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What's the Problem at BA Now?

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What's the Problem at BA Now?

Old 2nd Apr 2022, 18:08
  #1 (permalink)  
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What's the Problem at BA Now?

Much against my better judgement, I booked a BA flight to an EU city 2 years ago, and foolishly accepted a voucher instead of a refund when Covid prevented it.

So, stuck with the voucher, I had to use it to book a flight to the same city next Monday 4th April.. So far, so good.

Or rather, so bad. Going to Manage my Booking I find a message saying;

"Potential service disruption may affect your journey. Please review your options below."


The options are (A) cancel and get a refund. (B) do nothing and just turn up as planned, hoping that it's OK, or (C) rebook on to another flight.

(A) is out of the question; for various reasons we have to go. It's most definitely not a holiday. Other paid-for reservations would be lost, with no refund, ie hotac, transport to the air etc.

(B the information provided is useless; What the hell does "may affect your journey" mean? Will it, or won't it? What's the cause of the "potential" disruption? BA's IT? Massive fleet breakdowns? Strike? Why can't the stupid sods in BA give us the information we need to make a judgement call? What's the risk of not getting a flight if we do just turn up?

(C) Rebook when? Tuesday? Wednesday? When? How do we know? How long will the "potential disruption" last" Who will refund all the money already shelled out irretrievably for transport and hotac? BA? In your dreams.

Does anyone have any insight into why BA is predicting disruption next Monday? Is it severe? unlikely/likely/very likely?

I did call the appropriate number to get the full story and advice from a friendly customer service agent. Ho, ho, ho. Guess what? They're rather busy at the moment, so the final recording on any menu option is "Sorry, we're very busy, Please call again later. bleep, bleep. bleep."

Why does anyone book BA, I wonder. I know, that's what I did. Well, I hope others will benefit from my experience.

Meanwhile, can an insider offer any information as to what the real situation is? Please?
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Old 2nd Apr 2022, 18:11
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If you have been reading or listening to the news recently you may have noticed stories about disruption and delays due to staff shortages. Particularly, security and handling agents. I would guess that that is the problem.
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Old 2nd Apr 2022, 18:26
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Yes, many thanks for that, I had read about the staffing problems, as well as massive IT failures. But in order to make a sensible decision about what to do, ie which option to go for, I need to know which, how severe, etc etc. And it might be something else entirely.

The flight is one segment of a complicated trip and if I'm going to unravel it I need to do it now.

And, typically, BA confronts me with a blank wall of indifference to the consequences to their customers' interests of their incompetence.
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Old 2nd Apr 2022, 20:57
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My guess is that - until the day, the airline do not know either. In my field of work, Covid has laid low too many people and every day there are calls to say that someone cannot come in as they have tested positive or have symptoms.

The NHS has the same problem, a friend of mine who works in a GP surgery said that eight people went down with Covid in one week. No company can plan for that kind of staff outage. My brother and his family had booked for Cirque du Soleil at the Albert Hall. Made a weekend of it with family from Devon and Nottingham. Got to the door - Sorry but too many of the backstage crew and performers tested positive, you'll get your money back. Two grandchildren rather dissapointed.

That is what the UK is currently dealing with. No company, particularly one as large as BA with such a range of staff all needing to be fit and ready to go - can promise much these days. We travelled long haul with them just over a week ago and, apart from a delay whilst waiting for cleaners to complete their work on the A380, all went fine.

We were one of the last out on a Friday night, so I was not surprised at the delay. Flight and Cabin crew all fine as usual.
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Old 3rd Apr 2022, 08:20
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It's not just the UK that's struggling. US carriers are having a bad time as well.

Son went to Boston with BA last weekend for a convention. He came back on the daylight with a connection to home in Newcastle. Plane was on time. No baggage and connection cancelled. He picked himself up, filled in the lost baggage report online while on Heathrow Express and caught The 2000 from Kings X. Bag turned up 48 hours later. Not ideal but he's done enough travelling (since he was a child) to know that you there are times when a bit of personal initiative works best.

Colleagues of same son went on United via San Francisco to Seattle. Plane late from London, missed connection, one bag missing, next flight only had one seat (for two people) next available seat 24 hours later. They decided who should take the one seat, the other went standby (and got on).

It's going to be like this for a while yet.

BA do seem to be making a bit of a meal of the problems though.
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Old 3rd Apr 2022, 09:17
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The Easter holidays?

That and Covid probably mean that schedules are very difficult to guarantee.

One would hope that a company such as BA would have very robust processes, very good staff training and back-up in place to maintain as near normal service as possible. Isn't that why we pay a lot more for BA tickets than the LOCOs?

Could the OP get the refund and do their trip via trains instead? Eurostar was running normally a few weeks ago when I had to work in Paris. You have to provide a Covid vaccination certificate and a passenger locator form, but it is fairly straightforward.
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Old 3rd Apr 2022, 09:26
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I can sympathise with BA, up to a point, over the external influences they cannot control, eg Covid keeping staff at home.

My sympathy reduces mightily about the things that result from bad/incompetent management, eg IT meltdowns.

But any trace of sympathy disappears when they decide to adopt a policy of issuing a vague, unspecified, useless "warning" of "potential disruption", and then responding to phone enquiries about what this might mean for a specific flight with "We're too busy to talk to you, please call later".

Presumably the warning has the purpose of enabling BA to say "Well, we did warn you", if anyone is denied boarding and complains.

I was recruited into BOAC in 1969. That, and the BA that it eventually became, was a company people were proud to join and work for. Until it became the foreign-owned cash cow, strike-ridden, poorly equipped, organisation it now is, with it's staff mostly ashamed to work for it, and a incompetent management led by foreigners who doesn't understand IT, let alone air transport, and communicating with their customers.

PS..... Uplinker, Yes we could get the train, probably; getting a train from Warsaw to the West at the moment isn't easy. But only with huge disruption to other essential parts of the trip. As for the refund, get this, quoted from the "warning" of "potential disruption";

"f you wish to cancel your booking a refund will only apply if your fare rules allow it."

Only BA would think of that; it's indicates 100% tone-deafness, and a quite outrageous attitude to the customers they treat so badly, and the law.

Last edited by old,not bold; 3rd Apr 2022 at 09:39.
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Old 3rd Apr 2022, 09:48
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Originally Posted by old,not bold View Post
Until it became the foreign-owned cash cow, .... and a incompetent management led by foreigners who doesn't understand IT, let alone air transport, and communicating with their customers.
You mean all these foreigners that manage successful airlines in the rest of the world? Or are foreign airlines all managed by wonderful British expats that make these foreign airlines successful?

You are old, but your post makes you sound even older, really ....
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Old 3rd Apr 2022, 09:58
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No, I mean people with no sense of pride in BA as the British national carrier, a title it still carries, with little justification. To them, it's just a financial exercise; sweat the assets until they've nothing left to give, then reverse out.

BTW, I don't mind sounding old, it's what I am. Advancing age both allows and qualifies me to tell it like it is. So there.

Those foreigners might manage successful airlines elsewhere, pity they can't do it in the UK, isn't it?
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Old 3rd Apr 2022, 10:19
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Originally Posted by old,not bold View Post

Those foreigners might manage successful airlines elsewhere, pity they can't do it in the UK, isn't it?
Ever thought that it might have something to do with the UK? An airline whose pilots voted for Brexit in large numbers, practically sticking their fingers to their European colleagues in the cabin; flying out of a European hub that does not accept ID cards from its closest neighbours who are often not used to needing a passport, claiming that ID cards are not safe (even though they have the same standards as passports nowadays) ... the list goes on.
The culture of short-term thinking is very British, I know of many European managers who got a culture shock moving to Britain and having to deal with very old IT, even the Excel version was so old that Microsoft would not support it. (To sign up for settled status they had to install Microsoft Explorer, discontinued for years )
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Old 3rd Apr 2022, 10:30
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I too was BOAC then BA and witnessed the introduction of new IT. First thing that would happen would be that the accounting aspect of it was paramount and got a disproportionate chunk if the funding, leaving the front line users with a functionally difficult and illogical mess. And the problems showed up during the pre launch trials but the people involved in those trials were either the geeks who loved the challenge or the yes men who liked the kings new clothes.
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Old 3rd Apr 2022, 10:51
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Ah yes, I remember it well; by 1973 I was in a BOAC Associated Company, which set up its computer reservation system piggy-backed onto the BA system.

A workstation appeared on my desk. I soon discovered that with my Supervisor log in I had not only the power to look at the reservation status of every sector of any service in the next 3 months, but that I could also type out a message to a friend, enter a 4-digit screen address, and send it to his screen where within milliseconds it would wipe what he was doing and show the message. This annoyed the hell out of recipients, but it pre-dated email by about 20 years and was quicker than Telex.

And yes, it was a "functionally difficult and illogical mess", so not a lot has changed.

Dear God, I'm drifting my own thread. Sorry, it's an age thing.
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Old 3rd Apr 2022, 10:58
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How many staff have been "let go" during the pandemic with no thought of the consequences when things start to get back to normal? Some changes at the top few levels of IAG might be a good way 'Pour encourager les autres'.
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Old 3rd Apr 2022, 11:22
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An expression involving chickens coming home to roost springs to mind ...
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Old 3rd Apr 2022, 11:29
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Yes, I've just had that confirmed by a friend currently in the thick of it (but on leave this week) who estimated that their staff shortages are 80% due to bad management and sacking far too many trained and experienced people in the last few months, and 20% due to the present Covid wave. His views about IAG resolutely driving the airline downhill are unprintable in a family forum like this one.
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Old 3rd Apr 2022, 14:59
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I am reliably informed that Britains largest holiday airline is in a right old state as the summer season approaches. Not enough pilots, management trying to abandon the scheduling agreement plus the usual problems of inadequately staffed handling agents and security personnel at the airports.
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Old 3rd Apr 2022, 17:51
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Further to all of the above potential travellers will go apoplectic when they see the short haul fares being charged at the moment. e.g. Man Lhr 405 single economy class.
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Old 3rd Apr 2022, 18:05
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Sorry, above info is now out of date. The fare is now 429.
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Old 3rd Apr 2022, 18:07
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Originally Posted by bar none View Post
Sorry, above info is now out of date. The fare is now 429.
It's called "pricing out" and is common in many industries when a supplier just doesn't want somebody's business. Consider the case of the car insurance company giving a 17 year old a quote of 10k to insure an old banger
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Old 3rd Apr 2022, 18:16
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Price example.

London Kracow 5 April.

Ryanair 41 one way

British Airways 357 one way.

And the Ryanair flight is more likely to operate.

What has British Airways become?
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