2019 started out with a momentous life changing revelation for me. I had taken a DNA test half hoping I would be able to confirm the identify of my father who I had never known. I am 73 and had not until now been particularity interested in the matter but life is getting shorter. In any event I didn't confirm my parentage, I revealed an entirely new revelation. It was this massive revelation that took me to America and my brothers I never knew about nor they of me.
So my return from the emotional roller coaster was to be a treat to me and my partner. However this return flight in World Traveller Plus was to be without doubt, the worst flight I have ever taken with any airline in the last 50 years including military flights to and from the Middle East. My partner and I paid extra for the return flight in World Traveller Plus so that we could enjoy a more relaxed and comfortable flight at the end of a short and emotional trip the the USA to meet my newly found half brother.
Everything started to go wrong the moment we arrived in the WT+ cabin and were unable to be seated together despite there being spare seats vacant in the cabin. This made us wonder just why we should be expected to pay EXTRA for an allocated seat when we have already paid a premium price to fly? Yes, I do understand how this happens but I did wonder if the cabin crew could have done something to help and they didn't and didn't seem interested in offering to.
Our flight outbound from the UK to Washington DC was in basic World Traveller (economy) and was comfortable. The return, in World Traveller Plus, was intended as a “luxury”. By comparison in our economy flight we received a steady flow of water and soft drinks and our meal was better than we had expected it to be, even for my partner who is a vegetarian. It was fortunate that we had the foresight to purchase seats for our outbound flight and were perfectly happy with the remote location at the rear of the aircraft combined with the excellent service we received from the cabin crew.
However, on our disastrous return flight from Denver, at the end of an emotional meeting with a brother who I had just found and was meeting for the first time, finding ourselves in an aircraft that had clearly seen better days was a crushing disappointment.
The cabin and seating was grubby and in need of considerable maintenance to the seats, the video display, the remote control handset was dirty and worn out and one of my armrests came off as it was only held down with double sided tape.
My partner’s vegetarian meal was poor, a perfectly good and suitable salad that came with the standard meal, she was mistakenly served with, was taken away from her and replaced for some reason with one that was barely edible and lacked the ingredients that were present in the salad that was removed. The pasta dish we both ended up having was a cloying glutinous mass to eat. The meal that I wished to select from the menu was unavailable by the time I was served, which was very unsatisfactory and the excuse that not all meals can be loaded, was weak. The cabin crew were utterly disinterested and simply smiled sweetly at me as if I was an imbecile.
This flight was bad in so many ways that I am unable to give a clear description of my complete and utter disappointment with BA given the amount of money we are expected to write off. To make matters worse we were so cramped and unable to adjust seats satisfactorily due to luggage under seats neither of us was able to sleep during the entire return journey to the UK. Nor did we receive sufficient fluids during the flight as we had done on our outbound journey.
To be honest, we feel as if we have been robbed and wish, with the benefit of hindsight, we had not bothered to pay a premium price for a substandard service from BA, who are supposed to be one of the world’s leading airlines. The whole purpose of paying for World Traveller Plus was to ensure we could enjoy a relaxed flight home after an emotional visit to my new brother. Let me be clear, it did not meet that single aim and It has shattered our faith in BA and made it certain we will not ever book a flight with BA at any time in the future, as they have badly let us down.
So I complained, on line as is the only way, short of writing to BA and this is a transcript of their replies. I can't provide my complaint as entered on line as BA conveniently, do not reproduce it in their replies.
**** Initial response to my complaint from BA on 4/11/2019
We’re very sorry that you and your partner had some problems with your flight from Denver on 28 October. This isn’t what you should expect of us, and we understand why you needed to complain.
Thank you for letting us know - please rest assured that your feedback has made a difference and that we’re working on fixing these kinds of problems. We’d also like to thank you for your patience while we replied to you.
I’ve arranged a combine eVoucher for £100.00 as an apology. I've included your eVoucher details below with a link to some helpful information about how you can use it:
eVoucher number: xxxx
Expiry: 04/11/2020 NB: This expires the same day as offered!
If you have any questions about how to use this eVoucher, or for the Terms and Conditions, please go to: www.ba.com/evoucher
Once again, please accept our apologies for your experience on this trip. We hope to welcome both of you back on board soon.
British Airways Customer Relations
Your case reference is: nnnnnnnn
**** I rejected this and reiterated my complaints and received this on the 5/11/2019 and I pointed out that they had not addressed my list of complaints (as I have described in my letter.
So, Harpreet Taur, did exactly that.. batted away each point.
Many thanks for coming back to us. I'm concerned to learn how disappointed you have become with our service. I understand after reading your emails how disheartened you feel that we have allowed our standards to slide.
We know being able to choose your seat is an important part of your journey, whether you pay in advance or wait until selection is free, as we want you to be as comfortable as possible in the air. I realise on this occasion it was very disappointing both of you didn’t get your preferred seat. It isn’t always possible to move you on a busy flight, and we can never guarantee a particular seat to customers. We ask our staff members to try and find another seat you’ll be happy with when we’ve had to do this and I’m sorry we weren’t able to do this for you.
I can imagine how you must have felt when our staff seemed to be unprofessional and unconcerned towards your request. I know this is not the kind of service you would expect from British Airways.
We fully acknowledge we need to improve our performance in the way we deal with any queries our customers have. This includes looking at our customer care too, as we want to offer a consistently polite and thoughtful service across our business.
I understand you’re unhappy with the quality of our food served to you on your flight especially as you were travelling in our World Traveller Plus cabin. We know how important our meal service is to our customers, especially on such a long flight.
Our menus in World Traveller Plus are refreshed every month and we include dishes our customers tell us they enjoy. All meals we serve in our World Traveller Plus cabin are freshly prepared and we use locally sourced and seasonal ingredients wherever possible. We’ve also introduced menu cards along with three entrée options, which are of Club World style and standard and presented on china crockery. I’m disappointed to hear we didn’t meet your expectations, as we normally get very good feedback about our catering.
I would like to thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. I want to reassure you that your feedback is taken seriously. Your email is a meaningful indicator of how our most valued customers are feeling.
Thanks again for getting in touch with us and I hope you’ve found the above information helpful. We appreciate your support and I hope we can welcome both of you on board again soon. Please feel free to contact me directly by using the blue link below if I can help you with anything else.
Harpreet Taur, British Airways Customer Relations
**** I responded to this on the 5/11/2019 emphasising that their response to my complaints was inadequate.
They have not replied since the 5th November. I did try to call Customer Service only to hear a recorded message saying they were too busy to take calls and I should use the on line system!
I am not looking into making a claim under the Consumer Protection Act to see if I can get some recompense.