British Airways knowingly publishing incorrect ticket information on their websiteBack to Forum
Anonymous29 Sep 2011
I booked two tickets to New York in November with British Airways but needed to change them.
I went onto the BA website, as the airline urges us to do, to alter the dates.
The price quoted on the website is £240 however the transaction keeps timing out. I then find out, after spending 90 minutes on the phone that in fact, the actual cost to change both tickets is £646.
I totally understand I would need to pay to change an air ticket but can British Airways be allowed to publish one fare on its website and force customers, in reality, to pay a far higher fee?
I have alerted BA to the issue, they admit they are wrong, the information is incorrect and despite my sticking the problem on a blog for the world (and staff at British Airways to see) the airline simply shuts its ears and seems absolutely unwilling to correct the information.
I have updated the link, apologies for my rubbish HTML abilities!
Read about false information on British Airways’s site here29 Sep 2011
So I publish, on the web, all the details (above) of the way I have been treated by British Airways and others begin it pick up on it.
Funnily enough, out of the blue I get an email from BA offering its sincere apologies for any misunderstanding. Extraordinary.
Genuine apology or damage-limitation PR? I’ll let you decide.
In response to BA’s extraordinary climbdown, I have written a
perhaps clichedopen letter to them.
If it spurs one other person to also stand up instead of being treated like a rubbish, I will have succeeded…
An open letter to British Airways from someone who it seems they’d hope would cough up or shut up29 Sep 2011
A lot of anger there.
One would have hoped for some magnanimity in response to an email offering “sincere apologies” but apparently that isn’t enough for some people.29 Sep 2011
I think you are doing sterling work in highlighting a specific instance which will strike a cord with many who have been subjected to the classic corporate stonewall tactic. For BA to try and bat this away as an isolated one-off is insulting in the extreme. It exemplifies the culture of frontline staff having no discretion at all to put obvious wrongs right, and which culture imposes as a default position of the customer being at fault.
I am astonished by your lack of insight; easy to confuse anger and frustration, I suppose, but it is evident that BA have dropped a big one here, and their inability to recognise it is simply toe-curling. Referring folk to a book on Amazon is not worth the time it takes to write the piece.
BA needs to learn some basic lessons about CRM; hopefully this will be another clumsy step forwars.29 Sep 2011
Esselle, Thanks for the support. I was going to say to VK, ‘anger?! I don’t think that half of the anger I felt came through.’
Of course I’m angry. I was furious!
With apologies to Rowan Atkinson who first used that line…
Remember, it was less than seven hours’ prior to their “sincere apology” that BA were insinuating I was trying to accuse them of deception and the head of media strategy put the phone down on me.
And if anything, far from reading the book, I would say my complaint was a success.
The thing that frustrated me the most was that British Airways, like an obstinate school-kid, appeared to put their fingers in their heads and go “na na na na”, in the hope I would give up.
I am glad I stuck at it.29 Sep 2011
I’m pleased you stuck at it too. It’s right that companies which have websites which don’t function correctly address those concerns.
Of the average 250,000 bookings [including check ins, seat requests and MMB upgrades] made successfully on ba.com every day, it’s great that you found this error and brought it to their attention.29 Sep 2011
That’s over 91 million a year VK – I thought BA carried around 33 million passengers a year, roughly half of whom book directly with BA online.
Must be an awful lot of cancelled bookings if your figure is true.29 Sep 2011
Bucksnet, he was including the multiple entries that a single booking can make onto BA.com, hence his inclusion of “Of the average 250,000 bookings [including check ins, seat requests and MMB upgrades]”. I think if I am reading him right, it would have been better to say “of the average 250,000 logins to BA.com every day”.
Appologies VK if I am incorrect in my interpretation of your post.30 Sep 2011
There’s a balance to be appreciated here, VK makes a good point that in general BA’s booking system works well considering the number of transactions undertaken however when something goes wrong blaming the customer is never the right step. I have been telling my staff for 20 years, If we get it wrong
Put it right
Follow up to ensure all ok
However if we are right
Explain why we are not at fault
Help the customer solve the problem
Follow up to ensure all ok30 Sep 2011
RobertC – Good post.Take things that VK says with a pinch of salt. As a self appointed BA eminence grise on this site his default position is to support BA regardless.
As you are now not perceived as an unequivocal BA supporter you will join a group which he will constantly snipe at – it is what he does.30 Sep 2011