Hi. Any idea who I could email to forward a serious complaint to British Airways, like the top executive of customer services? My complaint is summarised below:
I made a booking to fly from Johannesburg via London to Almaty on BA on 03 April 2013. I waited in transit First Galleries lounge for my connecting flight.
The monitors in the lounge indicated that my flight gate to Almaty was not yet assigned, as plane was moving to one. As the time approached closer to boarding time, with the monitors still reflecting no gate allocation, I checked repeatedly with BA First Lounge staff, who advised that the gate was not allocated. I checked a few more times, until close to departure time. On my last check with gate staff, I was advised that the plane removed my luggage from the flight, as I did not show up. They investigated and confirmed that the BA airport system did in fact not reflect a gate and acknowledged it was their fault, so I should go to customer service and request a free change to the next flight to Almaty.
I did so, customer service confirmed with the lounge that I was not responsible for the change, and then issued me a free re-routing via Moscow to Almaty as that was the next available flight.
At the gate, prior to boarding, I asked the BA staff if I was permitted to transit in Moscow, as I held a South African passport and had no valid Russian visa. The BA gate staff confirmed that I would only be in transit, and hence no need for a visa.
On arrival in Moscow, I waited before the immigration counters for many hours before the connections desk opened. On opening, I was informed that my connecting flight with BA was from a different airport in Moscow, and without a visa, could not travel to the other airport.
Immigration authorities took me to a detention cell without explanation. I requested to speak to a BA representative and was denied this request. Nobody knew about my re-routing. My mobile had no roaming activated, so I could make no calls.
I was very lucky, when I checked for free wi-fi, whilst sticking my arm through the window bars, and picked up a signal for 15 min. free Wi-Fi.
I connected, sent an email to my company in Almaty (SRK) as well as BA, as I only had 15 minutes to attempt to inform someone to help.
My company contacted their contact in Moscow, as well as BA. BA arrived after a number of hours, apologised, but indicated that they were not authorised to arrange an onward flight transit to Almaty, or issue a return ticket to London, despite the fact that I held a paid business class return ticket Almaty to London, and that immigration officials were only prepared to release me from detention if I purchased a new BA ticket and provided proof in writing as such.
I emailed within the 15 min allowance to my company to purchase on my behalf another ticket Moscow to London. I had to show and email my e-ticket to an immigration official to assess. After assessment, I was informed that I would be placed on a flight back to London.
I was taken by immigration directly to the plane, from detention, to board. In London, I had to take transport and stay in a hotel until the next day's flight to Almaty, at personal expense. In Almaty, I had to stay in a hotel longer than originally planned, due to limited BA flights back to London (not daily), with meals. I had to take extra paid leave days to accommodate the extra days in London and Almaty.
I informed Bruce Harris of BA on the flight from Almaty back to London, who said he would inform BA. I believe he did.
After my business meeting in Almaty, I flew back via London to Johannesburg, the latter in First Class, paid for my myself.
On arrival in South Africa, I submitted a number of cases to BA online, with receiving acknowledged, but that was all. It is now 11 September.
I would expect as a minimum, my full flight expense to be paid back to me, plus my expenses in London and Almaty, plus my extra leave required.
Happy to provide evidence of my case, and evidence of all my attempts to contact BA, with no acknowledgement or resolution to date. Please forward to BA for a reply.