BA Is Shite

BA Is Shite


The latest news and views on British Airways, the world's "favourite" airline.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Branson Accepts Walsh's Bet

Richard Branson has just accepted Willie Walsh's bet of a "knee in the groin".

As per Branson's blog:
"Glad to see Willie Walsh's rather childish response to my bet proposal: rather than the losing company giving the winner's staff £1 million, he wants the loser to receive a knee in the groin.

It seems a very painful and foolish thing for Willie Walsh to propose; but I would be happy to accept. We've got used to BA hitting below the belt over the years, but I'm confident it would be the other way around on this occasion.

The terms of the bet (if he doesn't agree to them, let that be the end of it): if, as Willie Walsh predicted, the Virgin brand is gone from our airline in five years' time, then I lose the bet. If it's still there, he loses the bet.

The losing airline should also donate £1 million to a worthwhile charity of the winner's choice to ensure some good comes out of this bit of fun.

And let's agree the place this will happen is the HQ of the winner's airline. Look forward to Willie's visit in December 2017."
Cricket boxes all round! the latest news and views on British Airways, the world's "favourite" airline.

Walsh Offers Branson A Knee In The Groin

Willie Walsh (CEO of International Airlines Group, the parent company of BA and Iberia) has responded to Richard Branson's public offer yesterday of a £1M bet, by instead offering a knee in the groin.

Walsh is quoted by the BBC:
"I don't have £1m, so a knee in the groin, maybe - that would be as painful to him as it might be to me."
Maybe a mollification of hostilites in the run up to Christmas is in order? the latest news and views on British Airways, the world's "favourite" airline.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Branson Challenges BA

Sir Richard Branson has laid down a public challenge to BA over rumours that he is to give up control of Virgin, and that the Virgin brand will disappear.

Branson has publicly bet £1M that the brand will not disappear in the next five years.

As per Sir Richard's blog:
"Rumours have been spread in the press that I am planning to give up control of Virgin Atlantic and, according to Willie Walsh - who runs BA - that our brand will soon disappear.

This is wishful thinking and totally misguided. Will BA never learn? Let's see how much they believe this. Let them put their money where their mouth is.

The last time BA had to make a settlement to me for damages (in part for spreading not dissimilar false rumours) I split the money amongst our staff. Rather than suing them on this occasion, I will pay £1 million to their staff if Virgin Atlantic disappears within say five years. If not, BA pays our staff £1 million.

Virgin Atlantic was my baby 28 years ago when we set up with just one plane. Like all children, they never really stop being your babies and Virgin Atlantic is still much cherished. It has grown into a wonderful airline which has punched above its weight for almost three decades, giving much larger airlines a real run for their money.

We intend to carry on doing so for many years to come and, contrary to Mr Walsh's hopes, we have no plans to disappear. But since they are so confident, will BA accept our challenge?
" the latest news and views on British Airways, the world's "favourite" airline.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Customer Care - BA338 LHR-Paris

My thanks to a loyal reader who advised me of the problems encountered as a result of the cancellation of the 19:15 BA338 from LHR to Paris - Orly on July 11th:
"I was on a 19:15 flight to Paris, for which I was there several hours early, and they didn't announce the cancellation until the very last moment when it was supposed to board. 

We had to reclaim baggage, go back through immigration, and then we directed to a long queue where we continued to stand for several more hours. 

A few hours after BA customer service agents came out with some bullshit paperwork and informed us that the airport would be closing and they wouldn't be able to help people rebook/accommodate them in hotels for the evening because there were too many people. 

On this paperwork we were given a phone number to call which was a) busy b) you had to pay to call if you were like us had an international sim card, and a second phone number was only operable during regular business hours (it was nearing 10pm in the evening by this point). 

Additionally, this paperwork stated that the passengers had to pay for the rebooking, hotel stay, and any other expenses but that BA would "CONSIDER reimbursing" if we saved the receipts and sent them a letter by mail. 

No one had any clue when this reimbursement would take place. 

For people with hefty travel plans like myself and my partner, this was completely unreasonable and out of budget."
Did anyone else have a similar experience? 

Note, BA were asked to provide a response/comment to the above. However, as at the time of posting this, no response or answer has been forthcoming. the latest news and views on British Airways, the world's "favourite" airline.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

BA To Google Passengers

British Airways claims that it wants to give its customers a more personalised travel experience by creating dossiers on them, many have raised questions about the privacy implications in doing this.

According to Mashable the information will include not only data the airline already possesses (eg previous complaints or delays), but also information from Google Image searches.

Theoretically, the flight crew can apologise for mistakes and be able to identify passengers in order to do so.

Jo Boswell, head of customer analysis at BA, said:
We’re essentially trying to recreate the feeling of recognition you get in a favourite restaurant when you’re welcomed there, but in our case it will be delivered by thousands of staff to millions of customers. This is just the start — the system has a myriad of possibilities for the future."
I can't wait for them to Google me, they'll have a great laugh:). the latest news and views on British Airways, the world's "favourite" airline.

Monday, 23 April 2012

The Channel 4 Three

Why did BA refuse to allow three British journalists from Channel 4 News permission to board a BA aircraft departing Bahrain, a decision that caused them to be arrested?

As per Channel 4 News:
"Jonathan Miller, foreign affairs correspondent for Channel 4 News, and his team have been deported from Bahrain following their release from detention.
The correspondent, cameraman, Joe Sheffer, and producer Dave Fuller, were arrested yesterday evening alongside their driver, Ali, and activist Dr Ala'a Shehabi while filming a small demonstration in a village.

Last night, authorities in Bahrain released the group. The three Channel 4 members were driven to Bahrain airport at "breakneck" speed in a police van to be deported back to the UK, according to Miller.

However fears quickly grew for the fate of the driver, who was violently attacked by police before being taken away separately. The channel's head of foreign news, Ben de Pear, has urged Britain's foreign secretary to raise the way in which he was treated with Bahrain.

After British Airways staff initially refused Miller and his team permission to board an aircraft after saying the group's "documentation [was] not in order", Miller said, they were flown back on another plane early this morning.

Dr Shehabi, an economics lecturer, was released some seven hours after she was taken into custody.
"OK...Channel 4 three finally being deported aboard a non-British airline," Miller tweeted this morning. "Goodbye Bahrain. I met some lovely people but not many were cops."

A spokesperson for Channel 4 News said: "We are pleased to confirm that our team is safe and on their way back to the UK. We also have confirmation that the team's driver - who they saw assaulted by Bahraini authorities, and human rights activist, Dr Ala'a Shehabi, have also been released."

The team's trip to the Gulf nation co-incided with the Grand Prix - the target of violent protests in the run up to the event. Amid heavy security, the event passed off with skirmishes and a number of arrests, after activists were denied entry to a zone surrounding the circuit.

Police brutality
Explaining the circumstances leading up to the arrest, Miller said that they had been operating without official accreditation.

He said: "So when we were caught filming a planned demonstration in one of the Shia villages, they have not been particularly pleasant. They've been very aggressive towards me, my crew and driver and Dr Ala'a Shehabi, a prominent human rights activist.

"We were actually heading back to where we were staying to edit the piece we'd compiled for tonight - we'd met villagers in a Shia suburb off the main city, who were demonstrating night after night."

Responding to a tweet from the minister, who had expressed concern over the fate of the team, Mr de Pear said: "The police treated the driver badly. I trust these are issues brought up in consultations."
As per Jonathan Miller's Twitter feed:
Channel 4 crew being deported from Bahrain wish to thank British Airways for leaving us stranded, refusing permission to board. Cheers BA." the latest news and views on British Airways, the world's "favourite" airline.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Executive Club Down

BA's Executive Club section of their website has been down for a wee while now:
"Unfortunately our systems are not responding, so we are unable to process your request at the moment. We apologise for this inconvenience and suggest you try again later." the latest news and views on British Airways, the world's "favourite" airline.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

British Airways Customer Failures - Avios

In August 2007 I had a wee battle with BA trying to make them credit some mssing airlmiles to my account:
"BA do not provide an answer that explains why our executive club numbers have not been tracked in the system for the flights:

"Dear Mr Frost

I am sorry to learn that your flights did not track to your account. This should automatically happen when you quote your Executive Club number at the time of booking or at check-in. This is providing that the name on your Executive Club membership card and the name on your booking, match exactly.

As advised earlier, the flight(s) you are claiming for were operated by a partner airline, we are unable to update your account without copies of the boarding passes and ticket stubs from the flight(s) in question. This allows us to verify the information before crediting your account.

Contacts details for your local Executive Club Service Centre can be found at:

We always recommend you save your ticket receipts and boarding passes until the flights have been added to your account, in case of discrepancy.

Thank you for emailing us and we hope to resolve this swiftly for you.


British Airways Executive Club "

Here is my answer:

"Thank you for your email.

We did book in using our correctly registered executive account numbers etc.

Therefore, re my original question, why has the system not tracked our flights?

Re you not be "able" to update our accounts, without hard copy stubs, I find that a little hard to believe.

We are pre assigned seats when boarding the aircraft, you have records to show how many people are on the flight at take off, who they are and have records to satisfy security controls that show exactly who was on a flight.

You would not be allowed to operate or to fly to Spain, the USA etc without having such security controls.

Therefore you are well capable of verifying that we were on the flights.

If you need a little help, our flight booking was featured in The Times a while ago.

Do I really have to raise this matter with Walsh simply to get my miles added, something that your system should have done in the first place?

Kind regards

Ken Frost"
It seems that BA have learned very little from this as, almost five years later, Dennis Howlett has discovered:
"I am a BA Executive Club member. As such I can theoretically do many things on the site: book and manage flights, check my tier and Avios points, look at baggage allowances and so on. All standard fare. Except that in BA’s case it doesn’t always work."
Good luck Dennis, BA can be as stubborn as a mule but keep pushing them! the latest news and views on British Airways, the world's "favourite" airline.

British Airways Customer Failures

My commiserations to Dennis Howlett who has fallen foul of BA's "customer care" procedures.
"This is part one of a three parter. In this part I talk about process failures in communications and the ticket locator/e-ticket systems. In part two, I talk about the website. In part three I talk abut the broader implications for development and customer relationships in a hyper connected world.
Those who drift between this weblog and my personal site will know that every now and again I launch a tirade against some aspect of travel. The latest target for my ire is that icon of self deprecating failure: British Airways. Its uncanny ability to muff even common day tasks beggars belief yet it stands as an exemplar of all that’s messed up in modern day IT development. Here we go…"
Dennis sums up Part 1 of his three part synopsis of BA's failings, by highlighting the key problems/issues that need to be addressed by BA:
"Arguing with the call centre is pointless and horribly time wasting. Two calls that tell me wait time will be more than 15 minutes, a wait time of 9 minutes followed by a fruitless call with the agent and another 22 minutes wait before speaking with an agent who at least empathised with my situation did not resolve the situation.
According to BA’s Ts & Cs:
6c) You must check in by the check-in deadline

If you do not complete the check-in process by the check-in deadline, we may decide to cancel your reservation and not carry you.
This is not the same as ‘will’ cancel, a fact I pointed out to the empathetic agent but which got me nowhere. All of this is really a prelude to the various places that BA’s systems fail in the value delivery chain.
  1. The call centre is understaffed. Four calls over a period of 12 hours during which the wait time is at least 15 minutes on all calls tells me something. Where are the systems that predict call loads?
  2. Part of the problem seems to stem from the fact that the original booking agent organised two e-tickets albeit under the same ticket locator. Right now it is unclear which of the tickets BA voided although from the printed information I have, it sounds like the Malaga>London return. Where are the processes for reconciling ticket issues in these circumstances?
  3. It doesn’t make sense that there was a bowling ball effect onto other e-tickets i.e. the Sydney>Frankfurt leg and as yet no-one can explain what happened. BA allows this confusion to occur. Why?
  4. At the very least there is confusion and conflicting information at BA and communicated to me. That should never happen. BA should always be in full possession of the right information. It is a security issue. If the agents are confused then where is the escalation process to help them out?
  5. At no time did anyone advise me that a part of my itinerary was at risk. Given the fact there were two tickets under the same locator reference is it beyond the wit of man to at least insert an IF>THEN SQL statement into the workflow so that a communication can be instantiated? This cannot be an uncommon issue.
  6. The interpretation of ‘may’ to ‘will’ is not made clear to customers. That is palpably unfair.
On to the BA website. This is where things really get screwy."
I wish him well, and hope that BA use this as an opportunity to improve their customer care procedures. the latest news and views on British Airways, the world's "favourite" airline.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Well Done Lads!

The Telegraph reports that BA passengers flying over the Atlantic reacted in horror when a recorded message told them on two occasions that their plane could be about to crash.

Cabin staff quickly reassured passengers that the message had been played by accident.

The British Airways flight was halfway between Miami and Heathrow when the message was played by accident at about 3am. the latest news and views on British Airways, the world's "favourite" airline.