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Business backlash over BA?

Old 21st May 2008, 10:30
  #21 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: UK
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Quite apart from the (non-)issue that is the subject of this thread, what were his daughters doing out of school prior to the half term...?

Furthermore, BA is not to know if the girls were travelling with or without him if he had booked their flights on a separate PNR, regardless of his status. I doubt they would otherwise have offered the girls compensation and rebooking if he had gone to the trouble of linking the PNRs to show they were travelling together.

On the other hand, while the DYKWIA crowd seem frustrating, it is surely a very annoying position in which to be placed if you don't have an additional few hours / day to spare.
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Old 21st May 2008, 11:29
  #22 (permalink)  
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It seems as if Ladbrookes is run by someone with childish tendencies, if he doesn't own the company perhaps the major shareholders should review his position to see if he is fit for purpose.
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Old 21st May 2008, 11:46
  #23 (permalink)  
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I can't think it would be sensible to ask a passenger to leave their children behind because there is no space. The cost to the company to provide guardian facilities would be astronomical. This time I think as has already been said, there's more to it than meets the eye.

As a counter to him will BA only be allowing their staff to bet with William Hills now
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Old 21st May 2008, 12:05
  #24 (permalink)  
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Personally I think this guy is wrong. I don't know him, but he sounds a bit pompous.
Common sense suggests that a CSA should not suggest that an adult travelling with two 14 year old girls should leave the girls behind on a Caribbean island. Even more so when apparently other options were available (e.g. asking for volunteers), because eventually the girls got on the flight.

I guess the most likely scenario is that he was travelling in Biz and the girls in Eco and Eco was oversold. Nevertheless, do not blame the guy, this clearly is a customer service issue. You simply do not make idiotic suggestions to solve a problem which in the first place is caused by the airline, not the customer.

As to Ladbrokes, Mr Bell has a responsibility towards their shareholders. It strikes me as an abuse of his influence to use his employers travel budget as a weapon in what is essentially a personal disagreement with BA.
With that logic, responsible CEOs should all be travelling Ryanair, but only if 1p all incl. tickets are available.

Probably the shareholders will be better off now that Ladbrokes will be shopping around for the best deals on whatever airline is available rather than automatically booking on BA because of some kind of corporate agreement.
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Old 21st May 2008, 13:38
  #25 (permalink)  
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With that logic, responsible CEOs should all be travelling Ryanair, but only if 1p all incl. tickets are available.
That's a complete distortion of what I said.

Company CEO's should have a travel policy which is not just cost effective but also suited to their business needs. If the business requires flexibility with travel times / dates then clearly Ryanair is not an option, even if they are cheaper.

I don't know what Ladbrokes corporate travel policy is, but in banning business related travel with BA Mr Bell has at the very least reduced his company's options when it comes to air travel. That may mean they shop around and get cheaper tickets, but they may also end up with more expensive ones. There may also be less tangible shortcomings - employees being saddled with inconvenient routings and flight timings etc.

I'm not a Ladbrokes shareholder, but if I were then I would be less than happy if their travel policy had been compromised at the whim of the CEO. The fact that he's done so because of a personal rather than a business grievance makes me question his suitability for the position.
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Old 21st May 2008, 15:24
  #26 (permalink)  
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Common sense suggests that a CSA should not suggest that an adult travelling with two 14 year old girls should leave the girls behind on a Caribbean island.
Yes, and as I point out, BA quite likely did not know if the bookings are not linked.
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Old 21st May 2008, 16:32
  #27 (permalink)  
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We don't have all the facts, but I'll make a few assumptions in a hypothetical scenario:

- Daddy rolls up to airport with daughter & friend. Daddy's a Goldie CIP and booked in First or Club while the girls are non-status and in 3rd World.

(Actually, they pitch up late for advertised Y-cls c-in, based on Daddy's ability to c-in nearer to close (due FFP status and class));

- bookings are not linked;

- boarding cards are issued, but flight is oversold.

- after c-in closes, at the gate a manifest is printed, which contains FFP status but not DoB (so the gate people don't know individual paxs' ages). Girls are not identified as UMs in t heir booking because they're travelling with Daddy;

- based on the manifest, status CIPs are guaranteed boarding; volunteer call may have gone out but didn't result in enough losses so bumping starts;

- girls are bumped by the gate agents and are called to the gate desk - they're probably expecting a U/G at this point but instead are told they're off and go running back to Daddy, in tears;

- Daddy steams up to the gate desk, huffs & puffs and demands the girls are not only not bumped, but are U/G-ed; when it's ascertained out that he is premium traffic, status CIP and they're in one party, some rejigging is done and the girls are given seats (as BA has said). Girls are probably not U/G-ed (as premium seats already filled by revenue traffic and status CIPs) so Daddy gets the hump and decides to fire off a blast to WW.

My personal correspondence to an erstwhile airline CEO didn't make the papers (it was actually entirely praiseworthy - actions well above and beyond the call by a couple of ground staff - and I received a personal response); I have to be cynical as to the source of this 'news'.

We've all been there, mate. The staff are usually trying to do their best to accommodate everyone they can but have to deal with ******s from time to time. As for overselling, well BA isn't the only show which does that and they wouldn't feel the need to if everyone showed up.
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Old 21st May 2008, 17:09
  #28 (permalink)  
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The toys are back in the pram
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Old 21st May 2008, 20:35
  #29 (permalink)  
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Chris Bell is clearly using his company position to inflict damage on a business because they didn't cater to his personal situation.Grow up....better still, resign.
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Old 21st May 2008, 20:54
  #30 (permalink)  
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I'm sure it's not true what they say about people in the gambling business. You know, about being rough and ready to put the boot in? Although, having worked in a UK casino in the early 1980s, I fear it is all too true.

A word in defence of the girls: someone asked why were they out of school prior to half-term. Education areas vary in their half terns. Two friends of mine who are both teachers - in different areas - find that their half-terms never line up.
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Old 21st May 2008, 22:48
  #31 (permalink)  
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Genuine Question
If the bookings were not linked, why wouldn't the girls be flagged as UM. How would the airline know they were traveling with daddy?
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Old 22nd May 2008, 01:55
  #32 (permalink)  
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It sure sounds like Mr. Bell made a business decision based on a personal problem with BA. But rather than criticize him for this and say it may hurt his company, you can also look at it from another angle - if BA is giving such poor customer service to him, then in his view they are likely giving as poor or even poorer customer service to his company's employees. That poor customer service can have an effect on his company and his employees so simply looking at the cost or schedule advantages with BA is being short sighted. It may have started as a personal gripe with BA but if Mr. Bell honestly feels that his company and employees will be better served by another airline that gives better customer service then we shouldn't criticize his decision too much.

He may be a small fish when compared to BA's larger corporate customers but I'm willing to bet that his move causes more damage to BA by further damaging their reputation than in any potential lost sales. If enough people do likewise, even though they alone aren't so significant, it can have a significant effect on BA and perhaps do something to cause them to improve their customer service.

Note, I don't have any connection to BA nor have ever been their customer and have absolutely no idea how bad or good their customer service may be. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with their customer service, though there may very well be based on the number of comments I've heard recently about them.
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Old 22nd May 2008, 07:34
  #33 (permalink)  
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Old 22nd May 2008, 08:53
  #34 (permalink)  
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That did not happen though did it?

The 2 young girls got on the same flight.

Mr Bell did not give up his seat to stay with the 2 young girls.
limp_leek the reason it didn't happen is maybe because he stood his ground and got 2 minors on the flight that he had booked and paid for, if it was your 2 daughters i take it you would of just left them there would you ?
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Old 22nd May 2008, 10:53
  #35 (permalink)  
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Fairly typical situation from the reports. Lots of complaints from Staff, nought gets done about it until the CEO gets messed about.

Whilst what BA appear to have done is common amongst the airlines, its not the customers fault that BA overbooked. And chucking two 14 year old girls off the plane is asking for trouble. Surely theres a policy against kicking kids off, its just very fortunate the Father was there.
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Old 22nd May 2008, 12:43
  #36 (permalink)  
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Of course, we don't REALLY know what happened, so we can only speculate.

I would speculate that even the dimmest customer facing employee or agent of BA would hesitate to knowingly bump two children, but Taildragger (above) paints a plausible scenario that the girls were just picked off a passenger manifest with no details of their age or travelling companions.

Why is this considered to be an example of bad customer service. As has been pointed out several times, the girls DID subsequently fly. Is there any evidence or reason to believe that once it had been established they were minors that there was ever a problem accomodating them??? Again, I can only speculate, but it strikes me that whatever the reasons and circumstances for initially bumping the girls, someone at BA intervened and made the right call.

I've no reason to leap to BA's defence, but it strikes me that some people are determined to stick the boot in first and not worry about the facts until later.
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Old 22nd May 2008, 23:06
  #37 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Can I just say that I really like BA. I know it is all about experience but I have flown in all classes (excl. business) on over 25 occassions in the last three years with BA and found that they have always been superb. Am I just lucky?
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Old 22nd May 2008, 23:30
  #38 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2008
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Spot on, there are loads of companies who think they are important, the latest figures obtainable on Ladbrooks is that 85% of staff are paid less than 18K per year consisting of mainly cashiers in betting offices and head office clerical staff, if they do spend millions at BA then the board must travle a hell of a lot.
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Old 23rd May 2008, 06:09
  #39 (permalink)  
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BAs lost business because the boss threw a hissy fit.

No, BA has lost business because the company irritated a customer who has leverage.

Its a case of business 101, know your customers and manage them appropriately.

I have stopped flying BA wherever possible due to poor customer service, the difference being that I only spend thousands per year, not millions and therefore my passing is probably not even noticed. I know a lot of other business travellers who feel the same way, as I regularly bump into them in EK and LH lounges.

As for the posters who are criticising the CEO, the shareholders can remove him if they are not happy with his performance, until then he is empowered to run the business on their behalf and if, in his judgement, he believes that withdrawing the company business from BA is a valid decision, it is one that he is perfectly entitled to make as the top executive office of the organization.
Old 24th May 2008, 13:34
  #40 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: LGW
Posts: 595
Someone was asking why the girls didn't show up as UMs if their booking was separate from the dad.

They didn't get UM status as they're over 12 years old. Only children under 12 MUST be escorted. Over 12 is the parent's choice. We see young children (but over 12) travelling on their own because mum and dad don't want to pay for an "auntie" to escort them through. (I've my own opinions on that one, but that's for another day)

Some people have mentioned that pax ages don't show up on the list, and that may be the reason why these two girls were picked not to fly (as such). May I add that a lot of teens and tweens these days wear a massive amount of make up and dress "up" for their age. Some tend to look much older than they really are.

Saying that, I think this betting ceo or whatever he is, had a complete hissy fit over something that sounds like it was sorted pretty quickly. If everyone who had a problem with an airline called the papers, we'd never hear about the more important news in the world. (Not defending anyone on this one, just my opinion)

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