BA Executive Club Nightmares

Discussion in 'British Airways | Executive Club' started by mahertali, Oct 30, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. mahertali

    mahertali New Member

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    Started a brief blog about my (horrible) experiences with BA's Customer Service...they pride themselves on being the most rewarding club with the best service, but in all reality they are falling behind even American airlines (all American ones, not just AA) in terms of frequent flyer programmes. And their customer service is horrendous. Still not received a response to any of my complaints, all of which are listed here: http://www.badialogues.tumblr.com Feel free to send me any more to put up!
     
  2. The Saint
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    The Saint Silver Member

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    In summary... Dad does DYKWIA and fails to get upgrade. Service centre opening hours cause inconvenience (but that has recently been changed). C0ck up with booking that is BA's fault. Mistakes happen. And the point of the blog is what?
     
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  3. Globaliser
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    Globaliser Silver Member

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    To me, these are the most telling lines:-
    They look like they come straight out of the training for dealing with aggressive/abusive customers. And if that's what the agents perceived, it's unsurprising that the OP didn't get much joy from them. I think there's a saying about it always being easier to trap flies with honey than vinegar.
     
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  4. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    These mostly seem pretty normal, and not at all horrible. You asked for employee names and numbers when they did as you asked rather than grovel for your contibued business? What did you expect?
     
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  5. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    I agree, and, after reading as much as I could take, I conclude that mahertali just needs to wake up and not take things for granted. Ask questions before ANY purchase or redemption. I hate to say this, and considering it appears I'm from a different culture, the writer sounds a little 'spoiled'. Might just be my perception, but where I come from (upper middle class NY), things sound a little different. Not a hater, but a realist.
     
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  6. EZEIZA
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    EZEIZA Silver Member

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    Your stories seem to be about wanting the rules changed just to suit your family.

    The opening Blog paragraph telling us "after years of painful loyalty and threats to end the relationship" plus "I'm normally much more mature about break-ups" are like quotes taken from a Barbara Cartland novel.
     
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  7. mahertali

    mahertali New Member

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    Thanks! I was going for ultra-cheesy romance novel writing there. Actually, I'm not a great writer and clearly have not illustrated these stories well. Or, the readers have bizarre standards.

    I don't want BA to change the rules for my family. I do want them to live up to the name of having 'the most rewarding rewards club,' though. (And I forgot to include that my dad checked up with BA before making the booking to confirm a $75 booking fee only).

    I'm not abusive, nor am I aggressive. I have never used language or raised my voice on the phone, perhaps sounded exasperated once at their mistake.

    I've always said Americans have exceptional customer service, especially compared to the Middle East, where the concept does NOT exist, but with airlines, it's the other way around (most of these calls happened with BA's US lines). The airline industry in the US (and increasingly in Europe) is one of the most outdated, badly run, terribly serviced ones in the world.

    I'm not one to think that paying exorbitant fares entitles me to be a brat, believe me. But I'm also not one to believe that paying those exorbitant fares does mean I shouldn't be taken for granted. I'm not spoiled, but maybe having grown up in and now having worked in the service industry, I just have higher standards of what is acceptable. If a client of mine with a significant history were to say they wanted out, I would do everything I could to try and remedy the situation. If I'm representing a loyalty club, I would especially make sure my clients are satisfied.

    I've been lucky enough to fly with over 45 different airlines, and I can honestly say (maybe with the exception of AeroFlot) that BA has given the worst customer service I've ever experienced.

    Maybe I should just learn a lesson and suck it up with the inconvenience of flying a less direct route.

    Funny, the same stories shared on panels in the Middle East and Far East got much better responses.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2013
  8. Globaliser
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    Globaliser Silver Member

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    Then BA could have pulled the original call to check this, and done so while he was on the phone to them. This is frequently done, and there are repeated reports that if the recording shows that someone was given duff information, BA will acknowledge that and solve the problem accordingly.
    This is one of those things that will always be in the eye (or ear) of the beholder. And the lines which I quoted above seem to show quite clearly that - rightly or wrongly - that is what the agents perceived during their conversations with you.

    And if that is what they perceived, it is wholly unsurprising that they weren't prepared to do anything special for you.
    I don't know the make-up of those panels, but could it be that their members don't deal often with BA phone agents?

    I do read accounts like yours from time to time, and I don't recognise them from my own interactions with BA phone agents. They're not perfect and they do make mistakes. And some simply won't accept that they're wrong. But IME the tone is never like this, nor have I found it this difficult to get a satisfactory resolution of a problem.

    Indeed, more than once they have volunteered that they're happy to do X or Y for me because I'm a valued Gold / Silver member, without my ever having mentioned that as a negotiating tactic or pressure point. In fact, it's something that I simply would not do: "Do you know how long I've been a loyal customer of yours?" seems to me to be one of the most crass things it is possible to say on the phone.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2013
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  9. mahertali

    mahertali New Member

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    I've had them pull up phone conversations, admit their mistake, and still not do anything about it. I also hate resorting to saying 'do you know how long I've been a member?' but you know what, at some point that question has to be asked, because they should really take it into account. It is (or should be) part of their loyalty to us in return for our loyalty to them.

    I see absolutely no defence for letting a 25-year member cancel their account without even once questioning why they are doing so, or without asking why they are so upset. That situation occurred without my losing my temper, when I simply said, 'You know, that's okay. I'm tired of this. Just cancel my account. I don't need it anymore.'

    I also only ran it by panels that included BA customers during some research a friend's company was doing for airline satisfaction. If there are other clubs and airlines out there, with which I have similar interactions but with much better outcomes, and get much more for my loyalty, then I think it's pretty telling of BA's standards. I'd happily accept that my attitude was wrong if I faced it with every airline I went to. Not the case.
     
  10. Globaliser
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    Globaliser Silver Member

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    Here you set it out in a nutshell once again. You're not seeing that they're probably letting the member cancel their account without question precisely because they're coming across as so upset. What's the point of even engaging someone like that? That's exactly why the training will suggest a response like "It's your decision, sir."

    Frankly, telling the phone agent that you're cancelling your BAEC account is the frequent flyer equivalent of a 6-year old stamping their feet and shouting "not fair". It's utterly pointless, unless it's being used as some sort of immature (and useless) bargaining chip. And anyone who's dealt with 6-year olds having tantrums will know that giving in to such emotional blackmail just leads to more such behaviour in the future.

    If you were really fed up with BA to the point of wanting no more to do with them, the mature thing would be to politely end the conversation, put the phone down, and never have anything to do with the airline again. (Yes, I have done that too.) The foot-stamping and shouting is just attention-seeking nonsense - and one might perhaps be forgiven for thinking that your blog is likewise.
     
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  11. evanderm

    evanderm Silver Member

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    If the "Protecting our revenue" post is quoted verbatim, it is a bit of a misguided rant to the agent who was following proper procedure. BA are not EK and you shouldn't expect policies of other airlines to be applied to BA. I can understand that you're upset that BA don't act the same or offer the same services for their FF programme as EK but that's been their decision. Trying to convince the agents to do something else just because EK do it or by virtue of your gold status will not help in that matter and comes across as petty, whilst I agree that reward availability on BA is disappointing. You have a choice in airline and clearly if you want waitlisting and some of the other things you desire through that post you should fly an airline that offers them.

    I've also never heard of Lifetime Platinum status with BA for that matter. BA do have the Premier card which is awarded to ultra-high value customers who are of severe commercial importance to BA. Think travel managers or CEOs of companies that spend upwards of 7-8 figures (GBP) a year on travel with BA. There are definitely more than 1 per region. Even this, I understand, is not a lifetime thing and every applicant has to be approved by the board. Frankly, if it was offered to your father (which I seriously doubt) he is a fool for not taking it.
     
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  12. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    I read some of the linked blog. If the conversations there are reported accurately, it seems to be an unusual confluence of over-entitled customers and poor customer service.
     
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  13. EZEIZA
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    EZEIZA Silver Member

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    I couldn't agree more.
    These type of Blogs to attract attention are ten a penny.........anyone can start one and fill them with nonsense.
     
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  14. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    Well, the BA apologists are out in force...nice to see normality restored after Monday's "mega-storm" at LHR :D

    It is true that BA CS sucks rocks and BA CSRs are even more intransigent than Dutch politicians - who, after all, repealed the Schiphol eco-tax when KL intimated moving Schiphol East to DUS. BA CS OTOH, well...it cannot change until the Dilbertian corporate culture is reformed, but because this Dilbertian culture has roots in deeper British cultural practices and cannot self-transform, it will not happen until Michael O'Leary takes it over.

    But we all know this. I must ask why the OP expected any different in light of numerous other experiences documented by all except BA apologists :rolleyes:

    OTOH, the OP might have handled this differently. If people like jbc don't get any consideration from BA when in paid F on irop, then calibrating - lowering - expectations would have helped blood pressure.
     
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  15. mahertali

    mahertali New Member

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    The lifetime platinum membership was discontinued, much like AA's Lifetime First Class ticket. Now they have the lifetime memberships and corporate ones you mention, but this was something they used to do some years ago, in very limited quantities. A Saudi prince got it instead. My dad still has the papers.

    I was verbally aggressive in some cases, but never in tone and only ever when they were rude to me first. The woman who told me it was my decision was shockingly rude from the start, both in tone and in words. I could hang up and go to another airline, which I've now done for the most part, but I just have some weird connection to brands I'm loyal to. It's not really personal (I couldn't care less if they know who I am), it's just that I genuinely feel upset when a brand I like, support and have invested in goes down in quality and service...and more so when they refuse to acknowledge it.

    I may sound like a privileged, entitled customer to you guys, and that doesn't bother me. I have no sense of entitlement apart from paying for a service and expecting a minimum standard. Qatar Airways lost my bags for two days and on top of giving me a stipend on the spot and amenities, gave me bonus miles for the inconvenience without my asking. Turkish Airlines bumped me off a flight and upgraded me on the next one because of it, again without my asking. Emirates forgot to send a car to pick my parents up once. They just took a taxi, didn't complain, but when asked how their ride to the airport was, simply said that it never came. They were given miles to make up for it. Cathay once had a problem with one of the economy seats entertainment systems, and since the cabin was full, they upgraded me, apologised, and gave me 10,000 miles. I booked WT Plus with BA once, and the same thing happened. Instead of upgrading me, they put me back to economy. I didn't complain, but I did ask customer service afterwards if I might be refunded the difference in miles for that leg of the flight. Nothing. I don't think it's in bad form to pursue that a little, and still, nothing. Holding BA to those standards isn't fair, but some airlines go way above and beyond what is expected, and BA just barely does the minimum anymore. My friends, family and I grew up on BA and we were the last to leave them. If you go to the same store over and over again, you hope for some sort of acknowledgement of that relationship. Certainly I try to do what I can for clients that come back to our hotels repeatedly.
     
  16. mahertali

    mahertali New Member

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    -- what does this mean?

    But thanks haha. I have adjusted my expectations drastically. I'm just too emotional with airlines and hotels, but they aren't my significant other...I finally realised that.
     
  17. Globaliser
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    Globaliser Silver Member

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    There are plenty of reports of BA doing similar things for its customers. I've had similar experiences from BA personally.

    So other airlines have done this for you? Big deal.
    It's funny how the truth will out, eventually.

    So I'm still unsurprised that you got no joy. If I were a phone agent, even if I were initially minded to try to help someone, that would instantly evaporate the moment the customer started to throw their weight around.
     
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  18. mahertali

    mahertali New Member

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    Don't take it out of context. If their goodwill and courtesy can evaporate the second I throw my weight around, which I don't, then mine can certainly evaporate the second they show me attitude.

    I just hope I'm not in a service scenario with any of you, if you think it's okay for an agent to say, unprovoked, 'this doesn't work for me' and 'nobody wins' when they're supposed to be correcting their own error, or 'we have no proof what you say happened, happened' when a) customer is always right and b) his colleague just pulled up the call and noted their mistake and my change.

    And this is why I'm finally done with BA. Because nobody there ever chooses to acknowledge their shortcomings. Not at all a customer-oriented business any longer.
     
  19. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    jbc = @jbcarioca, board member. Frequent BA flyer - multi-year GE. An experienced frequent flyer of international airlines, just like, well anyway...

    http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/is-ba-really-that-bad.68240/

    Posts #3 and #7.

    Note also the classically Dilbertian progression in the thread, with Nigellian apologists taking umbrage at being impungned - a tactic they use quite often themselves on other threads against thos with the temerity to criticize BA - and reacting like army ants on the Orinoco rainforest floor to criticism of BA service delivery.

    It now occurs to me that you might not know the origin of the Dilbertian description or how often this exact debate occurs. So, try this:

    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/british-airways-executive-club/1166426-ba-spiral-10.html

    The genesis of that thread is very typical - OP complains about BA service letdown, is assaulted, becomes puzzled why so many shout her/him down on this board (#10), and so on. You will see cultural analysis is provided to connect BA's corporate philosophy with wider societal currents.

    Hmm...I see the flailing speech-controllers censored SRG too.
     
  20. Globaliser
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    Globaliser Silver Member

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    No, if you really were "finally done" with BA, you wouldn't still be making a song and dance about it.

    Go on, tell us: What are you still trying to achieve from these immoderate and unbalanced rants?
     
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  21. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    I don't know what the OP is trying to achieve....but it's useful to read of actual experiences with BA CS. Epic fail is unsurprising. It's true the OP may have contributed to localized meltdown but the fact remains that the irop and its aftermath could easily have been handled better.

    As for "immoderate" and "unbalanced," the OP will find these descriptors are classic BA techniques designed in an Orwellian manner to delegitimize the complainant and the complaints. To use their own vocabulary, these adjectives are "hyperbolic."

    As for me, what could be better? I am enjoying a classic discussion with the Dilbertian BA apologists about BA's service failure. These events are legion - as the OP would know if he/she spent more time reading these boards - and the reactions that the OP chronicles, including the differential tone of response between the message on MP and other boards that are more heavily ME/Asia based, are so very predictable. The tenor of the BA defenders is also habitual and comical (BA can do no wrong, blame the customer for complaining, for the dashed temerity to be johnny furriner and fail to understand and excuse BA's customer-hostile, dismissive corporate culture, etc.).

    It is most entertaining of all to do all this while driving down the M6 in the rainstorms and stopping periodically to check in here and read the apologism.

    Now I on the other hand have just enjoyed one of the better aspects of Avios, which is its intra-EU redemption, via LON - it is convenient, a good deal, provides lots of options to the near Continent especially in early Nov and incorporates a useful stopover. The redemption itself is good, however, it is BA via LHR therefore I expect irop and poor handling so I build substantial time buffers into these itins. My expectations are reasonable and don't include EK First reaccommodation, however, it's possible BA can confound even these limited goals.
     
  22. cc1972

    cc1972 Silver Member

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    Not taking any sides here, but just wanted to say that I did ask for that kind of thing many years ago from AC when they had their own travel agency (destina.ca), but somehow they couldn't find my original call, so I ended up paying a few hundred dollars more for my car rental for something that was supposed to be included, and which the agent on the phone had told me a few times would not be charged extra (because I asked a few times to make sure). Just to say OP was lucky he could do it, but that you can't always get your phone call recording to back you up . . . unless you record it yourself I guess. ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013
  23. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Jbc's experience is a clear illustration of Ba's failings. With 1 or 2 exceptions this is more along the lines of business as usual.
     

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