Why do people fly on British Airways?Back to Forum
Anonymous19 May 2013
I would appreciate any input on my hellish trip with BA. I relate the story here: Bologna to Heathrow, flight scheduled for 1240pm,May 13, 2013
We board on time, taxi out, pilot reports a mechanical, taxi back, offload onto buses, back to Gate 1 hauling our carryons up and down stairs.
No announcements are made, we all just stand around . After 20 or 30 minutes, an agent quietly steps up to deal with connecting flights, 50 people line up. Not a single announcement or instruction is forthcoming. I look over her shoulder and see that the next flight is at 655, it’s now about 245. The monitor shows our flight departing at 430. I ask an agent at the next gate and she says that’s just something that the airport posted, no truth to it.
By 3pm it’s obvious that the 1240 flight is going nowhere so I break into the line (earning a few nasty comments from a man with a very stiff upper lip) to ask one question, which is should we rebook on the later flight. It requires a yes/no answer so I felt justified in being pushy. The same BA agent is still dealing with the entire planeload of people, nobody ever shows up to assist. She doesn’t have any (quick) response for my question.
We decide to leave the secure area, return to the checkin counter downstairs and try to rebook for 655. There’s NOBODY THERE. Not a single agent. We seek help at the BA Lounge, are told they know nothing and are advised to ask at the “General Tix Counter”. Two agents are at this counter which apparently serves many airlines. One agent is busy with the same customer for 35 minutes while the other agent deals with the 5 people in line ahead of me. By now we have formed a little group of 10 people trying to get some help. My turn is next, but the scout we have sent to checkin comes back to report that the maintenance guys working in the ceiling say that someone from BA will be there at 4pm. I envision 200 people on their way down there, so we give up on the general tix counter and traipse down to checkin for the 9th time.
A lovely BA agent shows up 15 minutes early and after only 35 more minutes in line, we are rebooked on the 655. Good news, right? Well, it seems that we have to go pick up our bags in a special locked place and recheck them. By now there are 50 people in line behind us but the lovely agent tells me to go have some lunch and come back directly to her with the bags. We go to reclaim the bags, the door is locked and nobody responds to our knocking. An unfortunate maintenance man comes out and I stand in the open doorway so it can’t close. My husband’s bag is there, mine doesn’t show up. At least there’s an agent there with a radio who keeps reassuring us that the bags will be up momentarily. My suitcase is bright red with large white Ns painted on each flat surface; I beg her to let me go back there and just pick it up but that ain’t happening. By now there are 15 very annoyed people looking for their bags, most of which never appear.
Now I ask you … the 655 flight left out of the same gate as the 1240 flight … why on earth doesn’t BA just put the bags on the 655 flight? And all this time the 1240 flight is still flashing 1630, even tho by now it’s 1730 … all those people are probably still standing around at Gate 1.
I refuse to wait any longer for my bag and go to back to Gate 1 to board the 655 flight, since I suspect there will be plenty of double-bookings in this mess. The 655 is now delayed until 730, we can’t believe it. I assume somebody will have the brains to get my suitcase on this plane. The flight does take off at 730, and we are in the warm waters of the Crown Plaza swimming pool by 10pm with a nice room service dinner to follow.
I thought that British Airways was an established, respected airline. I could run things far better with no experience. I could have booked Alitalia.
How can BA behave with such blatant disregard for their passengers? Do people fly on BA because there is no other choice? We deserve a full refund of our very expensive tickets … but I’m sure I’ll have to be content with the delivery of my suitcase to my office in California yesterday.19 May 2013
The reason that people fly on BA is because the unfortunate incident you experienced is not the norm.
Why did you leave the secure area and go back to check-in?19 May 2013
I could not agree more NIRscot. I am sorry to hear what you encountered in terms of delays and the lack of information judynagy but after all you took the law into your own hands after you pushed past people, with a still lip apparently, who were waiting to see the agent on a small outstation where staff resources are very limited with ANY airline not just BA. YOU decided to leave the secure area because maybe you thought you are entitled to a better treatment than all the other Passengers, or for whatever reason you made that decision. Maybe if you would have showed a little more patience and you would have been dealt with better. I am sorry but in times of disruption it is not all about you, it is about everyone on this aircraft. Your derogatory comments about other Pasengers, the staff et al sum it all up really.
So enjoy the Crowne Palza wherever you are and safe journey home wherever this may be.
I for one fly with BA because I like them. I like their lounges and generally their staff. Lets face it, things go wrong with all Airlines, not just BA so sometimes you just have to bear and grin it in times of disruptions, I for one can say generally disruption has been handled well with BA and other Airlines in my past experiences, so as a regular traveller I just take the good with the bad.
Enough said19 May 2013
I fly BA because being a TA in France, the offer me very competiive price over the pond and that the pain of going through LHR compensates the unbearable AF cheap cabin and service in biz. Going west is another thing…. EY, QR and EK get my choice…19 May 2013
Unfortunate occurrences happen on all airlines.
Must say I had an outstanding club europe day return flight to brussels yesterday. Outbound plane was on time and I had a nice selection of sandwiches and afternoon scones.
In the evening, I had a lovely prawn salald and outstanding service from crew who recommended I washed it down with champagne.
As gold, I can access the lounges, but I cannot see why people complain a short haul club europe. Non status passengers get lounge access and extra luggage. Overall, I was very impressed with the offering.19 May 2013
One of the reasons air fares are the same or cheaper than they were 10 years ago is because all contingency has been cut, especially in smaller stations. When things go wrong airlines can’t cope, whether its BA, EK, United or whoever.
That’s the price we pay these days.
I remember being in the same position in Prague when the volcano fired up, 2 BA staff faced with a plane full of passengers. Fortunately we got straight onto the travel agent who sorted things but sometimes these situations are unavoidable.19 May 2013
Ah, Simon, this is the kind of intel I was looking for … makes alot of sense … I don’t travel through smaller airports often. Actually, ‘ve been a very lucky flyer over the years. I am definitely going to look into the travel agent idea, haven’t used one in 15 years but now might be the time to start. To answer a couple of you … we left the secure area with the one agent and 200 passengers to see if we could find some BA help to avoid spending the night in Bologna and missing our flight out of LHR the next morning.20 May 2013
I make no secret about why I fly BA in Europe.
** more free flights than I could possibly use
** great lounge access in London
** go to most of my destinations
** on occasions I have to buy a ticket, gain more airmiles
** good flight timings
** longhaul – is a different matter
Fair to say that over the years, i ve had shocking service from most of the major airlines. In Feb 2013, I could have written the same and changed the airline from BA to LH.
SimonS1 is absolutely right, we live in a very competative market and with prices going “south”, but costs increasing (taxes etc) – it is a recipe for disaster as far as service is concerned. Customer Service has to be paid for – by the way airlines are charging for all and sundry, it appears that even printed boarding cards sometimes arent budgeted for (Ryan Air) or in your case decent Customer Services (from BA).
Would this stop me using BA ? Not is they flew to where I wanted to go, at the time I wanted to go for the price I wanted to pay!!!
EDIT – to be fair, I take more flight that are neither worthy of praise or complaint than memorable flights ….. perhaps that is the way its meant to be!!20 May 2013
BA generally offers uniform and predictable service (Good or bad), and they treat their customers with respect (relatively). The worst are Middle Eastern, esp. Emirates that toss their customers like rubbish and Customer Service follow-ups are the worst I’ve seen (they’re punctual – no issues there, just that they sound so blasé and unapologetic, and their responses are template-ish!)20 May 2013
very unfortunate, but if you read the section in this months Buisness Traveller magazine it clearly shows you what compensation you would have been entitled to, and I am sure if you had waited in line this would have been explained. if not you simply need to contact BA
I hope you enjoy future BA flights……this was a one off..20 May 2013
Morning Judy – hope you’ve got over this mess!
As others have said it is not just BA that this happens to. I have read your post a few times before commenting now, so bear with me that I did read it correctly and of course, we are all reading it with hindsight! I think it would have been contracted staff, not BA people at Bologna.
Like you I would have wanted to know what was happening and would have felt equally as frustrated at the lack of information and help. Unfortunately when we are standing in a queue it always seems much longer than it usually is …. It reminded me of busy check-outs at hotels on a Friday morning, so to solve the “I’ve been standing here for 20 minutes” complaints when in reality it may have been only 5 minutes, I put a television on the reception counter, and it dispensed with that “complaint” almost instantly! Anyway I digress, as usual.
With hindsight Judy, patience is a virtue, it seemed you did an awful lot of running around without much of a plan, but hey we’ve all been there! 😉
How did you book these tickets – if online, could you not have self rebooked or just booked yourself on the later flight and then sorted out the refund later, that’s probably what I would have done to make sure I was on the next flight if I really couldn’t afford to miss the next day connection. Or I would have phoned the BAEC to get it sorted out, but maybe you are not a member?
I fly BA mainly because I trust their safety record, and we’ve on the whole had a very good experience with them. When flying for pleasure, we enjoy premium cabins thanks to their Avios scheme. :-))20 May 2013
Really sorry to hear of your experiences at Bologne airport. Flying long-haul with a connection is a stressful enough without having further issues to deal with.
But I wonder how many actual BA staff there are at Bologne ?
The reason I ask is because at regional Italian airports the ground handling may be carried out not by the airline but by a ground handling agent.
Sometimes an airline will have limited influence over service standards. It might only have one or two of its own staff posted at the airport or it may have none at all.
This firm claims to handle BA flights along with many other carriers.
The fact that you mentioned a “General Tix Counter” which “serves many airlines” would appear to confirm this.20 May 2013
Sorry to hear about your BA travails….
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with how they managed my damaged luggage claim…..No quibbling or any interrogations , my new Antler case arrived 2 days later……
To answer your question…..Because they keep buying airlines that I use…..LOL20 May 2013