Monday, February 4, 2008

British Air

In light of the crushing travel issues in China, and the absolute poverty and suffering I saw in India there should be little margin for a post about the 48 hrs. it took get from Shanghai to London on BA.

and for full disclosure I'm staying in a hotel that is being paid for by BA (second night in a hotel paid for by BA)

But this isn't going to address the inconvenience of travel. Travel is often a pain in the ass.

British Air doesn't respect their passengers and mismanaged 200 people to the point that it could have been dangerous. This is the issue. It should be addressed by their customer service people, by the passengers and by their competitors.

Long queues with no communication. Long delays without any explanation. Little Children and babies waiting in the back of these lines with no attention or priority. People rescheduled on a first come basis without anybody even asking if there were urgent needs.

And no one was apparently in charge. Let me repeat this, no one was apparently in charge.

Whether one presumes the flight grounded by weather or BAs ineptitude (see below) is irrelevant. And for anyone from BA reading this please be clear -- the travel time doesn't matter.
They could have paid ONE person to just make sure that everyone knew exactly what was going on and to move people that needed more help to front of lines.

Obviously they didn't. But the simple solution has an asymmetrical relationship to the size of the problem. There was a crowd of 200 odd people who were tossed around for 2 days without anyone managing the situation. This is awful. People were wildly upset for things that hours later turned out were rumor.

200 odd people is a mob if they get upset. 200 people is a mess if it's not organized. And BA allowed this very preventable situation from devolving into relative chaos. And even then I think the crowd was really really well behaved.

And in great contrast to the relative restraint shown by the passengers -- 40hrs. into this process the CAPTAIN (in his one and only appearance) had the balls to announce to that if anyone was rude to the staff they could walk to london.

He seriously said this. Come on.

Managing people in airplanes and airports is the business of British Air. Blaming weather for the issues is misdirection. The management of their customers when things went wrong is their responsibility.

Let me put it a different way. How could that same flight crew manage a real crisis if they couldn't even manage to keep people in a line in Shanghai?

Makes you wonder if the certainty with which they cross-check and handle tray tables is all just an elaborate ruse.

For my money I'll wait to hear from BA -- to see if they give a toss about whether I ever fly on their airline again. The cost to me was significant and I haven't focused on this b/c it really isn't the pt. (but would it have killed you BA to not have been complete assholes when asked if I could get an upgrade for the flight to Boston... apparently everyone was told no as well...)

I bet that if BA had simply respected the passengers and shown a little backbone in Shanghai most of us would just shrug it off...

But they didn't, and I Blog and people talk. Thousands of people now read this Blog (i'm just as surprised as you) -- To point out the obvious it's 2008 and you can't get away being horrible at your business without people taking note and talking about it

You want to know how bad it is at Heathrow -- even the CUSTOMS agent was upset about BA... the customs agent!

So what are you going to do BA? What are your customers worth to you?

I'll be more than happy to post your response.

Charlie Merrow
Unknown Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

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