View Full Version : Awful attitude BMI Checkin at BHX

16th Jun 2008, 11:01
Not a happy bunny with BMI baby. :mad:
I have flowns many hubdreds of thousands of miles, on many airlines and am not one of those who riles easily, the staff at all airlines have a job to do and it can be frustrating and pressure filled.
I try to be polite and make their time with me as quick and painless as possible :}

Now to make it clear, BMI Baby Cabin Crew (on the way out) were great, nothing but praise for their attitude and professionalism.

But checking in at Birmingham, I had the worst checkin agent I have ever met.

Up to the desk, girl behind the desk, not a smile or welcome, just "booking ref and passports" no please or thank you when handed over but, "Take those passports out of their covers, Ok say I "but the pages for scanning are readily available without taking out of the cases" "we have been accused of stealing money from them so no, you take them out" Ok, say I and put them down on the desk to take the three passports out of their covers next thing from ms happy "DON'T YOU ROLL YOUR EYES AT ME!" what?? first of all, I did not roll my eyes, and secondly, I am (almost) 50, not a naughty schoolboy!
"I beg your pardon?" says I "you rolled your eyes at me, don't or I will refuse to check you in"
"I think you need to look at your attitude madam" "Right I am not checking you in" "OK, get me the Supervisor" say I. "Stand over there then whilst I check other people in she" says. Err, no, I am not moving until I see your supervisor.
So Supervisor turns up, I explain my side and the Checkin girl says her piece.
Supervisor takes me to one side and apologises for the Checkin girls attitude says she will talk to here and we checkin at another desk. (Probably not happen, but I will be writing to Sir M.B.'s office)

Am I wrong? should we now be treated like cattle and take crappy attitude from people who are only in their jobs due to customers flying with them?

I take it that the check in agents are contract staff, not BMI staff?

Justin Cyder-Belvoir
16th Jun 2008, 11:55
I see,I see. Showing off again.

Just because you can afford a passport cover you think it's fine and dandy to flash it about at check in do you???

You'll be wanting some service next :ok::ok:

I had reason to ask bmi if I cold change a flight from Stockholm to Heathrow, by 24hrs and return earlier. As it was a codeshare with SAS their initial "Yes but it will cost you" turned in to a "NO we can't do it because it is a codeshare".

"No worries" says I, "I'll go on the original flight"

Turns up at Oh dark hundred at check in to be told "You dont have a reservation on this flight"

"OK then what does this ticket say"

"Ah yes you have a reservation but not on the computer"

To cut a long story short they had cancelled my booking, but the SAS ticket desk at Stockholm wouldn't help me as it was a bmi reservation, and bmi couldn't help me as it was a codeshare!!!

16th Jun 2008, 19:19
See my post - low cost and customer service - more evidence of aggressive behaviour by handling agents and disrespect to the customer. I don't believe these are isolated cases either

16th Jun 2008, 21:17
Personally, I find UK check-in staff to be the most surly of any country in western Europe, often lacking in the most basic of customer service skills, not even picking up on the importance of simply saying hello or goodbye. Falling standards in customer care seem to be systematic in the UK and I've experienced it in hotels, restaurants and even banks, just to name a few. It's important never to blame the staff themselves, where a service is inadequate the blame always lies with the employer. High turnover of staff is often an indicator of poor pay and conditions, poor customer facing skills may equal inadequate training, etc, etc. The Buck always stops with the employer.

16th Jun 2008, 22:15
Sounds like you encountered an agent with attitude, and a terrible one at that. You should and "must" complain , this has to be brought to bmibaby's attention. having said that, and I am not defending her in any way , but working as a check-in agent , particularly for a low-cost carrier is a bit like being a debt collector these days, If you want to check a bag in - you pay for it, if you want extra leg room - you pay for it, if you want to use a check-in desk as oppposed to online - you pay for it, if you have even 1 Kg over your limit - you pay for it , it can get you down after a while, there are so many extra charges that have to be collected it is sometimes easy to lose sight of the customer side of things, however that is no excuse, it just adds to the pressure. Unfortunately there has been a steady decline over the years and for someone like myself who has been in the business a long time, it is hard to adjust, but all said , she was way out of order.
As for the codeshare problem, there are two ways to amend a reservation, you can either book the new itinerary and then cancel the unwanted flights or you can cancel the unwanted flights first then rebook, if you use the latter and depending on the reservation systems being used by each airline, a cancellation signal can be sent before a final decision is made, unfortunately it is impossible for a reservation agent to know exactly how each airlines system works, there are just too many, it is bad enough getting your head around your own airlines system.:hmm:

16th Jun 2008, 23:10
I once had a very similar encounter 2 years ago with a BA check in agent at LHR T4. I complained through the Exec Club, and my complaint was acknowledged the next day. 4 weeks then passed without a peep so I thought I'd ask how it was going, and was told that they couldn't discuss it with me as it was an "internal matter". (Surely if it involves a passenger, then it's not entirely an internal matter...??) Anyway, after 6 weeks BA eventually apologised only after I pointed out that I hadn't yet received one. Good luck with your complaint!

17th Jun 2008, 19:44
May I add that you should complain to the airport authority also. They take a dim view of any lack of customer service anywhere in the chain.

Final 3 Greens
17th Jun 2008, 21:29
What's going on?

No one from the industry has yet criticised the OP and accused him/her of being a chav etc....:confused:

17th Jun 2008, 23:03
MMMmm. Interesting this, thanks for the warning. I try not to roll my eyes when I get to the same check-in at 04.00 tomorrow morning...but hopefully Ms Happy will not be on duty. I have warned little Realfish not to do the same.

Actually, I have felt for some time that our fleeting encounter with outstanding customer service has in this country given way to a culture of control, bossiness and self importance. I think our governement has led the way and set a bad example seemingly empowering every kind of petty beaurocrat and jobsworth eager to impose themselves and control everything that we do. With travel and transport (I've seen it on the railways also) I think that for a few who let the side down there's a sort of Munchausen's tendency - excessive control in the name of security (yes it is vitally important) being a vehicle that massages the ego.

I do remember something similar to Warkman's experience a couple of years back. Not loco but a BA flight to MRU. We were called to the gate but staff weren't quite ready and pax began to queue at what would have been the the fast channel for the customers who turn left. Quite a queue built up and they were eventually and belatedly shoooed away....to the very end of a very long queue. One Mauritian guy in his early 60's playfully admonished the BA staff member teling him that the was no sign to indicate they were at the wrong desk - BA man immediately snatched his boarding pass off him and told him that he wasn't flying -then did the same to his wife and then to someone else who had the temerity to complain about his behaviour.

I know pax can get on people's tits and I really have seen some bad passenger behaviour, but this man was a bully (come to think about it he had a look of Billy Bunter about him). That incident left a very nasty taste in the mouth so much so that to this day I remember that pratt's name - and I was a bystander. I remain convinced that there was an inverse relationship between the size of his ego and the size of his penis.

It seems to me that too many people, like Ms Happy, have forgotten that it's not what you do but the way that you do it that counts.

18th Jun 2008, 00:34
What's going on?

No one from the industry has yet criticised the OP and accused him/her of being a chav etc....

We expect better of you than that F3G - Maybe your usual eloquence is having an early night without you?

Little Blue
18th Jun 2008, 10:35
I began my airline career on a check-in desk, 20 years ago. Customer service was king. There wasn't anything that we wouldn't have done to assist the pax and if any of us displayed any signs of surliness then it was a quick march upstairs for a slapping from the DM.
A few years ago, my airline changed full cost to low cost and most of the CSA's left so some of us oldies were called in to help out.
I can remember checking in a group of pax, engaging them in the usual pleasantries that I used to use, asking them where they were staying, having banter with the kids etc etc whilst all the time, carrying on with seat allocations, bag tags. The girl sat next to me looked amazed at what I was doing and actually said " Why are you talking to the passengers? We've been taught not to cos it takes up time"
And she was serious.
It's the same everywhere.:(

18th Jun 2008, 12:23
Reminds of of the time I queued at Aberdeen at a BMI desk, for 55 mins, and I was next in line! One large family holdng up the queue and the agents didn't even open another desk up? When asked how much longer we'd have to wait as the flight was due to board, a surly b*tch gave us the glare and replied with "As long as it takes".

I agree that a lot of people use their position as an outlet of frustration. Threats of not boarding you etc. are all part of the little man/woman scenario. It's been getting worse for about fiftenn years IMO.

18th Jun 2008, 12:37
I think that there is a general lack of customer service culture in the UK in general. Not just in the airline business but right across the board. I work in ops for a handling agent at MAN, and I previously worked for a large British Carrier not named British Airways or Virgin in customer "service". It was the only experience I have ever had in this side of the industry, having always worked in ops or on the ramp. That said, I found thew ay that some of my coworkers spoke to the customers to be quite apalling.

Nobody holds a gun to these peoples heads when they take the jobs. This is a customer facing environment and if people dont want to provide customer service they should go do something else.

18th Jun 2008, 14:05
Well I must be lucky.

I've flown a fair bit more than the average Joe and can -- hand-on-heart -- honestly say I've never had a real problem with check-in staff.

The've ranged from exceptional at the top (IE those giving me upgrades when I was travelling on my own dosh!) to the polite but not hugely efficient.

Maybe I'm easy to please but having worked as a bank cashier over 30 years ago anyone who can smile and be polite to the great unwashed has my respect!

PS I resigned from the bank after less than a year after I cracked and called a rude old hag , 'A fecking old gyppo'.....:=

Skipness One Echo
18th Jun 2008, 15:37
Pay peanuts and you get monkeys believe me. Also low pay coupled with really crap hours and tired and occasionally aggresive cusotmers. flying is fast becoming a giant bag of SHITE IMHO. I sympathise with them but all the same what do we expect in such a cut throat industry? I mean Aviance just gave up at Gatwick as the competition is too tough and if you ever read the Stansted handling threads on here, they really hate each other!
*is scared*

18th Jun 2008, 20:13
To reasure you Warkman, the BHX staff on Baby's check-in were brilliant today. Long queue though.

sammy oid
19th Jun 2008, 15:10
When I started with BA 20 odd years ago, we were expected to provide top class customer service, but we were being paid decently to do so.
Airlines now employ Handling agents whose staff are paid apprx 12-14k per year. They would make more money working at Tesco stacking shelves, so when you all wonder why the service is terrible remember how much they are being paid to get up at 0400am to work in terrible conditions with insufficient staff to get the job done because the Airlines are trying to get every penny out of the handling agent because the travelling public want lower fares......................