Club Europe Hell … Economy pax sitting in \"middle seat\" !!Back to Forum
Tagged: British airways club Europe
I recently returned from a leisurely weeks break in Canary Islands on a BA Holidays package travelling in Club Europe…. Picture the scene at the airport;
I am in Club Europe seat 4A. At the gate my name was called to go to a member of gate staff. “Ah Mr Bond, there is a wheelchair pax in 3A who is already on board and we would like to board you before everyone else”. I get ushered on and in 4C there is a man who had no use of his legs or arms being more or less strapped into 4C. I have to try and climb over him to 4A which must have been awkward/uncomfortable for both parties. Once settled, I request the central tray table be replaced in the middle seat ” Sorry sir, someone will be sitting there” was the reply by crew. In utter disbelief a lady then climbs in to that middle seat who turns out to be the gentleman’s partner/carer. Here I am in CE now being penned in by the window with no way at all of getting out for 4.5 hours, no point in complaining as the flight is full and also pondering if I will be the very last person off the aircraft at the destination. It soon becomes apparent after a brief conversation that this lady held an Economy class ticket, and then the cheek of it, cabin crew asked if I would prefer to move to 2 empty seats in the Economy to “get the space I expected”. I stay put, half furious and half falling for the sympathy of this poor chap and how things in life could be worse, but then questioning the entire scenario.
Surely there has been a catalogue of errors here that enabled a severely disabled passenger to book J class and his companion in Y class? How is this even permitted? Did they book via a special department at BA? Did they just book it like this on the website themselves to save money and then pull out the sympathy card at check in demanding that they have to be seated together up front? Probably works half the time, backfiring big time of course if the cabin is full, which it was, extending back 8 rows. Would BA have been in for a public shaming had they downgraded a disabled passenger to Economy to sit with the carer? What exactly went on here? They should have booked 2 club seats or 2 economy seats and arranged special handling benefits accordingly, end of.
Funnily enough, I saw this chap by the pool in a heavy duty electric wheelchair, he was staying in the same hotel. They also checked out the same time a week later. All I can say is I was seriously relieved I had booked indirect via Madrid on the return as Club Europe was full on the non stop flight [and the MADLHR was operated by the A350 which I wanted to try, although they then changed to a A319 after a week of booking!]. A friend of mine was flying Economy on the non stop flight back that day and confirmed that he was again seated in the aisle in Club and she was again sitting in the middle “free” seat.
The crew advised they logged the situation and I have already submitted a complaint requesting explanation for what went on and a minimum of 22,000 Avios good will gesture, being the redemption amount for this cabin/sector on one way basis.2 Dec 2019
I can see two sides to it.
Frustrating I agree. Of course BA should have been a lot more organised here, and at least had the courtesy to advise you in advance. Then again BA don’t do customer service these days, only the money talks.
On the other hand I do try to be tolerant of people with disabilities. It can’t have been much fun for the other passenger, and in the wider scheme of things a couple of hours with someone sat next to me isn’t the end of the world.
A fair outcome would be as you outline, with the Avios.2 Dec 2019
I had a similar but certainly not so serious experience last week – again on a BA CE leisure break to the Canaries. We were surrounded by families in each row behind us, in front of us, opposite us. In each row, there were couples each with a young single child, all of an age below which purchasing a seat was not required (I think they travelled as a group). Once the the seat belt sign was turned off, each placed their respective child in the middle free seat – literally a free seat. The table that usually covers the middle seat in CE was missing throughout the cabin.
I rarely fly CE these days (semi-retired) so is the omission of the middle seat table now the norm or does this only happen on leisure routes ?. On the subject of CE, we all know the seat pitch is a joke for a business class product, but this is totally unacceptable for 4.5 hour flight. Also on the inbound flight, more than 1 hour passed before anyone got a drink never mind food. The crew took drinks orders and served them along with the meal tray, is this another ‘enhanced passenger experience ?’ or was it a rouse to limit the number of drinks served ? In contrast, on the outbound flight, the crew used a drinks trolley and everyone got a drink very quickly – inconsistent service. For information, flights were BA414 and BA415.2 Dec 2019
While being totally sympathetic to the severely disabled guy, I would be very uncomfortable taking the window seat.Big potential issue in the event of an evacuation.
What is the airline policy in such a situation? I know they control who can sit in emergency rows, but beyond that is there any guidance apart from having a travelling companion who can assist in an emergency. I guess it’s a difficult one for the airlines.
Feels like a front row window seat would be the best place for people with highly restricted mobility, especially on BA CE with 29″ legroom anywhere else on the aircraft.I bet the poor guy booked CE thinking he would have more space?2 Dec 2019
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let’s keep a sense of perspective on this.
It is difficult for the airlines for many reasons and with handicapped people, one should make allowance.
I was irritated recently when my wife and I took our front seats 1 D and F, as a benefit of the easyJet+ cards for which we pay over £400/year, and were fortunate to have an empty seat between us. Just before departure along comes a massively oversized and sweaty ‘yoof’ wearing headphones which were emitting the most awful loud noise and they stick him down in our row. My wife gave him her aisle seat but we were both uncomfortable due to his size, smell, and noise.
He possibly couldn’t help being oversized and smelly, but when I asked him to turn down the noise he responded very aggressively. I spoke to a member of the cabin crew and he’d apparently been denied boarding from the previous flight as he had refused to check in his oversized ‘cabin’ baggage. So we end up with the problem, which massively cheapens the value of the benefits that we’d paid for. The flight was full so they gave him the only seat available. In my view that’s wrong.3 Dec 2019
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Disabled, the PC word now used, is wrong. To disable something means to put it out of action.
Handicapped means that normal operations have been compromised. Firing on three cylinders ….. walking on one leg …. or a few spanners short of a full set …. no filling in the sandwich ….. etc.3 Dec 2019
I was irritated recently when my wife and I took our front seats 1 D and F,
Sorry capetonianm, Unlike Ah,Mr bond your gambling on the middle seat not being taken
BA have charged a premium fare , in a Premium Cabin (ha-Ha-Ha) and although it’s classed as short haul (Spain) flight, I wouldn’t class flights to the Canaries as short haul3 Dec 2019
Right, BA have replied… denying absolutely everything and that nobody was sitting in the middle blocked seat. I am now seeing more red, not from what happened on the day, but now calling a long term Silver member a liar. If they stand by their reply that none was in 4B then this now becomes a major security and safety breach.3 Dec 2019
Mr Bond, they will have looked at the system and seen that no one was checked into the middle seat. What you need to do is remind them that there may not have been anyone seated there on the system but the crew allowed the carer to sit there.
Sadly as you are off the aircraft you should have also documented the event with the crew ensuring they had noted your complaint and mentioned the offer of the two seats in economy.
This is one of those cases where customer relations could just read and claim it was made up by a chancer, believe me it happens!3 Dec 2019
I don’t mind if the middle seat is taken, I appreciate that is always a risk. What I objected to was the way in which it was done and a clearly undesirable and obnoxious person being put in it. I would be extremely surprised if he was made to pay the surcharge (about £30) for that seat, and that significantly cheapens the privilege for those who do pay. I know one shouldn’t judge by appearance but … in this case I am.
As for being called a liar (as reported by Ah,Mr.Bond) that makes me see red. I recently reviewed abysmal service and rudeness in a pub, whereto I had two witnesses, the friends who were with me, and the ‘owner’ wrote an aggressive reply totally refuting every statement I had made and thus impugning my character. I have not finished with him!3 Dec 2019
Right, BA have replied… denying absolutely everything and that nobody was sitting in the middle blocked seat.
@Ah, MrBond, the trouble is you’re now dealing with somebody who’s aping a computer answer. I can imagine the BA agents linear thinking.
You had a CE ticket – there are no B & E seats in CE so therefore you couldn’t possibly have had someone sitting in the middle seat .
And I have a knowledge management system that agrees with me, and disagrees with you Mr Bond, so case closed.
And they’ve probably taken a smug delight in proving you wrong3 Dec 2019
Right, BA have replied… denying absolutely everything and that nobody was sitting in the middle blocked seat. I am now seeing more red, not from what happened on the day, but now calling a long term Silver member a liar. If they stand by their reply that none was in 4B then this now becomes a major security and safety breach.
I would expect nothing less from BA. Such shoddy behaviour is part of the DNA these days.3 Dec 2019
A few years ago I had a dispute with them over an excess baggage allowance they had promised me (for a charity I ran) and when we got to the airport all knowledge was denied. This resulted in an unpleasant argument as a result of which I made a formal complaint. A couple of weeks later I was unwise enough to travel again on BA and the check in supervisor about whom I had complained allocated us non-reclining seats by the toilets at the back of the cabin, deliberately and out of sheer malice and spite. I complained to the CSD, with the background, and we were offered an upgrade. That wasn’t the point.
I retrieved my booking and was able to see libellous remarks and lies that she had put into the PNR about me. I rang BA’s excuse for a customer services department and told them that I was aware of this and wanted the remarks sent to me, as was my right. They denied the existence of the remarks, but obviously contacted the woman concerned and warned her.
Next time I looked at the booking, there was a remark in there : “Mr X said he knew that there were remarks about him but I have removed them.”
Obviously they went into the PNR history from where I was able to print them out and use them as the basis for a court case.
Rule 1 : They are not to be trusted. Ever. Under any circumstance
Rule 2 : If you feel inclined to trust them, refer to Rule 1.
1 user thanked author for this post.3 Dec 2019