British Airways / contemptuous and unprofessional customers treatment
This is a letter to inform British Airways’ current and prospective customers of British Airways’ poor customer service following its last-minute cancellation of one of its flights.
On July 6th, 2006, we were to travel with British Airways from Moscow (Domodedovo Airport) to Montreal, with an overnight connection in London.
After waiting for more than two hours at the gate, after passing through customs and security, a British Airways representative announced at around 11pm that the flight was cancelled. On the spot, we expressed concern that we had reserved a hotel room in London for that night and wanted to call to cancel. Although the hotel’s cancellation policy normally requires a minimum 24 hour notice from the client, we were ready to discuss with the hotel administrator and avoid this unpleasant financial loss, instead of asking to be refunded by British Airways. However, British Airways didn’t provide us with an international line, to which we were entitled as per their flight cancellation policy, so we never reached the hotel and, as a result, were billed the hotel room at 70 pounds ($132.00 US).
After the cancellation announcement, we were kept waiting at the gate for several hours, left with empty stomachs as British Airways neglected to provide us with a meal. It was only at 3am that passengers were provided with sleeping accommodations, after having been rerouted on different flights departing the next day.
When finally given a new plane ticket with Aeroflot instead of our British flight, we expressed concern about our luggage weight. Indeed, we had packed our luggage in accordance with British Airways’ maximum weight limit of 32 kilo grams per non-carry-on bag. However, with Aeroflot each non-carry-on bags may not exceed 24 kilo grams.
Only because of this policy had we chosen British Airways when buying the ticket, knowing we would have a lot of luggage for this trip.
We were told by a British Airways representative that our 32kg of luggage should NOT cause any trouble. So the next day, tired but confident that we were finally to leave Moscow, we headed to another Moscow airport, Sheremetevo, paying $70.00 US for a taxi ourselves, as British did not see fit to look after such a minor detail.
Unfortunately, at the checking counter, we were told by Aeroflot that we could not board the plane, due to our luggage weight. We were given the choice of either buying a new suitcase to repack our bags, or paying a costly penalty fee. As there were no British Airways representative at Sheremetevo Airport, we bought on the premises a calling card (another $6.75 US) to contact British and resolve this problem. After more than an hour on the line with British’s manager in Moscow, we were informed that the only solution was to buy the additional suitcase at the airport shop (the least expensive was $210 US), as it was the less costly of the two options. However, we were assured by the British Airways manager that British would reimburse us.
Finally in Montreal, after a total of $418.75 US extra expenses due to British flight cancellation, we wrote a letter to the Customer service in UK, as stated on British website. To our surprise, British Airways now refuses to reimburse all expenses except the calling card and the taxi, meaning close to nothing in the huge amount we unexpectedly paid.
In its response to our letter of complaint, British Airways does not provide us with adequate justification for refusing to reimburse our expenses. Neither does British Airways apologize for the cancelled flight, nor show any concern for our expenses or discomfort following its last-minute cancellation. The unspoken assumption seems to be that we will happily continue to fly with British Airways, and accept its contemptuous and unprofessional treatment of its customers.
Fellow flyers, be advised as to how British Airways customarily treats its paying customers, and encourage others to think twice before choosing British Airways as their airline.
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