And Now For something Completely Different….National AirWhine

In a break from my posting nonsense, I am posting a rant from MaM about BA incompetence (while simultaneously praying that it won’t be me next and I can leave the country on Thursday. It looks grim, but hopeful. Thank god I’m not flying BA)
Beware of swearing. A lot of it.

National AirWhine

Actually this is more than a whine. This is a rant.

Apparently the UK’s national airline can’t do anything to help their customers, via the phone, via their website and even via social media – which anyone working in PR/Marketing/Press/Media knows is going to play more than a major part in any successful company’s interaction with their customers in 2011.

Having a mother and a wheelchair bound grandmother stuck in Frankfurt airport on a cancelled BA flight, I’ve been trying to organise help for them from London. This is what you get when you phone the rebooking helpline: ‘Thank you. We apologise as at present we are experiencing a high number of calls and our lines are currently busy. For the latest information, or to change your travel plans, please visit ba.com‘ And then the fuckers hang up on you.

You can do this over 100 times in 10 minutes and get the same response – it’s infuriating. No numbered options. No queuing system. No choice to wait to speak to a human being. The fuckers hang up on you. Repeatedly. It’s like they didn’t know this weather was coming and have as such staffed their call centre with three people, a hamster, and a balloon with a smiley face drawn onto it. I might call a random Indian number and see if I luck out and hit a call centre direct, maybe someone from HSBC can help me, or O2 – it’d be more use than Britain’s homegrown army of amateurs.

So – onwards to ba.com. Where apparently, my flight is still taking off. Except my relatives were booted off this morning with it meant to land over an hour ago and as such, unless I’m existing in a time warp, this is a total impossibility. In the ever helpful ‘Manage My Booking’ I am given the option to rebook – which takes me to a page telling me my flight is not eligible for rebooking. It has been ‘not eligible for rebooking’ for the past 4 hours. It still thinks the flight is scheduled ‘Your flight is currently planned to operate as normal.You don’t have to do anything. You can keep your booking as it is.’ Yes – except we’re now five hours in and in case you haven’t noticed, dearest BA, you have no passengers on that plane. You kicked them all off. And presumably, that departure slot is well and truly gone. So I’d say it probably isn’t quite operating as normal, is it?

I reckon it might be a good move to check the flight’s status, independently of my booking. On entering FROM: FRANKFURT and TO: LONDON I am told ‘ERROR!!!!!!!!!! ENTER A VALID DEPARTURE LOCATION. ENTER A VALID ARRIVAL LOCATION.’ This is excellent – now I am so delirious I must be making up fictitious cities the airline doesn’t fly to and from, dear God, who has ever even heard of the mystical city of Frankfurt, and London? Why you’d think I was referring to one of the world’s major capital cities or something! Pah! I decide to go for the ‘information on travel disruption’ option. And am promptly redirected to an old news piece on the cabin crew disputes. Starting to feel like I’m on a merrygoround to hell. And I haven’t seen a single other human being on the ride yet.

As an utter last resort I take to twitter. KLM have been very handily rebooking people via tweets every thirty seconds. BA have released the same links to the same useless and non-updated informational pages on their website for the entire day: “Please check http://bit.ly/aRgq7e. Apologies our call volumes are very high – maybe you are able to deal with your query here http://bit.ly/5JYGGT. Recommend checking http://bit.ly/aRgq7e before you leave for the airport.. Can we ask you to speak to someone at the airport. Can we recommend you call our helpline. Check online in case we can help there.”

Anyone else getting the distinct impression they can’t help anywhere?? Compare with KLM: “We rebooked you on flight KL868 Osaka – Amsterdam December 20 at 11.00. We booked you on AF 5854 19DEC. 16:50 local time. We rebooked you on flight KL1072 Manchester – Amsterdam on December 21 at 06 05. please send us a DM with booking code and last name.” RESULT, RESULT, RESULT. Anyone else wishing they going Dutch?

BA continues along with helpful updates like ‘Don’t travel to Heathrow Terminal 5, the roads are hazardous’ at a leisurely once every ten minutes or so.When I ask them for help I am told to keep trying the phone as it is very busy. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeees but that’s not working. I am promptly ignored. Others are given the same utterly nonsensical advice. Some dickhead exec with a Gold Card congratulates them on their excellent tweeting work, to which of course they find the time to send a thank you and give themselves a very well-deserved pat on the back.

Another cunt-faced fucker in Shanghai says they feel sorry for the BA twitter team for having to deal with customers too lazy to pick up the phone – THERE IS NOBODY ON THEIR PHONES PEOPLE! NOBODY!!!! Do you think I want to sit on my laptop all day taking to the 140-restricted characters of TWITTER to air my grievances and try and get my family home???? Do you think this is my first choice?

I ask BA whether their helpline a fake number. I tell them they should operate more like KLM. I am told some bookings are too complex to deal with via twitter. I tell them mine’s quite simple, would they like to give it a go. Guess what the answer was. THERE WAS NO ANSWER.


MaM
Irate Woman

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2 thoughts on “And Now For something Completely Different….National AirWhine

  1. I wish I could say things have improved… Sadly Heathrow is still utterly crippled, however an amusingly large shit storm has started to rain down on BA’s twitter head so I’m not alone. Yesterday they posted a paradisical link to ‘a foodie’s guide to Buenos Aires’ which obviously, went down very well with all those stranded in erm, not Buenos Aires, and were forced to apologise. We have had to rebook our family with Lufthansa to Birmingham. Epic, EPIC fail! Christmas is cancelled.

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