Fact or Fiction?

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  PeterCoultas 6 Jun 2017
at 11:21

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  • rodders

    Reading the Sunday Times yesterday I was intrigued to read Nina Montagu-Smith’s report on the BA IT fiasco, and I am making no comment on this, as I agree it was handled very poorly. However, in her report she had a section on an American couple stranded in Rome, trying to get back to Portland Oregon. Their flight was cancelled on May 27th (tuesday), May 28th they queued for a number of hours at Rome, “only to be told they would have to go to London first”…and in London were given tickets to Seattle for the 29th, and then had to drive to Portland, and when they got to Seattle their bags were not there, and they were advised to talk to the BA staff in Portland…
    Well, a brief check of the facts would have allowed the Sunday Times to verify that if they were in Rome and flying to the US on BA they would have to go via London, IT issue or no IT issue, and BA don’t fly to Portland, so they were never going to be able to fly LHR/Portland, so no surprise that BA don’t have any staff in Portland.
    I find it incredible that quality newspapers, jump on the bandwagon and publish complete nonsense in the hope of a story…..what is the saying “never let the truth get in the way of a good story”….


    Maybe their expectation was BA would endorse the ticket so they could get to Portland with one stop – there are several airlines that could do that. Rather than heading to London and then being forced to have another overnight stop.


    “I find it incredible that quality newspapers”
    I don’t think the UK has any quality newspapers any more. The Times is now a freebie at airports.
    The Guardian, if you can overlook its lefty liberal stance, is at least properly written.


    I agree with Capetoniam – the only paper worth reading is the Private Eye – only free press left in the UK.

    They would have had to go via London on any BA flight but it does seem strange they weren’t offered a thru ticket to Portland.


    It’s difficult to comment on the specifics without reading the article, but as SimonS1 says, maybe they were hoping for an endorsement to avoid London (e.g. via FRA). Much better to avoid a place suffering from the aftermath of a problem.

    To drive from Seattle to Portland is not trivial, it is about the same length as London to Sheffield.

    On a point of order, who told the pax to speak to the BA staff in Portland? Surely they should have known better and the newspaper is just reporting the facts?

    There is a poorly run company here, but it is not the newspaper.


    The trouble with this story, is simply that the story became bigger than the normal travel hiccup event that ends up as page filler on page 20.

    As a result, you then get editors straying from industry experts within their publication and allocating the story to their high flyers, many of whom would struggle to find Portland on the map. .

    I doubt very much that Simon Calder or Richard quest or any other travel journalist would have filed that particular story that Rodders read.


    @canucklad – yes you have hit the nail on the head there. With The Times rapidly following the Daily Mail approach to journalism paid experts are quickly pushed aside and the story rapidly falls away in quality. I share others despair here at the decline in quality of UK print journalism and agree that Private Eye (plus The Economist) are rapidly becoming the last bastions of good reporting.


    It’s strange as they must have either had a ticket to/from Portland perhaps with an American OW carrier, or they started the journey in Seattle with BA. Something is missing from the story.

    As for UK newspapers, for me it’s the FT and the Guardian for some balance.
    Private Eye for the truth and DailyMail.com for the show business gossip and celebrity indiscretions.
    I really must get out more 😉


    And May 27 was a Saturday

    Tom Otley

    For those who missed it (or don’t have a subscription) the bit in question came towards the end of the piece

    Flight delayed? Your payout will be too

    Fuming in Rome, luggage in limbo

    “Andrew Copeland and his wife, Kara, both 39, from Portland, Oregon, had a nightmare journey home from Rome last week. A one-day journey turned into a three-day ordeal.

    Their BA flight was cancelled on Tuesday, May 27, after a six-hour delay. Without assistance from the airline, they were forced to find hotel accommodation as well as transport.

    The next morning they queued for four hours in Rome airport, only to be told they would have to fly to London first. There they were given tickets to Seattle for the next day, then had to rent a car to drive the 3½ hours home.

    Copeland said: “BA gave us €10 [£8.70] in vouchers for the airport and we were left to make hotel and transport arrangements on our own. We also could not find our checked luggage when we arrived in Seattle. We were told to talk to the BA staff in Portland but we still do not have it.”

    Copeland is currently lodging a claim for compensation.”


    Travelled ARN to PDX and back with BA earlier this year….no problems with booking the route with BA, much cheaper than LHR-PDX-LHR with them and the necessary overnight stopover in London was one I wanted and gave better flight arrival in PDX. BA were using Alaska at the time for onwards SEA-PDX and SFO-PDX. Not a bad route.

    As to the drive, SEA is very close to the freeway and would take around 3 hours as US freeways are much more user friendly the UK motorways – you would need around 3 hours for a sensible connection time and the short flight to PDX

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