CEO reveals plan to stop the chaos
If you follow the news you can’t but help notice that British Airways has been struggling a lot recently – waiting for ages for a stand, delays, baggage not unloaded, and most recently huge check-in queues. To be fair nearly all airports and airlines are under strain having gotten rid of so many staff during the pandemic and then failed to recruit enough new employees to cope with the surge in demand. I do wonder why they didn’t start well in advance and have a pool of people waiting to call upon as soon as travel picked up.
According to Paddle Your Own Kanoo, the cabin crew blog, Chief Executive Sean Doyle has spoken to employees about his plans to combat the issues. He acknowledged that customers were fed up with BA’s performance (I think that’s something of an understatement judging by the feedback I am seeing from readers), but also said that he realised the impact it has on staff too.
The solution will be to reduce the schedule so there are fewer flights. This is one solution but again it’s bad news for travellers. This means that prices will be pushed up even further than they already are due to lack of space. If your flight has been cancelled then you should be offered an alternative. If it is not suitable you can take a refund. For Avios bookings they should rebook you even if there is no Avios availability, as long as there are seats available.
My lost baggage situation
Also a quick update on my baggage situation during the meltdown on the 20th March. I received my luggage 4 days later, although I do think this was partly down to the fact that someone kind had helped to expedite the process.
One thing I highly recommend is having a tracker. I used to have some high-end trackers that were very accurate but required a paid subscription. I have since switched to Apple AirTag and highly recommend these. Just pop them somewhere inside your luggage and it will show you an accurate position of where it is down to quite a fine detail. I could see my baggage moving around Heathrow and when it started its journey back to me. It does rely on other Apple devices being around to track its location, but in an airport that’s rarely an issue. If your AirTag is nearby, your iPhone can lead you straight to it using Precision Finding. You’ll see the distance to your AirTag and the direction to head towards. Batteries last for a year and are easily replaced.
I also have one on my hand luggage now since someone had their hand luggage stolen from one of the lounges a while ago. You can even program it to alert you if you are parted from your item.
You can buy Apple Air Tags from £28 for one here.
BA phone booking issue
BA has put out a message on the UK phone lines saying that they are temporarily not accepting phone bookings. This is expected to last until at least 1 May due to staff training. It does not seem to apply to GGL. With most non e-vouchers now being refunded, there will only be a few incidences where it is necessary to phone for a booking. If you wanted to use a companion voucher you can always try another BA office that is open if you don’t want to wait until they are released online at d-355. You can find the list of phone numbers here.
The other option is to try a traditional travel agent to book it for you for a complex booking. Our partner GTC makes flight bookings for a small charge.
Which BA flights don’t require a mask
After being very vague about which flights will and won’t require a mask, British Airways has published a list of flights where you do not need to wear a mask. It’s a sadly long list, but I expect it to change rapidly over the coming weeks. It’s always best to have a couple of masks with you just in case anyway.
Here is what the list says as of today:
You will need to wear a mask on board if you are travelling to or from the following destinations:
- Cayman Islands
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- Dominican Republic
- Hong Kong
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
- St Kitts
- St Lucia
- The Netherlands
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Turks and Caicos
- United States
Any chance the Sean might extend our EC status for an extra year? The would give BA time to to get its act together. At this stage everyone up to June are sorted till 2023 (if I’m not mistaken) so it’s just people with renewals from July – Dec that would get it! I’m November!!!
It’s an interesting one. Initially I was against any more renewals as nobody can claim they can’t travel any more (unless their company won’t allow it). In some ways I think BA should make a gesture as there are very few areas of BA that are as they should be (Club Suites and new Club Europe catering aside). However that in turn exacerbated the problem as then you get more people in the lounge than actually should be. Some other gesture of good will may be another option with less cost to everyone. I’d like to see an extension of book with confidence.
Our Household is split into 2 camps, 1 has been extended as their end date is May, the other is September. As somebody who believes in treatment should be fair, if some have had an extension, all should have an extension, so extend to the end of the year.
Looking at the current pricing, filling cabins may be a challenge and allowing time for things to normalise and be more affordable will take time but will fill planes later in the coming years.
With T5 appearing busy, is it time T4 re-opened and more flights be returned to T3 (or even Gatwick) This would reduce some of the issues we are experiencing at T5, ie all those codeshares filling the available space at T5.
There is an announcement about T4 that I’ll be sharing today. Can’t come soon enough.
BA can do what they want, they will remain carrier of last resort for me for a very very long time
BA is one of the worst air line to travel with . Poor service
Broken seats n dirty and let us don’t mention their meals on wheels .
Any news on club world food being brought back to some level of pre covid?
Still saying autumn as far as I know ????
In all the years I’ve observed BA as both a business partner and a customer, I have never seen them in such a mess. I realise Covid is an unprecedented situation but I worked with them during 911 and the Icelandic volcanic eruption- remember that? I don’t think this new guy is up to the job and I’m dreading flying with them. A friend of mine who usually flies Club or First was desperate for a break and flew out to UVF a few weeks ago in Y from LGW. She arrived and promptly fell down the stairs, sober! She was in agony for a week with badly bruised ribs. Her Corporate travel insurance agreed a Club seat for her return which she booked at £5000 one way and wheelchair assistance- the flight was chocker block. She checked in only to be told there was no seat and there was only an economy seat available. She ended up speaking to the regional manager on another island and got nowhere. There was no wheelchair assistance either. This is an airline out of control.
Wow that’s awful about the downgrade from Club. I tend to agree with you. Definitely one of BA’s worst periods.
BA customers hit with delays after ‘technical issue’ at Heathrow
When it rains it pours! BA are having a bad time.
We are wondering whether even to try to reach our reduced gold target this year. We are half way to it as we are in Sri Lanka with Qatar. We think the food in the first class lounge is very poor, maybe only the Concorde room is decent these days and how many flights provide first class: not many! On the way to Doha my wife became moderately ill and thinks that it was likely to have been the food in the lounge, which was for her alone an apple, a brownie and a smoked salmon/cream cheese sandwich. Was not serious enough for it to be likely to be a bug.
The food selection is very poor and the LP fixx good enough but GS is only available in the Concorde Room!
We were in the gold lounge having travelled there by the old route because Qatar booking have to be honoured only at A checkin ie as far as possible from FW.
Qatar check in took 25 mins as we were not allowed to drop our bag at the First desk despite the lady telling me while mixing with 3 other available staff that it was the supervisors desk. No desire to assist there!! The 21.20 plane left at 22.40 due to “late incoming plane and cleaning delays”. The ground staff service from Qatar was deplorable. Occasional announcements but no real information. Missed the eventual announcement due to a Gents visit so late to board as Priority and when we did we then stood in the airbridge for 20 mins. No one told us that there was a separate eventual entry point for business class passengers but when we got ear the plane I spotted it and a disinterested Qatar ground staff person then told the other when I asked him!
In contrast the welcome and attention and efficiency from the flight crew was the usual standard of excellence, in contrast to BA these days.
Anyway we recommend Sri Lanka for the friendliness of its people and the excellent value for money.
Thanks for this chance to sound off, Michele.
Thanks for sharing your experience Paul. With today’s announcement about T4 hopefully it should help improve Qatar ground service and relieve some of the T5 pressure.
We have been using AirTags in our luggage since they came out, would recommend to everyone! Great to follow the journey of your cases! Fortunately, haven’t lost any yet, but would hope that if we did, they would be easier to find, anywhere in the world!!
IF THE ABOVE COMMENTS ARE SO BAD ABOUT BA, THEN WHY AM I LOOKING AT THEM TO FLY FIRST FROM LAX TO EDI. PERHAPS ANOTHER CARRIERS WILL BE IN ORDER. HAVE FLOWN ON BA PRE COVID IN FC MANY TIMES AND OK BUT NOT REALLY FC QUALITY
I was fascinated by Paul’s report on Qatar; my experience earlier this month was exactly the reverse, of Qatar being hampered by flying from T5, but once in the air and at Doha back to QR’s usual superb standards. And two of my four legs were BA codeshare flights, so scored two of my four BA flights to retain status.
What really brought this home was on landing at LHR aboard QR016. QR has gripped the baggage handlers in a way that BA has never, ever managed to do. (The nadir was arriving at LGW a couple of years ago when the First baggage eventually arrived well after the carousel was otherwise empty). On the QR flight the Priority baggage arrived first – what a change.
Flying LHR-FNC yesterday saw normal service resumed. Boarding ‘buses by Groups, but constantly packing more people in to reduce the number of ‘buses. Then a long trip to beyond the fuel farm to what must have been the furthest T3 stand (from T5). Then at FNC most of the non-priority baggage was through before the first priority bag arrived.
I would love to see BA improve, but so long as I can score BA flights by travelling with QR I shall be doing so.
And some of the pricing is absurd at the moment. For a Club World flight to the Caribbean we normally get two seats for about £5,000. In Jan/Feb 23 we’re being quoted £14,000 for those seats. So a voucher flight to JFK and onwards with AA brings the price (for 2) down to £3,500, but who is paying these prices?
You may have misread my email or I may have miscommunicated. I agree that Qatar inflight service was as good as ever and also at Doha where we had a v tight connection due to the flight delay and it was seamless. And at Colombo our luggage was out within 5 mins of us getting v fast to the baggage hall, so we are hoping and expecting a good service like Clive on our return on QR016!
I think both Clive and Michele are correct that Qatar ground service at T5 is hampered by unfamiliarity but there is no excuse for 4 people standing around chatting while the Business check in queue lengthens. But I agree….so much better than BA and much higher points. We have flown a lot with them in the past 20 years. Roll on the return of the fab lounge in T4.
One dreads the thought of BA flights nowadays.
So, Doyle has a plan to stop the chaos and today there’s yet more IT induced chaos. Perhaps it’s time for BA to close down and repair their IT (and a few more things besides) and reopen when they are fit for purpose because at the moment they are not.
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