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Airbubba
26th May 2001, 05:37
From The Times:

SATURDAY MAY 26 2001

BA to ban ground-rage passengers

BY BEN WEBSTER, TRANSPORT CORRESPONDENT

PASSENGERS who are rude to airport check-in staff face being banned from flights under new guidelines being introduced by British Airways.

The airline has rewritten its conditions of carriage to warn travellers that they will be prevented from boarding if they use “threatening, abusive or insulting words to ground staff or the crew”.

Airports will be extremely busy this weekend as more than 1.25 million people fly to foreign resorts, but the conditions of carriage are not being amended until next month.

Check-in staff say that they are facing increasing torrents of abuse from frustrated and aggressive passengers. They believe too much attention has been given to so-called air rage on board planes.

“We have been telling the airlines for some time that you can spot passengers who are likely to commit air rage from their behaviour at check-in,” said George Ryde, head of aviation at the Transport and General Workers Union.

“Full credit to BA that they are the first to make this change to prevent disruptive passengers from even getting on board.”

BA logged 232 cases of air rage on board aircraft last year but does not collect figures for incidents on the ground. Now it has become the first airline in Britain to amend the terms and conditions of its contract with the passenger to make clear that it will not tolerate rudeness.

“If we think someone is going to be a disruptive passenger the most obvious thing to do is to deny them boarding,” said Owen Highley, a BA solicitor who helped to draw up the new contract.

“But there has to be common sense. We are not going to ban from flight everybody who gets a bit stroppy.”

Mr Highley said the new conditions of carriage had been written in simple terms to ensure that passengers were not confused by corporate language. The contract clarifies what BA means by check-in deadlines in order to end the confusion which often leads to angry confrontations when passengers are told that their flight is closed.

It says: “The test is whether they have received their boarding pass for the flight, not whether they have joined the check-in queue.”

Passengers barred from boarding would not be refunded their ticket price unless it was a fully flexible fare. They also face a life ban for the most serious incidents. A special BA committee meets to consider the length of any ban, with a year often considered enough.

f40
26th May 2001, 12:58
If true, this is fantastic news from BA! Empowering the ground staff to make decisions instead of passively being at the recieving end of abuse (and not only from pax, but regrettably from ourselves as well on occasion) will make them take a lot more interest in the whole phenomenon I would think.
Hopefully the rest of the Biggies will follow suit!
3 cheers for BA!

DeeTour
26th May 2001, 13:51
How about rules to protect overseas Tour Operator staff from physical and verbal abuse by Resort Rage and Bar Rage 'holidaymakers'?

excrewingbod
26th May 2001, 14:22
Yes superb news and I hope every other airline in this country follows suit.

About time something was done!

Mind you it will make Airline a bit tame if Easyjet ever introduces this policy.

Shagtastic
26th May 2001, 14:28
And BA ground staff who are rude to passengers?

Polish them up in a new uniform ofcourse.

flypastpastfast
26th May 2001, 16:19
So, can someone explain exactly what offensive and rude is. Are passengers no longer allowed to complain (legitimately), for fear of not getting on the plane.

I am really sorry, but I fly a great deal, and the most sarcastic remarks I have heard have come from staff. You know, the witty(allegedly) quip used on the passenger in 36A and chuckled about amongst the cabin crew in the galley. I hope some yanks take airlines like this to the cleaners over this if they get denied boarding and NO REFUND!

I agree that no staff should have to tolerate real aggressive behaviour.

The problem here is this, airlines like this have taken a legitimate problem with genuinely aggressive passengers, and quite cleverly used it to prevent passengers from complaining legitimately.

In marketing, this allows you to select out the type of passengers who tend not to complain ever (any airline will admit a large percentage will put up with sh*t wihout complaining)

Has it never occurred to airlines like this that the reason that abusive comments to staff are on the increase is because of the following

1 Not enough check in staff - big queues

2 Poor air quality on board

3 arrogant staff who see passengers as 'self loading freight', with the emphasis on freight.

4 cramped intolerable seats

5 sloppy handling of luggage

6 Changes of flight details without warning for purely commercial reasons.


So, instead of this being a step forward, it is a step back, the airlines could now say, we dont have to provide good service, if you dont like it you will not be allowed on, with no refund.

As a passenger, all I can say is

WHO THE HELL DO THESE AIRLINES THINK THEY ARE????????- (note aggressive stance - am I banned for life now?)

excrewingbod
26th May 2001, 17:07
Yes, but venting ones spleen at the check-in desk gets you no-where.

I think BA are looking to target pax who turn up late at check-in and get angry when they are denied boarding.

With the total lack of respect people have nowadays, I'm not surprise we see measures like this.

2A
26th May 2001, 17:37
Well done BA! Hope many other airlines follow suit.

ExSimGuy
26th May 2001, 18:44
Standing at the ticket desk for GF at LHR last year, the pax in front of me was using veryoffensive language to the lady behind the counter - left me highly embarrassed!

Don't know what his problem was but I had suffered a fairly horrendous trip and was rather miffed at GF at the time, but no way would I have used that sort of language - even to a guy!

Hopefully in future, this sort of pax will be told to take a tube or a taxi!

------------------
What goes around . . .
. . often lands better!

rolandpull
26th May 2001, 20:50
Its amazing. If a ferry is late, a train is late or three buses come along at once the punter accepts it, disgruntled maybe but accepts it. However when it comes to aviation the same punter goes harpic, and thinks the airline has got it in for them?
Good call BA. Perhaps airline should move onto BA and bin the 6th eazyjet series!

crewrest
27th May 2001, 13:15
Whilst I think this is a very good idea, does that mean when we check-in with BA we can have a non-stroppy agent who actually is interested in customer service.

SpeedBird22
27th May 2001, 16:20
Definitely a good call by BA. They are intelligent enough to recognise the difference between legitimate complaints and pointless, gratutitous abuse.

M.Mouse
27th May 2001, 17:39
flypastpastfast

I am sure that you recognise the difference in complaining courteously and complaining unpleasantly and offensively (and on occasion violently).

Complain by all means but do it properly.

DeeTour

I think if the same rules were applied to your section of the market the resorts would probably be empty!

Genghis McCann
27th May 2001, 19:35
Well done indeed by BA.

And, Flypastpastfast, if you need a definition of bad behaviour defined to you then you are just the sort of chap who will be be kicked off a flight. Anyone with half an ounce of common sense knows what constitutes acceptable complaint and what is inexcusable loutishness.

There are sadly large numbers of people who seem to lack any grasp of how to behave and this is an excellent first step to teaching them! We live in a yob culture and at last someone is addressing it. I wish BA every success and hope all airlines follow suit.

TravelMan
27th May 2001, 21:09
Being a frequent traveller, I don't think BA are making the correct move. It is setting up passengers to push BA to the limits, now!!

Instead, airlines should take a look at how they treat members of the public who are often paying huge amounts of money for air tickets (like 3500 GBP London-NY-London in Biz Class alone!). You are made to queue in cattle lines in noisy, crowded terminals, check-in staff couldn't give a stuff about smiling, welcoming you, making you feel comfortable (even though you've had a stressful day, pressure to get to the airport, etc.). Then, the check-in agent barks: we've changed your seat due to aircraft configuration change...your nice upper deck window seat is now a middle downstairs seat...you are trapped for the next eight hours...(no apology, just tough, take it, bud, and piss off)...No wonder people get hysterical when they are treated like this.

As for on-board air-rage, note usually either prescription medication or alcohol are usually the culprits, and lets face it, booze flows very freely (lets have a few gins in the lounge, some champers on boarding the plane, more after take-off, some white wine with your starter, red with the main, oh, a little port with cheese, and why not something afterwards....)...and that is on a flight from London to Istanbul! Hello? Lets not kid ourselves that it is pushed onto travellers, in order to hush them up, keep them in their seats and quiet.

Sure, some people push too far, and rightly should be dealt with, but they are the extreme exception, not the norm, and airlines should work much harder to create a more positive experience all around...and tantalising passengers with newspaper headlines about banning rude passengers is not a good start....

Capt H Peacock
27th May 2001, 23:05
On the contrary Travel Man, perhaps the opportunity to travel on an aircraft without this increasing phenomenon nowadays will be a positive attraction to BA’s customers. In today’s macho cut and thrust corporate world it seems that many people have forgotten that good manners, politeness, and consideration for others, regardless of their position in the strata of society, is a valued virtue and is an equally successful tactic to bullying, abuse, rudeness, and shouting. There are a small but vocal minority who believe that purchasing a ticket on an airline gives them the right to treat staff as chattels and behaving like a spilt ten year old, whilst being worshipped and grovelled to by the chicks in the uniforms. I detest such individuals, for individuals they are, and applaud this move by Big to remove them from the vast majority of seasoned traveller’s misery.

I have flown prince and pauper alike and welcome with open arms anyone who enjoys the comfort and security of my aircraft, whilst respecting the dignity and professionalism of my crew. That BA considers this basic courtesy to be extended to the ground-staff as well attracts my full support.

I suggest those passengers who can’t reasonably resolve a dispute without throwing their teddies out of the cot should consult with the British Deputy Prime Minister.

Panman
28th May 2001, 00:34
I think this is a step backwards. How do you really define rude. The answer to this is what each person defines as rude and offensive. Take for instance a passenger arrives at check-in all flustered. Tells the check-in clerk 'I need to get on this bloody flight!'.

Now Granny who has been working for the company for the past 2 centuries, still believes in butterfly neck tops and ankle length skirts/dresses. On top of that granny was the victim of abuse during a 5 mile tailback on the M4 leading to Heathrow, couldn't find a space in the staff car park and thus had to park in long term car parking, had a little child spill blackcurrant ribena on her jacket and is dealing with a malfunctioning computer. She is going to think that passenger rude and offensive and subsequently bar them from the flight.

Ms Pretty Young Thing who has worked for the company less than six months, wears a skirt that makes you go blind when she coughs and rests her bosom on the counter to ease the pain in her back, considers that the passenger was using the word casually and lets them board the flight.

It's all how the person perceives it.


I disagree with this knee jerk reaction from BA.

PaNmAn

TravelMan
28th May 2001, 17:30
I think you missed my point, CAPT PEACOCK. If passengers are treated with respect, and appreciation for the value they are adding to the airline's bottom line (providing employment for you!), then I have no hesitation that the majority of travellers will show respect back, and life will return to the bucolic way you perceive it.

However, ground staff (and even staff on board) are often short with travellers, and become the straw that breaks the camels back from time to time, forcing individuals into confrontation. An open declaration from the airline is just encouraging this, not solving the issue thru better staff training, improved service resulting in a positive travel experience for everyone.

You mention the ability to reasonably solve a dispute? The way I see it: BA is right, the passenger is wrong. Piss off, you aren't travelling with us today. Now do you honestly think you want this happening to bankers putting together billion dollar deals, the same bankers who have 30 million annual spends with BA? Doubt it!

And yes, I do believe that people paying 3500 for a ticket should be worshipped. Because if they aren't, you'll lose your prime profit margin, and will not be employed for much longer. Have you paid this kind of money for a ticket? If you have, I bet you demanded EVERYTHING, including some worship, and probably more.

Mode7
28th May 2001, 19:10
Well done BA. At last someone is dealing with the damage Ann Robinson has inflicted on the Industry. Her "complain, complain, complain" campaign has made our (those at the coal face)life hell over the past few years. Hopefully the charter airlines will do the same asap. You only have to watch the shots on TV these days to understand what this is all about. If you are late for check-in - TOUGH! Deal with it in your own space not the check-in staff. BA is 100% right on here. Well done!

Oldie Volvo
29th May 2001, 21:20
I have not travelled on long haul BA for a
long time but do use their shuttle services
on a regular basis. On the plus side for BA
I have rarely come across any rude or unduly
aggressive behaviour from either pax or staff
on these short trips - also very noticeable
that the pax tend to leave the aircraft in a
reasonable staff unlike their fellows on
charter flights who seem to use the cabin as
their own personal waste bin. On the other
side of the coin however I have seen fare-
paying passengers getting very upset ( a la
Easyjet) when seats are oversold, flights
cancelled at short notice etc. No excuse for
bad behaviour I know but we do tend to treat
our customers in a very cavalier manner on
far too many occasions.

So far so good then for BA, by all means refuse to take ill-mannered and aggressive
passengers BUT remember that if their bags
are already on board you may well have to
delay everyone else whilst their bags are
located and removed which in turn upsets the
rest of the pax and round we go in circles
trying to find the chicken or the egg !

Covenant
29th May 2001, 22:06
I think the crucial question here is where does "stroppiness" end and genuine "agressive behaviour" begin? Who will be the arbiter? Presumably the check-in staff, which in my opinion is not at all satisfactory.

Travelling by air is, for most people, a far more stressful occurrence than any other form of travel. People are usually travelling to a tight schedule, they know they have to get there two hours in advance but unforseen delays do happen, they may have a connection to make at the other end, they may have people waiting to collect them at their destination whom they cannot contact, they may be about to go on the holiday of a lifetime that they've spent years saving for, they may have a very important business meeting that is worth millions if it falls through, they are probably travelling to a foreign country and may be apprehensive about that. On top of all that, many people are not very comfortable with the whole concept of flying and are already nervous and on-edge. It is really hardly surprising that a lot of passengers are on a short fuse, and that they lose their cool when they get to the check-in desk and they find that they are delayed, or bumped because of over-booking, or denied travel because the flight is closed (after waiting in a queue for an hour). The icing on the cake is a smug or aloof check-in clerk who quite clearly doesn't give a toss that their whole world seems to be falling in around their ears.

This might well make them, by the standards of most normal conversations, appear somewhat rude to say the least. Surely this is not a reason to refuse to let them board? If they are using, or threatening to use violence or physical intimidation, sure. But rudeness??

To digress slightly. Has anyone else, apart from me, attributed any of the increase in air rage to the general practice of banning smoking in long-haul flights? Everyone is aware of the side-effect of nicotine withdrawal that makes addicts irritable. With something like 25-30% of the population regular smokers, isn't it likely that some of those are going to also find themselves on a short fuse some 8 hours into a smoke-free flight? I'm not saying that this is the exclusive reason for the increase in air rage, but surely it must be contributory?

J-Class
30th May 2001, 03:27
Even reading this thread has made my blood pressure rise...!

I agree with some of the comments above - there is a real conflict right now between the high-falutin' personalised customer service the business class airlines trumpet in their ads, and the grim reality of arriving at the airport and taking part in a human lottery which may or may not result in sitting on the right plane, at the right time, in the expected seat.

The main issue here, however, is how one reacts to the slings and arrows of outrageous airline practice, or indeed of other similar situations in life. All the 'hyphen-rages' discussed in the media - road-rage, air-rage, whatever - are about instances where, in a situation where self-control is essential to safety, it is lost.
Fair enough, then, that if a passenger appears so implacable on check-in that he seems likely to endanger an aircraft, he does not get to travel. Yes, the judgment of who does or doesn't cross the line is in the hands of the airline - but who else, reasonably, is in a position to do it? And let's bear in mind that it is not in the interest of airlines to police this rule too forcibly: one has to assume that even the most cavalier airline prefers not to lose its customers by denying them travel.

By the way, my personal closest to causing a scene occurred last Christmas Eve, when I arrived at LGW 1 hour 45 minutes prior to a VS flight to UVF only to be told that my reserved seat in Upper Class - 3A - had become, er, a seat in Premium Economy because 'everyone had showed up'. Yes, I'd paid a truck-load of cash for the ticket; yes, it was my only major holiday last year; yes, I was hung over (it was Christmas, after all) and I'd been looking forward to a decent kip; yes, it was a bloody ridiculous thing to happen - what kind of crapola yield management cannot predict that all Upper Class pax taking a ONCE-WEEKLY FLIGHT TO THE CARIBBEAN ON CHRISTMAS EVE might, in fact, choose to show up?

However, once it became clear that no amount of grousing about my elite FF status, my support of VS as a pax since 1991, etc. etc. was going to make the slightest difference I did shut up, checking myself before saying anything too personally unpleasant to the check-in staff. And, rather than attempting to open the doors mid-flight, trying to get jiggy with one of the hosties, breaking my seat or taking a dump on the food cart (don't laugh, they've both happened!), I shut up - and took the more circumspect route of the hacked-off business customer, which has been to deprive Sir Richard of any of my custom since (for which Big shareholders should be thankful).

Wrong Stuff
30th May 2001, 12:58
Funny that. My last problem was when my reserved Upper Class seat became a Premium Economy seat too.

The trouble is when a problem happens, as a passenger you're backed into a corner. You can't threaten to transfer your custom to a competitor - even if there happens to be another service you know you'll never get a seat without paying an absolute fortune. You can't threaten to cancel the whole thing because generally people are travelling for a reason and have to get somewhere. There's nobody to complain to who can put things right for you - sure you might get to talk to a supervisor but they're only going to spin you the same line - there's no aviation ombudsman or someone who can make them give you a seat on the flight. You can threaten never to travel with the airline ever, ever, ever again, but you know they don't care about one individual and they know all airlines are the same so it's a hollow threat anyway.

So the passenger is feeling backed into a corner. The airline holds all the power and the only thing the passenger can do is argue their case and hope to get things changed. The trouble is that the adrenalin's already flowing and some people are really not very good at putting their case. You see it every time you check in - someone's late or their bag's overweight or they've been bumped onto another flight - and they're standing there arguing. It's not surprising that occasionally it boils over.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not defending it or anything - I'm just saying it's not that surprising.

So BA's reaction is to go even further and say:

Now if YOU argue too much and WE judge you to have been rude then WE're not going to let you fly at all. Oh, and by the way, the check-in deadline applies to when you have received your boarding pass for the flight, not when you joined the check-in queue. So if you arrive twenty minutes before your check-in deadline and because we haven't got enough check-in desks open there's a half hour queue, then WE can stop you boarding because it's YOUR fault for not arriving early enough.

Will this help? I doubt it. The airlines need to take a strong stance against air-rage and stopping trouble makers before they board is an excellent idea. The almost impossible part is accurately predicting who will cause trouble before they've already gone too far, without banning the harmless ones who are just stressed out. Whilst 90% of air-rage offenders may have caused trouble at check-in, I doubt whether 1% of people who cause trouble at check-in turn into air-rage offenders. That makes it absolutely useless as a predictor of who you want to keep off your aircraft and just serves to increase the tension in the pressure cooker.

mainfrog2
30th May 2001, 13:39
I think putting in writing the fact that passengers will be denied travel if they are abusive or aggressive seems unusual because my idea of an aggressive pax may not equate to someone elses idea, so denying a pax boarding still appears to be a lottery. The part about the pax having to have a boarding pass issued also seems as one or two have said a bit peculiar. If I turn up 2 hours before a flight and then due to not enough check in desks being open I can't board, I would be extremely p****** off. If BA wants to put these conditions in they are going to have to make sure they have covered their backs. This policy may come back to haunt them.

Looking at the posts related to VS I can't see how there is a need to overbook first class cabins. I would have thought that telling someone that there are no first class seats available on the flight when they booked would have been preferable to telling them they're now downgraded when they get to check in. Are Virgin operating at such tight margins that they need to be sure their are no spare seats in first class?

enginefailure
30th May 2001, 17:07
' would say 90% of air rage happens under the influence of alcohol.

So, why do the airlines sell alcohol on board ? You are not allowed to smoke (on most flights/airlines) , so why are you allowed to get drunk on board ?
(and through the pressurization in a plane the effect of alcohol increases !!!)

If the airlines depend on the money earned by selling alcohol on board they shouldn't complain about the consequences which can happen (and do happen).

ef

jollygreengiant
30th May 2001, 17:21
Just one point for Covenant regarding the nicotine deprivation and air rage, the two may be linked combined with many other factors such as free alcohol. A possible solution is providing nicotine gum, patches, inhalators etc - not the same as smoking but could only help.

enginefailure
30th May 2001, 17:22
In times of modern computer technology with worldwide online connections a flight never should be overbooked !!!!!

But this seems to be policy because the airlines know that not all passenger booking a flight will really fly, so they sell some seats more hoping that some pax really don't use their tickets, isn't it so ?


ef

flypastpastfast
30th May 2001, 17:28
Sorry about above posting, I submitted it because I thought my earlier posting had gone missing. says the same thing so skip it. I can't delete it for some bizarre reason. If anyone can then feel free to do so.

WeeWillyWinky
30th May 2001, 19:14
Regarding overbooking: Mr. Businessman can book three consecutive flights from A - B on the same day being unsure of when his meeting will finish. He only takes one of those flights and indeed only has to pay for one flight. If airlines only booked to aircaft capacity most flights would leave with empty seats. We are not talking one or two but as an example AMS - LHR the number would be nearer 25 - 30.

Until it becomes normal practice that all airlines require all booked seats to be paid for then overbooking will remain a frustrating fact of life for passengers and airline staff alike. For an airline to unilaterally go down this road would be akin to commercial suicide.

I believe hotels have similar problems.

Theatres don't, if you book a seat you pay for it!

Overbooking is a remarkably precise art but unfortunately not perfect and some will always face the appalling situation of either being downgraded or denied boarding.

radeng
30th May 2001, 19:44
Is there a price differential between Premium Economy and Upper Class on VS?

If so, then there surely is a hefty refund if the booked and paid for seat isn't available.

Not that I fly VS - there's been too many reportable incidents in the AAIB Bulletins relative to the size of the fleet for my liking. Admittedly, not recently.....but.

J-Class
30th May 2001, 19:57
WeeWillyWinky, I'm not disagreeing with the requirement for overbooking - the industry would go bust in a week without it - but in the case I discussed before it was a question of overbooking a once weekly holiday flight to St. Lucia. There was little chance of my holding mutliple reservations to get there, given the lack of alternative direct flights, or deciding to travel the next day (there would be no flight!)... thus I'm not sure that airlines' overbooking (yield management) systems are as perfect as you think. Yes, executives flying between London and Amsterdam are buying business class mostly so they can change their flights - and LHR-AMS has a flight every hour or so. But on some routes pax are buying business for the comfort factor and are much, much less likely to change their bookings - e.g. LGW-UVF.

It seems to me greedy on the part of the airlines that they are so concerned to fill to brimming their premium cabins that they are prepared to hack off regular customers to achieve this. I don't know if this is particularly bad at VS (a sample of 2 is inconclusive).

WeeWillyWinky
31st May 2001, 01:40
J-Class

I agree on the face of it your experience does seem rather odd.

radeng

That is rather a sweeping, and I would say unfair, assertion. I do not work for VS but would suggest that unless you are prepared to justify your statement that you consider withdrawing it.

enntwo
31st May 2001, 17:09
I agree. Silly comment, best withdrawn.
I've spent my career flying for the competition, but I have flown as a pax on Virgin and would happily do so again.

RATBOY
31st May 2001, 17:35
The last time I looked passengers can decide which airline they want to book on and are entitled to their opinion, personal minima if you will. This being the case, Radeng doesn't have to fly with anyone and doesn't have to justify it to anyone, so itisn';t a silly comment.

Good on BA for stating a resonable policy, now all they have to do is make it work. Suspect the staff dealing with the chaeckin will behave like Mk 1 Mod 0 humans and get it right most of the time, the passengers will behave like the passengers and most of the time it will work out. What BA (and the pax) need to worry about is the close calls on whether someone is "rude" or "abusive". Without a really well defined criteria for staff to use this should leave BA open to some really horrendous lawsuits. There will be suits anyway, but BA will be on much better legal standing if they have a very clear and uniform policy that they can prove is uniformly and impartially applied. Can't you just imagine the checklist?

1. appearance on one to ten scale
2. alcohol/drugs (tick yes or no, if yes how many sheets to the wind)
3. Rude Language- F*&#%#, S*^(&, etc. More than 5 usages in 2 minutes and boarding denied.

.
.
.
could get really silly, but should provide for safer and more pleasant flight for all concerned, and is to be commended.

Roadtrip
31st May 2001, 18:32
BRAVO BA! The key concept here is really abusive and/or aggressive behaviour/language. The problem with airline travel is that prices have come down so low that many more people are travelling by air. Unfortunately, that brings in a larger percentage of jerks. Video/audio recorders at gates and check-in counters would be in order, I would think. Even jerks think twice if they know they're being recorded.

[This message has been edited by Roadtrip (edited 31 May 2001).]

mainfrog2
1st Jun 2001, 00:28
< even jerks think twice when being recorded >
Airport is proof of that then!

radeng
1st Jun 2001, 14:26
Admittedly, my comment refers to early days some years ago when the fleet was older, and doubtless smaller, but the incidents are there in the AAIB Bulletins. As RATBOY says, we have a choice as to who gets our money, and j-class' experience doesn't convince me to use them.

Nobody has answered if the downgrading leads to refunds? I know it does with BA: when I got bounced from business class on AA, they rerouted me 1st Class all the way from LAX to LHR, paid for a meal, and gave me a cash voucher.

J-Class
1st Jun 2001, 20:34
radeng,

In theory you get the difference between the Upper Class and Premium Fare refunded to you. However, on checking my VISA statements recently I discovered this never happened... I wrote to Virgin two weeks ago to 'remind', haven't heard back yet.

You also get 50,000 free airmiles, which I believe is enough for a Premium-to-Upper Class upgrade on another Virgin flight. I suppose this is not derisory as compensation - but definitely plays second best to actually receiving the service one wanted, and paid for, in the first place!

We've come along way from discussing air rage, haven't we - we should rename the topic 'downgrade anxiety!'

TravelMan
6th Jun 2001, 12:45
Radeng: Re: refunds. Passengers do usually receive a refund, the difference between the fare paid, and the full fare for the level of service they actually received. The fact that, had the customer wanted, they could have paid less for the premium economy fare (i.e. in some markets, several tiers of fares are offered for this enhanced economy product), so the passenger ultimately loses out. Also, in most instances, it is a company paying for the ticket (J-Class you are an exception to this), so the company gets the refund, the traveller doesn't get the seat and service they originally paid for, and is the ultimate loser. Okay, sometimes extra mileage is accrued, but airlines should think of something that benefits the passenger who has been inconvenienced.

Re: multiple bookings (WeeWillyWinky), the fare charged by airlines for flexible, multiple booking itineraries is commensurate with this option (i.e. we pay a lot of money). Some airlines (American, I believe) have a computer system which scans for same names on same day itineraries, and repeated requests are made to the agent to confirm just one sector and cancel the rest, or risk having all sectors cancelled. So Airlines are getting wiser to this.

Re: Alcohol (EngineFailure) - in Europe, airlines give booze away free on most flights (low-cost flights excluded). It is also available free in lounges prior to travel, so yes, alcohol does play a part! Still, remember this topic is about being rude at check-in, and BA's interesting announcement.

Good discussions, keep the comments flowing!

radeng
6th Jun 2001, 13:51
I suppose that part of the problem is that in general, we've become somewhat ruder, as well as more prepared to complain. It then gets very easy for what starts out as a simple complaint to degenerate into a shouting match.

Difficulty is that if you've paid for something, you expect to get it.

Another danger is the hidden unknown. For example, a diabetic passenger re routed because of a cancellation could turn up too late for an onward flight after missing a meal, rushing across an airport and so suffering from hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar). This can produce apparently drunken aggressive behaviour, and may not even be immediately realised by the sufferer. Yet it would have brought on by the airline's behaviour. Then what?

Probably in the US, an expensive court case!

You can see that denying boarding to 'rude PAX' needs to be very carefully implemented and monitored.