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Your personal message to British Airways has landed

BA postcard hand-in

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.

Kind regards,
Saroj Sodi
Head of Service
British Airways

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?


Are we at all surprised by this? From years of obfuscation over the Seaworld issue, and the deliberate vagueness of any claim form, “British” Airways, like many other corporates, goes out of its way to make claiming for bad service as difficult as possible, and if I sound cynical I have been through this process; the ultimate aim seems to be to make you give up in frustration. Although not a frequent flyer I do travel regularly for business, and now avoid BA where an alternative exists. I would rate them on a par with Ryanair in 2017.

I have used mainly BA for trips to Australia but after this year will be using some other airline. They are obviously trying to compete with Ryanair and it is debatable which one is worse. Uncomfortable planes, indifferent crews and fairly expensive – thanks but no thanks.

Vance Harvey says:
24 August 2017

I’ve used BA for many years – probably over 35 years now, both on European , Transatlantic & World flights and have always found them to be very good; I have never experienced rude staff – in fact the opposite, very helpful and polite.
I make a point of using them where possible and where cost effective to do so.
Compared to other airlines I have used I consider BA one of the best – obviously they are not without their faults as any organisation would have – but for me I will endeavour to use BA when possible and it suits my convenience…ie, cost effective.

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?

Never mind hiding away this British Airways BOSS
This problem will not go away just because,
You hide away.
Face up to your responsibilities the Airway + travellers,
Are paying you lots of cash for to
Talk or sort out problem of your own making here.
“I do suggest you come clean now.
Or that British Airway get rid of you (SACK),
For not doing or abiding to your contract right
With British Airways, after all in the “long run it will cost your Broad member cash.
When travellers go elsewhere to travel and not with British Airway,
remember this Broad members.
This man is costing you cash FULL STOP!
When we travellers go to over company to travel by air,
Remember Broad members there is more than British Airway to travel with now.
Therefore British Airway please Sort this mess out A.S.A.P.
Before you loses millions of customer all over the world,
This ONE man is putting you company at risk O.K.

Send him on his bike, let him pedal to work, if that is what he does?????

Total agree with most of the comments here. Used to be proud of British Airways But now it seems to be in a race to the bottom in terms of service and staff. Code shares with American and Iberia invariably dreadful. I;ve joined the “anyone but BA club”. So sad.

Kev C says:
24 August 2017

There is one little issue I have with their patronising reply. They presume that everyone is computer savvy and make no allowance for the many millions of people in the UK alone who do not have access to a computer or do not even begin to understand how to use computers. These people are just as likely to go on a holiday some place as the computer geeks speaking their new age lingo. So what about all those individuals who don’t have access to computers for whatever reason? But before you make the off the cuff assumption that all these sorts of people are ‘Old’ be careful. I work with youngsters who don’t know how to even turn a computer on.
Modern society has raced to be the first in everything and clean forgotten about the huge numbers of people who don’t want to race but instead gently stroll along in life. Give them a way to seek compensation and please stop discounting them. They are part of the same human race as the computer connected community only not as interested in the one eyed god you geeks all worship.

We had a delay at Budapest airport on 1st August this year. We sat on the plane for about an hour while the pilot attempted to clear the pre-flight engine check. He finally admitted that there was a faulty component in the engine which prevented us taking off. The part required would have to be flown in from Heathrow and so we would have to wait until it arrived , was fitted and the plane made ready to fly. Our flight was delayed by 8.5 hours. We did get a voucher worth £10 eventually to purchase a ‘snack’ and to give them credit we were given a snack and drink on the plane when we eventually departed. I asked for the standard EU compensation for my wife and myself on 2nd August. Had an automatic rely quoting a reference number but not a ‘dickey’ bird since . Have contacted them online/email three times and they seem unable to connect up to the number that they originally gave me and just give me additional automatic numbers. Had a problem with a flight to Australia a few years ago with Qantas and they paid the EU delay compensation within two weeks of the event. No wonder people are increasingly seeking to avoid flying BA . They used to be my European carrier of choice but now I always fly with Lufthansa if possible!!

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John Hunter says:
24 August 2017

For a start I don’t think there is anything British about this company, maybe someone will correct me ???

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Well I have read most of the comments and generally agree with them but you do have to remember that some claims will be circumspect, as per the holiday illness debacle. Although it is not quite the same it does provide the opportunity for those who are not genuine . I have not flown with BA a for some time as I prefer not to use London airports.

A few years ago, I had to claim on behalf of my son for a 5 hour flight delay. At this time, the only online form available by which the claim could be made was the very same “Contact Customer Relations” form as they are currently using – it is referred to (and a link provided) in the response letter to Which. This form was very misleading and mentioned only
• food and drink on an upcoming UK flight
• baggage issues
• disrupted flights

The term “disrupted” is NOT the same as a “delayed” or cancelled” and I stressed then that BA should have a completely separate form clearly headed “Delayed or Cancelled Flights” so that customers knew they were using the correct form. I contacted BA Customer Services several times by email pointing this out to them but their response was that the “could not help since the matter did not refer to a future flight.” I then wrote to the Head of Customer Services and didn’t even get the courtesy of a response.

In May of this year, having flown down from Aberdeen to Heathrow, my return flight that same evening (along with five others in our party) was cancelled and we could make no contact at all with any BA staff – neither via their website nor by telephone. We were not even allowed entry into Terminal 5 to speak to any BA staff to see what accommodation might be offered to us and when we were likely to get another flight back to Aberdeen. We were left to fend for ourselves and eventually had to hire a suitable car to transport six persons back to Aberdeen – a nine hour journey through the night.

On claiming for the refunds, compensation and expenses to which we were entitled, I found only the same online form mentioned above – absolutely no changes had been made. I opted, therefore, to write to BA listing all the details of my claim and, following almost three months of constant communications via email and letters, I have only now received the final payment to settle my claim.

Steve says:
24 August 2017

No wonder BA are down the pecking order with the rest of the worlds airlines. (BAD ATATUDE) The right name for them.

Elwyn Lloyd Jones says:
24 August 2017

It is illegal under EU Law NOT to offer automatic compensation.

As a group of four family members we have a holiday booked and paid for to Malaysia and Australia next January. We have a three day stay in Penang. On the last day in Penang we were due to fly to Kuala Lumpur at 5.50pm to connect with our flight to Perth, Australia. Malaysia Airlines then decided to reschedulethe take-off time for the Perth flight twenty minutes earlier than stated at the time when all our flights were booked and paid for. This meant that our 5.50pm flight from Penang would no longer connect with the Perth flight, and the only option was a 12.25 pm flight from Penang. As we will have to be at the airport at least two hours before the flight time this means that the entire last day of our holiday in Penang is lost, and we will spend the whole day in the airport at Kuala Lumpur waiting for our flight to Perth at its new take-off time of 7.25pm.
When we booked and paid for these flights with Malaysia Airlines did we not have a contract with them?
Do we have any redress?

This comment was removed at the request of the user

G.F.Stonehouse says:
25 August 2017

I will never fly ba unless there is absolutely no alternative. They are a disgrace to the nation’s name and should be forced to drop it.
Generally when you have a topic needing an authoritarian responce don’t bother with the front people
( who are just there to protect those above them). Instead write a personal letter to, for example, the Personai Assistant to the General Manager/Chairman.
Try it! Geoff.S.

BA are a dreadful airline, I had trouble with them some years ago , I then promised never to use them again and I haven’t . They have no regard for their passengers, we are only bums on seats to them.

After having a holiday ruined by this Company that cost in access of £4k I will NEVER EVER use this ‘set up’ I cannot give them the complement of ‘organisation’ . THEY AND THEIR ‘set up’ ARE AN ABSOLUTE DISGRACE TO THE NAME OF BRITISH AIRWAYS, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO ‘THE WORLDS FAVOURITE AIRLINE’ ??????????? MY GOD THIS LOT IS JUNK.!!!!!

Alan says:
25 August 2017

Let’s face it. We’re fighting over just one issue here.
Next week there’ll be another issue with B.A. as they consistently treat people as a source of money – not as customers.
There is only one way B.A. – and other airlines, for that matter, can be held responsible for the way they treat their customers, and that is an Airline Watchdog.
Other industries have them, and in the majority of cases, it works.
Why isn’t there someone who can oversee Airlines and ensure they live up their responsibilities to passengers?

Emma Glover says:
26 August 2017

This is a typical response from a big wig corporate corrupt business, that means absolutely nothing. Keep going and do not back down. This is absolutely b******t. They do not want to accept responsibility and accountability, but let’s ensuse they do. Had enough bullying collectively, by these legal mafia companies. Really don’t know who they think they are but they trying to waste time. Everything comes around to those who have patience and remain persistence. Encouragement for all of you fighting this. You will get there.

We the people say wake up, please… or be Boycotted Absolutely! If some of the megga lolly, ceo & the likes make off with, went into sensible resource for a company that typically lacks the backup that could be in place…. for example like having real ‘IT’ resources for the nhs, then most of needs for staff & clients would be answered – IN THE IMMEDIATE!! Wake up*