Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Lying, cheating, money-grubbing bastards #8 British Airways

British Airways are a failing airline. Every time we travel with them, there’s a problem (plus the food is repulsive) but our recent experience is the worst so far.

Having recently been obliged to re-book an outward flight to Peru following a death in the family, I was shocked to learn from Cox & Kings, the travel agency, that BA insisted on cancelling both the outward and return flights and obliged me to book two new return tickets, even though we were proposing to come back on the same day as the original booking. 

Cox & Kings would not disclose the precise amount we were obliged to pay to BA in addition to our original booking for reasons of ‘commercial confidentiality’, apparently, but the total extra cost of £2,202 per person (£4,404) comprised of three elements: a pair of one-way internal flights in Peru; one night in an airport hotel; and a pair of world traveller plus return tickets from Gatwick to Lima with BA. It is reasonable to assume these BA tickets must have cost at the very least £1,500 per person and probably even more. 

I explained this to BA and asked: Can you please explain why it was necessary to buy two return tickets, rather than simply changing the date of the outward flights and retaining the original return bookings, and how this can be justified?

Their reply was incomprehensible so I asked them to explain themselves more clearly. I got no further answer. This is the original response:

Thanks for contacting our Press Office about your experience when you travelled to Lima last month.  I'm sorry you are unhappy with the cost you incurred to change your booking.  I know this must be disappointing, especially as you were looking to change this due to a bereavement.  Please accept my condolences for your loss.   

I've checked your booking and I can see you were initially booked in the lowest booking class in our World Traveller Plus cabin.  Your travel agent called us on 07 May to ask how much it would be to make a change to the booking.  Your agent was advised the booking was a trade deal and as such they would need to go by the deal fare rules.  Our Trade Support team had no further contact with your agent.

On 09 May your agent has changed the dates of the booking.  They have also changed the booking class to more flexible tickets in World Traveller Plus.  To make a change there would have been a change fee along with any difference in fares.  We can't see how much you were charged for your booking or the change however, it appears there may not have been any lower fares available.  This may explain why there was a greater cost than you expected to pay to make the changes.  Your agent should have made you aware of the rules of your ticket.  I'm sorry this doesn't appear to have been the case.  

Thanks once again for getting in touch and for giving me the chance to explain our position.  I do hope despite this experience we can welcome you on board in the future.  Please let me know if you need any further assistance. 

Best regards

Lyndsey Gaff
British Airways Customer Relations