British Airways ‘midway through’ sorting out call centre problems amid mounting passenger frustration

‘I hope that in the coming months you’ll notice a significant move towards a better BA,’ says BA CEO

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Monday 31 January 2022 07:59 GMT
<p>Back in action: British Airways Airbus A320 parked at Bournemouth during the coronavirus pandemic</p>

Back in action: British Airways Airbus A320 parked at Bournemouth during the coronavirus pandemic

The boss of British Airways has promised improvements in responding to frustrated passengers who report wasting many hours trying to get through to the airline on the phone.

Sean Doyle, BA’s chairman and chief executive, has written to members of the airline’s Executive Club – vowing to created a higher quality carrier “as we emerge from the worst crisis in our 102-year history”.

Mr Doyle said his “number one priority” is to deal with the problems with the British Airways call centre.

The letter says: “We know that for many months now we’ve been asking you to be patient with us. Patient while we bring multiple aircraft back from airfields around the world. Patient while we rebuild our network, retrain and recruit people to serve you better, and patient while we deal with the thousands of customers that need our help.”

Dozens of BA customers have contacted The Independent to express frustration with long waits on hold followed by being cut off.

Mr Doyle writes: “To be frank, we’ve been moving from one set of restrictions to another and the amount of change we’ve been dealing with over the past couple of years from week to week has been relentless.

“I’m not seeking to make excuses for things that should have gone better. What I am doing is making a personal commitment to you that we will build a better British Airways.

“In the face of constantly changing and complicated travel restrictions the length of time it’s taking us to take calls has naturally been longer, which has pushed up our waiting times.

“We are midway through replacing our phone systems to create a better customer experience and are also already recruiting more people to ensure your calls are answered, social media messages are responded to and problems are solved in the moment, wherever possible.”

The BA boss also told passengers: “We’ve been working hard to create a more premium experience for you.”

While some reports have suggested British Airways is bringing back complimentary food and drink for economy short-haul passengers, in fact the current standard of a small (25cl) bottle of water and packet of crisps will be retained.

The letter ends: “I know that change won’t happen overnight, but this week I have briefed teams across the airline to do all they need to, to tackle the issues we know you’re facing so we don’t let you down.

“In the meantime, I want to thank you for staying with us. I know your loyalty has been tested and I want to assure you that we don’t ever take it for granted.”

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