British Airways / very poor ba experience
Below is a letter I wrote to British Airways about 4 weeks ago. After a weekly follow up, I have still not heard back from them. I wish none of this on you so I thought I would share my story to help you really think about using BA again.
"To whom it may concern,
My wife and I recently flew from London to Singapore (Flight BA 0011) on our immigration flight to Australia and I was very disappointed in the experience we received from British Airways.
There was a series of issues which left us shocked from an airline of your class and calibre. I work in advertising and I know from your marketing that the BA brand stands for heritage and quality. This was not what we experienced.
Below is the series of events that took place on this one flight:
1) Our travel agent, who booked our flights, confirmed that BA does not allow extra baggage for those who are immigrating. This was fine because our TA (travel agent) was informed that it would cost an extra £34 for an extra 23 kgs and another £34 for a set of golf clubs; and this would have to be booked by ourselves closer to the time.
My wife and I were happy to cover this additional cost.
A week before we flew, we called up BA to confirm our additional 2 items of baggage that we wanted to take with us on our flight and pay £68. It was here that we were informed that the £34 refers to only one leg of the flight and that we would have to pay additional fees (estimated AUS$120 per item of additional luggage) with Quantas for the 2nd leg of our flight.
With this new news, we contacted out TA who in turn contacted her BA contact who also informed that this was now the case and we would have to cover both legs which at this point went from £68 to roughly £224 ( this is an estimated cost). This significant increase in expense was not something we had expected and as we were immigrating, we did not have the option of leaving these items in the UK.
We decided to contact our shipping company and get a quote from them for air freight of these items as we were unsure that the eventually cost of taking these items may increase. We were quoted £350.
At this time, we had lost confidence in the process and also with the knowledge that airlines are famous for being very unpredictable in additional baggage costs, we decided that we had to go for the guaranteed cost of £350.
To summarise, BA informed our TA that 2 x additional luggage would cost £68, in the end we had to pay £350 to guarantee a fixed price.
2) We arrived at the terminal and joined the queue and were in good time. Because of the long queue, I decided to use the self-service check in. This worked fine and the slip came out, but said that no seats were able to be given. I asked one of your CS people what this meant to which he replied "sorry, but our plane in overbooked and would you be able to stay in a hotel tonight and fly on the next available flight?". Obviously, as we were immigrating and not taking a holiday where we could afford to take an extra day off, I replied to say that this was not an option for us and we needed to be on the flight.
Thankfully, he was able to find some seats which allowed us to fly to Singapore.
3) We took off on our 12hr night flight and were quickly served dinner, however by the time we received ours, the chicken based meal had finished and we were forced to eat the veggie pasta. Neither my wife nor I are fans of veggie dishes, but we were left with no choice to eat pasta.
4) During dinner, we attempted to start to use our inflight entertainment and watch a movie however ours and the seats in front of us had no working entertainment. Eventually it became clear that there was about 15 seats with this same issue.
The stewardess said that there was an issue and they would quickly reset the system and it would be working shortly. 20 minutes later, we enquired to why it was still not working and was told to give it time. Dinner was cleared away and the lights dimmed, we still had no entertainment.
Another enquiry to the stewardess resulted in that the engineer was looking into it.
Now, about 2hrs into our flight, and with no proactive efforts about informing us about the inflight entertainment, the cabin lights were switched off for the night and to "please kindly use your reading light if you wish to continue reading".
In addition to our inflight entertainment not working, neither was our reading light or our call button. I have never been able to sleep on planes and had bought a book from duty free that was going to last me the flight. Now, I was not able to read it nor was I able to call the stewardess and ask for an update using the call button. On top of this, the lady sitting on our aisle seat got comfortable and fell asleep which hindered us even more as we could not get out.
I was now being forced to sit on a 12hr night flight with no entertainment, reading light or ability to ask for a drink of water. This experience was similar to what I imagine an inmate must feel like in prison after lights out, except he had the comfort of a bed while I had a cramped, uncomfortable seat! I had to suck it up.
5) Shortly before our decent, the Head Steward came thought and apologised to all the passengers who had experienced these issues and offered £50 compensation each.
Just to put this into context, we were being offered £4.16 for every hour we were forced to sit in the dark without any form of entertainment, a reading light, or even being able to ask for a drink. A person working in London cleaning public toilets on minimum wage gets more than £4.16 per hour.
6) 3 weeks later, my wife receives her vouchers in the post to spend on the BA duty free website. To add insult to injury, she has only been sent £30 instead of the £50 she was told she would receive. My vouchers have still not arrived, "they must be in the post".
As you can see, our experience on "the world's favourite airline" was definitely not enjoyable.
I am pretty laid back and tend to let most things slide because the world is not perfect and sometimes things go wrong. But this was not one thing, it was not two things, it was a series of poor, unprofessional instances that should not have happened. And to be given £30 (or the £50 you promised each) compensation for this is not acceptable in my book, or nor would it be acceptable in yours if this was your experience.
This was meant to be the beginning our new lives and we paid extra for the comfort and quality of flying with BA, someone that installs trust and with a heritage that you are above and beyond.
I'm sorry BA, but this is not acceptable. I am writing to you to share this with you in the attempt that you do not let this happen to other passengers and also to re-negotiate your poor attempt at compensation for this experience.
My wife and I were seated in 43 J and 43 K, (I think those were our seats, I am not quite sure) but you will have a record of it. We flew on Friday 29th June at 8.30pm. Flight number BA0011.
I look forward to a quick reply and resolution to this as we would like to move on and put his behind us.
PS - On a side note, when I woke up on that Friday morning, my wife proudly walked into our room to show me that she was 2 weeks pregnant with our first child. We were both over the moon and so happy, this was going to be the start of a great new life.
Sadly, she mis-carried the day after we landed. I guess the flight and moving was too much. "
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