04 March 2011

British Airways: world's worst airline?

Not only does British Airways's customer relations leave much to be desired, it seems that they offer some unpleasant extras in the way of in-flight service too.

BA Bites!:
This small site was built after two horrendous flights taken in January and February of 2011 on British Airways. During the first, I turned on my light to find bugs crawling on my blanket and a bedbug-blood-spattered shirt. On the return journey, I left my 10-hour flight to find my body covered with 90 bug bites. The worst part was the nonexistent customer service throughout the 10-day ordeal.

I vowed never to fly British Airways after our daughter was stranded in London with no money when British Airways would not allow her to board her flisht to Athens, because the paper extending her residence permit was written in Greek. She usually flew with Olympic Airways, but thought it might be a pleasant change to go via London instead, but it proved to be a very unpleasant one.

And friends who were stranded in London because of snow storms last December report that the few inches of snow on the runways were the least of the problems.

British Airways cannot process re-bookings at their Heathrow counters. You have to do it by phone or online. Within an hour or so, both the BA phone system and their online site had crashed due to overwhelming demand. I am fairly certain their in-house IT systems also crashed, because agents at the counters were able to provide no information.

The next day (we slept on the floor of the terminal) was even worse. There were thousands of people standing in queues for every imaginable thing. Nothing could be done, because there were no scheduled flights. I bought a cell phone, called my sister in Cape Town, and told her to rebook us. I stood in line for three hours to find an hotel in London, and we left the airport. I could not contact BA until the next Wednesday, neither by phone nor online. We did not get out of London until Christmas night.

What was supposed to be an overlay of a few hours for a connecting flight became an eight day ordeal.

When the airport did start operating again, most departing flights were half empty. Since the IT systems were down, they could not match passengers to flights. And, many flights were canceled because planes were in the wrong places.

Heathrow had to be rebooted. It was not simply a matter of clearing a few inches of snow from the runways.

7 comments:

Keith H said...

That, or should I say those, are quite some ordeals! You have my sympathies. I am curious if you ever followed up with BA customer service to see if they would do anything for you? I'm sure we know the answer but thought I would ask anyway.

Steve Hayes said...

I can't speak for every case, but in my daughter's case yes, it was followed up with BA customers service. She had to return to Greece for her Graduation, and BA had offered a students special with a free stopover in London, which she planned to take on her return. But they did not give it to her, because they said she had taken it on her outward journey when they would not let her on the flight to Athens. It was pretty traumatic, as she had no money -- all her money was in her bank account in Athens. They then said they would put her up to business class for her return journey, but they didn't do that either. Their attitude was generall unhelpful and customer hostile.

bigbluemeanie said...

BA customer service is the pits!

Anonymous said...

BA also has the worst air miles system ever. Despite having 42,000 accumulated miles, in eight years of flying from Denver to London (30 flights for family members) we have never been able to use these air miles. There are very limited seats allocated for air miles ... it has been a HUGE WASTE OF TIME saving and registering these miles. Phil & Jenny McCready

Anonymous said...

BA also has the worst air miles system ever. Despite having 42,000 accumulated miles, in eight years of flying from Denver to London (30 flights for family members) we have never been able to use these air miles. There are very limited seats allocated for air miles ... it has been a HUGE WASTE OF TIME saving and registering these miles. Phil & Jenny McCready

Generic Cialis said...

well I don't know, but is not the worst airline in the world, I can say this because I took a little trip with this people and the treat wasn't so so bad.

Clare Louise said...

BA totally SUCK they are criminals. Fly Delta back and forth to the UK never a problem and no attitude.

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