3,000 postcards addressed to British Airways chief exec Alex Cruz have been handed to the airline. Unfortunately he didn’t want to meet us. What do you think of BA’s response to our campaign?
Today we were at the British Airways headquarters handing in over 3,000 postcards addressed to Alex Cruz from BA customers whose holidays were ruined by the massive IT failure. We asked if we could meet with a BA representative to discuss the views of their customers and hand over the feedback we collected.
Among the stories we received, many hundreds of passengers faced problems claiming compensation they were rightly due and were unhappy with BA customer service.
We asked BA to automatically compensate their passengers and thousands of you agreed. While we did not get a meeting with BA we were able to hand over three large boxes of your postcards at the security gates to their headquarters.
In return, they provided us with this open letter to share with you:
We appreciate that people have taken time to write to Which? to voice concerns about EU compensation claims. We will read every individual message.
We know how frustrating it can be to experience delays, which is why we work extremely hard to keep them to an absolute minimum. And sometimes, of course, they are caused by factors outside an airline’s control, such as severe weather or air traffic control issues.
We understand that customers would like claiming for compensation to be as simple as possible – that’s why we have a single straightforward form available on ba.com. No-one needs to find a stamp or post a letter – it’s just a few minutes to fill in the form and submit online.
We always meet our obligations, so there is no need for customers to involve percentage-seeking claims firms. The decision on whether a flight meets the criteria for compensation is the same, irrespective of which party submitted the claim.
In the last year, we’ve brought in new technology to speed up claims-handling and we can flex our teams when needed to ensure we can respond as quickly as possible. For simple claims we can compensate customers within a few days. It’s likely to take longer if we don’t have access to up to date contact or bank details – some customers book through third party travel agents, and as flights can be booked almost a year in advance a customer’s details may have changed. Frustrating though it may be, we frequently have to contact customers more than once to obtain the additional information we need.
Claims can be complex. Factors such as whether the customer was travelling on a direct journey or connecting, the timescale in which they reached their destination after a rebooking or rerouting and whether part or all of their journey was on a different operator can all make a difference, especially as we are a global network airline with a number of partner carriers.
We also need to ensure we comply with data protection obligations, for example if one person is claiming on behalf of several customers on a group booking.
In addition to the compensation claim, customers can also apply for the reimbursement of any expenditure on hotels, refreshments, phone calls and ground transport, but we need them to provide receipts and invoices before payment can be made.
We fly nearly 45 million customers a year and the vast majority experience no type of disruption. But things do go wrong sometimes and please rest assured that, when they do, we will always aim to make redress in the right way.
Head of Service
And so our campaign continues. We are calling on British Airways and the wider airline industry to introduce automatic compensation for all those passengers whose holidays, business trips and other travel plans are disrupted by delays and cancellations.
Do you think the airline industry is doing enough to solve the problem of delayed compensation? Do you feel your customer rights are a priority for these companies?