muse: n. a source of inspiration

Sigh…so much for the Brits…


British Airways, I know you’re pretty busy with the Olympics and all, but I’m wondering how long an airline can take to respond to a consumer…

On July 19th my flight from London to Chicago was canceled. Just canceled. For operational reasons – that was what the letter I was handed said.

To start with, I was kind of surprised that BA let me get off the BA plane I had just flown in from Berlin to London and walk all the way to the security area for connecting flights to find that out. I mean, it sort of felt like they could have announced it on my connecting flight so I didn’t waste all that time. But, oh well…

So I go to the security area and a security agent tells me the flight’s been canceled and I have to retrieve my luggage, go through Customs and all that, then go to the BA Customer Relations counter and rebook. This took quite some time, and when I got to the BA counter it was a 90-minute wait to rebook.

As I got there, a BA agent handed me a letter signed by Janine Roberts, the BA Customer Experience Manager. The letter apologized for the inconvenience and suggested that I try calling the reservation team (I’m thinking no medals for this team…). Of course, this was an international call from my American phone, but I figured I’d try while waiting.

I tried.

Five times.

And five times BA hung up on me. “Sorry, we’re having technical problems. Please call back.”

Five times.

BA – I’d like a refund of my $20.00 in international calls.

Thank you.

The letter from Janine Roberts, Customer Experience Manager, also suggested that I try going to to rebook. Not a great solution for a stranded American passenger in an airport that doesn’t have free wifi.

So I waited.

Did I mention it was 90 minutes?

By the time I got to the counter, there were no flights to Chicago that evening. Because I had a morning meeting, I opted to fly to Philadelphia that day, spend the night there, and take a very early flight from Philly to Chicago the next morning, which would get me to O’Hare in time to grab a cab, run home, grab my car and make it to my 9:00 am presentation. I was assured by the Heathrow BA rep that they would find me housing in Philadelphia.

When I got to Philadelphia at about 10:00 pm EST (after traveling at that point for about 20 hours), it was not easy to find a BA rep, but when I finally did, he was unable to find me a hotel using BA’s system. It looked like there had been a lot of people who won the bonus night in Philadelphia that day, and rooms were scarce. I was assured by Jeff, the Philadelphia BA rep, that, if I booked and paid for a room, they would reimburse me.

That’s what I did. I snagged the last room at the Embassy Suites at the Philadelphia airport and managed to get there in enough time to sleep for, oh, about five hours, before having to get back to the airport.

Having finally arrived back in Chicago, I went to BA’s website to try to figure out how to get my reimbursement for my hotel and the cab I had to take in the morning. I completed the form here, and received this email in response:

Thank you for contacting British Airways.

Our Customer Relations team have received your correspondence and have created a case for you.  Your case ID is xxxxx.  This is personal information and only you will be able to discuss the details of your case with our Customer Relations Executives.  If you wish, you can of course authorise someone to contact us on your behalf.

Please be assured, we will be in touch with you again in the very near future.  Thank you for your patience while we look into the issues you have brought to our attention.


British Airways Customer Relations

So, here’s my question: what’s the very near future? How long do they get to wait? And does anyone have a phone number that you can call and talk to a human being?


July 29, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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