WARNING here is where I start RANTING on British Airlines. So if don't want to hear me bitch close your browser window now.
I wanted to try and use miles to get a upgrade to business class, since the plate in my neck acts up every time I sit in a coach class seat I try and use my miles to upgrade whenever I can. It makes the wear and tear on my back a bit better and I can usually sleep. At Vienna airport you can't do that at check-in, you have to go to a special counter. I get there and its closed. No biggie, I'll do that for the big flight from London to Boston, just go to the counter in Heathrow Airport. I check in,
So let me explain Heathrow Airport's terminal four. When you land you have to walk about a half mile down the long corridor then get back in a long line to go thru security. By long line a mean 45 min wait. I get in the line and about 20 minutes into it some BAA (British Airport Authority) people look at me and say you can only take one cary-on bag on the plane. I had my computer bag and a small wheelie bag with the video camera and my digital still camera and a spare laptop. I explained the contents and thats why I hand carried it. They told me they should have told me this at Vienna and I need to get out of line and go check my bag then get back in the 40 min line. Slightly irritated I get down the the British Airways counter next to the line and its closed. I go back to the lady who told me to go there and she said, "Oh, then you have to exit the airport, go back to the main ticket counter and check your bag then re-enter security". Great, just great. So I head out, my first stop after a very long walk was passport control. I get in line and wait about 10 mins., of course I don't have my "form" for entering the country, so I explain to the barely english speaking Musilm airport official my story to date, she hands me the entry form tells me I have to fill it out "over there" then get back in line. I do as I'm told and wait about 15 mins and get to the immigration official. He starts asking me about where I'm staying locally etc... So for the 2nd time I explain and he tells me I have to get out of line and go back to the BA counter and check my bag. I told him its closed and the airport people told me to come here. He gets a supervisor and two other people who looked like airport officials and then the stamp my passport and tell me to exit the airport and reenter going to the ticket counter. That whole ordeal cost me another 10 mins. Now the fun begins. I get in line, a HUGE line and wait yet another 35 mins. only to be told I have to go to window 28 which is customer service. So I drag my sorry ass over window 28's line and wait 10 more minutes. By this time I guess I was some irritation and the BA counter girl tells me its not their fault that the airport changes the rules every day. I ask why wasn't I told in Vienna, an she said they didn't know. I asked why? This is an airline, data about flights, connections etc... is exchanged on a routine basis why wasn't a British Govt. regulation not communicated? She told me and I quote "Its not our responsibility, you are the traveler you need to be aware of changes of this nature". This is the point I started highly upset. Then she looks at me and says why are you upset? Its not our fault. I ask to speak to a manager and she tells me that the manger is at the customer service desk just past security and I can talk to one there. As I hand her my bag she looks at me and says I don't understand why your upset you just need to get over it. I then looked at her and you have to be F-ing kidding me, if this is your idea of customer service I will not be flying this airline again. She smiles and says "Thank you for fly BA". By now I'm ready to explode. I get thru security and guess what, I'm the random selectee for hand screening. I have to empty my one computer bag completely and get patted down. After repacking my bag and I go the BA Customer service counter and the lines were at least 5 people deep at the 4 or 5 people they had working the counter I decided I needed to cool down, so I called Amber and got a quick bite to eat. I go back to the counter and wait yet 10 more minutes. I explain my story and ask to see a manager I get told by the girl that the manger is at the Customer Service counter at counter 28. So I decide to give up at this point. Remember back in Vienna I wanted to try and use some miles for a business class upgrade? She then looks at the computer and tells me that they can't do that but I have been upgraded due to over booking of coach and since I have a milage number on my ticket I would get the upgrade at the gate. Finally something good happened. Guess what? Hell NO. I get to the gate, ask the British Air guy at the counter about it, he looks me up and says, who told you that? I explained and he laughed and said they gave you some bad information. Defeated I just get on the plane.
So I will never fly British Air again as long as I live. It is one poorly run company. The ground people are rude, they lie and they will not get one more dollar from me. Air travel has become the best way to legally steal money from people and British Air is leading the pack. I strongly urge anyone considering traveling not to use this airline. I am writing a letter to them and linking to this blog, the best way to make your point as a consumer is to let others know so they can take the money elsewhere and thats what I am going to do, I urge you to do the same. I'm now on the plane, writing this blog as the guy in front of me keeps playing with his seat almost crushing my notebook every-time he reclines his seat. I'm about out of battery, I guess I'll be composing my letter to BA tomorrow. More on that later...