When I checked in at Heathrow, I was informed that the flight was overbooked and that it was likely that I would have to travel by an alternative (slower) route. The best explanation I was offered was that "It's just one of those things" since BA policy is to overbook every flight by 10 per cent and I simply had the misfortune to be booked on a flight for which most passengers had turned up. I was told I would be compensated and I was given a pounds 4 voucher for the airport restaurant. When I was later condescendingly informed that I would after all be fortunate enough to be granted the place which I had booked (and for which I had paid pounds 565), the staff seemed to expect my undying gratitude.
Instead they have convinced me that the "world's favourite airline" has such a complacent and self-righteous attitude that I would be better to travel with alternative carriers in future. Conversations with friends and colleagues have revealed that many experienced travellers feel the same.
I understand the commercial pressures which force airlines to try to ensure that their planes are full, but if passengers' views were publicised I wonder how long it would be before similar commercial considerations forced BA to treat their customers with a bit more respect.
Professor Peter Mathieson
University of BristolReuse content