A new response from BA: no seriously, please spend your money elsewhere

I received a new response from British Airways today in my “saga“. The gist of this response I think is:

  1. It’s a silly policy, but it’s *our* policy
  2. I understand you spend tens of thousands of euros with us annually
  3. We’re tired of you doing so, please give that money to another carrier

Below is the actual response. Simply put when I book a rewards flight with miles my family does not benefit. Frankly I’m astounded. BA is deciding to lose thousands of euros for a 100 euro service fee. And yet airlines moan all the time how they lose money. Perhaps it’s poor customer service like this for their best customers?

Dear Mr StecklerThank you for coming back to us.I am sorry that you are unhappy with our response, which was well reflecting your concern about your family not being able to select seats.Our seating policy is in place since 2009 but you may not have realized it as as a Gold Member you were still entitled to a free seat selection for your personal travels.I understand you remain unhappy and I will certainly pass on your comments to our Management Team to let them know your impressions.Thank you again for contacting us and for giving me an opportunity to look at your case again. I hope our decision will not deter you from flying with us in the future.Best regards[name deleted]British Airways Customer RelationsYour case reference is:[case reference deleted]



British Airways and Poor Customer Service

I fly a lot. I fly long-haul from Europe to the United States at least 8 times each year, often more. For an airline that is nice money. And when I fly I tend to fly British Airways. Why? It’s a little longer and I need to transfer through Heathrow but overall the level of service aboard is better than what I find on Air France or Lufthansa. SAS is no longer flying the route I want so that is sadly out.

After accumulating hundreds of thousands of air miles I decided to take my family on a trip. And here is where the problems start.

  1. There are no flights available. But hey, we are flexible and rather than fly to Seattle we will fly to Vancouver and drive down.
  2. There are no business class seats available. Well darn. I have a lot of miles and wanted to treat my family to the upgrade experience. But okay, coach it is.
  3. What’s that? In order to select seats for my family I need to spend 25 euros per person each way? Huh?

So I called BA. I asked about issues 1 and 2 but really, I can’t get that excited about this. Next time I will book a little earlier. But issue 3? You are seriously going to nickel-and-dime me on this? I spend loads of money on flights each year, certainly even skipping one flight with BA will cost them more than they will ever earn from this pathetic surcharge.As a business I expect BA to have a customer support team and they do. So I write. And get essentially a form letter back explaining that BA instituted this cool new feature so people wanting seats could pay for them. Hello? Did you read my email where I explained that according to their own rules as a Gold card member I don’t have to pay for this? Or I don’t know, did it occur to anyone that perhaps this is my last flight on BA and will now switch to Air France which is overall more convenient?In my response today I pointed out that this is penny-wise, pound-foolish. Do you think they will care? Do you think anyone will even notice as they lose a valuable customer? I await their next response to see how bad their customer support is.

Chateau d’Esclimont

For our anniversary this year we cycled 80 km from Paris to this lovely chateau. This is a place I have never heard mentioned before. I think for non-locals it’s just far enough away that a trip to Paris wouldn’t justify the time in a car. For locals perhaps it’s too close, if you have a weekend you can get to the beach or the coast. But for an overnight trip, especially on bikes, this was lovely.

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Bois de Boulogne

In the interest of bringing the world tidbits about Paris that aren’t in guidebooks… Paris is a decent city for running. No trails really and certainly no hills to be found. But running along the Seine is nice. I hear the park over in Vincennes is nice too. But my normal running spot is the Bois de Boulogne on the western edge of the city. It has trees and grass and dirt. Okay it also has some scary hookers along certain streets but you learn to avoid those.This morning I was running and decided to take off the Fivefingers and scamper through the grass, get some real barefooting. As I hit a certain patch of grass fire lanced up my legs and I realized there were nettles growing in the grass. The trouble of course is now I had no idea which way to step to avoid more of them. I finally wound up just hopping as quickly as I could to the pathway. The resulting rash is unpleasant especially as my arches and toes are covered. The good news: the soles of my feet are now so toughened they aren’t injured at all. I can only wonder what the locals who saw me were thinking as I ran barefoot with my shoes on my hands ands into a field of nettles and then suddenly shrieking and cursing.

Boeing… or maybe Airbus

I travel a lot. Not many destinations but I do pass through London which is a hodge-podge of people and languages. Going through the other day I saw a couple, upper-middle aged. Woman was an uncomfortable traveler, man was trying to show off how world-ready he was. She asked a few innocuous questions, he answered surely, confidently. She then asked what type of plane that was and he said “Boeing….. hm or maybe an Airbus. One of the two for sure”. She beams knowing her man knows commercial aviation. Good guess Mr Been There Done That.