September 3, 2005

Why We Won’t Fly British Airways Any More

We have flown back and forth across the Atlantic half a dozen times in the last couple of years, maybe 25 trips total, all on British Airways. As we were getting ready to take this latest trip back to the US, I decided it was time to use some of those miles.British Airways sucks

Imagine my surprise when upon checking my mileage statement I found that 7 San Francisco to London legs, plus 5 Boston to London legs had netted me a mere 24,034 miles, and a family total of just 49,000.British Airways sucks

Isn’t San Francisco 7,000-8,000 miles from London? Isn’t Boston about 4,000 miles from London? Shouldn’t I have more than 70,000 miles in my account, and a family total hovering around 200,000 miles?British Airways sucks

What was going on I wondered? I went to the British Airways website, and looked around for over 1/2 an hour. I read policies and procedures, checked the FAQs, used the search box, I even stepped through buying a ticket online three different times (which is how I always buy them). Nowhere did it say we were going to get less than full miles for our flights. British Airways sucks

So I called British Airways, where I got the most amazingly rude person who said it must be a policy, and no he couldn’t tell me what it was, nor where I could find it online.British Airways sucks

Well, by this time I’m getting a little bit hot under the collar, and decided it was time to email customer service, with a copy to whoever it is that runs British Airways. So back to the website. Nothing. No customer service email address. Nothing that tells you who runs British Airways. Nada. (Hey, you try it…see if you can find that info, I sure couldn’t.)British Airways sucks

What I did find though was one of the worst-forms-in-the-world-that-you-just-know-is-going-into-a-black-hole and sure enough 4 weeks later, it had obviously reached that black hole. So back to the website I went, and this time, surprise surprise, about a week later I got a reply. And here it is for your reading pleasure (if you can’t tell, black text is their’s, red text is my comments):British Airways sucks

Dear Mr Leahy

I am sorry you were disappointed with the changes made to the Executive Club program.

Disappointed? I’m not disappointed, I’m pissed off! And by the way, what changes were made, just when were they made, and was I ever informed of these changes?

We know that some of our members like to accumulate BA Miles over a period of time to use on a specific flight.

Yes, I like to accumulate miles. In fact I like to accumulate 100% of the miles I fly on British Airways, just like every other airline that I’ve ever flown on.

To help balance the increase in BA Miles you need for specific routes, we have changed the way you can spend them. You can now combine your BA Miles with cash to make your booking, or use them to upgrade your class of travel.

I see. Because we only receive 25% of the miles flown,we can’t accumulate enough miles to be awarded free tickets, so we can send you some more money.

If you would like more information, please log on to Below, I have cut and pasted from the website:

Hey, this is the internet. Any chance of pasting a link to the page into this email so I can read the page myself?

“You will be awarded one BA Mile for each mile flown with British Airways and oneworldT alliance airlines in full-fare economy. On discounted economy tickets, you will earn 25% of the actual miles flown. Bonus BA Miles can be earned when you travel in our premium cabins.”

I see. Too bad that info is hidden so deeply

I hope I have managed to explain the background and that you will fly with us again soon.

There’s not a snowball’s chance we’ll be flying with British Airways again.

And just so you know, all four of us flew back on Virgin Atlantic this last time, and racked up over 6,900 miles for the London to San Francisco leg. Sure wish we’d done that three years ago.

Marcia Friedland
British Airways Customer Relations

Your case reference is:4266197

Please do not reply directly to this email as direct replies are sent to an unmonitored mailbox and cannot be actioned. Please use the link in ‘How To Contact Us’ below to reply to Customer Relations

Not really interested in talking to customers, are we?


While we endeavour to offer you as full a service as possible, we are unable to respond to direct replies to this email.

If you have a particular query with regard to this case, please click on the link below to submit a reply to British Airways Customer Relations:

Please quote your case reference 4266197 in any correspondence with us.

However, if you have a general query about British Airways, you can ask your question online. Click on the link below to go to ‘Your questions’:


This email was sent to you by British Airways Plc - Waterside, Speedbird Way, Harmondsworth, UB7 0GB, United Kingdom. (To find out more, click here

This email is intended solely for the addressee(s) and the information it contains is confidential. If you are not the intended recipient (a) please delete the email and inform the sender as soon as possible, and (b) any copying, distribution or other action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance upon it is prohibited and may be unlawful

Moral of the story? Don’t fly British Airways unless you want to get screwed by their “Executive Club” mileage program.

British Airways sucks

Posted by: Frank @ 4:47 am — Filed under:


  1. I was expecting to receive 18,000 frequent flier mile points on my flight to and from Mumbai (Bombay) India from American Airlines since they are partners with British Airways. All I got was 25% of the miles flown between Mumbai and Heathrow. I was also informed that no frequent flyer miles are given on flights between England and the USA. I paid over $1300 dollars for the flight , more money than if I had traveled on American Airways to India.
    How can I put a notice on the internet to warn future travelers not to use British Airways?

    Comment by Ralph Lamartine — February 9, 2006 @ 10:21 pm

  2. Rick,
    This is a great place to start!

    One thing you can do is use the link above and send a message to BA’s Executive Club group using my case number, and tell them how unhappy you are with this policy. If enough people use that case number, maybe they’ll get the idea.

    – Frank

    Comment by Frank Leahy — February 9, 2006 @ 10:31 pm

  3. Note: My guess is this guy works for BA, a BA affiliate, or a BA PR agency. After you read his comment, check out the comment of the next guy, and then make up your own mind about who you believe more.

    The BA website has EVERYTHING you need to know about the executive club, you just need to sit down and read it.

    Firstly, Ralph (who commented above) it says everywhere that if you fly on BA (as a AA passenger) on the atlantic routes, you don’t get miles - this is because they are in competition over this route.

    As for mr long rant above, do you think the BA programme is particularly stingy? Remember on your bookings it will say do you want flexible or restricted? it will then tell you are flying discount economy.

    Comment: no other program that I know of gives fewer miles to less than full price tickets.

    Now while ba discount economy is often far better than delux premium from smaller carriers for BA it really IS their disocunt economy product. If you want to be treated like a GOD then you will be one of their passengers who pays 8K+ just cross the atlantic - there are some out there!

    Personally I think they have more money than sense, but BA are selling tickets, who are they going to go after?

    Yes, 90% of the tickets BA sells could be discount 25% miles, but that does not mean 90% of their revenue is earnt that way.

    The executive club is BAs club, they can run it how they like, I think you might find all BA miles remain their property too. As for not notifing you, well have you read the terms and conditions you agreed to? Have you? From the way you fly off the handle above I’d doubt it.
    All the ba information is on the website, enought to really ‘play the system’ if you want to read it.

    Comment: If you had read my post more carefully, you would seen that I spent well over 1/2 an hour scouring the BA website looking for somewhere that said I would get less than full miles.

    Personally, if you were planning to reedeem the miles (rather than just collecting the inadvertantly as many do) then I’d have read up on what I was collecting - and checking regualry that the post to my account (in fact that IS what I do!).

    Comment: Ahh, the old blame the customer routine…this is typical of large businesses like BA who hide behind hidden terms and conditions.

    Do you ever glance at a bank statement to check it is all there? Or check what interest rate your bank is using?

    Comment: And a second blame the customer comment…typical.

    Comment by I can read — April 12, 2006 @ 9:12 pm

  4. I have HALF A MILLION miles with BA… and they are completely USELESS. Try redeeming miles from Seattle to London. Nope, no upgrades available, no mileage tickets available. You can even call BA and they’ll tell you the availability for the next 6 months. The BA mileage program is a suckers bet. I haven’t flown them in 3 years now.

    Comment by Anonymous — May 16, 2006 @ 6:33 am

  5. Company Information
    British Airways aka BA SUCKS
    7520 Astoria Blvd
    Flushing, NY, UNITED STATES, 11370

    Complaint Information
    Complaint Type: General Complaint
    Date Received: 5/25/2006
    Primary Complaint Classification: Refund Practices
    Secondary Complaint Classification: Contract Disputes

    Purchased ticket to travel to India via London. Was refused boarding at the airport because of unusual visa rule for the UK. Rule does not apply in Germany, France, Netherlands etc.. British Airways did not advise or provide resources for visa restrictions for Direct Airside Transit. Website section for Visa/passport is incorrect / incomplete. Email information is incomplete and does not provide any guidance.

    Refund requests are directed to a dead telephone number. Attempts to reach voice mailbox receive “mailbox full” message. Bonnie (Sales rep) told me that it is impossible to speak to anyone in the refunds section. No response from company even after 4 months. Please avoid travelling on British Airways unless you can live with non-existent customer service. Their customer relations department does not have a phone line.

    Customer Service Rep: Ms.Bonnie Florida Office,
    Product or Service: Airline travel

    The Bureau that will handle your Complaint is :
    BBB of Metropolitan New York
    257 Park Avenue South
    New York,NY 10010 -7384
    Phone: (212)533-6200
    Fax: (212)477-4912

    Comment by gizmoguy — May 25, 2006 @ 4:49 pm

  6. BA! Tell me about it! Bad Always! Try and use other carriers!!

    Comment by AJay — June 28, 2006 @ 8:27 pm

  7. BA can’t even be bothered to reply in person. See this link for their response to business class passengers during catering strike in 2005. “Deeply concerned", they say, but clearly not sufficiently concerned to respond properly to passengers who paid $1,000 for a return ticket “I would like to apologise"…but it’s just that I can’t be a*****d!!!

    Comment by Karen — July 2, 2006 @ 8:51 pm

  8. I fully understand, that robotic response is almost laughable. I receive 20 percent of the actual miles flown and then they want to charge me 20000 miles to fly the short flight to sweden and 50000 to the US from UK. I earned 1100 miles flying to the UK from US and they charge 50000.

    Also for my hotel stay, i was to get 500 miles, the miles were submitted by the hilton and on the BA website it posted as 0 but the stay is there. Hilton is a partner. When I try to email, no one responds, when I call i get to push buttons for 30 minutes until i get spit out to a person who can not address my issue, but asks me to fax my hotel receipt upon which I put my contact info and ask for a simple acknowledgement of receipt. Not only did i get no response, they never credited the miles. This happened 3 times.
    When I ask for a name to fax it to, then gave me the name
    “Processing Manager". What a joke, but it isn’t funny. I even bought from the High Life shop to keep my account alive since it said that I would earn miles, well after weeks, I never got my miles and they sent me an email stating:

    “Miles are applicable for this transaction”
    I wrote back and said ok, so where are they?
    They then wrote:
    “Miles are not applicable for this transaction” - not even stating sorry I made a typo and with no explanation.

    This is minimalist support at its finest. Good god!

    They know I am at 17800 miles and intend to keep me stuck there so that I can’t even fly a short haul from london to sweden.

    They charge more for less miles than american airlines and the miles take you less far. I am putting all my eggs into american from now on. BA Mileage program is horrible and you would have to fly 10 first class flights a month to get anything.

    Comment by john — July 3, 2006 @ 3:27 pm

  9. You are not kidding. A few years ago I flew them to FL from Michigan…they lost my bag…for 4-5 days! What did I get, 60 bucks for my trouble even though it was 2/3rd of my vacation that I didn’t have clothes.
    Now they have lost my bag again!!! (I have only flown the twice so they are 0 for 0)..this time frm JFK to Detroit. They have no idea where it is either. To top it off, when I originally went on my trip to Ireland and England I was importing a dog. It cost me 1500.00 dollars to ship him (he normally on other airlines is considered extra bagagge) with me! The people at the ticket counter had no idea what to do with him, it was a mess, we both almost missed our flight. Obvioulsy I am leaving out a lot of the other little troubles/details…by the way, from what I have been told you can only ship dogs via BA into England…isn’t that convenient …what a sham. So now coming back my bag is lost, all my clothes, makeup, anything I bought in Ireland and England is in it and they have no clue where my bag is! Oh yeah and I forgot to mention, we bought the first ticket 6 months ago direct from Detroit, in that time however BA or England or both changed the rules and wouldn’t allow dogs to come in to England from Detroit…go figure…so we had to BUY another ticket. the first according to them was a non refundable ticket and they, so far, won’t budge, I have to call at 9 am. ..I would have happily had the direct ticket but we couldn’t use it, so we had to buy another one, no discount, no nothing. No other airline does this! I am ready to go to the News with this… oh yeah did I mention the 3 yr old child that screamed non stop, like a banshee getting it’s arm cut off, for 3.5 hours on our overnight flight to the UK??!! It was horrible!! I paid good money for the flight, twice!! they lost my bag and have no idea where it is and this is the treatment I get?? yes they are truely bastards. Thanks for letting me vent my frustrations!

    Comment by Sarah — July 6, 2006 @ 12:54 pm

  10. Yes. I just googled “british airways sucks” and got over 75,000 (!!!) results. My complaint is about an MCO. All I wanted was a simple yes or no about whether I could extend it. After a week of chasing down agents from Jacksonville to India, still no answer. My favorite part of the whole adventure was calling their HQ in New York, pressing the option for Customer Relations” and getting a recorded message saying that “this office does not handle customer relations issues.” Unbelievable.

    Comment by disappointed — July 8, 2006 @ 3:18 am

  11. british airways lost my baggage on my way from milan-italy to newark-new jersey via london in march 2006.when i got to new jersey i decided to follow up my lost bag and to my biggest shock, no british airways representative was willing and eager to assist me.after all this,i finally got a number to british airways baggage office at newark airport.i called after some few days and spoke to one ANNA of b.a. who was very rude and disrespectful and the same thing with all the b.a. staff i talked to in the baggage office in newark airport. and till now nothing has been done about my luggage british airways lost in 5 months now.

    Comment by nana mccarthy — July 26, 2006 @ 8:37 pm

  12. Sarah, they only lost your luggage for 4 days? They lost mine for SIX MONTHS. When they eventually found it (after continual harassment from me), they phoned me up and explained in condescending terms that, actually, the whole thing was entirely my fault. Reason being, my handwritten name/address sticker (that I always add in case the barcode tag comes off) had “the wrong details on it". Well, yes it did; it was my girlfriend’s address and phonenumber because I’d borrowed her suitcase. Had they actually bothered to phone that number, they would have have discovered this and I would have got my bag back. Since they didn’t, I can only assume this was the first documented case of telepathy. There was also a SECOND tag (a Hong Kong airport RFID tag) which also presumably had my details recorded in it. Basically they had put in less than zero effort to get my bag back to me. My refund, for time wasted, acute embarrassment at work (half my equipment was in my checked baggage), countless phone calls to staff with a major attitude problem, money I had to spend buying new things : US$170. And that only begrudgingly. What really pissed me off is that I’d bought a business class ticket (US$2000) in the expectation that I’d get better service. Wahahahaha. What amazes me is that they probably wasted more company money trying to fob me off than they would have done paying me due compensation - and I would have flown with them again. Instead of that, here I am venting about them and advising other people NEVER to fly BA.

    Comment by Tony — August 2, 2006 @ 6:02 am

  13. Folks, pay attention! British airlines is loosing a lot of baggage and nobody knows where it is, they don’t care, and they think there is nothing we americans can do about it! August 30, 2006, my son packed his life in two bags to follow him to France where he is attending school. His bags were lost. When I called the 800 number, the call was transferred to Florida and none of the BA employees could tell me where the luggage was! There were over a hundred passengers in the lost luggage line in London. Do you want to experience this? Think again! This is only the tip of the iceberg and yes you can hire an attorney but BA knows most people won’t! I would love to start a list of unsatisfied customers, so feel free to contact me.

    Comment by chris greenfield — September 9, 2006 @ 8:35 am

  14. My parents and my girlfriend came to visit this summer; unfortunately, they all flew BA.


    DEL - LAX

    One bag was left at London, the other left at JFK. The one lost at London was broken. We bought a new one worth $150; they compensated for $75. (The check hasn’t arrived yet).


    DEL - EWR: BA left her baggage at London, arrived a couple of days later. No compensation.

    DEL - SEA: BA left both pieces of her luggage at London; she didn’t have any information or her luggage for a week. Compensation: $50. (Not received yet). This happened to about half her flight.

    When asked for status, customer service told me, and I quote, “I wish I had a crystal ball, but I don’t, so I can’t tell you where your baggage is, or when it will be delivered”. Unquote.

    One can only hope they invest in a crystal ball sometime soon.

    Please note that of all these occasions, only the last one happened after the new flight rules; the rest happened earlier in the summer.

    My conclusion that they are absolutely incompetent at handling baggage is based on circumstantial evidence, but my conclusion that they treat their customers like crap is based on personal experience. I would never want to subject them to interacting with me in any way again.

    Comment by Ruchir Astavans — September 12, 2006 @ 7:33 pm

  15. [Note: this comment is likely from a BA employee]

    You don’t get full miles unless you pay full fare. It’s in the Terms and Conditions (the big print not the small print) and it took me about 60 seconds to find it on the website here -

    [There is NOTHING on any pages in that section that say that one receives less than full miles for a discount ticket. And it sure isn’t in any big print that I can see.]

    I don’t know of any airline in the world which doesn’t have a similar policy.

    [Gee, you don’t get around much do you. Let’s start with Virgin Atlantic, and continue with all the US carriers.]]

    I’m not ‘blaming the customer’ but it is hard when you’re dealing with people who can’t read.

    [Of course you’re blaming the customer. BA makes it well nigh impossible to find out that one does not receive full miles on a discount fare, and that’s my fault?]

    Comment by Jimmy B — October 12, 2006 @ 3:57 pm

  16. November 2nd, 2006

    To British Airways,
    Constume Relations – LOST LAGGAGE

    My name is Camilla Stivelberg, and I am writing to inquire about my luggage that was lost. I checked my bag in September 7th on BA Flight 162 leaving Tel Aviv (TLV), with stops in London (LHR) and on to my final destination in Miami (MIA) via BA Flight 209. My baggage never arrived. I arrived in Miami two months ago, and I still have yet to receive any answers from British Airways concerning my lost luggage and due compensation.
    It was a bright yellow duffel bag with black handles. I had all my personal belongings in it, like, t-shirts, shirts, pants, perfumes, body cream, contact lens, back pack, tennis shoes, high heel shoes, makeup, socks and all the gifts that I bought to my family and friends.

    I filed a Mishandled Baggage Report and the file reference is:
    The stub number of my lost bag is:
    BA 168707

    As stated earlier, I have not head anything about my luggage. I came to Miami to do an Internship in a Magazine, one of the most important business and economy magazines in the United States and Latin America. I would like to reiterate that I arrived in Miami two months ago, and I still have not received any compensation for my loss.
    I have tried to contact British Airways, but nobody has helped me yet. I repeatedly called 1-800-247-9297 (1800airways) and the receptionist always gives me the fax number of the customer relations office in New York (347) 418-4395. Nobody ever responds to my faxes there either. I been to the Miami International Airport three times to personally speak with company officials, but nobody is of any help there, too. You should know that I have checked the Lost and Found items in the airport and my luggage never turns up. In the Miami International Airport I spoke with Diana, BA’s counter manager, and she told me that my complaint should be made in Tel Aviv, the airport of origin. I will return to Israel on December 1st, which will mean I will have spent three months without my suitcase and with no kind of compensation on the part of the company. So, I phoned the British Airways office in Tel Aviv, and the receptionist told me that the Tel Aviv office cannot do anything about my loss, adding that the complaint must be made in Miami. I called the British Airways office in Miami again and the receptionist told me that if the company did not find my bag in 10 days, I would receive compensation. Six weeks have now passed and I do not have either compensation or my luggage, which the company considers lost. I also called the British Airways United Kingdom office (+44 8 457 222 767 and +44 8 708509 850) and they told me the same thing and gave me again the fax number of New York and the British Airways at the Miami International Airport (305 869 4710). Again, no one at any of these locations seems willing or able to help me.
    I sent letters to New York office ( 75 – 60 Astoria Boulevard, Jackson Heights, 11370) and England office (Waterside, PO box 365, Harmondsworth, UB7 OGB) and e-mail by the British Airways site ( Now two months have passed and still no answers.

    If you need any other info, please contact me. I’m looking forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.

    Camilla Stivelberg

    I can be contacted by email at:

    My phone number here in Miami is:
    954 736 9758

    Comment by Camilla — November 3, 2006 @ 8:29 pm

  17. Probably no consolation but members airlines of Star Alliance now operate a similar policy on their mileage schemes. If you buy a ticket that has been discounted then you don’t get ANY miles credited. Therefore 95% of tickets issued don’t attract mileage! benefits

    Comment by Roy Jenkins — November 23, 2006 @ 4:46 pm

  18. I just booked a flight on to London. I always book online so that I can have the seat maps in front of me when I choose my seats as part of the booking process. However, with BA, they take your credit card payment and then tell you, sorry you can’t select your seats on this flight. You have to take pot luck when you check in. This is a ten hour flight over a month in advance and they want me to chance getting my wife and I separated and/or put in the middle of four seat row. I send an email stating my objection. It has been over ten days and nothing. I call reservations and they say you can not talk to anyone in customer service and there is nothing they could do.

    I am contemplating disputing the charge on the credit card and booking on another airline.

    Has anybody tried this?

    Comment by Dan Osborne — November 27, 2006 @ 12:19 am

  19. British Airways really sucks. I always used to travel in Singapore Airlines. At one bad moment I choose BA this time to tavel to India.
    As one of the above complaint mentioned, While buying the tickets online they will ask about passport info, but never mention about the need of transit Visa, even if you are not leaving the airport.
    Further, I called the BA representative to check for the need of Visa and they told me I don’t need Visa. So I went ahead and made my travel plans, but they stopped me at the airport asking for Visa. I was shocked. They didn’t show any courtesy to refund or transfer me to other airlines. To my surprise, they are not even willing to re-book my flight on a different day without charging me.
    Now I lost two weeks of vacation and lot of money according to their re-booking schedule. My whole trip plans got messed up.
    I am also worried about current (Dec22nd) fog situation and possible flight cancellations for days, as it happened to other passengers already.
    Now, if I imagine how nice my trip could have been via singapore by the best airlines,"Singapore airlines", I am repenting about choosing this sucker BA.

    There is more I hate about the rude phone representatives and their behaviour as if they don’t care any thing about the situation, other than charging more money and keep me waiting for more days to resolve the situation.

    I will never ever travell in this stupid, rude, sucking airline again.

    I strongly suggest all others to avoid this stupid, rude airlines, unless you have no other possible way of travel and willing to take some troubles.

    Especially, Indians please make your trip a happy one by avoiding this sucking BA.

    Hope some one avoids troubles with BA, after reading my bad experience.

    Comment by Bobby — December 22, 2006 @ 2:52 pm

  20. We have the exact same experience with British Airways. Lost luggage. We have tried to get luggage delayed 4 times out of approx 10 trips from Copenhagen to Montreal.

    Their service sucks. You cannot talk to a living person on their phone number. It is just a machine that guides you around for ever and noone ever picks up the phone.

    The online tracking URL is bogus. Nothing is tracked there. They do not update it at all. It is a scam.

    I have a longer story described on my website and I have only just begun. I would like to unite with other angry customers world wide so we can act together united.

    Feel free to write on or register on the wiki and add your comments there.

    Comment by Kenneth Lavrsen — December 24, 2006 @ 1:07 am

  21. Now, after reading all of these comments, I am in tears. I was on an AA flight from Chicago to Frankfurt, was re-booked due to bad weather and had to endure BA! I am NOT happy. I will say that I made it home…still waiting on my luggage. Oh, and had to explain to my children why Santa never came to our house since ALL of their Christmas presents were in my now lost luggage. I had the hope that my luggage would be found, but now, I am not so sure. I don’t like the idea of waiting FOREVER to find it or to be compensated. I am NEVER flying BA…no matter what the situation. I refuse to pay them to allow me to endure more heartbreak. A very UN-Merry Christmas here!!

    Comment by alice shakespear — December 25, 2006 @ 5:58 pm

  22. I was in the middle of the August 06 terror alert. Unable to fly home for 2 days, I queued (how British!) on the parking garage roof for 5 hours waiting for a reservation home. They could not get us to West coast, USA, only to Chicago.The BA employee told us to save our receipts and they would reimburse us for the last leg flown on another airline. Well….you guessed it. Our first letter asked us why we were not on our original flight. (!!!!!!!) Then they (grudgingly,it seems) paid for our 2 extra days in london. But our friend Marcia Friedland, informed us that she did hope that we had travel insurnace, as they were not paying for our last leg. Then a month later, I noticed a mysterious credit of 90$ from BA. Then a letter from a Kajalkiran Jambhore explaining that this was our refund. (short by 500$!). The letter was postmarked from Zurich. I’ve been told that they do customer service from India and post the letters from 1st world countries. (!!) Suffice to say….I will never fly BA again. unbelievable…..

    Comment by Rob Gale — December 27, 2006 @ 4:06 am

  23. Dan, Exactly the same thing happened to my fiancee and I. Exactly. We are scheduled to leave on Friday, and I am pissed. I’m contacting the Washington State Attorney General’s office and the Port of Seattle (which runs our airport). I am civically involved in the city of Seattle and believe you me I plan to raise a holy stink about this bait and switch. BA truly does suck! I’m sure you can dispute the charges on your credit card, but good luck finding a seat at this late date. I can’t….

    Comment by Peter Philips — January 9, 2007 @ 12:21 am


    Dear Customer Relations Team,

    we have been travelling by now with a British Airways ticket for more than ten months. Till now we were very happy and satisfied with the ticket and the service of BA, but now a disaster happened. For better understanding here our data:

    Names: Claudio Pellegrini & Bernadette Sari
    Ticket: bought Feb ’06 at Globetrotter Lucerne, Switzerland; special fare ZRH-AKL which includes two free stops in Asia and one free stop in Australia. Every additional stop anytime possible and should cost CHF 150.- (information Globetrotter).

    Because we still have time, we decided to go to the Philippines and add a stop on the 15.01.07 in MNL between PEK and SYD. Now the whole story starts.

    First visit to BA office in PEK with the question to build in additional stop into ticket. We meet Mitchelle Shi, who does not know exactly how to do the changes and says she has to contact our issuing office for the fare rules which is BA ZRH. We tell her to get information and fix the flights until the 31.12.06 at the latest, because we have to apply for the Philippines or Australia visa and want to leave Beijing. She promises to contact BA ZRH immediately.

    Second visit to BA office in PEK. Mitchelle looking surprised that we are back. We tells us that she has taken no actions – excuse: internet collapse caused by earthquake in Taiwan (email in our guesthouse is slow but working…). We insist that she should contact BA ZRH, so she sends a telex.

    We call Mitchelle at BA office in PEK and she tells us there is no answer from ZRH yet.
    At this time we write to our travel agent Globetrotter in Lucerne for help, because we have the feeling, it’s going nowhere.

    Third visit at BA office in PEK. Mitchelle still has got no answer. We give her the idea to use email or even the good old telephone. Promises answer till next morning.

    31.12.06. Happy New Year’s Eve!
    Early morning, fourth visit to BA office PEK. There is still no answer from BA ZRH and our time is running out. Mitchelle changes flight PEK-SYD to HKG-MNL; MNL-SYD and writes telex to ZRH again to avoid penalty. She promises final answer till 4 pm. We call office at 4 pm and ask for Mitchelle. Tina Bai, another agent inform us that Mitchelle got a cold and went to the hospital. We ask Tina to call BA ZRH and to give us a final answer. Because we are loosing patience and really want to know if the change is possible or not, we decide to pay a spontaneous visit to BA PEK. When we arrive, the office is deserted and the door already locked, 1 ½ hours before closing time. But at least Tina is still there and opens the door. She says she was unable to contact anyone from BA because she hasn’t got the phone number (and this in a BA office…??). We explain again the whole story and that it is important for us to get the information. So we give her the number of BA in London. While she is waiting to get through, we hear a suppressed cough behind the wall. We look around the corner and guess who is hiding half under the table? It’s Mitchelle, who supposed to be in the hospital with a severe cold. She has been hiding there just two meters away from us for at least 15 minutes now. We can only shake our heads, it’s just too bizarre. In the meantime Tina gets through to an agent but there is the language barrier. So I (C. Pellegrini) talk to the agent and repeat the whole story again. He says that the ticket rules are only available in ZRH but the changes are no problem, it’s only the question of the fee which could be $ US 200.- in the worst case. This information is only available in ZRH. He was very friendly and helpful and we wished each other a happy new year. Also Tina did her best and tried to do her best. So we left and where happy that finally everything was fixed and it’s just the question of the
    Fee for the rerouting.

    Because we don’t wholly trust BA PEK we call the London office to confirm change. The agent says the flights through MNL are ok and confirmed. He proposes to cancel the old flight PEK-SYD and does so. For the rest of the day we are happy with BA and think it’s over, start celebrating.

    We receive a message from Globetrotter that BA ZRH doesn’t know what BA PEK has done, because the flight booking went through Bangkok but they say that now we have two confirmed flights on the 15.01.07 and we should cancel the old one. Which we already did yesterday with BA London. So we write to Mitchelle at BA PEK and to Globetrotter Lucerne that everything is fine now.
    Later in the day we get a forwarded mail from Mrs. Sandmeyer, BA ZRH to which Globetrotter notes that with these PNR remarks all should be all right. Perhaps Globetrotter thought BA ZRH is repeating the previous confirmation. But when we looked at the codes closely, and we have some experience by now, we saw that actually nothing is possible! There is also Mrs Sandmeyer’s remark that “PAX” should turn to BA PEK or BA ZRH to sort things out. (We think PAX is not really a nice expression to address people.) Because Globetrotter’s message was unclear we (PNR says nothing works, they say with this everything should be fine now) we give them a call. They recommend us to call Mrs. Sandmeyer at BA ZRH directly. What we did immediately. Mrs. Sandmeyer tells us, all our current flights are invalid and the only option is to reroute to HKG-SYD and we have to buy separate tickets HKG-MNL return. We thought about this solution over a cup of tea and called Mrs. Sandmeyer back to change the flights like she said and fix the route once for all. But this time she tell us word for word: “I don’t talk to you, I only talk to Globetrotter, they are my customers.” We were baffled, because before she wrote, PAX should contact BA ZRH?? By the way, this not the friendly behavior of a BA agent you would expect. So we wrote Globetrotter an email with the exact flight data to forward it to Mrs. Sandmeyer.

    We get an email from Mitchelle, who finally got an answer to her numerous telex messages to BA ZRH in which she tells us that everything is impossible and invalid. That’s it, no solutions, no offer of any help.

    Globetrotter writes mail to Mrs. Sandmeyer with our flight data and credit card information.


    Finally Mrs. Sandmeyer gives answer and confirms the change to HKG-SYD for the beginning of March 07. The flight MNL-SYD she cancelled. In the same mail she asks, if the customers still want to keep the flight HKG-MNL or if they book the flight to MNL themselves. Hello??! Now we are completely confused and start wondering if in fact the change through MNL would have been possible, or why is she asking this question?? Or does she think we pay $ US 200.- for the still booked flight HKG-MNL when there is Cebu Pacific Air who flies for half the price there and back?
    So we write her back as we are getting nervous – it’s only three more days to our flight but everybody is telling us that it is not valid. But if the flight is booked (like it says in our Manage your Booking site) and we don’t go, will we have to pay penalty fees? And this for an “invalid” flight? We are not willing to go to the airport just to try if the flight works or if they tell us at the check in counter to pay for a whole new flight. On the other hand we would lose the flight if it would be valid… (remember, we paid the flight route from PEK to SYD)
    We asked Mrs. Sandmeyer for quick response because otherwise we have only three more days to book.

    Today is the 13.01.07 and as we expected there was no answer. Tomorrow is Sunday and BA ZRH closed. On Monday afternoon goes our “invalid” flight and we have GMT+8. What shall we do? Our only idea is to write this mail to you.

    We fully understand that it’s not possible to add a stop in MNL to our ticket (or is it?). That’s fine, there are rules for every ticket. But why does it take 8 days for BA to find the answer to this simple question? Then another 10 days to change the flights back into a valid routing HKG-SYD? Two days before departure, and still not everything is fixed correctly. This is not only unprofessional but straight ridiculous.

    So the whole sad story cost us:
    an additional week in Beijing
    transport costs by metro and taxi to BA PEK
    hours of international phone calls
    hours of internet access for writing emails
    our nerves (not to pay by money!)

    What we gained is a lot of invalid flights, cancellations, rebookings and the knowledge of how BA works (at least from ZRH and PEK).

    In Beijing: Agent Mitchelle Shi let’s herself deny while she is hiding around the corner. She is not able to contact BA ZRH for 8 days in today’s era of communication. Only Tina Bai tries to help and she is the only one from BA who at least apologized for the trouble.

    In Zuerich: Have major problems with communications, especially with answering telex and email. Mrs. Sandmeyer first confirms and wants us to turn to them, later withdraws the confirmation and when we call she answers unfriendly: “I don’t speak to you.”

    In London: This is how it should be. Friendly, helpful and competent. Unfortunately they are unable to access the relevant data. What a pity!

    We were very patient because we had time (I don’t want to imagine this story on one of my business trips). But 2 ½ weeks for such a simple thing is even for the most patient person too much. We just hope, we are not getting any problems with the still confirmed “invalid” flight which Mrs. Sandmeyer should have cancelled by now.

    We have been traveling for more than ten months now and imagine, how many people we talk to who also fly frequently, besides from all the people we know back home at our companies. We think this whole disaster is the worst advertisement BA can possibly do. You surely know the saying, that one satisfied customer brings three new ones, but one unsatisfied customer drives away ten. We would like to get a response from BA with an acceptable statement, preferably with a suggestion for an apology. Otherwise we can assure you, it will be a lot more than ten customers who will be driven away. We will tell everybody and publish everywhere about our bad experience with BA (like And we are serious about that, as you also see on the work for this mail.

    But dear reader, it’s all not your fault, so we hope at least for you the story was a bit entertaining – for us it was like hell!

    Yours mostly disappointed

    C. Pellegrini & B. Sari

    Comment by Claudio Pellegrini — January 13, 2007 @ 12:30 pm

  25. [Note: this comment is likely from a BA employee]

    You suffer from a surfeit of self-entitlement.

    Many airline loyalty programmes offer only a percentage of base mileage for discounted economy fares. If you had studied the terms and conditions supplied when joining the BA Executive Club, you wouldn’t have allowed yourself to become disappointed. I’m a member, friends of mine are members. We’ve had no such trouble understanding the rules.

    You said you looked for a whole half an hour for the information. I found this page in approximately 45 seconds. It may help you.

    [Hmmm, I wonder why they don’t provide that information when booking the ticket online? Do you suppose it’s because they realize lots of people wouldn’t book tickets if they knew they weren’t getting full miles?]

    You write in reply to someone else’s comments:

    Comment: no other program that I know of gives fewer miles to less than full price tickets.

    This will be hard for you, I know, but your knowledge is not without limit. British Midland, Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, Air Canada, Virgin, Air New Zealand. Those are off the top of my head. There are probably more that I, you know, don’t know about.

    [Your knowledge appears to have its limits as well, as Virgin Atlantic has no such restrictions on discount tickets. How many others of those listed are you wrong about?]

    Moreover, the BA programme isn’t like the US frequent flyer schemes. It rewards loyal fliers, who spend a lot of money. A lot of money on full fare, or Business or First tickets. Whereas United or American ram their business or first cabins with people who’ve bought an economy ticket and then upgraded using whatever sticker or voucher they have, BA - on the whole - don’t do that. Ninety percent of business or first travellers on UA or AA haven’t paid the going rate to sit there; on BA 90% have. Neither way is right or wrong (except BA is profitable and all of the main US legacy carriers are in and out of Chapter 11 as it suits them) but it does show a different set of priorities.

    If you want a scheme that rewards people like you, purchasers of deeply discounted economy tickets, I suggest you try United or American.

    [Which is precisely the point of the post – if they had been upfront – hell, if they’d been even only mildly sneaky about it – we would have flown Virgin Atlantic and been 200,000 miles ahead right now.]

    Comment by Jonathan George — January 15, 2007 @ 12:18 pm

  26. While I could care less about frequent flyer miles, I do care about my bags. After reading all these comments, I feel lucky that my luggage has only been lost for 4 days now, and not months.

    That being said, my luggage has not yet arrived, but is scheduled to be delivered today. I already got a false delivery date yesterday; supposedly the delivery company got confused between between delivery times 10pm - 12 midnight and 10am - 12 noon.

    The whole ordeal has been terrible. I have slept and worn the same clothes for these four days. I would have bought new ones, except for the fact that each day I was told my luggage was to arrive that day. I can’t understand why I couldn’t track it online, why customer service was completely unhelpful and seemed like they couldn’t care less, and why, above all, the bureaucracy is too inept to communicate within itself and to customers. Truth is, if my luggage is delayed somewhere, I can deal with that. What I can’t deal with not knowing whether my bags have even been located - which is especially the case when I’m moving, and those bags contain everything I own. Customer service should have at least *acted* like they gave a shit.

    I have only once had my bags delayed - it was with an American Airlines. Funny thing is that I got my bags delivered within several hours. But again, I think the issue here is not the bag delay, but lack of transparency of the process.

    Comment by Bill S. — January 28, 2007 @ 9:16 am

  27. Hi! Unfortunately I had the same problem. I flew from Boston to Mumbai, and I asked the agent specifically (before booking) if I will get miles on American Airlines for the whole leg, and they said yes.

    After a month of trip completion, when I didn’t get miles I called them again. They said that you need to contact American, since you are getting their miles.

    I called American, and they said that you it is BA policy to not give American miles for trips over Atlantic, and for Heathrow to Mumbai, I will get only 1/4th the miles.

    Thanks BA for the disclosure. Just flown them once, but probably is going to be the last time.

    Comment by Real Cranky — February 24, 2007 @ 5:09 pm

  28. I am done with ever traveling on British Airways.

    Recently I had horrendous experience running in circles trying to book a trip on using my Executive Club miles.

    For a while I have not been able to check for any trips on using miles. Each time, I got the following message: “Unfortunately our systems are not responding, so we are unable to process your request at the moment. We apologize for this inconvenience and suggest you try again later.". But nothing has happened despite repeated requests.

    4 weeks ago, I spent more than 2.5 hours trying to get a ticket booked on the phone (what a colossal waste of my time):
    1st call: To customer service (after 25+ min on hold). She helped me find seat and put it on hold but could not reserve it because she would have to charge me $20 for using customer service. She suggested I go on now that a journey was on hold and pay using my miles. This call took almost 30 min.

    Logged in and tried to pay using but could not. The only option available was to call BA customer service.

    2nd call: to BA customer service. After 30+ min hold, she forwarded me to BA online tech support (waited again 20+ min). They ascertained that it was a technical issue due to which I could not complete the reservation online (something I had told them before). Now this person needed to connect me back to dedicated reservation and tell them that I was having a problem and to waive the $20 reservation fee. He did not give me a reference number, but tried to connect me. After listening to music and how I could so much on, the music suddenly stops, the phone goes cold (I realize the BA support people must have gone home). No warning, no one came online, the line just went silent.

    So much for famed customer service (seemed more like the famous old Parliament bureaucracy from Great Britain).

    Also, please note that the website also keeps erroring out periodically and have to hit the back button and re-enter the data. Just like, I am entering this message for the 2nd time as it errored and I was told to hit the back button to enter something (and that led me to a blank screen)!!!

    So I cannot even enter my message to send to someone on

    So, I call them back 2 days later so I can close the ticket. I am told that the ticket was a Club class ticket and I did not have enough miles for a club class (ofcourse, I had requested a world traveler class and along with to switch a reservation made via timbaktu to a more human route). SO, they canceled a reservation (bad one, but one where I was able to FINALLY use my miles), and given me one that was not something I asked for. Now after 2 more phone calls and talks with Supervisor, I am told “Sorry, we do not have any tickets over the window you have requested” we cannot help you. If you want, you can buy the seats. I requested we I can escalate, considering I had a seat before. They told me yes, he has a boss, but there is no way of me connecting to them. Enter your complaints on

    Last time I have traveled on British Airways. I done with the lousy airline. I have bought tickets on another airline. Will use my BA miles on some of the partner airlines and be done with them (hopefully they do not expire before).

    Comment by Kamlesh — February 26, 2007 @ 8:25 pm

  29. Dear Sir/ Madam

    On the Wednesday 28th of February my partner and I flew out to Istanbul on BA 0676 from LHR. The booking reference was ZIS57M. I made the booking in my name, Stephen Chidgey (executive member number 72034112) and for my partner Mr. Andrew Philp. We were making this holiday trip immediately after our Civil Partnership Ceremony to visit property we have purchased in Uzumlu in the south of Turkey but wanted a day and night in Istanbul to follow our partnership ceremony which was held at Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant in Padstow Cornwall with 116 guests. I had arranged a City tour in Istanbul and booked an expensive quality hotel in the centre of Istanbul ancient city.

    I had made the reservation and checked in all on-line as I always do, and the check in service and the outbound flight was as ever very consistently good.
    Our passports were inspected when we checked our bags in and no comment was made regarding the few torn pages inside Mr Andrew Philp’s passport.

    Mr Philp has flown BA with me to the USA and at least twice to Italy and his passport in the same condition has never been an issue of concern at anytime.

    Unfortunately and with huge sadness and disappointment Mr Philp was stopped at passport control on arrival at Istanbul and despite our most diplomatic of efforts the immigration authorities and the police would not allow Mr. Philp into Turkey with his passport.
    I accept that this is of no fault of B A and we must as individuals take our own responsibilities with regard to our personal travel documentation. However, It should have been flagged or we should have been warned and advised that the torn pages as seen by B A check in staff may be a problem if wanting to enter Turkey where evidently they have a record of being fastidiously strict on paperwork and passport documentation being absolutely perfect.

    Mr Philp was then frog marched back onto the plane on which we had just arrived feeling totally dejected and as I did left in Istanbul all alone.
    British Airways cabin crew again were absolutely delightful and understanding when Mr Philp returned so our thanks to the crew on that flight for their kindness.

    Unfortunately the consequences and fall out from being returned on that flight were horrendous and frankly unforgivable in terms of how B A communicated and performed.

    British Airways used the return portion of Mr Philp’s ticket to pay for him being sent back. ( You are entitled to do this as I understand now but this was never explained at the time) I also feel it is rather mean in the given circumstances. Far worse than that B A then cancelled the original flight reference that also included my flight ! A new flight reference was issued for my return flight but I was not notified either so when I tried to access my flight information I COULD NOT FIND MY FLIGHT OR TRACK MY TRAVEL. Why was the original booking reference cancelled ZIS57M and a new one issued for my flights 2I3JAY without my being notified? Surely it would have made more sense to issue a new booking reference for Mr Philps tickets which in effect were now null and void?
    What happened and the actions that were taken should have been explained, as at the time we did not know Mr Philp’s return flight was no longer valid.

    In having no success seeing the booking anymore on-line I had no choice but to call B A customer services from Turkey to find out what our situation was. This I did but on my UK cell phone and this will have cost a small fortune what with all the holding and waiting these calls experience. I spoke to a call operator in Newcastle who was frankly uncaring and unhelpful. All she was prepared to comment on was that it was usual and B A’s right to cancel the return flight and take revenue from the ticket in these circumstances. I accept that but she could have been more helpful and perhaps tried a little better to be understanding … No, not a bit of it … just plain arrogant and rude… The B A office in Istanbul where I tried to telephone were even more unhelpful and promised to e-mail or call me but they just did not bother to respond. If the situation had been explained and had it been done with some empathy then I doubt matters would have left us feeling as though we had booked with Ryan Air. The very reason we do book with B A and that you have our loyalty is because I have always had the very best of customer service in every respect.

    We managed to get Andrew Philp an appointment the very next day in London for an emergency replacement passport. I had his birth certificate and other required documentation all couriered up from our home in Cornwall to London that night and so another £200 was suddenly spent. Andrew did secure a new passport and I was then able to book him a new flight out to Turkey.
    In addition to this somehow Andrew’s luggage did not return with him when he was sent back and this was despite being assured it would be. I checked for his luggage in the baggage arrival in Istanbul and it was definitely not there. On returning to London and not finding his luggage Andrew notified B A lost luggage and he was assured it would arrive in on the first BA flight out of Istanbul in the morning. He was requested to return to LHR to collect as he did but it did not turn up. He was requested to return yet again in the evening as was promised it was definitely be there after 18.45 but again it had not been sent and was still in Istanbul. Can you imagine then having to set out alone to Turkey again after that experience and without any luggage at all having been promised and made special lengthy trips back and forth to LHR?

    He finally arrived on a direct charter flight to Dalaman on Saturday Morning at 03.40 hrs so not exactly the greatest start to our post partnership ceremony..
    Andrew had to spend time shopping for essentials of new luggage and some new clothes to get him through the following 4 days.

    I had been on-line and made and paid for a new ticket for Andrew to return with me from Istanbul on BA 0677 on Wednesday 7th March. After much digging around I managed to discover my NEW booking reference was 2I3JAY. On arrival we went to BA ticket office to explain what had happened.. No interest or care at all.. Similarly, when checking in for the flight at Istanbul we explained to the guy on check in what sort of bad service we had and to his credit he was concerned and called for the B A check in supervisor . He unfortunately was not the slightest bit interested and was only interested in telling us that he had no authority to do anything and “it was just one of those things… these things happen. What could he do.”
    The check in guy continued to do his best and checked us in very kindly to exit aisles seats which was the first time we encountered any helpfulness from ground staff at all.. He was a Turkish man not working directly for B A but a handling company.

    We had heard that Andrew’s luggage had been returned to our home in Cornwall eventually on Monday.

    Things really did change however when we boarded the plane. I requested if we could speak with the C S D on that flight and immediately the Purser came to see us. We quietly explained all that had gone wrong and that as a result we felt B A had handled a bad situation less well than we normally expect. The Purser was excellent and listened and thoroughly understood and somehow you knew she had a wealth of experience to deal with problems. She conveyed this to the C S D and we were then met by her and she was also just great. Patient understanding and able to see how things could have been done so much better if handled with a bit of care and thought. We were upgraded to Club which was very kind indeed and we were very grateful but to be honest we did not expect or demand anything other than that this bad experience would be reported back and acted upon. The C S D took all details and said she would file a report herself. To be honest, it really is a shame that other staff in B A do not all have the ability to deal so well with people as your cabin crew so clearly do have. They are a great credit and asset to your business.

    I thank the crew for their kindness and professionalism.

    In all of this I would like to think that someone in B A will be kind enough to look into these matters and respond to us in due course.

    We were hoping to using your direct flights to Dalaman when they start at the end of May. But after this ?

    Yours Sincerely,

    Stephen Chidgey - 72034112

    Comment by Stephen Chidgey — March 16, 2007 @ 4:23 pm

  30. British airways and Heathrow airport are a terrible combination. It takes a huge amount of walking through ratty hallways to get from anywhere to anywhere else. I have had one flight cancelled with no reasons offered whatsoever. They have allowed me to get in on a flight from the US with two hand bags, only to stop me and have me go through immigration etc to check in one of the bags and then miss my connection.
    They then put me up in a ratty hotel.
    They are a really bad airline and heathrow is a terrible airport for transit passengers. Stop feeding the Heathrow bureacracy behemoth.

    Comment by John Snow — March 25, 2007 @ 4:36 pm

  31. Friends,
    On my return travel from USA on April 2 and reached India on 4 by BA, I checked in two baggages in Des Moines to Chennai and at Chicago, I was compelled to check in a hand carry. On my arrival, I received only two baggages and one is still missing. The baggage claim area staff could not give me satisfactory answer, for they are not sure what is happening over the other end. They depend on World Tracer computer program and after checking it every day, either they call me or I call them, they have the ready answer that my lugguge they could not trace.
    After reading this weblog, I am afraid that I am also joined in the unfortunate, missarable passenger of British Airways. Not only me, I asked my travel agent not to recommend British Airways to their dear customers.
    Can anyone tell where I can email and ask for justice?
    My email id:


    Comment by R. Thinagaran Richard — April 16, 2007 @ 9:31 am

  32. Once again BA have lost my luggage at Heathrow. After problems last year said would not travel BA again, so went Royal Brunei to Australia. Marvellous airline and flight. Unfortunately return flight transferred to BA owing to mechanical problems on Royal Brunei plane. Guess what- luggage lost again. They seem unable to transfer Luggage at Heathrow from an international flight to a domestic one. The excuse that the time was too short (3 hours) seems a little feeble. Staff in Manchester very unhelpful. Just telling everyone their cases would be on the next flight and delivered the same day. They didn’t like it when I told everyone this was a pack of lies, and it would take at least a week if it ever arrived, and that trying to check it online or by phone was a waste of time. Guess I wasn’t too popular for telling the truth. Anyway all I can do is wait, and hope to see my case fairly soon, unless it has vanished into the ether

    Comment by Sue Brookes — April 25, 2007 @ 5:40 am

  33. All BA discount tickets give less miles…it is the same with QANTAS which I found out and was a little dissappointed.But it is written in the milage info about this.

    Comment by monique — April 29, 2007 @ 2:08 pm

  34. Here, here… BA crew are in my experience, fantastic. Just a shame the rest of the company can’t get their act together!

    Comment by Michelle — May 4, 2007 @ 5:40 pm

  35. You seem to be only posting the positive comments which back up you greif over BA… Why not post mine and get a more diverse range of views

    Comment by Jo — May 5, 2007 @ 12:25 pm

  36. never fly british airways if u want urself with luggage

    Comment by dilbirsinghbhui — May 23, 2007 @ 5:44 pm

  37. I fly BA on a regular basis on business. The Ts&Cs of the BAEC programme are available online; the onus is on you to read the terms and conditions. The miles are not ‘air miles’ but ‘BA miles’, it is normal practice for airlines to vary the amount of miles they offer customers, Lufthansa for example offer more miles per mile if you fly in premium fare classes, such as full J fare or F fare, whilst their cheapo W tickets will gain you fewer miles -this is normal practice for airlines. BA do this because they would otherwise end up with about 15% of passengers on every flight on a miles redemption, compromising availability for full fare paying passengers. It can seem expensive to buy BA full fare tickets, yet many businesses do so for their employees, as such, BA wants to reward its most loyal customers with miles, whilst offering passengers on more economical tickets a few miles too.

    I am sorry that you didn’t find BA helpful in this case, but I assure you that once onboard, you do notice the difference with BA and other airlines, this is especially true in their premium passengers. However, for a person who only flies in the non full-fare buckets, you are probably better off with another airline reward programme or shouldn’t expect to gain many miles for your efforts.

    Comment by Ian Morgan — May 28, 2007 @ 1:36 pm

  38. Where to start with BA….. I can agree that the crews on the flights are pretty good, but that is where my accolades end. BA lost my luggage (along with 10 000 pieces of other people’s luggage over Christmas in Heathrow). As I was not home, I filed a claim for some items I purchased (you can only turn socks inside out once). As of today following one letter, two faxes and umpteen phone calls/messages I have not recieved any sign of life from customer relations. In addition BA lost my luggage AGAIN a week ago (not a flight of my choosing, ahh business), and no one knows where it is. I have been promised phone calls from supervisors etc… but in 5 months BA has not had the decency to contact me, even to deny my claim!!! I have been very polite on the phone, but that gets nothing done. I am torn between two options: sit in the BA office until I get an answer or call an attorney.

    If they say a country is represented by their airline the UK is starting to look like the armpit of the earth right about now…. C’MON BA GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR A**!!!

    Comment by Antti Valikangas — June 4, 2007 @ 5:05 pm

  39. My family & I had a harrowing experience flying with BA from SFO to Madras. Firstly, I travelled with my aged mother, 4 month baby and 4 year boy. Inspite of requesting for Basinet, they did not provide saying that they forgot to load it. Next , during transit at London Heathrow we had very less time to board from one terminal to another and when requested for a transport to cover the huge distance between the terminals, BA staff asked us to run and catch the flight not even bothered about a baby and old lady accompanying me.

    Thirdly, when we reached Madras, all our baggage was missing. Baby food and all essential items were in the baggage and BA told us to buy for immediate use and that they will reimburse. But when we submitted the bill, they refused to compensate saying it has to be routed from USA.

    On the return trip, alone with my 4 month baby and 4 year boy, BA again messed up all the request. Firstly, no basinet provided, secondly seats alloted are in separate places( how can I leave my 4 year old boy to sit at the other end of the flight???????)

    I am really really bugged and it is a nightmare.

    I have gone through emotional turmoil and to add to all this the staff are so unfriendly,stubborn and are RACISTS.



    Comment by Subha Ramachandran — June 5, 2007 @ 8:01 am

  40. Can anyone tell me if they know of a civil lawsuit against BA for lost luggage? I traveled to France June 15th and my bags have yet to turn up. If no one knows of a lawsuit, would any one be interested in hopping on my bandwagon? I refuse to let them get away with this sh*t! They have for too long and it’s time for them to be put out of our misery. Please contact me at if you either know of a lawsuit or want to start one. Thanks.

    Comment by Tara Bennett — July 12, 2007 @ 6:09 pm

  41. BA lost my bags when i was flying to albania,my trip is for 2 months its been 15 days one bag was found the one with nothing in it of course, and the major bag with over $1,700 worth of clothes and electronics is still in space, my parents have called them a million times and like the comments i read above they all give them ignorant responses, like “i wish i could tell you but i can’t” or” we are doing all we can” yeah O.K. sure they are, as long as GOD is the ALMIGHTY after my flight back to the states I am NEVER going to fly BA again even if my life depended on it, they are the most ignorant, rude, and redundant airline out there, so if u don’t want to deal with stress, grab a boat and paddle through the atlantic its better than flying BA!!!

    Comment by Johan — July 23, 2007 @ 11:53 am

  42. British handling of luggage is a sheer catastrophe. They lost all our 3 bags on the way from Mexico via London Heathrow to Copenhagen and took a ‘mere’ 6 days to locate them. Fortunately most of the content arrived with them. Luggage handling Co. in Copenhagen tells me that on average 15-20 people arrive without their bags on EVERY FLIGHT from Heathrow. I feel sorry for the people in front of me who were told that their bags would be brought to their hotel that evening or directly to the cruise ship they were supposed to be on the next day …
    BA really has a luggage handling problem!
    And I suppose it is all thanks to “lets-have-a-little-petty-culture-clash-between-Eastern/Western-religions” in the end… So thanks to mr. Bush and Mr. Bin-Laden and London airport operators and British Airways… =(

    Comment by Tobias — August 10, 2007 @ 11:40 am

  43. I am so mad and disappointed. I have flown BA about three times from Seattle to London; once Seattle to Venice, Italy. We liked them simply because they fly direct to London from Seattle. Also, they are a mileage partner with Alaska, our regular mileage plan.

    I really wish I could have noticed on an internet travel board or by word of mouth that BA mileage awards have diminished to 25%. The last time I flew in 03, we got over 10,000 mileage points to Italy, which is normal for the route.

    Honestly, I think people who buy full fare tickets are foolish, unless they have business accounts. What a waste of money! My father was an airline captain for United: we always flew for taxes only, standby, so I’m used to trying to get low or FF “free” tickets.

    The website certainly hides the fact this stupid airline is no longer rewarding customers with full FF miles.

    The phone reps are so rude. Unbelievable. Delta and Alaska phone reps are incredibly friendly, helpful, and just plain nice. Obviously, BA’s horrible way of treating the customer comes from the top. Such terrible business practice and yet they pretend to be so professional in their image! What a joke. Hooters probably has more class.

    I really got burned, getting 1,000 approx. miles for this trip from Seattle to Lisbon with “economy World Traveller” miles. I have bought from a bucket shop before, they sold me an Air Canada ticket: it was so low, no miles were rewarded, but the travel agency TOLD ME this, I knew upfront.

    I don’t like to wish ill will, but I can’t help it. I hope the implementation of this non mileage program coupled with their baggage mishandling & disgraceful customer relations could force them into bankrupcy forever.

    Comment by Annette Sturdevant — August 20, 2007 @ 9:56 am

  44. yes, i agree with all those that are thoroughly downright disgusted with BA executive crap, i mean executive membership.. ooh la la. my husband and i flew to london, to rome, to johannesburg, to capetown, and back around twice. we have 3,000 miles to our names… even after faxed in ticket stubs, countless calls, and assurances that our miles would be credited to us, etc. when it comes right down to it, they suck. period.
    i won’t even tell you all of the time that the ticket agent lost 2 friends’ and i’s passports at check in. (they accidently fell down the side of her desk- we only found them when we decided to climb over and look for them ourselves) (they felt so bad they gave us business class- somehow it didn’t quite get rid of the sting)

    i am so disgusted with them, i don’t think i’ll fly with them again.

    Comment by krista — October 2, 2007 @ 10:39 pm

  45. Hi All -

    I work for a law firm that has filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against British Airlines for its baggage mishandling. Today an amended complaint was filed that names 10 additional plaintiffs and expands on the allegations made against BA in the original filing.

    I thought the case may be of interest to some of you since you mentioned losing baggage, etc. You can view an article from today’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer here and learn more about the case and whether or not you are eligible to join at the firm’s Web site:

    Comment by Laura Young — November 13, 2007 @ 11:26 pm

  46. I will never fly BA again. We live in England. The daughter of a friend of ours was tragically drowned in a boating accident abroad. Immediately after getting the phone call, we rang BA to try and get my wife on a flight, explaining we needed to be flexible on the return, as she may have to accompany the body to Ireland. “Don’t worry, the return part of the ticket is completely refundable” BA infomed us. They repeated this at Heathrow 2 hrs later when we double checked before buying a £2000 ticket. My wife did end up going to Ireland. When we requested the refund of the unused return ticket, an embarrassed BA customer services rep explained that actually, if we claimed a refund, we would owe BA. Apparently BA calculates the refund using the difference in price between a return ticket and a single ticket. In our case, fantastically, the cost of the single was more than the return. There would then be an admin fee on top of that. His advice was not to pursue the claim. We will never fly BA again.

    Comment by Fobyac — November 14, 2007 @ 9:54 am

  47. Absolutely spot on article - been ripped off similarly on the British Airways Miles - they can poke it!

    Comment by Dan Watson — January 19, 2008 @ 3:52 pm

  48. We have a lawsuit pending against British Airways in which we allege British Airways refuses to honor the flyer miles of a person’s account and causes to expire and/or forfeits the miles accrued in British Airway’s flyer points/mileage program arbitrarily and without warning or proper disclosure.

    We need additional plaintiffs to assist in the credibility of the case.

    If you or someone you know has had a similar experience with British Airways flyer miles and would like more information about this lawsuit, please contact Finkelstein and Krinsk, toll free at 877-493-5366, or via e-mail at

    Comment by F&K — February 12, 2008 @ 8:50 pm

  49. Flew BA from Seattle to LHR, primarily because I thought it was the only direct flight.

    Major irritations

    1. Can’t reserve seat until one day in advance.

    2. No “tier points” for certain ticket codes and hence no mileage program status upgrade…so you are forever “blue member”

    3. Lesser miles than actual miles traveled. NO USA based airline does this (other than smaller ones like Sun Country…which has some bizarre points system)

    4. Can’t transfer miles to partner airlines like in many USA airlines (like, if I am flying NWA, I can enter Delta and get miles on Delta)

    5. Customer service SUCKS. BIGTIME.

    RESULT !!!

    NEVER GOING TO FLY BA AGAIN. Even if that means I have to take connection.

    Comment by BA sucks — July 19, 2008 @ 12:51 pm

  50. Why don’t you stop winging and go fly somewhere else then? BA made more money this year than any other airline, worldwide, I doubt they will miss your little occasional booking with all the time you waste on their customer service channels…

    Comment by Alan — July 22, 2008 @ 5:27 pm

  51. Don;t think your alone in thinking there is problems at BA. There is an investigative documentary to be shown on UK channel 4 on Monday the 13th of October 2008 at 8pm. The title?

    THe trouble with British Airways

    See more at;

    Set your recorder!

    Comment by Peter — October 7, 2008 @ 9:34 pm

  52. Is anyone from BA reading/watching this? My last experience with BA was sooo incredibly bad that I made mental notes to myself the entire 25 hour journey to “research” this leading airline. As painful as it was to read everyone’s experience, I’m somewhat comforted knowing that I’m not the only one and (in an ever bizarre way) that my horrible experience - identical to the 51 posted before mine - wasn’t some abberation on the airline’s part. All I can say is that there are going to carriers entering these routes soon and they will blow BA away. Wall st was an American institution, i wonder if this relic will face the same fate…i can only hope.

    Comment by sanjay — October 23, 2008 @ 2:51 am

  53. I had the same issue with not having transit visa, I cancelled my tkts riteaway, sicne they would not help me at all. all i needed was a refund of the taxes per law. its been 4 mths and no money in sight. Today I am going to file a small claim against BA. please help me as to what info i need. I have all docs ready, has anyone ever done this before ??

    thanks. please let me know

    Comment by dhiraj — February 18, 2009 @ 5:40 pm

  54. I have flown with BA for the last three years, on average i fly about 110 times a year with them, from London to Aberdeen (scotland). There Airmile scheme is rubbish. I still don’t have enough miles to get a return journey to New York. What a way to reward your dedicated frequent flyers! Rubbish Airline! I always travel Virgin Atlantic Long Haul, its are far better warm welcoming airline!

    Comment by Micki — February 1, 2010 @ 1:04 pm

  55. Oh…thanks for the page. I thought I was the only confused person. I paid an arm and a leg for the ticket and all I see is some miserly 800 points or so. Yes. Will not travel British airways again. Will cancel the card that I have as well.

    Comment by Vijay Kanabar — July 2, 2010 @ 1:46 pm

  56. My experience with BA, as it refers to service once in the plane, has been positive. What I cannot stand is their millage program. For the last 2 years I have tried using my millage to go different places. It has never worked. I have 125,000 miles and, no matter when or where I want to go, there is no seats left for “those cheap ones that want to use their millage". At this point, I feel that BA millage program is a scam. They also give you now a free companion ticket. I tried to used it but they told me that it only works with tickets purchased with your millage which, as I said before, there is no way to use. I feel that they are just mocking me. I would love to get rid of the credit card that I use to build up miles but, they told me that, if I do it, I lose my millage. I am just charging now a small transaction each month to keep it, but I will have to pay the $75.00 per year to maintain the card. BA, I will not fly again with you. Your service has been great, but I do not give business to companies that take advantage of their customers.

    Comment by Jose Roques — October 8, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

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