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British Airways - never again - a disgrace

posts: 14
reviews: 93
British Airways - never again - a disgrace

Has anybody had any luck in getting some form of compensation from British Airways? All I get is platitudes. I paid extra for bulkhead seats on a long haul flight and didn't get the seats. Not only that but the BA plane on the return leg was disgusting. We were right next to the toilets and the smell of stale urine was overpowering the whole ten and a half hours. The plane was antiquated and the "entertainment system" was dysfunctional. So far I haven't even managed to get a refund of the extra I paid for the seats I didn't get. Does anyone have any tips? I will do my best never to fly BA again

268 replies to this topic
Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
posts: 49,530
reviews: 15
1. Re: British Airways - never again - a disgrace

Did you fly from LHR or LGW on the long haul sector? How did you not 'get the seats' at the bulkhead if you had paid in advance; was there an equipment change? If so were you notified by email before departure date? Did you use on line check in, even after having paid for the seats?

The seat maps at ba.com indicate which seats are near the washrooms (and often bulkhead seats are near the facilitis); it's not unusual for there to be a waft of something from those washrooms on long haul flights.

The IFE isn't exceptional, but if it was non-functioning during your flight you should be offered Avios for that; the Avios given is usually dependent on the cabin in which one travels.

Payment made for seats is generally non-refundable but may be offered in some situations. Have you applied for a refund? If not then consider it, as you have 14 days from the date of travel to do so. britishairways.com/travel/…

2. Re: British Airways - never again - a disgrace

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Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 20,249
reviews: 5
3. Re: British Airways - never again - a disgrace

>> Does anyone have any tips? <<

Yes, first of all share some **facts** with us. From where to where, which (precise) seats had you paid for and what were you given? When you say the IFE was "dysfunctional" do you mean a complete malfunction, or just not very good?

Also follow TP's advice re registering your complaint, particularly if your paid for seats were switched. Re MALfunctioning IFE we had a post on this a few months ago from Leuca (whose wife's ife didn't work), who was offered compensation of £30 (fair) but in vouchers for future flights (not fair and rather worthless). He called BA and got the flight vouchers switched to gift vouchers and was (IMO rightly) satisfied with the outcome.

Just to point out that - on most if not all airlines - many of the extra legroom seats in economy, while great legroom wise, have drawbacks in that they're next to the lavs (smells and people congregating in or close to your personal space) or the galleys (noisy and congregation too). It's a trade off you have to make.

Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
posts: 37,869
reviews: 81
4. Re: British Airways - never again - a disgrace

Indeed, I often don't pick the extra legroom bulkhead seats because I'd rather enjoy peace and quiet (and no toilet smell) vs extra leg room. These seats are often near the toilets, galleys or other areas where passengers are likely to congregate. They are usually a bit narrower as well as the tray tables are usually built into the armrest.

Anyway, if you paid for the seats and didn't get them, you should be entitled to a refund. Hopefully, you had kept your boarding pass and receipt.

Finally, BA might not be the best out there, but I would consider it a workhorse airline that is more than functional. The situation you described can happen at any time to any airline. It's very easy to say you will never fly them again but then you would soon 1) run out of airlines to fly when the others don't perform; 2) be willing to pay higher fares on the same route if BA is the cheapest?

London, United...
posts: 20,025
reviews: 23
5. Re: British Airways - never again - a disgrace

Actually BA is one of the better airlines out there. I don't agree with the term its a work horse. There is hundreds of other airlines below them that would fall into that category.

The op needs to give more info. Most long haul flights, whomever you fly with, and even some short haul, there is a smell from the economy loos. It's quite disgusting the way some people will leave a loo,,,used paper on the floor, or urine or the seat or floor. God knows what they do at home or how they miss the bowl. Personally I never book a seat next to loos, as odds are its going to be unpleasant.

Some facts are needed. What route and when. Why were the seats not given, what was wrong with the Ife exactly, before anyone can help.

posts: 2,870
reviews: 7
6. Re: British Airways - never again - a disgrace

I never choose bulkhead seats.Often these are basinett seats,along comes a family with baby and you get moved.More info please.

Edinburgh, United...
posts: 9,341
reviews: 17
7. Re: British Airways - never again - a disgrace

"Does anyone have any tips?"

Calling or writing them would be the obvious ones. And do not to end your correspondence with "I will never fly BA again".

If you were moved from an extra legroom seat to a standard seat, you should get a refund of the money you paid. If you were moved from one extra legroom seat to another, you'll probably get nothing. Your post doesn't make it clear which it is.

If the IFE wasn't working they'll usually offer you some Avios points as compensation. Did you notify a FA about this on the flight?

Was the toilet out of order? If not, it shouldn't have an "overpowering smell of urine" though obviously there might be some smell. Again, did you talk to an FA about this while on board?

London, United...
posts: 20,025
reviews: 23
8. Re: British Airways - never again - a disgrace

Well one mans " faint whiff" is another's "overwhelimg smell" :))

Sitting next to the loos is not pleasant to be fair, not sure the smell is actually urine normally though, more a bad smelling chemical that is typically used.

However...complaining there was a faint odour, is never going to make a complaint sound good. Lol.

Salisbury, United...
posts: 3,846
reviews: 102
9. Re: British Airways - never again - a disgrace

Did BA get you safely to your destination? As far as I know this is what your contract with them obliges them to do. Everything else is an extra they provide but not a requirement, just an added extra. What does a dysfunctional entertainment system, did it work or not? Didnt you take any books, music system etc? I always do, just in case the IFE doesn't work.

Why were you moved from the bulkhead? Did a family with infant need them? Did BA give you different extraleg room seats?

With out more info no one can give a detailed reply. Do tell us otherwise your post is just a meaningless rant. All this can happen with any airline. Your rant is about small things, you got safely to your destination and that is the inpmportant thing.

posts: 14
reviews: 93
10. Re: British Airways - never again - a disgrace

Well firstly I am a seasoned traveller. I have travelled all over the world and believe me this experience was not good. OK, facts. The outward journey. LGW to GRENADA. I paid for bulkhead seats because my daughter has sciatica to alleviate her discomfort. I booked the seats online. The seats on board were totally different to the seating plan online and therefore our seat numbers were not bulkhead seats on the actual plane and someone else had them. Nothing the crew could do

Return journey. Yes, I know the toilets are not normally the best place to sit. However, same issue, and I paid £50 extra for 2 seats. The plane smelled terrible as soon as we got on board. The smell of urine (not air freshener) was so strong it came out of the air vents around the toilets and the passengers sitting in front of the partition to the toilet found it so unbearable they had to cover their noses and couldn't eat their food. The plane was apparently full so no-one could be moved. This was not just the usual smell of toilets which you have to endure when sitting near the wc, it was strong stale urine, and not only when the door was opened (which was approx every few minutes).

IFE was so antiquated that we had no idea when a film commenced and once it was going you could not stop, pause, restart or anything. The films playing seemed to bear no resemblance to what was in the mag, so basically unwatchable unless you like watching something from half way through and not knowing what it is or what it's about.

It may not be the end of the world, but along with everything else, adds up to a terrible flight and the reason I booked with BA was because I assumed our national airline would be able to provide an up to date plane and a service comparable with the other world class airlines.

I have written to BA several times outlining my complaints. I received an offer of vouchers towards "future flights" which I have politely told them I don't intend to take (neither vouchers nor flights). I have not received a refund of the extra money I paid for the seats and have received platitudes, the usual we are grateful for your comments and strive to please etc etc ......

as a ps the last time I flew with BA they lost my luggage and I didn't get it back for over a week on the return flight, so no recompense there

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