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Whatever Happened To The Worlds Favorite Airline  
User currently offlineGrh1967 From Australia, joined Apr 2008, 4 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 7 months 3 hours ago) and read 8009 times:

I would like to share an experience I recently had on what was supposedly The Worlds Favorite Airline on a flight from Barcelona to London. I have flown with many airlines around the world & this was by far the worst handling of a delay I have ever encountered.

I wrote to British Airways Customer Affairs & got a standard email reply that my feedback was important, & that a BA representative would contact me shortly. After one month I followed up with another email, which this time did not even warrant a system-generated reply. To date know one from BA has taken the time to contact me so I feel it is now time to put this out in a public forum & see if my complaint is unreasonable?

Firstly, I chose BA above the no frills carriers that operate between Barcelona & London as the fare difference was minimal & BA has always marketed itself as a full service carrier, & because of BA%u2019s excellent reputation (prior to the strike threats in December 2009).

We checked in two hours before the flight & proceeded to the gate. There were storms over Barcelona that evening & unbeknown to us our inbound flight got diverted to an alternative airport. Our flight was delayed for over 3 hours & during that time no announcements made regarding the delay, & not a single BA staff member made themselves known at the departure gate to answer any questions. We only found out our flight had diverted as a fellow passenger rang his son who was on an Easyjet flight from an adjacent Terminal, & they (a low cost airline) were making announcements to their passengers every half hour with updates!

As well as no BA representation, we were the only flight departing in that particular wing of the airport & we had no access to food or drink outlets for the full duration of the delay which was over five hours when you count check in time.

When we did finally board the flight (still no apology or announcement from ground staff) we were served only sunflowers seeds & raisins by the crew & then the cabin lights were turned off. Many passengers had come to the airport for an evening departure without dinner & this paltry offering added insult to injury! My brother & his wife had flown two weeks earlier on BA to join us on a forty minute flight to Amsterdam & even on that short sector they were served a bacon sandwich, so how come we get sunflowers seeds for a 3hour delayed service?

I have never before written a complaint letter regarding a flight as I love to travel & know things can go wrong, & are often beyond the airlines control. However I feel BA in this instance have badly let themselves down, & if staff numbers have been reduced so much that not a single representative can be at a delayed departure flight them I think you have gone to far with your cost cutting measures & customer service is suffering.

13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineLYCHemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1169 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (4 years 7 months 1 hour ago) and read 7655 times:

No more meals on BA flights under 2 1/2 hours.

10 years ago BA would give you a food voucher if flight was delayed. Times have changed. How much did you pay for your ticket?


User currently offlineNethkt From Thailand, joined Apr 2001, 1069 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (4 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 7226 times:

Sorry to hear your story.

I think BA uses IBERIA for all their ground activities in BCN. Maybe IEBRIA agents were busy with their own IB flights!?

Seems like the cost-cutting world affects in our daily life.
Less staff or outsource definitely means poor service.
Also machines or computer will never ever replace human!!  Smile

Hope BA gives you good apology.



Let's just blame it on yields.
User currently offlineWouwout From Netherlands, joined Dec 2007, 125 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (4 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 6926 times:

under EU law you might be able to get compensation. You should mention this to BA, I suppose you will get their attention.

There are companies who handle claims for you - no cure no pay. I won't mention them here, just google for it. Besides basic flight information, these companies also track the actual plane's movement through the day, so delays caused by earlier delayed flights can be used for claims.

Weather related claims might be tricky but you should give it a try.

EU law also states you should get something to eat  Smile


User currently offlineFCA767 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2006, 1741 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (4 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 6576 times:

Favorite Airline is just a word put into your head by Adverts  Smile

User currently offlineEI320 From Ireland, joined Dec 2007, 1436 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (4 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 6523 times:

The delay certainly wasn't handled well by the ground staff. Not directly BA's fault, but it is their duty to ensure that something like this doesn't happen again. What's worse is that you haven't yet received a reply from BA. A disappointing performance from what is usually a pretty decent airline.
Whenever I'm flying EI and get delayed by 2+ hrs, meal vouchers are always offered. This should be the case at BA too.

EI320


User currently offlineShamrock604 From Ireland, joined Sep 2007, 4161 posts, RR: 13
Reply 6, posted (4 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 6493 times:



Quoting Grh1967 (Thread starter):
However I feel BA in this instance have badly let themselves down, & if staff numbers have been reduced so much that not a single representative can be at a delayed departure flight them I think you have gone to far with your cost cutting measures & customer service is suffering.

I think you are being just a tad unfair to BA in some aspects. On others, such as their lack of reply to your query, you are most definitely not being unfair.

Let me put my view across and try to explain some of the operational aspects for what happened:

- The aircraft did divert, and you say that was due to a weather delay. Nothing BA can do about that. They did however, get the aircraft to BCN and did operate your flight. In some situations such as crew tight on hours etc, that might not have happened and they would have ferried the aircraft empty back to LHR.

- BA, like most airlines, employ agents at outstations on their network. At BCN, their alliance partner Iberia handles that function for them. BA has a right to expect IB to fulfill that function, also because IB possibly employs BA to do the same at other stations. So in this case, IB staff failed in their duty. BA will of course have to take that up with them. Although it's likely BA have a station manager at BCN, they work office hours and may not have been available or even aware of the delay to that evening flight. They do have a right to get home too!  Wink

- On the catering issue, as pointed out BA dont do anything more than a snack these days. Just because your flight was delayed, they are not going to organise a special catering uplift, very simply because it takes time to organise one. You would be very surprised how thinly spread airport logistics like catering are and it isnt a matter of picking up the phone and wheeling something out to the aircraft. BA were actually saving you further inconvenience by not calling the caterers. They may in fact not even have a catering contracts in place at BCN because they likely "back cater" their flights from LHR (im not sure on this point, but maybe a BA staffer can tell us)

Personally, I think if BA are only going to serve birdseed, then they may as well introduce a buy on board product. It would be nice to at least have the choice....

I hope that goes some way to explaining what happened - its sad to say, the same thing could happen on any airline these days!



Flown EI,FR,RE,EIR,VE,SI,TLA,BA,BE,BD,VX,MON,AF,YS,WX,KL,SK,LH,OK,OS,LX,IB,LTU,HLX,4U,SU,CO,DL,UA,AC,PR,MH,SQ,QF, EY, EK
User currently offlineBAStew From Australia, joined Sep 2006, 1024 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (4 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 6250 times:

As Nethkt mentions all British Airways flights in Barcelona (and Madrid) are handled by Iberia on the ground. Without sounding like I want to 'pass the buck' the general feedback is that Ibera ground staff are not quite as customer focused as what you may find at BA.

The delay you mention was down to weather, something totally outside BA's control. That said, at the very least I would have expected regular updates from the ground staff and perhaps a voucher to get something to eat or drink. I know BA do offer these vouchers to delayed passengers but i'm not sure what the trigger point is and weather it still applies to a delay that is no fault of BA and unforseen.

Now for the dreaded sunflower seeds (termed 'bird feed' by many cabin crew).
There was recently a total overhaul of catering in Y on BA shorthaul flights. BA short haul flights are split into 'bands' depending on flight length.
Band 1. AMS/BRU/CDG/DUS. Band 2. BSL/FRA/GVA/HAM/LYS/MUC/STR/TLS/TXL/ZRH
Band 3A. BCN/CPH/LIN/MAD/MXP/NCE/OSL/PRG/PSA/VCE/VIE. Band 3B. AGP/ALG/ARN/BEG/BUD/FCO/GIB/HEL/LIS/WAW. Band 4. ATH/DME/IST/KBP/LCA/LED/OTP/SOF/TIP.

The catering for bands 1/2/3A is a 'filled sandwich' (ie bacon sandwich) on flights departing up to 09:59. Flights for rest of the day its a complimentary bar service and a 'snack'....like the pack of sunflower seeds you got.

For band 3B its the same as 1/2/3A for flights up to 0959. For rest of the day it is a sandwich box.

For band 4 it is a full hot breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Although I know its frustrating that you have not heard back from BA i'm really happy you have complained. I dont work on short haul flights so dont know the gneral consensus among passengers of the new 'service'. I do know the complaints do all get 'categorised' and when there enough about certain issues and issues that are change-able within the scheme of things they are addressed.

I think it is crazy to have a pack of sunflower seeds on a BCN flight. Fine, for a AMS/CDG/MAN/MCL/BRU/DUS/FRA its perfect. Anything longer and its not enough.

Likewise that awful new second service Club afternoon tea (or breakfast on overnight flights) being offered on longhaul. Guys, if you think the offering is a joke, please please ask for a comments card, put pen to paper and complain. Give us back the card and we will be more than happy to forward them on. Some of the offerings in our long haul premium cabins are becoming embarassing to serve to people paying a lot for their ticket.


User currently offline02hilliert From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2007, 516 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (4 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 6009 times:



Quoting BAStew (Reply 7):
As Nethkt mentions all British Airways flights in Barcelona (and Madrid) are handled by Iberia on the ground. Without sounding like I want to 'pass the buck' the general feedback is that Ibera ground staff are not quite as customer focused as what you may find at BA.

I am a long-time fan of BA, and fly with them as often as possible. I do however work for a different airline, who's handling in Spain is also carried out by Iberia, and I have found them to be next to useless from a customer service point of view. Clearly, passengers should expect at least the simplest of assistance during a delay, and I'm confident that should this incident have happened at a large BA base (LHR, LGW or JFK) then it would have been handled somewhat differently.

Quoting Grh1967 (Thread starter):
When we did finally board the flight (still no apology or announcement from ground staff) we were served only sunflowers seeds & raisins by the crew & then the cabin lights were turned off. Many passengers had come to the airport for an evening departure without dinner & this paltry offering added insult to injury! My brother & his wife had flown two weeks earlier on BA to join us on a forty minute flight to Amsterdam & even on that short sector they were served a bacon sandwich, so how come we get sunflowers seeds for a 3hour delayed service?

I'm pretty confident that this would be the service you were expecting when you made the booking? It is unlikely that BA would pick up catering in BCN at all, so I'm not sure where you expect a meal service to arrive from given that the aircraft would have left Heathrow not expecting to have to divert, and with no intention of picking up catering in Spain.

I expect BA have a standard response in these situations to hand out meal vouchers to delayed passengers, however when their flights are being handled by Iberia, then it is somewhat in the lap of the God's whether these are distributed or not. I'm not saying that this is right, and perhaps BA need to review their agreements with IB, but perhaps the harsh "jump the gun" attitude you have is a bit over the top.



Next Up: Back to the US - Charlotte & Kansas City
User currently offlineShamrock604 From Ireland, joined Sep 2007, 4161 posts, RR: 13
Reply 9, posted (4 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 5797 times:



Quoting 02hilliert (Reply 8):
I do however work for a different airline, who's handling in Spain is also carried out by Iberia, and I have found them to be next to useless from a customer service point of view.

Most airlines that do handling of other airline's flights tend to do an awful job. IB and KL being two major examples. The only time something like the above has ever happened me as a pax was on an EI flight handled by KL at Amsterdam. We were 4 hours delayed due to crew rotation and no one told us a thing, no gate agents to tell us anything or offer any help, and no offer of anything food or drink wise.

To be fair to EI, once on board, the usual buy on board offer was provided for free (within reason!) and they could not have been more apologetic, especially when they heard the b*lls KL had made of it in the terminal. Again, if it was a KL flight, or an IB flight at BCN, the story would have been completely different.



Flown EI,FR,RE,EIR,VE,SI,TLA,BA,BE,BD,VX,MON,AF,YS,WX,KL,SK,LH,OK,OS,LX,IB,LTU,HLX,4U,SU,CO,DL,UA,AC,PR,MH,SQ,QF, EY, EK
User currently offlineGrh1967 From Australia, joined Apr 2008, 4 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (4 years 6 months 4 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 4874 times:

Thanks for all the feedback whether you agreed with my complaint or not.

I do worry that passengers do now accept sub service standards from so called full service airlines just because they are handled by either a service partner or handling agent. When passengers book a full service carrier over a LCC they should have the right to expect a higher level of service.

I have worked in the travel industry for over twenty five years & with a full service carrier on the ground for more than twenty, so I feel I have a fair idea of what goes on in the event of delay handling. From my own experience I know when there is a delay we are all hands on deck, & as for the Station Manager (especially if he is the only empolyee directly employed byu the airline due to outsourcing) then he/she does not have a homelife in a delay situation

On this trip I was traveling as a full commercial passenger at the end of a fantastic holiday & I acknowledge that maybe my expectaions were to high as an insider as to how a delay should be handled.

However the fact remains that I would not have even taken the time to write this blog had BA at least had the decency to reply to my complaint in the first place especially as they bother to send a generic reply saying how my feed back is important.

Would I have booked differnetly had I know that BA had no representation at BCN, probably not..... however at the end of the day when you feel a situation could have been handled better you should highlight it to the service provider regardless of the industry so that they have an opportunity to imporve on handling procedures in the future


User currently offlineShamrock604 From Ireland, joined Sep 2007, 4161 posts, RR: 13
Reply 11, posted (4 years 6 months 4 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 4804 times:



Quoting Grh1967 (Reply 10):
However the fact remains that I would not have even taken the time to write this blog had BA at least had the decency to reply to my complaint in the first place especially as they bother to send a generic reply saying how my feed back is important.

Would I have booked differnetly had I know that BA had no representation at BCN, probably not..... however at the end of the day when you feel a situation could have been handled better you should highlight it to the service provider regardless of the industry so that they have an opportunity to imporve on handling procedures in the future

I absolutely agree it was appalingly handled. The delay I can understand in the first place however, so I do understand your cause for complaint.

It should be done better than this. Alas though, full service airlines are forced to compete with LCC's, and sadly, it is costly elements like on site representation at outstations that tend to be compromised.



Flown EI,FR,RE,EIR,VE,SI,TLA,BA,BE,BD,VX,MON,AF,YS,WX,KL,SK,LH,OK,OS,LX,IB,LTU,HLX,4U,SU,CO,DL,UA,AC,PR,MH,SQ,QF, EY, EK
User currently offlineShamrock321 From Ireland, joined May 2008, 1596 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (4 years 6 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 4670 times:

One thing Ive learned as a PSA is that in the event of a flight/baggage delay its best to tell the truth and to do it quickly. If people know there will be a delay they will react much better to it than if they are just left waiting not knowing. Even of the news is bad, its better to get it out in the open.

User currently offlineBaexecutive From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 733 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (4 years 6 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 4558 times:



Quoting Grh1967 (Reply 10):
I do worry that passengers do now accept sub service standards from so called full service airlines just because they are handled by either a service partner or handling agent. When passengers book a full service carrier over a LCC they should have the right to expect a higher level of service.

I couldn't agree with you more, handling agents performance should be closely monitored by the airlines, where a training need/issue is highlighted then it should be acted on and resolved.

Quoting Grh1967 (Reply 10):
However the fact remains that I would not have even taken the time to write this blog had BA at least had the decency to reply to my complaint in the first place especially as they bother to send a generic reply saying how my feed back is important.

British Airways places great store on the feedback it receives from its customers so hopefully if enough people bring issues like this up then the airline can act on them. I honestly do not know what has happened in this instance however I very much doubt the lack of response was in any way intentional.

Quoting Grh1967 (Thread starter):
we were served only sunflowers seeds & raisins by the crew & then the cabin lights were turned off. Many passengers had come to the airport for an evening departure without dinner & this paltry offering added insult to injury!

This is standard catering for this flight and as it was/is the airlines priority to get you to your destination as quickly as possible I don't think it would have been practical/possible to upload catering for this flight. Hopefully the complimentary drinks that are offered on all flights made your journey go that little bit faster!

All in all I think its important to highlight issues like this but I do feel you've been a bit unfair in expecting dining at the ritz when you got onboard.

You mentioned that the price difference between BA and the LCC was minimal, just out of interest did you factor in the 'hidden charges' in this equation?


Jason


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