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-   -   Business backlash over BA? (https://www.pprune.org/passengers-slf-self-loading-freight/327712-business-backlash-over-ba.html)

Arfur Dent 21st May 2008 06:51

Business backlash over BA?
 
Chris Bell, boss of bookmakers Ladbrokes, has banned his 14,000 staff from using BA. Mr Bell, a BA Gold Card member of the Executive Club was travelling with his 2 teenage daughters from Barbados. He was told that he could fly but his daughters (14) couldn't! They all flew eventually but Mr Bell has had enough of the BA version of 'customer service'.
Nice one Willie!

luoto 21st May 2008 06:52

Business backlash over BA?
 
Doesn't look too good if more CEOs take this type of approach to load factors.But mind you, certainly if Goldman Sachs made this ban it might be more powerful. How much might a bookmaker fly?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/1996...tml?source=rss

Dysonsphere 21st May 2008 07:06

Quite a lot I would think all over the world to look at tracks etc and a lot of UK domestic flights as well.

Southernboy 21st May 2008 07:09

Millions
 
The BBC reported that Ladbrokes spend "several million pounds" with BA each year.

throw a dyce 21st May 2008 07:12

Now if I were a betting man.:oh:
I'm not sure if he's complaining about overbooking,or BA leaving 2 teenagers by themselves in another country.What's the odds.;)

thunderbird7 21st May 2008 07:13

Great BA bashing but more to this than meets the eye? Chip on shoulder and no upgrades available??

manintheback 21st May 2008 07:42

Somewhat difficult to get a BA gold card unless you are flying at the front most of the time anyway.
A major rule of business - know your client. Aggravating the boss of a major corporate customer is really rather stupid.

angels 21st May 2008 07:52

Personally I think this guy is wrong. I don't know him, but he sounds a bit pompous.

Surely the basis for deciding which airline a business uses should be based on whether or not they provide the product and service you want at a fair price. If travel costs at Ladbrokes rise as a result of a decision made by one person who has a personal grudge against the airline then the shareholders will have something to say.

Desert Diner 21st May 2008 07:55

BA's policy of slobbering over the front end while ignoring (or worse) the back will come to haunt them when times get tough.

Many people here in the Middle East refuse to fly them on Business (in C or F) because they are treated like s**t when they fly them in Y on their holidays.

barry lloyd 21st May 2008 07:58

And what percentage of Mr Bell's 14,000 staff regularly fly with BA - or anyone else for that matter?
I would wager not very many. I mean, they're supposed to be behind the counter, taking bets on No Hope on the 3.30 at Godknowswhere aren't they?
I suspect that when the dust has settled, Mr Bell et famile will receive a nice free first-class trip to somewhere warm and sunny, and the whole thing will be forgotten.
Storms in teacups come to mind.

woodpecker 21st May 2008 08:19

It's a no-win situation for the check-in staff. Aircraft full, late passengers, offer them a hotel and cash sweetener to travel the next day, what more can they do?

These card holders play the system when it suites them. The 5pm shuttle out of Manchester never used to have a backup aircraft and was frequently full. Those arriving late were offered 50 cash to travel on the next one. You could see the "professionals" holding short of the check-in queue and only joining it a minute before the flight closed. They either got on, or if the aircraft was full an apology from the check-in staff (and the 50). In this case it was classed as a "result".

Also the number of times these gold card holders who, while on business, travel "up the front" then, on a basic economy ticket (while on holiday with the family, paid for by air-miles) flash the card and expect gold card treatment (and an upgrade).

In the case in question perhaps the BGI staff (handling agents) hadn't pandered to him enough, after all he was very important.

I'm with Thunderbird7, there is more to this than meets the eye.

PS.
I turned up at the local Landrover dealership to pick-up my new Freelander SE a while back, flashed my retired staff ID, suggested I was a very important customer and asked if there was any chance of an upgrade to a HSE model.

limp_leek 21st May 2008 08:25

Choose me!!!!!
 

BA then directly offered the two 14-year-old girls 250 each not to go on the flight.
I used to fly many hundreds of hours a year as a passenger and if I didn't have to be somewhere at exactly the time the flight I was booked on landed I activly voulunteered to take an alternative!!!!

The airlines give you MONEY! and you still get where you want to go only a few hours later...

There is more to this story,


Eventually all three flew.
Me thinks two others took the money and just smiled..... ;)

P.S. As to British Airways, well, a couple of times after I have accepted the offer not to travel on the flight I booked I have been called back to the gate and boarded. (they didn't want the bribe back!)

:O

keefyt 21st May 2008 08:26

The point is...
 
Whether or not there is any secondary reasons for the hoo ha, the question any responsible parent here should be asking themselves, is would you be happy leaving your two 14 year old daughters several thousand miles away in the "safe hands" of a company that is partly responsible for the terminal 5 fiasco? If you wouldn't be, then end of discussion ....

limp_leek 21st May 2008 08:36


Whether or not there is any secondary reasons for the hoo ha, the question any responsible parent here should be asking themselves, is would you be happy leaving your two 14 year old daughters several thousand miles away in the "safe hands" of a company that is partly responsible for the terminal 5 fiasco? If you wouldn't be, then end of discussion ....
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.


:ugh:

The SSK 21st May 2008 09:22


BA then directly offered the two 14-year-old girls 250 each not to go on the flight.
Quite apart from all the other issues, EU denied boarding rules set the level for long haul at 600 (480 in old money). So BA were cheating them as well as bumping them.

Hand Solo 21st May 2008 09:33

No they weren't. The EU compensation is for involuntary bumping. BA are quite within their rights to look for volunteers and offer them less. Ladbrokes really isn't a major corporate customer. Perhaps he's pi55ed that he's not getting a big enough corporate discount?

Tigs2 21st May 2008 10:06

Whatever the reasons, the outcome is the same. BA have lost several millions worth of business a year, over what is essentially a customer service issue.

Hand Solo 21st May 2008 10:18

The same customer service everybody else gets from any other airline which overbooks it's flights (ie all of them). He even got his kids on the flight in the end. BAs lost business because the boss threw a hissy fit.

Andy_S 21st May 2008 10:21

Trying to read between the lines......

Were BA genuinely overbooked? If so, and they had to bump passengers, it would seem incredibly irresponsible for them to try and offload two minors.

On the other hand, as Hand Solo suggests, there seems to be some doubt as to whether they were involuntarily bumped. If they were made an offer, surely all they had to do was refuse and BA would have to ask for volunteers elsewhere.

All of which makes me wonder if the girls really were, as the story suggests, initially told they couldn't travel, full stop.

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.

angels 21st May 2008 10:27


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.
Thanks Andy, my point exactly.

You just phrased it far better than me! :ugh:

Re-Heat 21st May 2008 10:30

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.

1DC 21st May 2008 11:29

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.

Golden Ticket 21st May 2008 11:46

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

virginblue 21st May 2008 12:05


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.

Andy_S 21st May 2008 13:38


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.

Re-Heat 21st May 2008 15:24


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.

Taildragger67 21st May 2008 16:32

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.

Zen Pilot 21st May 2008 17:09

The toys are back in the pram
 
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/to...cle3975289.ece

selfloadingcargo 21st May 2008 20:35

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.

PAXboy 21st May 2008 20:54

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.

jatayu 21st May 2008 22:48

Taildragger67
 
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?

GordyOZ 22nd May 2008 01:55

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.

Alanwsg 22nd May 2008 07:34

http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/index....=969&Itemid=59

keefyt 22nd May 2008 08:53


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 ?

manintheback 22nd May 2008 10:53

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.

Andy_S 22nd May 2008 12:43

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.

pingopango 22nd May 2008 23:06

ba
 
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?

A T Lascart 22nd May 2008 23:30

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.:bored:

Final 3 Greens 23rd May 2008 06:09

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.

Glamgirl 24th May 2008 13:34

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)

Gg


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