money to a business that really couldn´t give a dam”. The First Fares on the 777 BA 15/16, with the New Suites, are significantly higher


    FDOS
    Participant

    RFerguson

    The reason BA cannot give firm monetary limits is that there are none in EC261. Having been b*ggered about disgracefully in T5 some years ago, including a failure to re-route the same day and a refusal to provde HOTAC (we don’t care you live in Malta, you are joining in London), the only hotel I could find within a reasonable distance was the Sofitel and it cost £350.

    BA didn’t want to pay this, so I made it very clear that the regulation stated

    Article 9
    Right to care
    1. Where reference is made to this Article, passengers shall be offered free of charge:
    (a
    ) meals and refreshments in a reasonable relation to the waiting time;
    (b
    ) hotel accommodation in cases
    – where a stay of one or more nights becomes necessary, or
    – where a stay additional to that intended by the passenger becomes necessary;
    (c
    ) transport between the airport and place of accommodation
    (hotel or other).

    I then put it to their agent that if the company did not meet it’s obligations under EC261, they didn’t have a leg to stand on and I would MCOL the claim if they didn’t pay.

    Shortly afterwards, I recevied a grudging ‘we will pay as an exception’ message!


    FDOS
    Participant

    Cathay Loyalist

    The BA A380 fleet has not had a good record for punctuality, this year and their have been a noticeable number of cancellations.

    My son and daughter in law experienced this in June and I put a thread on here covering it.

    Your call balancing risk/return – personally I’d take CX J, but I can see the attraction of an F cabin for 10% extra – the extra space is tempting on such a long flight.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    AnthonyDunn
    Participant

    I am having a bit of a laugh about all of this.

    Having recently returned from UBN via HKG and AMS on (respectively) MIAT Mongolian and Cathay Pacific before connecting onto BA, my interlined baggage failed to show up.

    Unfortunately, my missing bag contained all of my sailing gear needed for my Greek islands sailing trip commencing four days later. I’d needed this previously for a trip up to the Whitsundays in Queensland, Oz. Yes, I know, a tough life….!

    Having picked up my delayed bag upon my return into LGW from Kos, I enquired of BA Baggage Services and was told to claim online for the duplicate items I had had to buy at the eleventh hour prior to leaving for Athens. The problem is that BA’s online system refuses to recognise UBN (the new Chinggis Khaan international airport, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia) as a valid origination point of origin. Even the BAEC Gold line were unable to assist for the same reason. The glitches and inadequacies of BA’s IT are now becoming comical.

    Looks as if I am now going to have to compose a distinctly analogue letter printed on paper and delivered the old-fashioned way by the Royal Mail.

    1 user thanked author for this post.
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