Is BA really that bad?

Discussion in 'British Airways | Executive Club' started by guinnessxyz, Aug 9, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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    I don't see this as reflecting on BA. This could happen on any airline.
     
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  2. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I don't want to be argumentative but, not really. Most major airlines take good care of passengers during IRROPS. BA studiously avoids doing that. My last IRROP with BA I was paid F and I'm also OW Emerald (AA EXP+CK). BA did not arrange a hotel, did not provide an alternate and did not even answer the elite number nor did they do anything for the long queue of irritated F passengers. In the end AA EXP took care of rerouting and AA gave me compensation when BA refused to do so (really not true they never answered my letters, including a registered one and would not discuss the issue on the telephone). No other airline has been quite that poor IME.

    As for the maintenance issue, that probably was quite blown out of all proportion. Was it the same issue twice? Maybe, but lack of flaps does not make an emergency, even though they perhaps needed to dump fuel before landing. BA suffers from horrible customer service, but I doubt they have major issues with maintenance. Possibly I am incorrect about that.
     
  3. thesterlingtraveler

    thesterlingtraveler Gold Member

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    Without reading the article posted, I'll have to agree with this about IRROP with BA. I was transiting through LHR in Dec 2010 and flights were cancelled because of snow. BA literally gave up trying to help. They handed some travelers a letter basically saying that they cannot help at the airport and the travelers should try to book their own accommodations and send in with hopes to get reimbursed later. I had travel insurance so I didn't have to deal with BA
     
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  4. The Saint
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    The Saint Silver Member

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    Well I will offer a counter data-point to challenge the sweeping statement that "BA studiously avoids [taking good cate of passengers during IRROPS]". I was caught up in the 787 fire on the ground at LHR last month. My flight to AMS was cancelled. I was put up at the Sofitel at LHR and rebooked on the morning flight. No hassle at all. I'll also offer up a diversion to GLA on a LHR-bound 777 from BOS (due weather). The F pax were re-accommodated, efficiently, onto the last domestic service from GLA back to LHR. Again, no hassle and no fuss.

    I shall not go so far as to make exorbitant statements as to the conclusions that can be drawn from my two experiences, but with IRROPS how the airline can respond will be limited by a number of factors. Principally, what has gone wrong, why and where. Airlines are not miracle workers.
     
  5. Candy C

    Candy C Silver Member

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    IME experience, and yes I am a CCR card holder, BA have in the main looked after me at times of IRROPS. Now that may be down to status, or maybe not, but speaking as you find, they have looked after my family and I well over the years.

    "nor did they do anything for the long queue of irritated F passengers." - btw, I dont think I would call a maximum line of 14 people a long queue! YMMV
     
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  6. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    On my last event there were more than 100 FC passengers in the queue. I have no idea where you got 14 unless you're referring to the maximum possible BA F passengers on a single flight. Several flights were late and/or cancelled so the effects were cumulative. This one was not weather. I understand that some people have better experience than do others. I also understand that all experiences are not like mine. I understand status makes a difference. I have a fair amount of status, have been known to travel quite a lot and am very familiar with BA. IME, more than three decades worth, BA does fine if a single flight has an issue, LHR/LGW have no significant impediments, the passenger is in F, or even Club, and the customer service people are not irritated. Due to the single runway at LGW, overcrowding at LHR, weather and frequent labour issues those good conditions do not often prevail.

    The oddity to me is why there are so many BA passengers who deny or seem to deny the poor conditions for transit passengers, even though the deficiencies of BA and London airports have been well documented for decades. BA has never been noted for excellence in customer service, not even in Concorde, when that was around. I had more than 200 flights on BA Concorde, and was BA Gold for some time, so I do have a certain familiarity with things BA. I basically stopped flying BA when they A) dropped FC out of GIG and B) reached several IIROPS in a row without good services.

    To those who repeatedly suggest that all airlines have these problems I will offer only the following list of airlines on which I have flown enough to reached highest elite status are have not had an IRROP without good treatment: AA (as mentioned they've even fixed BA ticket problems for me); DL; LH; US; SU; KL; AF; IB. All of those I have flown at least 100,000 BIS miles during the last three years. Note taht even SU is on the list, as well as the widely denigrated AF and BA's stablemate IB.

    Many of the BA problems certainly relate to runway congestion. However, that excuse does not work for customer service failures, although it does for delays. SU has nasty weather and is famous for surly ground service but I have not had issues with them. As another person commented BA appears tom give up when weather is bad. Why? Several other airlines plan for these events. The famous 2010 event was forecast days in advance. Could not customer service have been active, even rebooking transit passengers to avoid the weather problem in London? Could they not have staffed to deal with the expected event? Where is their contingency planning?
     
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  7. Candy C

    Candy C Silver Member

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    I couldnt work out where you had got 100 or so F passengers from but understand now. I had taken it that it was a mechanical issue or some such.

    I do transit LHR frequently, I mainly use T5 though, so dont have to schlep through other terminals, so dont really recognise your issue (Prepares to be shot down) and dont have many transit issues.

    I am no, and I believe the word used is apologist, but IMO and experience I am well looked after. Conversely I have had poor experiences on AA ex LIM, MIA etc so I suppose no-one is perfect, you just have to take the overall experience as it suits you.
     
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  8. The Saint
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    The Saint Silver Member

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    I have held a Gold Card with BA for over 10 years. The arrival of Frank van der Post to BA some 2 years ago has made a significant difference to the airline's approach to customer service. The frequency with which you fly BA may mean that you haven't noticed the difference. I have. All CSDs now have iPads which both convey and record customer data, particularly service issues that have arisen. I am now contacted pro-actively when issues arise.

    Again, alternative experiences are available. US, in my experience, are an utter shambles in IRROPS. Thanks to their ludicrous upgrade culture, I found myself as a revenue F pax travelling in coach following a flight cancellation because all the F seats had been given away to the "elites" (sic). On another occasion, weather delays into PHL caused a misconnect. Next flight the following morning. US's response? You're on your own. They wouldn't even give me my bag back.

    LHR operates at 98% capacity and is the busiest international airport in the world. BA operates close to 50% of the rotations at LHR. You do the maths.

    I couldn't find either of the MOW airports on the top 100 of busiest international airports. Perhaps that speaks for itself.

    No it wasn't. I was caught up in it. Some snow was predicted, but no-one forecast the amount that London got. Snow before Christmas in London is rare. Snow at such levels to close LHR is, in my lifetime, unprecedented. Trust me. I live here. Added to that it was one of the busiest weekends of the year - the weekend before Xmas - and rebooking options were limited because flights were already very full.

    Of course, and without wishing to sound facetious, the contingency plan for BA at LHR when operations go tits up is (a) to unfold the third heated runway from the box, and (b) open that spare terminal. Unlike MOW, LHR does not spend half its winter under snow.

    You surely understand that when arrivals and departures suffer a significant delay at LHR, the airfield becomes congested. BA as the biggest operator suffers the most. As the delays escalate, so does the problem (exponentially) for BA. They have a recognisable contingency plan. First to be chopped are the domestic flights, then shorthaul and longhaul last. But the fact is - to repeat myself - BA cannot work miracles. When LHR goes into meltdown, so do BA Ops. Same is true of AA in JFK or any of the other saturated airports in the world.
     
  9. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    This is certainly why BA are notorious. Mijnheer Van der Post hasn't done anything to improve irop service delivery. The Dilbertian corporate mentality that encourages contempt for customers is deep-rooted and overwhelms the veneer of service provision when the going gets tough.

    BA can deliver good service, principally when things go right. I've even experienced this myself on occasion. Less so than many years ago, but anyway, it's possible.

    But when there's an irop, they implode. It's fascinating to see how bad they are at handling these events, like jbc's, and then how they tie themselves up striving to fail to respond to followup, providing contradictory and plain false excuses before simply refusing to say anything when they are called on this habit. Their management's encouragement of these behaviors is telling.

    Meantime, BA apologists customarily come up with all forms of excuse but these are hollow when OALs, dealing with the same customer, same events, same set of circumstances, deliver service recovery when BA refuses to do so. Many of us have experienced this. As for engaging in discussion with customer service after the event, this is absolutely worthless in term of delivering restitution although it can be useful for legal documentation purposes. We'll see what CTA does with Mr. Van Der Post's department's mendacity soon enough....
     
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  10. The Saint
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    The Saint Silver Member

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    To support the general thesis above, yesterday I flew from BOS to EWR on UA. There was a little rain in the New York area. Result? 4.5hr delay and we were minutes from the crew going out of hours which would have meant flight canx and an overnight in BOS.
     
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  11. ukgooner
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    ukgooner Silver Member

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    And I understand you'd be left to find your own solution (and wallet)
     
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  12. The Saint
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    The Saint Silver Member

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    Absolutely I would have been.
     
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  13. milestoburn
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    milestoburn Gold Member

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    some details left out in your story...no? .I mean how bout the flooding rains and lightning in the nyc area on the 2nd? Oh wait, silly me to expect your post to be truthful.
     
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  14. The Saint
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    The Saint Silver Member

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    What a charming fellow you are! You make an allegation of dishonesty against me on no basis whatever.

    I was not in EWR that afternoon, I was compelled to spend most of it in BOS. We were told at BOS that the delays were caused by rain and some thunderstorms. There was no mention of flooding. There was no evidence of flooding on arrival in EWR (unless the airport is flooded, I'm not sure of the relevant effect of flooding on air traffic), indeed there was little evidence of rain by the time we arrived (the skies were virtually clear).

    Now back to the point. Up thread you will see that there was suggestion that LHR and BA could not cope with a bit of snow. I made the point that any carrier with a dominant presence at any particular airport was liable to suffer from the cumulative effect of delays caused by adverse weather conditions. UA and EWR was a useful case in point. ATC put flow controls into EWR. UA as dominant carrier at EWR suffered delays out of all proportion to other carriers.

    I'm ready when you are for the apology for calling me a liar.
     
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  15. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    This has become TOBB? How sad for us all.
     
  16. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    This has become TOBB? How sad? Notwithstanding selective memory on the part of the person to whom you refer, the basic point, without polemic addition, does have merit, does it not?

    A rational discussion, absent polemics, can illustrate the factual statistical differences between BA at LHR and LGW vs other places. BA apologists seem unable to acknowledge the factual treatment differences, depending on ad hoc events, in or out of context. People pointing out those inconsistencies can be polite and civil in doing do, without resorting to 'baiting the bear'. Anyway I hope we can continue to do that here on Milepoint. I hope I can live up to my own advice, admitted that sometimes it is quite difficult to do so.
     
  17. EZEIZA
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    EZEIZA Silver Member

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    Continual BA bashing by people who know nothing about the airline or its loyalty programme has made most of the sensible people who actually fly BA leave. A few remain to reason and educate the ignorant but it's an uphill battle which I suspect will never be won due to the US centric mentality which pervades on the forum.
    After a promising start the forum died long ago...time it was laid to rest.
     
  18. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    BTW, that same accusation was levelled at me. Laughable, really, when i was BA Gold for some years, lived in the UK for a few years and have constantly traveled in and out for my entire life. A trifle disingenuous saying US-centric for many of the problem discussions when the majority of comments came from people who know BAA, know this history of runway and airport discussions for LHR and LGW among others. Nobody doubts that LGW, with the world's busiest single runway, cannot reliably handle disruption, nor that LHR, operating above capacity under ideal circumstances, cannot easily deal with disruption either. The issues that draw ire seem to be mostly the criticism of BA customer service related to IRROPS.

    Of course, to some I am ignorant and in need of reeducation. So be it. Still, reeducation itself tend to work best without ridiculing the ignorant person one might be trying to educate.

    As an aside I do recall some quite pleasing BA moments; the crystal Concorde model I was given when I passed my 250th (IIRC) BA Concorde flight; Concorde room service; the bottle of Pol Roger Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill that they gave me when I flew on my birthday. All those events were years ago, Recent history has been much less kind.
     
  19. The Deal Mommy

    The Deal Mommy Silver Member

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    As to my own experience, BA literally stranded me in the wrong country. More telling, after I told the story (Jan 2013), the single most searched term on google for my blog (besides Deal Mommy) is "complain to BA" or some variation. I think that's pretty compelling evidence!
     
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  20. EZEIZA
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    EZEIZA Silver Member

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    My comment was not aimed at you personally but to the forum in general....you just happened to have got in the way. :D
     
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  21. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Compared to TOBB this one was mild. Still, there are many people who will no longer fly BA because of callous disregard. I am one of them. Quite a few people on TOBB and elsewhere dismiss those experiences as the product of inexperience, ignorance or colonial lack of respect. I recoil at such nonsense.
     
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  22. EZEIZA
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    EZEIZA Silver Member

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    As there are those who refuse to fly AA/UA/CX/AF/LH etc. etc.

    No airline is perfect however there is no doubt BA are a very successful airline. I suspect it's because they are British that gets on some peoples goats.
     
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  23. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    No, it's because they suck rocks. This is related to the fact they are British, yes, see the earlier cultural analyses..... but it's not a one-to-one correspondence.

    Actually I will agree, of all the things that BA does/does not do, operational safety is not the place to criticize them. They are industry leaders in many ways (HUMS/CRM and other things). Most objective observers will acknowledge this.

    But that doesn't give them automatic As on every other aspect of operations.

    We all know that their regular customer service (lounge access, seat shifting) and irop handling are among the worst in the major airline class.

    Case in point. I just experienced an irop on an AV itin, ticketed as a UA award. AV without demur put me up in the hotel in BOG, rebooked me on my choice of flight in J this morning (I didn't want to get the 0640 after arriving at the hotel at midnight, told the AV agent this, and she simply said, "Cual vuelo queires, senor?" My bags were pulled and this morning, despite my skepticism, both showed up at my final. And I didn't have to cart them around all night...even better! No dickering about whose fault it all was...I don't even know, what caused the inbound to be late at LIM yesterday and it didn't matter. AV took ownership of the problems...and fixed them. What a concept! BA can learn...

    If AV can do this for me, on an award ticket, why are BA so atrociously awful at such handling even for their own GGL on paid J/F itins? There's no good answer to this..... except that their management is Dilbertian.
     
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  24. Candy C

    Candy C Silver Member

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    I rather suspect that it was because AV know a dick when they see one...

    absolute pathetic rants
     
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