We were on our way home from Catania airport, Sicily, on a British Airways flight. It turned out that BA had transported 18 disabled people from Gatwick airport – in wheelchairs – to Sicily, and that these same people were on our return flight. ( I hope they enjoyed themselves)
Now you would think that BA would, when booking them in the first place, check whether Catania, a regional airport, had the requisite disabled-handling equipment, similar to that in London. But, no, they had trouble loading the disabled people. Our flight was delayed and delayed. We were given no information (of course) while we waited in an area with seating for about half the passengers.
At last we were told to board. Whoops! No! Everyone was held on a loading ramp, standing without seats for an hour and a half, while airline staff members told us it wasn’t their fault. There was nowhere to sit (I have a painful back and right hip), and the children naturally became fractious. Suffice to say that the flight did leave – three hours late, and we eventually reached home from Gatwick at 5 a.m, four hours later than expected. You can rely on BA to spoil a great holiday.
But let me come to the point – we were each handed a slip of paper, purporting to be an apology. The sense of it was as follows:
‘Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused. Total amount of this free voucher GBP 5.00 (about $7.00!) to be used for light refreshments at the issued location (Catania, where we had just come from!) for up to 3 months. Can be used in participating airport outlets (e.g food outlets) and not on board.’
In short, an insult to the intelligence. It would have been better to have said nothing. The offer chits littered the gangway as disgruntled passengers disembarked. The motivation was obvious : BA , in its annual report could claim that x thousands of passengers thad been “compensated” for late arrival.
BA is “managed” by people whose incompetence and lack of any idea of customer care and satisfaction is well known, but never seems to change. This treatment was not an Epicurean experience! My personal ataraxia after a nice holiday was – zero. I would rather stay at home in future rather than fly British Airways.