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British Airways – Pride of the Nation?

Today was fun… my wife and I were due to take the train to London this afternoon and because of some problem at Darlington on the return they were trying to convince us to split the journey and do part of it by bus… erm, no thank you.

So I made the mistake of deciding to take the PLANE – you see, I still have fond memories of when taking the plane used to be FUN – but I’m afraid those days are long gone – between late planes, lost luggage they’ve totally demolished that fantasy.

Anyway, needs must so we re-organised to take the plane. My fault I guess, I completely forgot the fact that you need to be a the airport car park MUCH earlier than if you took the train.. and Maureen’s job meant she could not get to the airport quite in time. So we organised a cheap train down to London for her.

Great… only small loss then? Well no. I set off this morning at 10am for a mid-day flight – parked the car – no problem. Got to the airport – “Where’s Mrs Scargill?” said the helpful assistant. I explained that I needed to inform them she would not be on the outgoing flight.

“No problem” said the attendant – “you’ll need to speak to BA customer services”. So I did the business and rang BA Customer Services.

After HALF AN HOUR with my mobile glued to my ear, listening to adverts, apologies, useless redirections to their website and other rubbish, I finally got through and explained the situation… I could hardly believe my ears at the response…. “sorry, can’t do that, if Mrs Scargill doesn’t take the outgoing journey – she can’t take the return journey”.

I tried to follow the logic – seat is empty – no problem, it’s paid for – less fuel used… why on EARTH should her missing the outgoing journey affect her ability to come back? Well, I won’t bore you – the answer was NO, NO, NO. So what do I do I asked? “She’ll have to buy a one-way ticket for £180” was the answer.

I’m a polite guy but at this point I told them we’d get the train. As it happens we managed to get a flight with EasyJet for WAY less than half of that… thanks for nothing, BA. As it’s too late for them to sell the return flight as a job lot on lastminute.com – I cannot for the life of me see the point – the flight could not be used by anyone else….

But it gets worse, I got to the waiting area just in time to be told the waiting area was changing – so off we all went to a new location- THEN the delays.. to cut another long story short -I too kmy allocated seat and it was BUST… so they had to me me – THEN the plane was an hour late lifting off. But it gets WORSE -having sat waiting all that time I missed lunch – no problem I thought – get lunch on the plane!!! Erm, NO, the pilot in his wisdom had decided we’d rather be ONLY an hour late rather that pick up the sandwiches.. so there wasn’t even any FOOD on the plane!!!

But it gets WORSE _ just as we were about to get to London the pilot announced there was no-where for us to land – and we’d have to circle for another half an hour – which we did.

So it’s not ok for me to screw up an outgoing flight – but it’s FINE for BA to completely mess up our flights!!

Maybe – just MAYBE there was some security implication with Maureen not taking the outgoing flight I pondered. But if that were the case, you might wonder why not at ANY time today was I asked for identification!! Not booking in (the attendant helped me use one of the terminals as it didn’t like my electronic ticket number), not getting on the plane, not getting off the plane – my drivers licence didn’t leave my wallet ONCE. I could have been ANYONE.

I left the house at 10am – and arrived in London mid-afternoon – I COULD HAVE ALMOST DONE THE TRIP THERE AND BACK ON THE TRAIN!!

Next time if I can’t get the train – I think I’ll just cancel the JOURNEY!!!!

Thanks BA for turning a mountain into a molehill. I’ll make sure as many people as possible know how helpful you were.

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