Kicked out of our BA seats….for money!

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This topic contains 23 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  travelworld2 29 Oct 2018
at 16:00
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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 24 total)

  • openfly
    Participant

    Booked a long haul Club World flight a year ago on BA on the Jumbo. We like upper deck and being a Gold booked our favourite seats.

    A month before travelling we had been bumped from our seats and into two separate seats away from each other, 60A/63K. Phoned the Exec Club who couldn’t explain and that all seats were now taken so they couldn’t put us back in our original seats.

    Last week, on our day of travel, I went to the First lounge. I wanted to complain about a lazy staff member so asked to speak to a manager. A delightful lady came to chat. We discussed several matters including our nasty seat changes. Then the truth came out….

    We had been bumped from our seats because a non-card holder wanted to pay £60 for each seat. Tough, but that’s now the BA system. So Golds don’t matter one iota. She admitted that it happens frequently!

    It’s good when you find the truth, and confirm how shabbily BA treats its premium passengers.

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    Good Lord! One would have thought that once you booked your seats they would show up as unavailable on the system


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Good Lord! One would have thought that once you booked your seats they would show up as unavailable on the system

    It’s shocking. But I wonder whether Gold members actually “book” a seat or so they simply request a seat. In other words if it’s a request it wouldn’t be guaranteed.

    On the other hand, I don’t know about BA’s policy, but I have seen reports (I used one or two examples in the former Ask Alex column) where travellers had paid for a seat assignment with other airlines but, at the time of travel, it wasn’t honoured for one reason or another.


    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    Well if it works the same for BA Gold as it does for other oneworld emerald members then they actually book a seat. I can go into Manage My Booking and using my emerald status I choose seats, get confirmation emails, and the seat will show on the website…


    robojam
    Participant

    Maybe now BA’s premium passenger is the one who buys a CW ticket and pays for seat selection while they think a gold will fly BA anyway to retain the perceived ‘status’ which in this clearly does not exist.


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    Good Lord! One would have thought that once you booked your seats they would show up as unavailable on the system

    It’s shocking. But I wonder whether Gold members actually “book” a seat or so they simply request a seat. In other words if it’s a request it wouldn’t be guaranteed.

    On the other hand, I don’t know about BA’s policy, but I have seen reports (I used one or two examples in the former Ask Alex column) where travellers had paid for a seat assignment with other airlines but, at the time of travel, it wasn’t honoured for one reason or another.

    All seat bookings are requests and may be changed for operational reasons


    canucklad
    Participant

    Sadly openfly, it’s just another example of airlines treating all it’s customers with contempt.
    And in the case of certain carriers , an arrogance of impunity , knowing that you can be replaced with some other mug.
    As long as they can fleece you in the here and now, they’ll worry about the tipping point later.

    Nowadays, I’m surprised we’re surprised when companies like BA do this sort of thing !!


    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    I understand that airlines can change seats for operational reasons, but I always worked on the (apparently mistaken!) assumption that that was intended to cover them for equipment failures, airframe swaps, accommodating babies in bassinets and that sort of thing – not to fleece earn more money!

    openfly, if I were you I think I would be writing to BAEC and asking them, very specifically, to tell you whether “operational reasons” includes “selling pre-reserved seats booked by Gold members in order to make more money”. If they don’t specifically say yes, then I think you have a claim for breach of contract (of absolutely no monetary value, I hasten to add, but it will chew up some management time in the legal department) since your Gold benefits include “free seat selection from the time of booking for your whole party on British Airways flights”

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    stevescoots
    Participant

    Not sure if you chose the seats, or were assigned them. I believe that if you went to seat selection page and did the confirm seats then that would not have happened, i could be wrong though

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    openfly
    Participant

    @IanFromHKG and Canucklad. I agree that, in the old days, an email to BA to enquire as to why and how this could and has happened would have received an explanation. But these days it is a waste of time expecting any form of customer service from anybody in authority at BA.
    I received my answer from the manager at the time in the T3 lounge. I doubt that I could go any further with any sense of satisfaction. More like annoyance at receiving another “rolled-off reply” of verbal diarrhoea.


    capetonianm
    Participant

    In the case cited above, pre-allocated seats can be changed by an airline agent with the appropriate duty code (= authority level) in the system, resulting in pax being bumped out of their seats so that someone else with a higher FF level, or who shouts louder, can have them. Life may often be unfair, but is fairer to those who have money or influence!

    As an aside, the availability of seats as shown on the seat maps is determined by several factors, primarily the booking subclass and the FF level, which is why the FF number should be in the PNR before the seat request is made. Agents sometimes make a booking and request the seat, then add the FF number later, meaning that the passenger may not get the seat he wanted or was entitled to as per his FF level. The automated processes used by, for example, BA.CON (intentional typo) ensure that the FF number is present before the STRQ takes place, but mistakes can be made when bookings are done manually without using the traveller profile stored in the system.


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    I have refrained from commenting (apart from a technical point), but will now add my tuppence.

    In my 40 years experience of flying with BA, seat changes are not handled well – they can be triggered by a change of aircraft (as well as other things, e.g. VIP wants/needs your seat) and whether you get an email to let you know your seats have changed seems to be quite random.

    My guess as to what happened to the OP’s flight is that there was an aircraft change and he was not aware, as he was not informed – the booking being made a long way out unfortunately increases the likelihood of this happening. The aircraft may have been changed more than once and may have ended up back on the same fleet. Others then snapped up the fab seats that were available and the OP was unfortunately left with the remainders.

    BTW, I am not in anyway defending the airline – should a premier passenger really have to ‘farm’ their booking regularly to ensure they keep their seat reservation? I think not.

    Neither do I believe that the manager in the FLounge would have known exactly why the seats were changed, but I am a little out of touch with regard to the systems they can access, so I won’t hang my hat on that one.

    The whole things sounds like one of those really annoying BA cockups that are sympomatic of their slide into mediocrity – as I wrote on another thread, they bumped me from the bulkhead row in WTP, without letting me know and I got an aisle in the back row (all that was available when I checked in – the aircraft changed between -72 hours and -24), then they ran out of WTP meals and the people in my row were offered a WT meal or nothing.

    So I empathise with the OP, it is really annoying.


    canucklad
    Participant

    In my 40 years experience of flying with BA, seat changes are not handled well – they can be triggered by a change of aircraft (as well as other things, e.g. VIP wants/needs your seat) and whether you get an email to let you know your seats have changed seems to be quite random.

    Ahhhh, if only BA learnt from the airlines it’s consumed ……in this case BMI
    I recall sitting in, what became my de-facto seat “1A” one evening , heading down to LHR, and becoming aware that a cabinet mister sitting in the row behind was not pleased that he couldn’t get his “normal” seat !!

    His leer of contempt and privilege as we disembarked was priceless, and if memory serves me well amused the cabin crew much more than it did me.


    capetonianm
    Participant

    I was in 1A on an SAA flight years ago when someone boarded, clicked his fingers at me, and barked : “My seat … if you don’t mind.”

    I checked my boarding pass and pointed out to him that, no, it was my seat. at which he said : “I always have that seat …” and I said ” You haven’t got it today”

    An FA came up and said to him : “You’ve got 2A today, Mr. ‘X’. He took his seat and continued to grumble, all directed at me. Later I realised who he was, a cabinet minister!

    Of course had he asked politely if I would change seats, I would almost certainly have changed with him, whether he’d been a cabinet minister or not.


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    The last time I was bumped from my seat was 3 years ago when 2 off duty BA pilots managed to push me from a window seat in the forward section of the 787 to KL – further back to an aisle seat in the second section.

    The ‘change’ was clearly done between the lounge (where I had checked my seat) and the gate. The CSD said it should not have happened but apparently the ‘travellers’ wanted to sit together….

    So more important than money is when you have influence over whoever is in charge of the boarding gate…

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