Pop Star Ronan Keating took to Twitter yesterday after British Airways involuntarily bumped his son from a flight while traveling in Business Class and then requested payment for expedient baggage delivery after the bags didn’t arrive on time either.
Whatever British Airways does these days seem to have some negative connotation to it as this “story” is coming just a week after a massive data security breach into BA’s booking software was reported, revealing personal and payment source details of customers.
Keating tweeted to BA’s account about the series of mishaps his son encountered just like any other non-celeb passenger:
I’m surprised that someone like him doesn’t use a proper agency to handle such travel matters that includes a VIP key into the booking, signalizing the airline not to mess with a passenger. It’s definitely possible to enter individual notes in the reservation that pop up when a booking is opened by individual agents and airlines to have designated VIP desks to handle such people.
Probably Keating purchased the ticket for his son like any of us – on the internet, in cash or with his miles – and without status himself that means in case of overbooking the airline preys on the passengers of least resistance to kick them off. It’s well known that factors for agents include age, gender and country of origin.
We have covered such situations before like in early 2017 when BA downgraded a passenger from Business to Premium Economy and only compensated 200 GBP in form of a cash card.
While the tweet above says Keating’s son was bumped due to overbooking I find it rather strange that they wouldn’t at least offer a downgrade and instead bump an Economy passenger but logic thinking isn’t always the strong side of airlines, especially on the customer service level that deals with passengers at the airport.
This is evident in the second part of the Tweet where British Airways or the contracted handling agent demanded money to deliver the missed baggage caused by this situation in an expedient manner. That’s an absolutely outrageous behavior and while I usually don’t care much for celebrities mishaps I do appreciate the clear words about BA’s state of affairs as the airline finds itself in the news for all the wrong reasons on an ongoing basis.
Update on Thursday, September 20th 2018:
In the meanwhile British Airways has been in touch with us and provided the following information:
Mr. Jack Keating departed on an alternative flight 90 Minutes after his original departure.
We’ve been in touch with the Keatings to say sorry for the delay. We are glad that he was reunited with his bags last night.
That’s all nice and well that someone got in touch with them after his famous brother kicked off a PR storm. Any regular passenger by himself would probably continue to be in limbo. Rather than knowing Mr Keating is well I’d have loved to hear that it’s not BA’s policy to charge passengers for immediate baggage delivery after screwing up to begin with.
Why would British Airways purposely wait to reunite passengers with their baggage in the first place? It doesn’t even make any sense because the longer a passenger waits the more can can go shopping for replacement items which the airline is required to reimburse per Montreal Convention.
These overbooking situations are nasty but unfortunately they do happen on a daily basis and someone has to be picked if there aren’t any volunteers. Any airline does this not only BA but in this case the combination with the demand of payment for baggage delivery and the fact that it happened to family of a celebrity made BA take the pi** once more and displayed itself in the worst possible manner.
Maybe Keating takes this instance as a reason to have his agency handle family bookings but of course all this costs money to have someone dedicated handle all bookings. Or he can simply ask BA if they have a proper desk. Would be interesting to see what kind of compensation British Airways will offer here and what kind of bump it was.