British Airways: taking appalling service to new lows

British Airways never fails to amaze me. Even when I think I’ve encountered the worst of the worst, and lowered my expectations further, they continue to lower the bar. It’s quite something. Note to self: never, ever book with this airline again.
There was the time I approached the three staff members at the check-in desk with a question. They exchanged irritated glances among themselves, then glared at me collectively, until eventually one spat, “What do you want?”
It’s that irritated, imperious, who-the-F%#!!-do-you-think-you-are?! tone I’ve come to expect from BA staff.
There was the time that a 3-hour delay turned into a 24-hour delay that turned into a 48-hour delay. When the staff sneered and snarled at passengers – when they weren’t ignoring them totally. Where I watched them phoning around for hotels – 4- and 5-star hotels near the airport for staff, 1- and 2-star hotels an hour away for passengers. I got shouted at for booking an additional night at the hotel I’d been staying at – because it was one of the “better” ones that they were trying to reserve for staff rather than passengers.
My Christmas present from BA was that my 60,000 so-called Executive Club miles expired on the 25th of December last year. It had been impossible to use them; you can’t book less than 6 weeks in advance, but in fact anything less than a year in advance and there are simply no seats “for that class” to be had anyway. And you can’t use them to upgrade to a different class unless “there are seats for that class” available anyway – and in the ten years I’ve been traveling for publishing, there simply never have been.
But today takes the cake. Today I sign in to check in online, and discover that they’ve introduced a pricing system for choosing your seat from the seating plan. R316 for a standard seat. R379 for a “twin seat” (that’s just a normal seat sitting next to one person instead of two). And R632 for an exit seat.
Previously, you could choose a seat for no extra cost. Because, let’s face it, having the seating plan online and allowing passengers to make their own choice costs the airline NOTHING. They are not providing any special service here. They are not incurring any cost. Those prices are arbitrary, and are based on nothing more than what they think (or know) they can squeeze out of customers desperate to make a horribly unpleasant experience a fraction less uncomfortable.
Astonishingly bad, British Airways. Just nasty.

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About Lisa

I live in South Africa with my husband and two small children, doing things, thinking about things and sometimes writing about them.
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