10 cm snow in London. BA collapses, BAA does too

Discussion in 'British Airways | Executive Club' started by jbcarioca, Feb 4, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I was on a LHR-DME flight today that stayed at the gate for more than two hours and was eventually cancelled because, according to the captain, there was not enough deicing equipment to go around.

    All the passenger were told to go to customs and baggage claim, then there would be a hotel and they'd "do rebooking tomorrow". Despite elite status and club world ticket there was no budging; they would not even look at flight schedules. The bags never arrived, so nobody knows where they are.
    No single human being from BA was anywhere in evidence once we were shunted off to Immigration.

    Luckily I called AA who rebooked me on another flight. We'll see if my bag ever appears. The mess is substantial, BA has cancelled about 1/3 of their flights, mostly short ones.

    Thank my lucky stars I had booked through aa.com ratehr than BA.
    Now to find out about tomorrow...oops, later today.

    The weatehr they cannot do much about. The snow was predicted but BA was completely unprepared. When I left there were hundreds of people milling around and nobody was helping them.
    There were some hotel vouchers lying around so I gave them to a few passengers and took one myself. At least I am in a Crowne Plaza at BA expense, whether they know it or not I do not know.
     
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  2. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    10 centimeters? They need some consultants from Denver, it seems...
     
  3. Jeff the Wanderer

    Jeff the Wanderer Silver Member

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    I once sat on a plane for 6 hours at JFK due to snow. This was back when there was food in coach and they fed us both scheduled meals and the alcohol was flowing. Ended up taking us back off the plane and putting us up in hotels because "due to a mechanical issue, we can not take off with more than two inches of snow." My buddy and I finally got 3 out of 4 bags about two weeks later. Never saw the fourth. Great way to start our study abroad program in Copenhagen. Hope your luck is a bit better with the luggage.
     
  4. TheTravelAbstract

    TheTravelAbstract Silver Member

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    All I have to say is I'm glad Arsenal had an early game and got 7 magisterial goals before the snow.

    Also snow sucks in NYC Airports too. Icy roads knocked out the Turnpike stranding all the FA on my flight. Had to wait hours for them to show up.

    To their credit they still provided stellar service on the flight.

    Thanks. That is all.
     
  5. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    Ah this is the bad old BA at its Dilbertian worst.

    Nice move, to grab the voucher and use it!

    What is amazing is not that such chaos happens, nor that BA are incompetent when it does.

    It's the torrent of abuse from BA apologists directed at those who dare to call this a service failure and who have the temerity to expect more. They find all sorts of amazing reasons why it's the customer's fault to expect service recovery and why it's totally impossible to solve.

    Why couldn't you have been rerouted same day on e.g. OY or even IB or perhaps SU?

    American - not just AA - customer service is better in these situations. Possibly even AF are now better than BA.

    Change will not come until the customers stand up to BA. Like this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r7wHMg5Yjg

    Muahaha!
     
  6. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Once again my reaction is that four inches of snow at LHR is not an unprecedented event. There is no excuse for BA and BAA not to be prepared. It is not rocket science to keep a reasonable inventory of de-icer fluid in stock and available. Nor does it require an MBA to call staff into work in advance of a predicted major problem and have them stay near the airport until the mess is cleaned up. Call centers can be set up to route calls to staff home lines when people are unable to come into work; surely some employees have computers and internet connections that could be used to help some customers from home, even if this is not ideal, although increasingly call centers are staffed by some fraction of work-at-home folks. I understand that pilots and FAs should not be forced to work many extra hours due to safety considerations, but others including supervisors and managers should be visible and helping. Unemployment can be the right outcome if someone is not willing to pitch in and help stranded customers.

    It drives me crazy when distressed and stranded visitors are sent land side knowing full well that there will be no staff to help them. This is far worse than making up something on the phone to end the call.
     
  7. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I agree and the aftermath of this one is shaping up to be another disaster for BAA and BA. BA did not allocate extra staff to call centers, nor balance calls with unaffected geographies, much less allocate enough people to do rebooking once the cancellations were known. and the list goes on...

    BAA has brand new snowmoving equipment but could not keep runways in use consistently. In fact they and BA teamed to cancel flights, including most of them today, without any direct requirement, but to avoid having delays. better cancellations than delays??? That is what they actually said publicly in an interview with the CEO of BAA.

    It is still not possible to get BA on the telephone, nor is it possible to print a boarding card or select a seat. Tomorrow will also be a real mess...

    Memo to self: Never, ever fly BA again. Never!
     
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  8. milchap
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    milchap Gold Member

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    Good luck.
     
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  9. Toula
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    Toula Gold Member

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    I'm due to fly BA to LHR next Sunday so have my fingers crossed the weather improves before then. I would prefer if there is any possibility that the flights are going to be delayed/cancelled meaning we will miss our connecting flights that they tell us before we get to the airport as I would rather not go at all than spend days at the airport arguing.
     
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  10. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I am comfortable now. BA refused to provide a hotel for the second night (they claim they'll reimburse it) so I am ensconced comfortably in the newly refurbished Hilton T4. Oddly, BTW, with my corporate discount and cheap, while they are selling the remaining rooms to other strandees for GBP320 (the amount I was quoted before calling the US call center to book).

    Tomorrow, we'll see. There are an estimated 35,000 strandees in the area counting airports and trains, according to a radio report. That sounds far too many people to me, but what do I know?
     
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  11. milchap
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    milchap Gold Member

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    Hindsight is always great ;) ......but could you have booked another route to avoid Europe.
     
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  12. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I just found out a new and improved BA solution to crowding problems. They are not permitting OLCI for my new, new flight tomorrow because of "crowded airport conditions and booking issues". If i understand they are eliminating the OLCI during the present situation in an effort to reduce pressures. Up is down; black is white; automation is inefficient while airport queues are pleasant and efficient. Come to think of it, George orwell would have approved. This is just a few decades late.
     
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  13. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I almost took EK but decided to save a few hundred dollars. Bad decision! I could have gone through CDG, FRA, MAD or AMS also. So many better options!
     
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  14. milchap
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    milchap Gold Member

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    :eek:......they must have taken a page from Air Canada's manual dealing with weather IROPS.
     
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  15. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Why Europe? LH doesn't seem to have any major problems in FRA (judging by their website, which only mentions problems with flights to/from LHR, and some google news searches).

    Besides, should every traveler avoid all of Europe during the winter months? After all, winter means a decent chance of snow and ice. That's not a new thing.
     
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  16. The Saint
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    The Saint Silver Member

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    All you manage to demonstrate with posts like that is what an inexperienced traveller you must be.
     
  17. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Please elaborate.

    (or should I say: keep digging)
     
  18. milchap
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    milchap Gold Member

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    You have no idea how experienced this traveller is.... I can attest that this person is an expert flyer.
     
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  19. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Not so much inexperienced as incapable of learning from experience. FRA almost never has these problems, CDG is not that good but they have many fewer than LHR, AMS is usually smooth.

    Maybe it is inexperience; I quit flying BA because of this and then decided to be OW loyal. Only inexperience or incompetence can justify a decision like that.
     
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  20. YULtide

    YULtide Gold Member

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    "The world's favourite airline." :eek:
     
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  21. YULtide

    YULtide Gold Member

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    Take a snow shovel and a (100 ml) bottle of deicing fluid. :D
     
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  22. FlyIce

    FlyIce Silver Member

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    "Possibly" means that you're not certain of that, either because you don't fly AF or you don't fly BA.

    To give you idea of how bad is AF customer care, I witnessed a flight leave half empty during a strike and it was the first to that destination in three days and it had a long queue of wannabe pax ready to check-in and board. Most of them were refused check-in; I was allowed since I already had a bording pass because I was in transit.
     
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  23. nime01
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    nime01 Gold Member

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    jbcarioca, sorry to hear about your troubles in London on your way to DME. Last time LHR was hit with snow, they were totally unprepared, and there was a lot of consequences for those responsible. They seem to have learned nothing. Strange though, that airports like HEL, ARN & OSL stay open most of the year, even though they get a lot more snow than LHR.

    It might have helped if you had one of these bag tags? (found it today).

    IMG_1834x.jpg
     
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  24. PanAm
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    PanAm Silver Member

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    To Fly. To Strand.

    What a mess, hope you eventually get on your way!
     
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  25. TrippePanAM

    TrippePanAM Gold Member

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    nice, it never fails, Snow Paralizes the UK
     
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