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A BA Tale of two halves.....

Old 15th Aug 2009, 21:22
  #1 (permalink)  
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Thumbs down A BA Tale of two halves.....

Forgive the length of this post but needing to get off my chest and wondering if others have had similar experiences....flying BA MAN-LHR-JFK Friday 7th Aug. Arrive at MAN 90mins before flight, family of four, all checked in, boarding cards pre-printed for both sectors. We join the "Fast Bag Drop" queue and after 5 mins were called out of the queue by an agent and asked to go down to the end check-in (Gold/Business) with the words "Tell them I sent you".... we duly go down as requested and after waiting for one other passenger to be checked-in are called forward. From this moment it all goes pear-shaped. The high-handed agent (employed by Aviance but representing BA) proceded to publicly humiliate me and my family - accusing us of queue jumping and stating very loudly the desk was for Business Class only (as if I can't read). I tried to explain why we were there but to no avail and rather like naughty schoolchildren were banished to the back of the original line (which of course was considerably longer by then!). I asked at "Customer Services" for a Senior Manager to come down to the floor and was told the only person available was an Aviance Supervisor who was "busy checking in other passengers". I fed back our experience to the original agent who sent us down; this person proceeds down to the Gold Desk and therafter followed a public stand-up argument between the staff. 45 minutes later we drop our bags, and with relief went through security. On a better note the second half of this tale was the EXCELLENT service given by the cabin crew on both sectors... (NB Mr Walsh) the teams on board the A319 & 747 could not be faulted - highly professional, personable and faultless. However in spite of the efforts of the crew I feel it highly unlikely I will, by choice, fly BA again - the Avaiance staff were so awful why would I want to put my family through an experience WORSE than that of eJ or Ryanair on a BAD day! I did hand a letter to the CSD on the LHR-JFK sector in the hope it might get through layers of defences to the CEO (but in slim hope really) - perhaps any BA managment (with any "clout") reading this might at least go and observe the service they have "purchased" in MAN and then maybe think that cheap (assuming Aviance are cheap) is not necessarily best in terms of passenger retention! Bye-Bye BA....
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Old 16th Aug 2009, 00:51
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Don't feel too bad, it is not just you. I regularly travel on positioning flights with BA including flights from Manchester. Always found them to be excellent. However just after they subbed out their check-in to Aviance, I arrived early one morning with no queue at all, and well in advance of my flight departure time. Depending on the fare paid for my ticket there sometimes is and sometimes isn't lounge access, so I always quietly ask, as I usually just have a locator code and a departure time. On this one occaission I was a little surprised to have my polite question retorted with a firm no! followed by much typing. After passing through security and buying a newspaper, I sat myself down and telephoned home. My wife made some enquiries of her own and phoned back to say that I could use the lounge, but the supervisor was amused to note the comments the check-in agent had typed, suggesting that I would attempt to access and must be refused!

I think every company has a frustrated wannabee who never quite made the grade, and feels taking it out on the rest of the world is their just compensation. Clearly Aviance at Manchester has this one. It is like those ones you see every week on those "airline" type docusoaps who never seem to notice just how dim and ignorant they make themselves look, as long as they get to see their own face on TV.

You are right the service isn't BA, however it is a sub-contractor of BA who are doing their customer no service, and their customers customers an even worse one. To be fair to Aviance, I suspect this type of behaviour isn't typical, and probably makes others who work for them cringe as well.
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Old 16th Aug 2009, 06:09
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Same thing happened to me with Virgin, at Newark.

Must have been horrible with your family present.

Over the past 5-6 years, there has been a noticeable deterioration in the British Airways service levels and your experience is in line with this.

No doubt I'll be accused of 'BA bashing', but all I can say is that I am a frequent traveller on business (off to Cairo today, Bahrain tomorrow and Dubai/Sharjah later in the week) and I try not to fly BA these days, as even possession of a premium ticket does not guarantee good service on the ground.

As you say in your balanced post, the service in the air tends to be above average (although the product quality is being chipped away), but the company doesn't seem to realise that the start to end experience is what counts.

I don't blame you for looking elsewhere after that experience.
Old 16th Aug 2009, 07:02
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the lunatic fringe
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As an employee reading stories like this about subcontracted staff, it makes you want to rip your hair out.

The accountant is king, and profit is the God.

Ryanair have proven that you can treat customers like dirt and still make a huge profit.
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Old 16th Aug 2009, 07:52
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I,m a regular pax on BA MAN-LGW and BA are very much my preferred airline for scheduled air travel I,ve found their product the most consistent.The check in experience at MAN is dramatically worse since subcontracted out...not good for BA.The whole travel experience through MAN airport is now so poor I will always take the alternative to air travel if offered by my employer.Other methods of travel are much less stressful and given the aiport experience offer a similar journey time even airport to airport over shortish distances.A sad state of affairs for the industry.VBR Stampe
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Old 16th Aug 2009, 08:55
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Final 3 Greens
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Ryanair have proven that you can treat customers like dirt and still make a huge profit.
Quite right, but using a completely different sbusiness strategy to BA.
Old 16th Aug 2009, 08:58
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So you think that Ryanair treats its customers like dirt.

I tell you what, be more specific (write a list of the ways in which Ryanair does so) and I'll let you know if Ryanair has treated me (over roughly a hundred flights) in the ways you claim, point by point.

I'll take silence on your part as evidence that you're not willing to back up your claim with anything of substance.
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Old 16th Aug 2009, 09:39
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Had the same thing happen in Las Vegas with United.

Travelling with United to Chicago and then bmi to MAN in PE on a single voucher was sent to the Business check in at LAS by the triage person as the C check in had no queue (line).

Check in agent went loopy. Let her finish he rant then pointed out that her colleague had sent me over to her!

Just last week in Tesco in the line for the self serve check outs was told by Tesco "Here to Help" lady to go to the 10 items or less checkout as it was empty: lady there proceeded to count the items and loudly inform me that I shouldn't be using that particular check out as I had more than 10 items. I summoned her "Here to help" chum and invited her to tell her what she had just told me.

Can't see that either causes a huge problem if an employee is trying to cut down on waiting time.
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Old 16th Aug 2009, 12:44
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you might find that by going with a different airline, they are also handled by Aviance so if you like the experience of BA once through security, then stick with it
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Old 18th Aug 2009, 10:00
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Is there a sudden epidemic of such behaviour from ground staff, or is it just that contributors are only now relating such tales?

I had an identical experience with KLM at Schiphol just two weeks ago. At the end of a long, slow-moving bag drop line, a KLM representative removed the barrier and invited half a dozen of us to move to the business class desk. The business class check-in clerk was not happy and demanded that I return to the economy line. She continued to be grumpy and dismissive even after her colleague had confirmed that she had invited us to move to that desk. She even told me that next time I must remain in the correct line even if instructed otherwise. Before heading through security I filed a complaint with KLM customer services.

But I'm not going to judge an entire airline by a single incident or by the behaviour of a single member of staff. And if I were, which member of staff should I choose to represent the airline - the one who kindly tried to reduce the time we had to wait, or the one who was unhappy that we had done so? I will continue to fly with KLM - who, in my experience, are second only to BA in the quality and consistency of their product.
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Old 18th Aug 2009, 10:21
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It's odd, but eveytime I looked at Aviance I read it as 'Avarice'.

I suppose I'm not far wrong.
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Old 18th Aug 2009, 15:16
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I tell you what, be more specific (write a list of the ways in which Ryanair does so) and I'll let you know if Ryanair has treated me (over roughly a hundred flights) in the ways you claim, point by point.

I'll take silence on your part as evidence that you're not willing to back up your claim with anything of substance.
Blimey, didn't know MOL was a member of PPRuNe!

I have travelled RYR a few times and they would not be my airline of choice. IMHO, the RYR operation at Stansted is a joke from the moment you enter the terminal to when you get on the aircraft....and sometimes beyond. Now I know you'll say that the terminal experience is not RYR staff, I don't buy that because whoever they are they represent RYR.

As I say this is only my humble opinion. I do know of others that love RYR, it's horses for courses.
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Old 18th Aug 2009, 15:56
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I find that where you are dealing with BA check in staff, they are very good. The majority of the sub contracted handling agent ones vary from poor to downright cr*p - not sure if Sydney is sub contracted, but they were good. I've even had to argue to get into the lounge at Geneva when travelling Club Europe with a Gold Card!

Phoenix, Arizona, I find outstanding - so is the security operation in politeness and efficiency and genuine helpfulness. Boston they can't count - argued that we didn't have enough Gold Cards for two guests in the First Class lounge. Two Gold Cards - two guests - where's the problem?
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Old 19th Aug 2009, 00:53
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Not a particularly erudite comment but I think posters here are confusing some of these staff with people who give a damn....
They don't care because their managers don't care and because of that they can hide behind their uniforms safe in the knowledge that if you "kick-off", they will call the Police and have you arrested on any number of trumped-up reasons in the name of safety, security and the catch-all policy du jour of "our staff have the right to be treated in a civil manner even if they treat you like dirt..."
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Old 19th Aug 2009, 08:28
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BA BAshing

The accountant is king, and profit is the God.
as quoted by a BA employee.

Sorry no offense but maybe if BA (including all sub contracted staff who to the customer represent BA) should be taught the 2 fundamental rules

Rule # 1

Customer is always right

Rule # 2

If in doubt refer to rule # 1

And oh yes, profit is the supreme king as that is what pays your salary (along with the customer!). I dont think BA or any airline is in business for charitable purposes.

As a frequent SLF I stopped flying BA because of a similar high handed approach experienced on the ground. Individual Ego's getting in the way of service.

A bad apple spoils the entire basket. It makes me wonder what kind of team work is there if Ego takes precedence over rational thought process which allows the company to make a profit.

14 Happy years flying all but the worlds favorite airline!
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Old 19th Aug 2009, 08:52
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Phoenix, Arizona, I find outstanding...
Funny, as I found the supervisor there the worst ever airline employee I have ever come across ever in the whole world. And that's a lot of airlines, some which are not very good at all.

Just goes to show that individual experiences should not matter much when judging an airline. Punctuality/reliability/cost being uppermost, not whether somebody smiled or scowled at you once in a blue moon. (Safety is a given)
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Old 19th Aug 2009, 11:45
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Today 10:28
Wannabe Flyer BA BAshing

Sorry no offense but maybe if BA (including all sub contracted staff who to the customer represent BA) should be taught the 2 fundamental rules
Rule # 1
Customer is always right

Rule # 2
If in doubt refer to rule # 1
I'd have though a casual browse through some of the threads in this forum would have put that one to sleep.
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Old 19th Aug 2009, 12:01
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Slightly off BA thread topic but as its gone to comparing airlines

Nothing but nothing will ever beat Bahamas air and Nassau

Miami to Nassau, checked in, seats, boarding card etc. flight delayed 3 hours. Lounge looked incredibly full. Announcement for pax who had not got an earlier flight to come forward and board. Then after that announced that seat allocation changed to free seating i.e whatever is left first come first served 40 seats - the rest wait until tomorrow - ever seen 100 odd people charge the gate in one go? Interesting experience, I made the 2nd last row

then on the way back
5th in line waiting for check-in to open. Check in opens told flight full - (eh?), but not to worry theres a special plane scheduled to take off 15 mins after (yeah right)........(turns out there were people in the lounge who had been waiting over 24 hours) about 4 hours later I realised the only way we would make our connector in Miami would be to fly with someone else. So 2 singles with American Eagle booked over the phone in front of American Eagle desk at departure gate
American Eagle girl went over to the Bahamas Air desk (its a very small departures area) to arrange for the luggage to be moved over. Bahamas Air girl took the 2 new boarding cards and tore them up in front of me as I didnt need to fly with them as the Bahamas Air flight would be leaving 'soon'

another 8 hours later we finally left

and arrived Miami to find no luggage at 2am

For some reason I've never been back
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Old 19th Aug 2009, 15:37
  #19 (permalink)  
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Rule # 1

Customer is always right

Rule # 2

If in doubt refer to rule # 1
Rule #1....................I don't think so. Certain customers will always try it on and "demand" their "rights", conveniently forgetting that we all have "rights".

Rule #2.....................some civility is never amiss.
The Real Slim Shady is offline  
Old 19th Aug 2009, 18:37
  #20 (permalink)  
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The best rule of customer service

always try to say yes and if you cant, think of the best possible alternative you can offer.
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