Compensation Clinic: 5000 Avios For Not Being Able To Buy British Airways Ticket During IT Meltdown

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This weeks Compensation Clinic comes from a reader who attempted to purchase a last minute British Airways long haul ticket during the famous IT meltdown weekend but was obviously unable to do so.

Remember that you can always email us, send a message via Facebook or use Twitter and include photos too. We’ll try to cover a different Compensation Clinic case here once a week.

By now everybody has heard about the problems British Airways faced regarding their computer meltdown a few weekends ago and that BA offered ticketed passengers sometimes generous compensation up to an extension of their BAEC Gold Status for 2 years (see John’s article here).

We received a reader email who mentioned that he (Gold Member) had to go on a last minute trip to Asia and obviously wasn’t ticketed yet. At the time nobody knew about the circumstances of the problem and BA gave him the runaround after which he eventually bought a one way ticket on Thai Airways in Business Class.

Here the email:

Dear Loyalty Lobby,

attached some correspondence of my case with British Airways. Situation was as follows

  • Needed a last minute ticket to Bangkok
  • BA website gave error message, Callcenter couldn’t help and advised to go to airport if it’s urgent
  • Went to Heathrow and it was hell on earth, nobody was able to help for about 4 hours
  • Ended up going over to Thai Airways and flying on a one way ticket to Bangkok
  • Contacted BA to complain about the missing miles, tier points and inconvenience
  • Received 5000 Avios three days later plus was asked to submit my TG reservation consideration of Tier Point credit (not received yet)

Cheers,

Alan

Here is the answer BA sent the customer after his complaint:

… As you’re probably aware, we experienced a major IT system failure on Saturday 27 May, which impacted the whole British Airways operation.  All flights leaving London Heathrow and London Gatwick were affected with the majority being cancelled.  Due to the number of disrupted flights, London Heathrow was very congested.  We worked hard to rebook our customers onto the next available flights over the course of the weekend.

Throughout this time, our main concern was for our customers, but it was difficult to keep you up-to-date on a changing situation.  We did everything we could to minimise the effect this was having on our customers but I know this doesn’t change how this affected you.

To show you how much we recognise the impact this disruption caused, I’ve added 5,000 Avios to your Gold Executive Club account.  Please accept them as an apology from us.  Subject to availability, you can put your Avios towards future bookings or use them to upgrade your class of travel next time you fly with us. …

Sounds pretty straight forward. I guess several hours at Heathrow are easily worth 5000 Avios points even though he wasn’t even ticketed yet.

Conclusion

Considering how fast the answer came it seems to me they are trying to just process and compensate people as quick as possible without investigating too much into the issues at the moment. It’s obviously very generous to give someone points even though he didn’t even hold a ticket.

From what I understood though the customer is more concerned about receiving his tier points for qualification of his current BA Gold status – fair enough hopefully he is able to work something out with BA.

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  • Phillip Smiley

    I would love to have a nice response from BA. My wife and I recently travelled in Club Europe to Barcelona – at the aircraft my wife was asked to check her bag in, even though the flight had 12 rows of Club Europe and therefore 24 less passengers than a “full” flight. I wanted some form of compensation from the airline for the inconvenience, when lots of economy passengers did not have to check in bags. Any ideas how I can take it forward? Or would I not have a good case in point?

    • SydneySwan

      Is this a joke?

      • Phillip Smiley

        Yes – a great joke.

        • Covfefe I say

          It might be funnier if you could provide the dimensions of your wife’s bag, which you describe as “not oversized” and “fairly small”. You see, sometimes we like to see things a certain way if it benefits us in a way that does not cost us anything. I’ve never been asked to check my bag if it is the right size. Furthermore, if there was no space left overhead, airline staff will often ask that one check their bag but it’s not like you’re paying for it so quit your griping. More often than not, the bags are unloaded and waiting when you disembark. And if not, what’s a few minutes of a wait? What exactly do you expect in terms of compensation, and is it worth it to chase those points down? I’m guessing bc you’re Gold you figure they’ll up the ante and offer way more points than this situation is worth, which is zero?

    • This is a tough case (well not really). What would your claim for compensation be based on? The only way I can see a passenger receiving compensation is for some lapse on BA’s side either in terms of operations or by not following the written rules.

      I assume your wife’s suitcase was either exceeding the limits for carry on baggage or she had more than one item. Does she have status?

      Remember that different people check in at different agents and even different outstations. Not all of them are following the rules to the letter. So I think in this case you can’t claim compensation because a BA agent actually did follow the rules.

      • Phillip Smiley

        Hi Sebastian – thanks for the response. I should provide some background, we were arriving in Barcelona on a Saturday morning, so only had a day and a half. The flight was booked last minute, and therefore I booked my wife into Club (I am Gold), with the objective to get off the plane as quick as possible and into the city. When we came to the gate there was about 60 passengers already there, and the gate staff had only taken one bag from someone. They told my wife that they needed to take her bag (it was fairly small and definately not oversized), however, when I got onboard I was fairly surprised to see that mannd eacy business seats with lots of bin space above. I tried to explain this to the agent, as I have asked 6 BA staff and each say that they wouldnt ask Club customers to check in their bag, as the bins above them are reserved for their bags. I can gurantee if my wife was a grey haired man.. she wouldnt have been told to do it

        • If your wife was told to check her only carry on as a club passenger and this piece of baggage was within the guidelines for carry on baggage then yes – she’s absolutely due compensation.

        • SydneySwan

          Maybe if your wife was a grey haired man you probably wouldn’t have married her.