British Airways strikes aggravated by its own incompetence

There are days when you have to wonder how an airline like British Airways gets through a week.

With the announcement of pilots strikes on the 9, 10 and 27 September over a pay dispute, BA singlehandedly went from victim to victimiser of its deeply aggravated passengers.

The pay gap is worth £5m to the pilots over three years – as they rightly point out one day of strikes will cost BA £40m. But BA hates giving in.

So with dates announced the airline told customers whose flights will be cancelled on those days they could rebook. It also told around 100,000 other passengers that there flights were cancelled when they weren’t.

The chaos that ensued overwhelmed websites, social media was in melt down and BA’s call centres were so stretched you couldn’t even get in a waiting line.

Thousands of people paid to rebook flights with BA or other airlines (expecting a BA refund for the original), only to be told their flights weren’t cancelled after all. Other than the strike days nothing was actually cancelled, it was a clerical error composing the email. And no you won’t get a refund – on any booking BA didn’t actually cancel, or on the rebooked flight.

Unsurprisingly this has unleashed another wave of BA-hate. Is it any wonder it’s reputation is little better than RyanAir when it comes to customer service?

It’s long overdue that anti-consumer rules and contract terms airlines get away with were scrapped.

That you can almost never get a refund – airlines aren’t held under the terms of distance selling rules for online purchases, those rules give you 14 days to change your mind for a full refund. Airlines volunteer to give you 24 hours in very rare circumstances.

Exorbitant costs, inflexible changes of details, not being able to change passenger names without buying a new ticket. It’s all a legalised con and airlines have had it too long. It’s time things changed.

And as for BA? Just another reason I won’t fly with them anymore and haven’t since 2012.