BA Is Shite

BA Is Shite


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

Friday, 23 May 2008

Customer Care

This story, reproduced in full from the Jewish Chronicle, indicates that BA do seem to have trouble communicating effectively with their disgruntled customers.

It seems to me, if the article is accurate, that this row could have been defused if BA had dealt with it promptly and with sensitivity.

"British Airways this week apologised to a passenger whose luggage was daubed with Nazi graffiti apparently while in transit.

Emma Pelta, 29, a member of Loughton Synagogue in Essex, flew from London Gatwick to Orlando, Florida, last December.

But it was not until she arrived at her boyfriend's home in Florida, she says, that she realised her bags were marked with a large swastika and the initials NF (assumed to stand for National Front).

She has spent the past five months requesting an apology from the airline, calling them more than 20 times.

It was not until the JC contacted BA this week that a member of their customer-service team phoned Ms Pelta to apologise and offer a £150 flight voucher. BA also promised to send flowers and a letter of apology.

'It's been a long time coming,' said Ms Pelta, a medical representative who gave up her job to go to Florida.

'They should have apologised earlier. I don't think they necessarily understand the seriousness of seeing a swastika and NF initials on my bag.

'To me, it is a big deal, and I am completely offended beyond words with what I saw. I told them I still want to receive an actual letter of apology.

'On behalf of the Jewish community, I want to know that this is going to be investigated properly with steps being taken to ensure the safety of the community and that something like this does not happen again while bags are in their care.'

Ms Pelta first contacted the airline from Florida on the day she realised that her bags had been marked.

'I told them that I wanted a letter of apology and some sort of compensation for my bag.'

She received a $160 cheque (£80) to pay for the damage to her bag, but was told that the matter needed to be dealt with in the UK.

When she returned to London in March, she contacted BA again, only to receive a letter written on behalf of Heathrow Terminal 5 apologising for any baggage problems.

'I mean, I flew from Gatwick. Were they having a laugh?'

She said that, despite the vouchers, she would be reluctant to fly with BA again.

A BA spokesperson said: 'We have apologised profusely to Ms Pelta and offered her a discount on future travel. We are sorry that she did not get called earlier and are also very sorry for any distress that has been caused.'

Though the airline said it was 'concerned' about 'how this bag may have been damaged and drawn on', it refused to comment further on any internal inquiry as to the circumstances.

Ms Pelta is flying back to Florida next month. This time she is flying Virgin

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Ladbrokes Falls Out With BA

An interesting story in The Times today:

"Chris Bell, the chief executive of Ladbrokes, is refusing to allow any of his 14,000 staff to fly with British Airways after the airline tried to force his teenage daughter and her friend off a flight back from Barbados.

The private dispute, which has ratcheted up into a corporate row, could cost BA £2 million in business and has forced Willie Walsh, BA's chief executive, to intervene personally in an effort to defuse the situation

It is interesting because airlines (not just BA) regularly overbook their flights (see my own experience of flying to Stockholm). The difference being that if you are not big/strong enough to argue with them they will walk all over you.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Willie Walsh Forgoes Bonus

Willie Walsh, CEO of brand damaged BA, has announced that despite the fact that BA made record profits in the year ended March 2008 he will forgo his personal £700K bonus.

Walsh is quoted on Citywire as saying that the bonus would:

"inappropriate in the context of the very disappointing opening of Terminal 5 in March…despite the fact it was a record year in terms of our financial performance."

Credit where credit is due, this is a very clever PR move.

Now if he could only get his planes to run on time!

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Walsh To Go - Eventually

Reuters report that British Airways (BA) is seeking to fill a new role of chief operations officer to replace two executives who "quit" in the wake of the Heathrow Terminal 5 fiasco.

Reuters note that the BA spokeswoman "declined to confirm reports in the Observer and Independent newspaper that a headhunter instructed by BA had been told to find a recruit who could be groomed to take over from BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh.

'It would be premature to say that,' the spokeswoman said

In other news, to cheer up the long suffering passengers waiting at departure gates for their delayed BA flights, asap reports that according to the Association of European Airlines, British Airways has accumulated a record 43% of all its short and medium haul flights as delayed.

In 2007, the percentage of delayed BA flights was 29%.

This year's results place BA bottom in comparison with the 29 European carriers which have submitted statistics. As you can see from this site, I have certainly experienced quite a number of delays myself with BA.

BA's long haul flights were also showing the same level of delay, a decrease in efficiency from the same period last year.

Allitalia, Air France and Iberia manage to maintain 80% efficiency.

Why such a lousy performance by BA?

Seemingly T5 Heathrow has had a lot to do with it!

Given that Mark Bullock (Managing Director of BAA Heathrow) is leaving, following the T5 shambles (last week, MPs said the T5 fiasco had "made a fool out of the country" and called for an explanation), why does Willie Walsh still remain in his post?

Monday, 12 May 2008

The "Customer Experience"

BA wrote to myself and other executive club members on Friday to tell us that they they will be phasing the move of long haul flights to T5.

"The decision to move the remaining long haul flights into Terminal 5, in a phased approach, has been taken to ensure we can deliver the high standards of customer experience we promised our customers."

If only they had thought of the "customer experience" before they opened T5!

Friday, 9 May 2008

BA Compromised

Willie Walsh admitted to the Transport Committee on Wednesday that BA had compromised on testing the baggage system.

He is quoted in the Times as saying:

"We believed that, while there were known risks, the opening would be successful.

We didn't supply staff with sufficient training and familiarisation. If we did it again, we would do things differently

BA chose to open T5 then, knowing the risks, because the cost of delay would have far exceeded any costs involved in compensating passengers for a screw up. The negative impact on the reputation of BA, and indeed of the country, was ignored by BA.

It seems to me that, at the very least, BA should remove the word "British" from its name/logo; so as to reduce the damaging impact that its poor reputation has on our country.

BAA, during the same hearing, managed to show the world that they are truly useless as well.

BAA chief executive Colin Matthews said:

"I have not yet made the time available to find out who knew what when."

With Walsh and Matthews left to run the show, as demonstrated by their attitude, it is hardly surprising that T5 is a shambles.

It should be noted that BA still do not have the confidence in T5 to move their long haul flights there yet.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

BA Loses 220,000 Passengers

The Times reports that on top of losing 20,000-28,000 bags, BA has now lost 220,000 passengers.

How very careless of BA!

Much of the blame for this is being laid at the door of the T5 fiasco.

Fair enough.

However, I would cite my own recent experience of flying BA as another reason for the decline in passenger numbers; namely, late takeoffs!

Until BA improve their time keeping, people are simply going to find other airlines that are more reliabe.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

BA Truly is Shite

Welcome to customer care, BA style!

Here I am at Arlanda airport, Stockholm, allegedly waiting for my 18:40 flight to London Thiefrow T5.

I have arrived and checked in, at the correct time, yet there is one small fly in my oinkment...BA (the alleged "world's favourite airline") is not ready for me.

Seemingly, for reasons that I am not privileged to learn, the plane is not ready for the departure (to remind you, this departure is scheduled for 18:40).

What time will it depart?

A mere 1 hours 20 minutes 20:00, or there they say!

You will of course recall that my flight to Stockholm was late as a mere 70 minutes!

Does this represent quality service?


No, it does not!

Do I recommend that people fly BA?

Of course I don't!

As I have said before:

For all the good that Walsh and his failed sycophantic board have done for "customer care", it is better that they have done nothing at all.

My advice to Walsh, and the board, is simple:

In the name of God...go now!

The board is not fit to run a whore house, let alone an airline.