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BA to Ban Rude Pax From Boarding

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BA to Ban Rude Pax From Boarding

Old 26th May 2001, 05:37
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From The Times:


BA to ban ground-rage passengers


PASSENGERS who are rude to airport check-in staff face being banned from flights under new guidelines being introduced by British Airways.

The airline has rewritten its conditions of carriage to warn travellers that they will be prevented from boarding if they use “threatening, abusive or insulting words to ground staff or the crew”.

Airports will be extremely busy this weekend as more than 1.25 million people fly to foreign resorts, but the conditions of carriage are not being amended until next month.

Check-in staff say that they are facing increasing torrents of abuse from frustrated and aggressive passengers. They believe too much attention has been given to so-called air rage on board planes.

“We have been telling the airlines for some time that you can spot passengers who are likely to commit air rage from their behaviour at check-in,” said George Ryde, head of aviation at the Transport and General Workers Union.

“Full credit to BA that they are the first to make this change to prevent disruptive passengers from even getting on board.”

BA logged 232 cases of air rage on board aircraft last year but does not collect figures for incidents on the ground. Now it has become the first airline in Britain to amend the terms and conditions of its contract with the passenger to make clear that it will not tolerate rudeness.

“If we think someone is going to be a disruptive passenger the most obvious thing to do is to deny them boarding,” said Owen Highley, a BA solicitor who helped to draw up the new contract.

“But there has to be common sense. We are not going to ban from flight everybody who gets a bit stroppy.”

Mr Highley said the new conditions of carriage had been written in simple terms to ensure that passengers were not confused by corporate language. The contract clarifies what BA means by check-in deadlines in order to end the confusion which often leads to angry confrontations when passengers are told that their flight is closed.

It says: “The test is whether they have received their boarding pass for the flight, not whether they have joined the check-in queue.”

Passengers barred from boarding would not be refunded their ticket price unless it was a fully flexible fare. They also face a life ban for the most serious incidents. A special BA committee meets to consider the length of any ban, with a year often considered enough.

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Old 26th May 2001, 12:58
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If true, this is fantastic news from BA! Empowering the ground staff to make decisions instead of passively being at the recieving end of abuse (and not only from pax, but regrettably from ourselves as well on occasion) will make them take a lot more interest in the whole phenomenon I would think.
Hopefully the rest of the Biggies will follow suit!
3 cheers for BA!
Old 26th May 2001, 13:51
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How about rules to protect overseas Tour Operator staff from physical and verbal abuse by Resort Rage and Bar Rage 'holidaymakers'?
Old 26th May 2001, 14:22
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Yes superb news and I hope every other airline in this country follows suit.

About time something was done!

Mind you it will make Airline a bit tame if Easyjet ever introduces this policy.
Old 26th May 2001, 14:28
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Red face

And BA ground staff who are rude to passengers?

Polish them up in a new uniform ofcourse.
Old 26th May 2001, 16:19
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So, can someone explain exactly what offensive and rude is. Are passengers no longer allowed to complain (legitimately), for fear of not getting on the plane.

I am really sorry, but I fly a great deal, and the most sarcastic remarks I have heard have come from staff. You know, the witty(allegedly) quip used on the passenger in 36A and chuckled about amongst the cabin crew in the galley. I hope some yanks take airlines like this to the cleaners over this if they get denied boarding and NO REFUND!

I agree that no staff should have to tolerate real aggressive behaviour.

The problem here is this, airlines like this have taken a legitimate problem with genuinely aggressive passengers, and quite cleverly used it to prevent passengers from complaining legitimately.

In marketing, this allows you to select out the type of passengers who tend not to complain ever (any airline will admit a large percentage will put up with sh*t wihout complaining)

Has it never occurred to airlines like this that the reason that abusive comments to staff are on the increase is because of the following

1 Not enough check in staff - big queues

2 Poor air quality on board

3 arrogant staff who see passengers as 'self loading freight', with the emphasis on freight.

4 cramped intolerable seats

5 sloppy handling of luggage

6 Changes of flight details without warning for purely commercial reasons.

So, instead of this being a step forward, it is a step back, the airlines could now say, we dont have to provide good service, if you dont like it you will not be allowed on, with no refund.

As a passenger, all I can say is

WHO THE HELL DO THESE AIRLINES THINK THEY ARE????????- (note aggressive stance - am I banned for life now?)
Old 26th May 2001, 17:07
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Yes, but venting ones spleen at the check-in desk gets you no-where.

I think BA are looking to target pax who turn up late at check-in and get angry when they are denied boarding.

With the total lack of respect people have nowadays, I'm not surprise we see measures like this.

Old 26th May 2001, 17:37
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Well done BA! Hope many other airlines follow suit.
Old 26th May 2001, 18:44
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Standing at the ticket desk for GF at LHR last year, the pax in front of me was using veryoffensive language to the lady behind the counter - left me highly embarrassed!

Don't know what his problem was but I had suffered a fairly horrendous trip and was rather miffed at GF at the time, but no way would I have used that sort of language - even to a guy!

Hopefully in future, this sort of pax will be told to take a tube or a taxi!

What goes around . . .
. . often lands better!
Old 26th May 2001, 20:50
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Its amazing. If a ferry is late, a train is late or three buses come along at once the punter accepts it, disgruntled maybe but accepts it. However when it comes to aviation the same punter goes harpic, and thinks the airline has got it in for them?
Good call BA. Perhaps airline should move onto BA and bin the 6th eazyjet series!
Old 27th May 2001, 13:15
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Whilst I think this is a very good idea, does that mean when we check-in with BA we can have a non-stroppy agent who actually is interested in customer service.
Old 27th May 2001, 16:20
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Definitely a good call by BA. They are intelligent enough to recognise the difference between legitimate complaints and pointless, gratutitous abuse.

Old 27th May 2001, 17:39
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I am sure that you recognise the difference in complaining courteously and complaining unpleasantly and offensively (and on occasion violently).

Complain by all means but do it properly.


I think if the same rules were applied to your section of the market the resorts would probably be empty!

Old 27th May 2001, 19:35
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Genghis McCann
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Well done indeed by BA.

And, Flypastpastfast, if you need a definition of bad behaviour defined to you then you are just the sort of chap who will be be kicked off a flight. Anyone with half an ounce of common sense knows what constitutes acceptable complaint and what is inexcusable loutishness.

There are sadly large numbers of people who seem to lack any grasp of how to behave and this is an excellent first step to teaching them! We live in a yob culture and at last someone is addressing it. I wish BA every success and hope all airlines follow suit.
Old 27th May 2001, 21:09
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Being a frequent traveller, I don't think BA are making the correct move. It is setting up passengers to push BA to the limits, now!!

Instead, airlines should take a look at how they treat members of the public who are often paying huge amounts of money for air tickets (like 3500 GBP London-NY-London in Biz Class alone!). You are made to queue in cattle lines in noisy, crowded terminals, check-in staff couldn't give a stuff about smiling, welcoming you, making you feel comfortable (even though you've had a stressful day, pressure to get to the airport, etc.). Then, the check-in agent barks: we've changed your seat due to aircraft configuration change...your nice upper deck window seat is now a middle downstairs seat...you are trapped for the next eight hours...(no apology, just tough, take it, bud, and piss off)...No wonder people get hysterical when they are treated like this.

As for on-board air-rage, note usually either prescription medication or alcohol are usually the culprits, and lets face it, booze flows very freely (lets have a few gins in the lounge, some champers on boarding the plane, more after take-off, some white wine with your starter, red with the main, oh, a little port with cheese, and why not something afterwards....)...and that is on a flight from London to Istanbul! Hello? Lets not kid ourselves that it is pushed onto travellers, in order to hush them up, keep them in their seats and quiet.

Sure, some people push too far, and rightly should be dealt with, but they are the extreme exception, not the norm, and airlines should work much harder to create a more positive experience all around...and tantalising passengers with newspaper headlines about banning rude passengers is not a good start....
Old 27th May 2001, 23:05
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On the contrary Travel Man, perhaps the opportunity to travel on an aircraft without this increasing phenomenon nowadays will be a positive attraction to BA’s customers. In today’s macho cut and thrust corporate world it seems that many people have forgotten that good manners, politeness, and consideration for others, regardless of their position in the strata of society, is a valued virtue and is an equally successful tactic to bullying, abuse, rudeness, and shouting. There are a small but vocal minority who believe that purchasing a ticket on an airline gives them the right to treat staff as chattels and behaving like a spilt ten year old, whilst being worshipped and grovelled to by the chicks in the uniforms. I detest such individuals, for individuals they are, and applaud this move by Big to remove them from the vast majority of seasoned traveller’s misery.

I have flown prince and pauper alike and welcome with open arms anyone who enjoys the comfort and security of my aircraft, whilst respecting the dignity and professionalism of my crew. That BA considers this basic courtesy to be extended to the ground-staff as well attracts my full support.

I suggest those passengers who can’t reasonably resolve a dispute without throwing their teddies out of the cot should consult with the British Deputy Prime Minister.
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Old 28th May 2001, 00:34
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I think this is a step backwards. How do you really define rude. The answer to this is what each person defines as rude and offensive. Take for instance a passenger arrives at check-in all flustered. Tells the check-in clerk 'I need to get on this bloody flight!'.

Now Granny who has been working for the company for the past 2 centuries, still believes in butterfly neck tops and ankle length skirts/dresses. On top of that granny was the victim of abuse during a 5 mile tailback on the M4 leading to Heathrow, couldn't find a space in the staff car park and thus had to park in long term car parking, had a little child spill blackcurrant ribena on her jacket and is dealing with a malfunctioning computer. She is going to think that passenger rude and offensive and subsequently bar them from the flight.

Ms Pretty Young Thing who has worked for the company less than six months, wears a skirt that makes you go blind when she coughs and rests her bosom on the counter to ease the pain in her back, considers that the passenger was using the word casually and lets them board the flight.

It's all how the person perceives it.

I disagree with this knee jerk reaction from BA.

Old 28th May 2001, 17:30
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I think you missed my point, CAPT PEACOCK. If passengers are treated with respect, and appreciation for the value they are adding to the airline's bottom line (providing employment for you!), then I have no hesitation that the majority of travellers will show respect back, and life will return to the bucolic way you perceive it.

However, ground staff (and even staff on board) are often short with travellers, and become the straw that breaks the camels back from time to time, forcing individuals into confrontation. An open declaration from the airline is just encouraging this, not solving the issue thru better staff training, improved service resulting in a positive travel experience for everyone.

You mention the ability to reasonably solve a dispute? The way I see it: BA is right, the passenger is wrong. Piss off, you aren't travelling with us today. Now do you honestly think you want this happening to bankers putting together billion dollar deals, the same bankers who have 30 million annual spends with BA? Doubt it!

And yes, I do believe that people paying 3500 for a ticket should be worshipped. Because if they aren't, you'll lose your prime profit margin, and will not be employed for much longer. Have you paid this kind of money for a ticket? If you have, I bet you demanded EVERYTHING, including some worship, and probably more.
Old 28th May 2001, 19:10
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Well done BA. At last someone is dealing with the damage Ann Robinson has inflicted on the Industry. Her "complain, complain, complain" campaign has made our (those at the coal face)life hell over the past few years. Hopefully the charter airlines will do the same asap. You only have to watch the shots on TV these days to understand what this is all about. If you are late for check-in - TOUGH! Deal with it in your own space not the check-in staff. BA is 100% right on here. Well done!
Old 29th May 2001, 21:20
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Oldie Volvo
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I have not travelled on long haul BA for a
long time but do use their shuttle services
on a regular basis. On the plus side for BA
I have rarely come across any rude or unduly
aggressive behaviour from either pax or staff
on these short trips - also very noticeable
that the pax tend to leave the aircraft in a
reasonable staff unlike their fellows on
charter flights who seem to use the cabin as
their own personal waste bin. On the other
side of the coin however I have seen fare-
paying passengers getting very upset ( a la
Easyjet) when seats are oversold, flights
cancelled at short notice etc. No excuse for
bad behaviour I know but we do tend to treat
our customers in a very cavalier manner on
far too many occasions.

So far so good then for BA, by all means refuse to take ill-mannered and aggressive
passengers BUT remember that if their bags
are already on board you may well have to
delay everyone else whilst their bags are
located and removed which in turn upsets the
rest of the pax and round we go in circles
trying to find the chicken or the egg !

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