I received a copy of this letter today, sent to BA, about the very shoddy level of customer service experienced by an elderly disabled lady flying BA.
This is not the way to treat customers:
"British Airways – Don't Travel with us if you don’t speak English!
A disabled British airways passenger on an emergency flight home to Thailand to see her critically ill son was told that she should not have travelled alone with British Airways if she didn't speak English.
My mother-in-law had visited the UK to see her daughter who had a new a baby in November, but was forced to travel back early on 20/02/08 as her son had been taken into hospital in a critical condition in Thailand. British airways agreed to switch her flight to an earlier flight after we explained her son is critically ill in hospital, as a good will gesture, at a cost of £114. This lead to a nightmare sequence of events.
In Manchester she was forced to leave her baggage due to the failure of the baggage system at Heathrow. She reluctantly agreed to take the flight after S** and her family were reassured by staff that that she would be collected at Heathrow.
Despite this reassurance that she would be collected by their wheel chair meet and greet service, she was only collected from her plane and left on the transfer bus and was not provided with a wheel chair and was not met by staff. Hence she missed her connection. When I communicated with S** at about 10.30 I was put on to a member of BA staff on her mobile.
When we asked what could be done, they said all of their hotels were full and therefore she would have to pay for her hotel herself. When I told them that this was not possible as she did not speak English. I was told that really she should not be flying alone if he does not speak English. She was forced to sleep on the bench in a room.
Despite telling the manager M, that S*** required a wheel chair, this was not provided. She only got a wheel chair the following morning. Being forced to walk, throughout out the night. She did not receive any food from staff or any vouchers until 24 hours later on Thursday. When talking to M for a second time, he apologised about his earlier remarks.
S*** has mobility problems and requires wheel chair use when walking or standing for long periods, due to an injury she suffered from a dog attack some years ago.
Her flight from Manchester, arrived late in at 9.24, and her connection to Bangkok was still boarding 1 hour later at 10.30, yet nobody collected her, forcing her to walk.
She was finally placed in the serenity lounge were she waited for 12 hours. Her only contact with us was by mobile phone. M had promised us that she could charge it. When she approached a male staff member at 14.30 on the 21/02/08, he could be heard by myself saying that he 'does not talk on mobile phones', once again she was left without any support, and her mobile phone went dead shortly after when her battery went dead.
We chose British Airways over other airlines because of their customer service, we were let down on this occasion. We paid an extra £114 to change our ticket to get her home on this date on top of the original ticket price of almost £600. Not to get the plane is bad enough, but for her to be treated the way is humiliating. I feel a sense of shame that our flagship airline would treat a person in this way."