21 March 2007

I do hope BA's plan B is not this one... or how to blame your customer

Read on if you are a Frequent Flyer and feel like some times your airline doesn’t like to support you.

Recent press reports are hinting that if BA looses its campaign to derail the new EU Open Skies agreement then it has a nifty Plan B up its sleeve. Well this is something you might want to think about as regards BA's legendary customer service or lack thereof.

I am a BA Sliver – down from Gold (you might wonder why I even maintain any status). I fly a lot and often choose BA for schedule reasons and my family is based in the UK. Like many business folk – I have to quickly change my schedule. Paying full fare is the benefit of doing this.

Well BA now you have me… and several of my fellow travelers on the flight BA 951 March 21, 2007 MUC-LHR. There were 12 passengers in the A319 Club class section. Hardly a full load for a capacity of 24. However of the 12 passengers – 5 of us got the same speech from the flight attendant and presumably at check in when I got mine. “Due to YOUR late reservation – you are likely to be denied a meal.” OK 2 hours prior to departure maybe but not the day before… As it turns out 3 of the 5 had made changes to their reservations 24 hours prior to departure. So BA’s official definition of a “Late” reservation is now 24 hours. You might want to think then that BA doesn’t want high revenue full fare last minute flyers. I certainly do.

In my experience with BA there are a number of fundamental areas that bug me. These range from deliberate lying to bad technology to forcing its passengers through many unnecessary hoops. The awful bag situation which is nothing but laughable. But this situation of blaming your customer for your own mistake must be one of the best/worst i have ever encountered.

My flight is part of a round the world ticket I purchase on BA adding up even more to the overall revenue I have generated to BA which now much total more than high 6 figures.

BA will get a complaint letter from me. Clearly I am a second class citizen – well at least I get to share that with nearly 50% of my fellow passengers who I am sure all paid a premium price for their ticket.

So BA if this is your plan B to entice consumers not to abandon the airline when Heathrow is forced to open up under Open Skies… perhaps then I will have to chose another airline. And yes… Heathrow is the airport that best exemplifies a third world country. DE STERN was right. The UK and its institutions do adopt the attributes of a 3rd world country, but my experiences at LHR are subject for another day.



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