British Airways chief attacks Heathrow boss for 'ripping off passengers'

Discussion in 'British Airways | Executive Club' started by sobore, Oct 1, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/sep/24/british-airways-chief-attacks-heathrow-boss

    The boss of Britain's biggest airline has accused Heathrow of ripping off passengers and employing too many overpaid staff, calling for the airport's chief executive to be replaced.

    Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways' parent company IAG, said the airport was planning to raise prices by £600m over five years while cutting spending on facilities.

    In a strident denunciation of the London airport's "abusive monopoly", Walsh said that Heathrow's boss, Colin Matthews, had been "pathetic" in trying to make a political argument linking higher airport charges to Britain's need for more overseas investment.

    With the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) scheduled to rule on the fees that Heathrow can charge airlines, Walsh warned the regulator not to be "hoodwinked" again, and to correct its mistakes of the recent past which Walsh said involved Heathrow being "grossly over-rewarded".

    Walsh said Heathrow's management seemed "incapable of running their business efficiently within a routine cost-control environment". He added: "What we see is an airport that has too many people; those people are paid too much."

    Read More: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/sep/24/british-airways-chief-attacks-heathrow-boss
     
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  2. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    Not that Mr. Walsh doesn't have a point....LHR is a center of the ripoff universe, in many ways. No doubt, there are plenty of overpaid, underfunctional BAA employees. "BAA" is right. Not MOO, but B-AA-AAA-AA....

    However. POT. KETTLE. BLACK.

    Talk about bandits who rip people off and don't deliver service! BA is the worst of all. They don't just overcharge - they void people's tickets, without telling them and without refunding them.

    BA voided their sectors on my RGN ticket - without informing me. This was unlike even LX who brazenly stated they were voiding the ticket and did so in writing.

    BA voided one of my F sectors without telling me. JL confirmed this in writing - after managing to obtain a reinstatement from BA after the first voiding, they were unable to compel BA the second time - several months later. The only reason I was aware of this is that I checked my res on BA.COM and sector disappeared. JL plated, so I contacted JL. After researching, JL obtained a reinstatement...followed, a month later, by another reneging. This time, after I complained - again - JL were unable to obtain a reinstatement and informed me categorically, in writing, BA had done this again.

    What was classic, super-sneaky and worse than just Dilbertian was the way this was done with no notice, with the intent of stranding pax downroute in the most inconvenient way possible and then pretending BA had no involvement. And - no refund. This is disgraceful conduct, to say the least.

    Well, I don't roll over and take this. Least of all from BA. The Canadian Transportation Agency has the matter under complaint review. If they compel LX to reinstate, then this case is much worse because of the lack of notice, multiple voidings and clear punitive intent, demonstrated by the secrecy with which BA voided these sectors. They deserve what they will get, which I hope will include a fine or other sanctions for their misconduct.

    So. He condones deceptive practice within his own organization.

    Therefore, I have no truck with his complaining about LHR. In fact, I also hope his operation will experience legal enforcement. They deserve it. Meantime, they deserve to deal with the LHR bandits, ripping them off and increasing their cost base without delivering service. I would say, welcome, buddy to the the club - except that at
    least BA have to play their feuds out with BAA in the open and BAA isn't as easy to ripoff as the customers!

    Evidence shows that BA thinks it operates above the laws protecting consumers in different countries (handling of the 2009 DEL misfile, contributing to 14.CFR 399.88, and the Mirko Fischer discrimination case, for instance), so I enjoy Mr. Walsh's discomfiture when he feels BAA fails to deliver.... :)
     
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  3. The Saint
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    The Saint Silver Member

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    Mistake fare. Who's ripping off whom is the question.
     
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  4. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    Hmmm... "mistake fare".... what's that? As you know by now, for commercial air carriers there's no such thing as a "mistake" fare under US DoT law. Those who publish the fares and sell tickets, take full responsibility for honoring them. Or are held accountable for reneging if they do otherwise. It is not up to customers to determine what might, or might not, be a "mistake."

    Consumers - me included - can only buy what is offered for sale, by companies who control the pricing and distribution of their product. How exactly a consumer can "rip off" an airline under these conditions? It's a risible concept. If the airline offers fares it decides later not to honor, then the airline is either incompetent or mendacious. Maybe both. Either way, it must be held to account for its own decisions/actions.

    This makes sense, for one thing it's consistent with broader consumer protection law (iPad vendors/advertised car specials etc.) Otherwise, any and all fares can be defined as "mistakes" - ex post, and if the law accepts this weaseling, all tickets could be voided up to the moment of departure. And the evidence from my case - and previous - shows that BA would love to do this all the time and how the company needs to be held to account by legal system to ensure it honors its own contracts of sale. BA is not a reliable company which can be expected to honor its sale of tickets.

    Even in Canada, recent developments with the LX case show that having such verbiage in a secret CoC - no doubt, something BA themselves admire as an example of commercial acumen - doesn't excuse companies from respecting principles of consumer rights.

    This example demonstrates how BA's own corporate execs find all kinds of "rationalizations" to justify their unacceptable behavior. They are schooled by and promoted within a Dilbertian culture indeed, as we know from before. It is good when they are held to account.

    In this respect BA might be what others call :p mejor en su clase :p
     
  5. The Saint
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    The Saint Silver Member

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    Let's have less of the hyperbole and some straight answers.

    If an airline offers a trans-Pacific first class return for $10 all in, it is a mistake. Plain and simple. Anyone who suggests that they thought it was genuine is lying. Plain and simple.

    Now step away from US consumer protection law (for the moment). Even if this does suggest that the airline has to honour the fare (and the issue is not free from argument as others have found), the moral issue is plain. In that instance it is the customer ripping off the airline. There's no getting round it. Deep down it is just dishonest. It is like going to a garage sale, buying a box for $10 knowing that it contains a diamond ring. You are ripping off the hapless garage salesperson just as much as the person taking advantage of the mistake fare.

    Many people playing the mistake-fare-game justify this base dishonesty by ingenious arguments based around their own experience of not being allowed to change tickets when they have made a mistake. It's bluster, and flawed bluster at that. Others resort to the "big bad airline" justification for ripping them off. Others still will argue that all is fair in the exposure of the Dilbertian (sic). Greed makes people do terrible things.
     
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  6. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    I see BA apologism at its best...replete with the usual nasty name-calling, liar, dishonesty, etc. aimed at those with the temerity to expose BA's shady actions.

    N-i-i-c-e. Typical, though.

    To your points.

    Where is this "$10 TPAC return" and what relationship does it have to what BA sold me, exactly? Even if your premise of "obvious mistake" was tenable - it's not to me - but even if so, you don't seem to know anything at all about what I actually bought or how it relates to your example, yet your analogy is intended to support your accusations of "dishonesty" and lack of morality. Just FYI, my ticket involved no TPAC sector at all and was many multiples of $10. But don't let facts get in your way :)

    Vendors with complete pricing and distribution control i.e. airlines and their allies and agents, such as IATA, control the entire product chain and their prices must be reliable for all consumers. Otherwise, we have no market, anarchy reigns and all vendors can renege at any time without consequence. There are reasons why regulation has been imposed on markets for thousands of years.

    Your definition of "the" moral issue is debatable. I can't "rip off" a large airline that controls its supplier and distribution agreements. BA - as you know - are signatories to IATA and this fare was distributed under normal IATA protocols. No consumer had any role in setting the fare, or changing it, or otherwise "tampering" with it. It was made available via normal channels and purchased as such, exactly at the loaded and advertised price. A normal transaction.

    Your name-calling does not change that.

    Let's recap what happened after this purchase, absent the "liar" and "dishonest" accusations. I bought a ticket - as advertised - from a large OTA. BA were one of the vendors involved and written evidence documents their direct role in a secret and unilateral voiding. Twice. Once after JL had managed a reinstatement. The second secret voiding occurred two months after the original issue. The fact remains that a ticket was issued and that it was later arbitrarily reneged and the consumer was not informed by the agent of voiding on either occasion. All the excuses in the world don't change that. And no, that's not "lying" or "dishonest" - or the CTA would have dismissed this complaint on the grounds it was "dishonest" or "fabricated" or whatever. Their investigation continues.

    BA's conduct is reprehensible, unacceptable, and probably - as we shall see in due course - actionable. It is certainly under investigation by regulatory authoritierups.

    The snarling upper lip defenders of BA reach new levels. I have always wondered why anyone who challenges the BA entity is "dishonest" or a "liar" or morally bankrupt. Of course, some people believe Mirko Fischer had no chance, that BA's child-molester-designate seating policy was legally defensible under EU law, etc. They were wrong. As we all know.

    I will be happy if the CTA enforces this more severely than they do LX's conduct. Yes, BA really need to take the law seriously. This is a good reason I prefer living outside the UK, because consumer rights are taken more seriously than in the UK. There's also a culture of standing up for individual rights that in the UK has been long suppressed by defenders of various Dilbertian ideologies. The Nigels and Nigellas expect consumers to turn the stiff upper lip to their renegings. But, no.

    And no doubt, if BA were to do this to you, i.e. unilaterally and secretly void an issued and paid ticket, without refunding it, we would see a different view - so I'm doing you and all other BA flyers a favor by filing my case and ultimately, perhaps helping make this reneging a less likely event.

    I'd copy you on my email to Willie and Keith and Frank and their buddies, but I think it would cause hazard to your health by raising your blood pressure dangerously ;)
     
  7. The Saint
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    The Saint Silver Member

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    Your egocentricism is endearing, but misplaced. As you say, I know nothing about your transaction. I wasn't referring to your ticket. I was making general observations about mistake fares. The hypothetical example of the $10 fare was chosen deliberately to explore the issues. I conspicuously avoided discussion of any particular airline, because the point holds good whatever the airline. Tempting though it is to delve into your own issues - for example whether you honestly thought the ticket was not mistakenly priced - I shall resist on the grounds that I really don't care because it matters not to the points I have made.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2013
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  8. EZEIZA
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    EZEIZA Silver Member

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    A super reply.

    I've taken advantage of a mistake fare. Like the vast majority of mistake fares it was obvious to a blind monkey it had been misfiled yet some people deny this when it's not honoured by the airline which only makes them look complete idiots.
    I did feel somewhat guilty about it all however I played along with it and was fully prepared to accept the fact that it might be cancelled at any time. What gets on my goat are those who clearly seek and book these fares/hotel rooms with the sole intention of getting something out of it like points or miles if the company decides to cancel them. It's all become rather nasty although I shouldn't be surprised considering the type of people sites like this and FT are attracting nowadays.
     
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  9. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    By the same token, I credit you for your strong and unremitting Dilbertism and irrepressible BA apologism. "Misplaced," to use your word, indeed.... The Saint... "nobody does it better"...wait, that was 007. I enjoy our debates, although your attempts to have me censored behind closed doors are worthy of BA management themselves. They're also pointless because...this is the Internetz, and I can express myself here, or elsewhere. Expect it. Be ready for it. It amuses me when you fail to achieve the result of censorship and instead, we can have our debate. Much better for all of us. You too.

    Anyway, I agree with you on one point - it's a philosophical issue. However, I don't recognize consumer liability for any published fare, mistake or not. That's the vendor's responsibility in deed and law.

    Likewise @ EZEIZA, we have some areas of agreement. For example, I actually agree with the characterization of those who buy such fares expecting cancellation and hoping for points/comp/restitution of other kinds. Indeed.

    I don't waste time characterizing the RGN fare as "misfiled" or "mistake." It was published. I bought it. Via normal channels - PL.COM in fact. No skulduggery. Awareness, agility and readiness to swoop on the prey, perhaps.

    The big difference is, I don't book any fare expecting it to be reneged and then to get comp. I book it with the 100% purpose and intention of flying it as ticketed. Renegings prevent me from doing so and will be fought using legal channels. My first and primary request to the reneging airline is reinstatement as sold & ticketed. Not comp/points/miles. If they refuse, then other actions may need to be taken.

    Vendors need to stand by their product and the US DoT doctrine of 100% liability for published fares is clear and helpful. To the airlines too.
     
  10. The Saint
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    The Saint Silver Member

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    Nothing in your remarkable post requires a response, save this...

    Nonsense. I have made no effort to censor you "behind closed doors" or otherwise. Paranoia? In many instances, and yours is a case in point, letting people talk is the best way of demonstrating that what they have to say has no value. There is no need to resort to censorship.
     
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