Showing posts with label Willie Walsh. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Willie Walsh. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

British Airways: Part Deux

NOTE: One month after I sent my letter to British Airways CEO, Willie Walsh, (Open Letter to Willie Walsh, CEO of British Airways), I got a response from their Head of Refunds for North America. They offered me two options. Option 1: a refund “in accordance with standard industry procedures and British Airways policy” for reimbursement to the original form of payment used to purchase the tickets (of course both of the credit cards I used are no longer valid). Option 2: a voucher for the same value to be used for future travel on British Airways.

Below is my response dated 10th May. I have received no refund from BA at the time of posting this blog.

Dear Mr. X,

Thank you for your correspondence.

Please note that the credit card you refer to, ending XXX, for Passenger: ONE. & Ticket number: xxx-xxxx is incorrect. The ticket was purchased on card ending XXX.

As there is no legal requirement for a company to only provide credit back to a customer via the original form of payment used to make the purchase, I fail to see why it is a problem to simply issue me a 100% refund by cheque, and especially since it is now more than five years late. And I am sure you will understand when I say that I am not in a hurry to fly BA again, so a BA travel voucher is not really acceptable. However, given my arduous journey to seek closure on this matter, I am sure you will make an adjustment to your policy in this matter and fulfill my request for full reimbursement/refund for both tickets: xxxx-xxx/xxxx-xxx to my above credit card ending XXX, where one of the two tickets was originally purchased. This seems to me a good and fair compromise given my request for a cheque and your airline’s seemingly inflexible policy.

I look forward to your confirmation of the above, and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you require any further details in order to provide this refund ASAP.

I appreciate your help in this matter.


Mr. Vaish


Dear Mr. Vaish,

We are in receipt of your refund request in our refunds department regarding the above mentioned tickets.

Option 1:
In accordance with standard industry procedures and British Airways policy, reimbursement can be made only to the original form of payment used to purchase the tickets; hence a refund would be processed to your credit credit card ending in XXX for ticket xxx-xxxx and to Visa card ending in XXX for ticket xxx-xxxx.

Option 2:
The value of this ticket can be applied towards future travel on British Airways. Subject to the rules and conditions of the fare, additional charges may apply. A voucher would be issued which could be used as a partial payment towards future travel on British Airways only.

Please forward a written confirmation of the option you would like to utilize at the address mentioned below. Upon receipt we will reopen our case and take further action.

British Airways assures you of our best attention at all times.

Sincerely yours,
Mr. X

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Open Letter to Willie Walsh, CEO of British Airways

“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises, he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.”
Mahatma Gandhi

Dear Mr. Walsh,

I felt compelled to write to you one last time as I believe there is a dire need to remind you of your words from British Airways 2009 Annual Report, as your airline’s customer service continues to sink to new and hitherto unimaginable lows. “We will not let this crisis compromise our long-term goal – to create a world-leading global premium airline with a reputation for being the very best at meeting its customers’ needs.” Everybody makes mistakes but your staff’s attitude and lack of care, concern and pure arrogance after the poor experience we had is abhorrent and led me to make the decision never to fly BA again. However, BA again started courting me for my business a few months ago through numerous emails, letters and offers promising a new and vastly improved customer service and experience. It was this promise to woo back the countless customers’ it has no doubt lost over the last few years that prompted me to make one last effort to resolve the matter.

Once again I have had no joy from your Customer Service department. I corresponded via your website’s customer complaint mechanism, and initially Mr. B, from BA Customer Relations (as in 2006) sent me a response and then again there was complete silence when it came to actually resolving my issues. And this upon my supplying both clarification of the facts, and the supporting documents he requested; boarding cards and credit card statement, with e-ticket#, as proof of purchase (Fax dated: 2/2/2010).

In short, I never received what Mr. B himself promised me by way of apology in 2006, mileage credit to my wife’s account, nor did I get the refund/partial credit owed me from travel completed in 2005.

In summary our experience in 2005 is as follows: my wife and I were travelling New York-London-Dubai-London-New York with one full fare Business Class and one Premium Economy ticket. BA messed up our reservations causing us to miss our flight out of NY, then promised to upgrade my wife from London to Dubai, as there was no extra seat available in Business on the next flight, nor was my pre-booked aisle seat that I had on the original flight; so I too downgraded to economy from NY-London (and was promised a refund of the fare difference, which I was told would be automatically credited to my credit card within 60-90 days). Then your staff in London refused to honour the upgrade promise made to us by your staff in New York. Upon my seeking assistance from your London staff and getting the run around, frustrated, I finally asked who I needed to speak with in BA to help me, I was told, and I quote: “there is nobody in this airline that can help you.”

Sadly and truthfully, my expectation for resolution at this stage is virtually zero from both you and your airline, but I feel that in the end it is unhappy customers like me remaining silent that allow companies like British Airways to continue charging high premiums, while delivering subpar quality and service. Most importantly, our silence allows you to continue to treat your customers like cattle and take our business for granted. So consider this my way to stop turning my head and looking the other way, allowing companies like yours to continue the pursuit of profits at the expense of customers and everything else that matters. With this open letter, I am going to make every effort to ensure that the world is made aware of our less than poor experience and encouraged to do the same, through my personal blogs, Facebook, Twitter and all the various public and travel forums and discussions I actively participate in.

In my opinion British Airways, over the last decade has squandered its well earned reputation as “The World’s Favourite Airline” and become the “World’s Worst Airline,” and this from a customer who for years remained steadfastly loyal to your airline in the face of increased and better competitive options becoming available.


Mr. Vaish

NOTE posted on 4th December 2010: I got a response from BA one month after sending this letter, and responded ( and of course have heard nothing back.