British Airways nightmare.

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Aug 13, 2018
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I use a wheelchair but do not require assistance on boarding or disembarking. I explained this to ground staff at SFO and was told I wouldn’t be offered assistance. When I went to board I was asked many times by the assistance people at SFO if I required assistance. I told them no many times but this wasn’t believed. This I felt was very insulting as my answer should be accepted. When I was waiting to board on the air bridge there was a member of ground staff there using her phone not bothering with doing her job. When she finally looked up she took one look at me and started shouting aisle chair over and ver again. This was very embarrassing and I didn’t need an aisle chair. I told her that she shouldn’t assume I need an aisle chair just by liking at me. She was very angry at me for pointing this out. She was very unpleasant and rude. The next thing the BA CSD let me board after lots of other passengers were on. A passenger was in my seat so I had to wait. The CSD was getting angry at me for not getting in my seat. I have no idea how I could have got in my seat with someone else sitting in it. The CSD made me feel I was taking too long and was a problem he could do without. The way I was treated made me feel very anxious. While I was taking my wheelchair apart the CSD grabbed my wheels and walked away with them. I don’t know where he was taking them. I told him he should have asked first before picking up my wheels. He got extremely angry at me and stormed off. I thought it was very unprofessional of someone so experienced. I put my wheelchair in the cupboard next to me and closed the door. At this one of the first officers came to speak to me. He asked why I was causing trouble and said they could get the police to drag me off the aircraft. I explained to him I wasn’t causing any trouble I only asked that he shouldn’t have took my belongings without asking fist. But obviously he didn’t he should have to ask and he could do as he liked. I suggested this member of crew not be in my area of the cabin during the flight. He said that he wasn’t prepared to do that. At this point the CSD came having a go at the first officer saying he shouldn’t be taking so long talking to me. He was very rude to this pilot. I told him I felt very uncomfortable and asked if I could disembark from the flight as I was very worried about this CSD was acting. To be frank I was terrified what he might do. At this he got up and left. I was fully expecting to be getting off. Unbelievably no one came to me and the aircraft pushed back. The first officicer did tell me he had warned the CSD to be careful how he behaved during the flight. This made me even more worried. During the flight I needed to use the restroom and pressed the call bell to ask for the aisle chair. It took over30 minutes if this being ignored before someone happened to walk past. I informed this person how long I had been calling for help. He said it was nothing to do with him. I feel 30 minute wait compromises my safety and imagine how you would feel if you couldn’t get up out of your seat.

I told the CSD that I felt 30 minutes was far too long. He was very angry and unpleasant. He was shouting over me. He also asked if I didn’t speak English and said is it because you’re Scottish. I said I didn’t think that was an appropriate way to speak to a passenger. At this one of his colleagues said he can’t be racist he’s Welsh. This again I was surprised that BA crew would speak like that. I hadn’t accused him of being racist I just thought it was highly inappropriate.

I also spoke to the captain and told him I thought it was very unfair that I couldn’t get assistance for this length of time. He seemed to disagree but in saying that the crew were much more visible after that. So maybe though he didn’t say he could see how distressed this had made me.

Later in the flight when I pressed the call bell crew came very quickly. I feel this is how it should always be as in an emergency I have no other way of asking for help.

I feel the CSD and for that matter handled the situation very poorly. I felt ganged up on and very frightened to be honest. The captain said that two crew had to be there while they were speaking to me. This I thought was a good idea. Unfortunately this didn’t happen crew came up to me again and again alone.

At the time of breakfast the CSD aggressively came up to me and angrily asked if I wanted breakfast. I said yes please as politely as I could. Then he angrily asked if I had filled in my card for breakfast. Yes I did I told him and he stormed off. I couldn’t believe what was happening to me. I was worried what would happen next.

This was the longest flight of my life. I was accused of being disruptive and nothing could be further from the truth. I spent the whole flight watching the tv screen. Counting down the minutes of the fight.

Hardly being disruptive. I was polite and respectful during the flight. I was very worried and made sure I spoke quietly and respectfully but this wasn’t what I got back.

When I got to Heathrow I spoke to a manager in the first class lounge. I explained what had happened and he seemed to genuinely feel bad for the experience I had.
 
Nov 27, 2017
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Are you looking for compensation for the bad flight? There is no question about that. Was there an incident report during or after the plane had landed?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
What is a CSD? We usually get complaints here from passengers that need assistance and can't get it - this was not what I expected. I also don't think it is a "nightmare" - it's an inconvenience.

When you board, could you explain to us how you board without assistance? Do you ride your chair to the jetway and then hand it to an employee to take it while you get up and walk to your seat?

Could you have simply done that with the employee - gotten up out of the chair so he or she could see that you were fine without them? If you were that far into the jetway and standing - why couldn't you just continue into the plane?

I guess I am not clear on how this even escalated as far as it did. I would have just gotten up and walked onto the plane.
 
Aug 13, 2018
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Are you looking for compensation for the bad flight? There is no question about that. Was there an incident report during or after the plane had landed?
Yes I would like compensation. I asked the captain if he would send a report and he said he would. I’m not sure if he did.
 
Aug 13, 2018
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What is a CSD? We usually get complaints here from passengers that need assistance and can't get it - this was not what I expected. I also don't think it is a "nightmare" - it's an inconvenience.

When you board, could you explain to us how you board without assistance? Do you ride your chair to the jetway and then hand it to an employee to take it while you get up and walk to your seat?

Could you have simply done that with the employee - gotten up out of the chair so he or she could see that you were fine without them? If you were that far into the jetway and standing - why couldn't you just continue into the plane?

I guess I am not clear on how this even escalated as far as it did. I would have just gotten up and walked onto the plane.
I can’t walk. My wheelchair fits down the aisle to my seat.

Once I get on my seat. I fold it down and put it in cupboard next to me.

The CSD stands for Cabin service director. The most senior member of the cabin crew.

It is a nightmare when you get told you’re a disruptive passenger and the aircraft may divert.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,026
22,982
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
This doesn't really fall into being a reason for compensation. We have company contacts on top of our pages. Read the main page about how to write - one at a time, starting at customer service - and then begin your campaign. Let us know how you make out.
 
Aug 13, 2018
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This doesn't really fall into being a reason for compensation. We have company contacts on top of our pages. Read the main page about how to write - one at a time, starting at customer service - and then begin your campaign. Let us know how you make out.
Abuse from BA staff not a reason for compensation?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,026
22,982
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
They got you from point a to point b. That is what you paid for. However, I think that BA needs to train their employees better on how to assist people with disabilities - I would focus the complaint that way. It sounds like your reaction didn't exactly help the situation - that remaining calm and explaining what your abilities were might have kept things less volatile. I can also see why the FA might have left others go before you, thinking that it would hold up people behind you. Unfortunately, these airlines are pushed to get off the ground on time so I could understand why the FA was rushing but you shouldn't have been penalized because someone was in the wrong seat and you had to wait for them to gather their belongings.

Did they allow passengers who needed extra time to board first? That probably would have made this a non issue if they had.

What I would do is write to BA and ask them to train their employees on how to handle clients with a disability. Tell them what happened and approach it that way. Tell them the FA simply needed to allow you to board as you normally do and that not every passenger with a disability needs assistance.

State facts only on what happened, take out the multiple mention of rudeness. You need to calmly explain how you normally board and WHY you didn't need help. I wasn't clear on how you board myself - the anger in your letter overshadows needed facts.

You could say - my wheelchair is specially made for the aisle of the plane with a width of "xx inches". I maneuver down the aisle to my seat, get in the seat and fold it up without any assistance.

Approach your complaint that way and ask for points for a future flight. Push it as a training issue to get them on to your side. You most likely won't get any refunds - the airline did what they were required to do but they may give you points for a future booking as an apology for the FA.
 
Aug 13, 2018
13
0
1
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They got you from point a to point b. That is what you paid for. However, I think that BA needs to train their employees better on how to assist people with disabilities - I would focus the complaint that way. It sounds like your reaction didn't exactly help the situation - that remaining calm and explaining what your abilities were might have kept things less volatile. I can also see why the FA might have left others go before you, thinking that it would hold up people behind you. Unfortunately, these airlines are pushed to get off the ground on time so I could understand why the FA was rushing but you shouldn't have been penalized because someone was in the wrong seat and you had to wait for them to gather their belongings.

Did they allow passengers who needed extra time to board first? That probably would have made this a non issue if they had.

What I would do is write to BA and ask them to train their employees on how to handle clients with a disability. Tell them what happened and approach it that way. Tell them the FA simply needed to allow you to board as you normally do and that not every passenger with a disability needs assistance.

State facts only on what happened, take out the multiple mention of rudeness. You need to calmly explain how you normally board and WHY you didn't need help. I wasn't clear on how you board myself - the anger in your letter overshadows needed facts.

You could say - my wheelchair is specially made for the aisle of the plane with a width of "xx inches". I maneuver down the aisle to my seat, get in the seat and fold it up without any assistance.

Approach your complaint that way and ask for points for a future flight. Push it as a training issue to get them on to your side. You most likely won't get any refunds - the airline did what they were required to do but they may give you points for a future booking as an apology for the FA.
I think they need to do a little better than getting people from point A to B. I’ve had compensation before as there is a level of service that can be reasonably expected.

They compromised my safety when they didn’t answer call bell when I needed the aisle chair.

I was waiting for over 30 minutes when I calmly complained I was decribed as a disruptive passenger.

The emotion in my letter is genuine but still less than the anger of the trained crew.

I ended up trying to de-escalate the situation even when crew were ramping it up.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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Is this exactly what happened?

At this one of the first officers came to speak to me. He asked why I was causing trouble and said they could get the police to drag me off the aircraft. I explained to him I wasn’t causing any trouble I only asked that he shouldn’t have took my belongings without asking fist

the first officer said they could get the police to drag you off the aircraft?

How did it this escalate?

Do you have any witnesses to the these outrageous comments -- and from a First Officer?
 
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Apr 3, 2016
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"I think they need to do a little better than getting people from point A to B. I’ve had compensation before as there is a level of service that can be reasonably expected."
Interesting - you have been compensated before when you did not get the level of service you expected. Under what circumstances was this compensation? Could you be expecting too much if you have had issues before? Just wondering?
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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San Francisco
This story appears to be a huge mis-communication, from the jetway to the destination. It's difficult to comprehend that such a large number of BA crew on one airplane were rude and mean to you. It would probably be best if you travelled with a companion who is able-bodied so that you're not ever again subjected to the level of service you're describing. It must have been an awful flight.
 
Aug 13, 2018
13
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Is this exactly what happened?

At this one of the first officers came to speak to me. He asked why I was causing trouble and said they could get the police to drag me off the aircraft. I explained to him I wasn’t causing any trouble I only asked that he shouldn’t have took my belongings without asking fist

the first officer said they could get the police to drag you off the aircraft?

How did it this escalate?

Do you have any witnesses to the these outrageous comments -- and from a First Officer?
I was traveling alone I’m afraid.
 
Aug 13, 2018
13
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"I think they need to do a little better than getting people from point A to B. I’ve had compensation before as there is a level of service that can be reasonably expected."
Interesting - you have been compensated before when you did not get the level of service you expected. Under what circumstances was this compensation? Could you be expecting too much if you have had issues before? Just wondering?
I took Hawaiian airlines to a San Francisco Court. I won compensation even though the airline said it got me from point A to B. The judge said they should do better than that.
 
Aug 13, 2018
13
0
1
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This story appears to be a huge mis-communication, from the jetway to the destination. It's difficult to comprehend that such a large number of BA crew on one airplane were rude and mean to you. It would probably be best if you travelled with a companion who is able-bodied so that you're not ever again subjected to the level of service you're describing. It must have been an awful flight.
It was only a couple of crew who there was a problem with. They were working in my part of the aircraft. I don’t think it’s fair that I can’t travel alone. Apart from the extra cost it isn’t always practical.

It was a horrendous and scary flight. It was the longest ten hours of my life. It was genuinely frightening thinking what was going to happen next. The flight cost over £2000. I was treated like a criminal.

I’ve never experienced anything like it. I’ve done over 800,000 miles with this airline.
 
Aug 13, 2018
13
0
1
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"I think they need to do a little better than getting people from point A to B. I’ve had compensation before as there is a level of service that can be reasonably expected."
Interesting - you have been compensated before when you did not get the level of service you expected. Under what circumstances was this compensation? Could you be expecting too much if you have had issues before? Just wondering?
This was on a different level to any issues I’ve had before. I’ve never been genuinely scared before.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,026
22,982
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
Have you done what I suggested above?

We have company contacts on top of our pages. Read the main page about how to write - one at a time, starting at customer service - and then begin your campaign. Let us know how you make out.
 
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Aug 13, 2018
13
0
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Have you done what I suggested above?

We have company contacts on top of our pages. Read the main page about how to write - one at a time, starting at customer service - and then begin your campaign. Let us know how you make out.
Yes I have they don’t answer.