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British Airways / contemptuous and unprofessional customers treatment

1 United States Review updated:

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.

Va
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Comments

  • Va
      17th of Aug, 2006
    0 Votes

    That sounds awful. I would be very upset with them for telling me I would get paid for the luggage and everything and then I got nothing. Write a letter to the CEO. I'm going to remember this if I ever fly to Europe in the future....

  • Va
      17th of Aug, 2006
    0 Votes

    You didn't mention the reason why the flight was cancelled. That makes a huge difference in whether you are to be compensated or not.

  • Va
      17th of Aug, 2006
    0 Votes

    Thanks for the recommandation ! To answer the question of the last comment: on the spot, after announcing the cancellation, BA refused to give any reason to it. In the letter they sent, we were told the flight was cancelled because of technical problems and that's why there's no reimbursment. But my point is not asking reimbursment of the flight but of the expenses we did, with the promise they'd be reimbursed. We were mislead in our choices of solution.

  • Dr
      5th of Oct, 2007
    0 Votes

    I am going Kolkata to venice through london by BA on November '07.I will change my flight from Heatrow to Gatwick.Now inform me , how will you give me the free limo servicwe for travel grom Heathrow to gatwick and Gatwick to Heathrow.If you need air ticket then I can send it.I am waiting for your reply.

    Thanking you in anticipation.

    Dr. Kalyan Das
    B.P.Poddar Institute of Management & Technology
    137, VIP Road, Kolkata:700 052, India.

  • Mr
      17th of Dec, 2007
    0 Votes

    Customer Services British Airways
    derek.truman@tiscali.co.uk


    Dear Sir
    This is my third time in sending this complaint. Could you please confirm you have received it and are dealing with it.
    ************************************************

    My wife and I were passengers on flight BA 2154 from Barbados to London Gatwick on the 23rd November 2007 and were seated in row 28 seats J and K.

    I write to complain on two issues.

    Just after take off we were served with our drinks, not allowing us very much time before we were served with our main meal, this again had wine and water as part of the meal followed very quickly with Tea/Coffee. It was extremely difficult to fit all our food and drinks on the tray at the same time, the pull down table just took the tray and there was no room on the tray for the drink so we could not eat in any comfort and we were rushed through our meal and drinks.

    Following our meal a young lady in row 29 seat J sitting directly behind my wife, was taken extremely ill and was sick over her blanket and other personal belongings and over the back of my wife’s seat.

    We automatically ensured that our seats were fully forward in the upright position to allow the person to be attended to by the Stewards.
    The lady had a high temperature and continued to be sick, she was attended by a female Steward who did not clean up any of the sick this was left to the passenger in the adjoining seat which I understand was her mother, the passenger in seat 29L was moved to another seat and the Gentleman in seat 28L next to us was also asked to keep his seat in the forward position. The passengers in row 27 were allowed to recline their seats making it most uncomfortable for all of us in row 28.

    The smell from the sick was unbearable and my wife who was herself suffering with a chest infection had to sit with her nose and mouth covered with a handkerchief for the rest of the flight to stop herself from being ill.

    As things did not improve and we could not sleep sitting upright combined with the smell, I went to see the Stewards and tried to explain in a civil manner that we were not happy with the situation and made it very clear it was not the person’s fault she was sick, however, as she had a temperature which was agreed by the Steward, did she also have a virus and were we now subject to it, especially as it had not been cleaned up apart from the poor attempt by her Mother. We were unable to recline our seats for the remainder of the flight to allow the sick lady to lie out and try to get some sleep, by now my wife was feeling the strain of it all. I did explain that I thought the person should have been moved to the back of the Aeroplane as suggested by the Steward at the beginning. I must point out as far as I was concerned at that time he was more concerned about the rest period for the stewards then the passengers.

    I was most taken aback with the unhelpful and rude manner in which I was treated with no caring attitude for any of the other passengers. This was not the first rude and intolerant manner in which the male Head Stewart behaved, it also occurred when the person was being sick again as breakfast was being served and her Mother tried to get the Steward’s attention, on this occasion I was first to catch his attention and to my astonishment I could not believe his abrupt remarks to me “I know I am doing all I can to find a sick bag”. Needless to say my wife and I could not eat our breakfasts because of the vile smell. Never at any time was I asked if I was alright considering what was taking place.


    I must make it very clear we were very sympathetic of the situation and that the person could not help being sick however, the Stewards could have been more helpful to the other passengers especially my wife’s situation sitting in front of the person.

    We are both professional people who have just retired and have travelled with many Airlines over the years and this has to be our worst experience ever.

    Regrettably I find it necessary to officially complain about this flight and how it had spoilt a good three week holiday to celebrate our retirements by this incident and the attitude of the staff towards the other immediate passengers.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Yours sincerely

    DD & JK TRUMAN

  • Le
      11th of Jan, 2008
    0 Votes

    My family took a flight on BA 0048 on Dec 17, 2007 (3 passengers). We were to connect at Heathrow and fly to Rome where we had a train ticket waiting to take us to Florence. Flight made ER landing in Canada, sat on plane for 4 hours, no food. Arrive at Heathrow to mass confusion and lines, most passengers were given hotel for the night but they re routed us on another flight. That flight was then delayed for 2 hours. Our time from Seattle to Rome was approx. 19 hours. we informed Cust Serv. that we would miss our train to Florence. She said to be sure and talk to them at BA in Rome and that they would assure that we get to Florence because of their mistake. At Rome, all was shut down, it was 1 in the morning. No trains or busses, only pickpockets and fake taxis at the airport. Our choice was to sleep on airport bench in a dangerous area or take a taxi to Florence, which we did. The taxi cost 748 USD, and the missed train that I could not get refunded for was 159 USD. We missed a whole night at our hotel for another 550 USD for 4 people, which we had to pay for, though we didn't arrive until the next morning!!! I asked that the airline reimburse us. Had they given us a hotel room like the others until the next day, there would be no problem, but they deliberately guided us into a predicament without regard for our safety or how to proceed to our destination. They misinformed us at every direction and just continued to pass the buck. I have all receipts. We spent half of our vacation money on a taxi and our trip was basically ruined as it was extremely stressful and traumatic. I cannot get past talking anyone at Customer Service, they say to only email. I asked to talk to a supervisor, and I was not provided one. He says he is the only one there.

  • Sh
      15th of Aug, 2018
    0 Votes
    British Airways - Pathetic Service
    South Africa
    South Africa

    You have singled handedly messed up our international family holiday.
    I would like to know how this is going to be resolved with immediate effect

    MR Adrian Shaun Coetzer

  • Sg
      21st of Aug, 2018
    0 Votes
    British Airways - Using Avios for upgrades
    United States

    BA website list no flights (purchase econ with Avios upgrade) from June 19-30, but there are plenty of seats in econ, premium, and biz class! Plus I've been on hold for 30 minutes w/o any info how much longer before someone picks up! Ridiculous!

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