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From the 'world's favourite airline' to one of its worst: British Airways

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From the 'world's favourite airline' to one of its worst: British Airways

Unread post by bimjim » Thu Dec 19, 2019

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... lines.html

From the 'world's favourite airline' to one of its worst: British Airways continues to nosedive down passenger satisfaction ratings after IT glitches, strikes and cancellations
Tom Payne
18 December 2019

It was once known as 'the world's favourite airline'. But British Airways is now one of the worst, according to thousands of holidaymakers.

The nation's flag carrier was criticised for uncomfortable seats and poor meals in a poll by Which? It marks a dramatic fall from grace for the airline, which in 2015 was voted the best short-haul option in the same survey. The poll of more than 6,500 travellers has seen BA hit third-from-bottom for short-haul travel. It is second-worst for long haul.

It comes at the end of a dismal year for the company due to IT glitches, strikes and cancellations. Last month, an IT meltdown caused delays of up to 24 hours. There were similarly severe systems failures in 2017. This year's chaos came 12 months after hackers stole the data of half a million BA customers in a breach which led to a £183 million fine.

Consumer champion Which? asked passengers to describe service, boarding and cabin environment on flights. Overall, BA suffered a customer satisfaction score of 55 per cent.


THE TOP AND BOTTOM THREE CARRIERS IN THE WHICH? AIRLINE SURVEY - SHORT AND LONG HAUL

SHORT HAUL

Top
Aurigny – 82%
Jet2 – 79%
SAS Scandinavian Airlines - 74%
Aer Lingus - 71%
Swiss - 71%

Bottom

Tui - 59%
Whizz - 56%
British Airways - 55%
Vueling Airlines - 54%
Ryanair – 44% (worst overall)

LONG HAUL

Top
Singapore Airlines – 88% (best overall)
Qatar Airways – 79%
Emirates - 76%
Virgin Atlantic - 72%
KLM - 69%

Bottom
United Airlines - 62%
Air Canada - 60%
Etihad Airways - 56%
British Airways – 55%
American Airlines – 48%


Source: Which?

BA said: 'Our own data shows customer satisfaction scores have increased as we deliver our £6.5 billion investment for customers on new aircraft, new food, new lounges and new technology.'

For the fourth year Ryanair was voted worst overall, at 44 per cent. Passengers accused the budget carrier of treating them like 'cash cows in cattle class' cabins. By contrast, British airline Jet2 scored 79 per cent. Flyers described service as 'friendly' and 'efficient'. It was second only to Channel Islands airline Aurigny.

American Airlines was voted the worst long-haul carrier, scoring 48 per cent. One passenger said: 'The cabin was scruffy, the staff rude, the food awful.' Virgin Atlantic was at 72 per cent and was voted best for flying from the UK to the US.

Frequent flyers with British Airways were this week relieved that the airline's pilots have voted to accept a pay deal to prevent a second walk out. Members of the British Airline Pilots' Association voted by nearly nine to one to accept the pay deal.


IT DATA BREACH SET TO COST BA BILLIONS

Earlier this year British Airways was accused of trying to limit a potential £3 billion payout over a data breach that saw cyber-hackers steal more than 500,000 customers' details. Some 185,000 customers had their details compromised between April and July last year, and a further 380,000 were hit by the breach between August and September. Victims could receive as much as £16,000 each in cases where psychological injury is extreme, while average compensation payments for distress could reach £6,000.

The stolen data included login details, bank card details, and travel booking information - plus names and addresses. Hackers even managed to get their hands on the three-digit security code on the back of customers' bank cards. The cyber attack - known in the industry as 'pharming' - remained undetected by BA for several months.

The two parties last month reached a preliminary deal over pay and conditions, which had to be approved by the union's 4,000 British Airways (BA) pilots. Pilots at the airline went on strike for 48 hours in September, grounding 1,700 flights. BA said that the strikes had cost it £110 million. BA said: 'We welcome this news, which is a good result for our customers, our people, and our business.'

Last month, the airline faced criticism after hundreds of flights were delayed due to a 'technical issue'. Aircraft around the world were grounded for several hours due to the glitch. Some 97 flights to and from Heathrow were more than 45 minutes late, and two were cancelled. A further 17 Gatwick flights were also delayed by the same length of time.

The airline has suffered a series of systems failures in recent months.

In August, an IT glitch caused the cancellation of more than 100 flights and disrupted the travel plans of tens of thousands of passengers.

According to the airline's most recent financial statements, its owner International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) has scaled back its forecasts for airline capacity over the next three years as it posted a rise in passenger numbers last month. The airline giant reduced its forecasts for expected growth in available seats per kilometre to 3.4 per cent for the years from 2019 to 2023, from its previous prediction of 6 per cent.

IAG also reduced its forecasts for growth in earnings per share to 10 per cent from 12 per cent due to lower planned capacity growth. However, it held firm on long-term profit margin forecasts as it said it still expects to deliver an operating profit margin of between 12 per cent and 15 per cent for the next three years.


Long list of failures: BA's painful history of IT glitches

British Airways rolled out a 'cost effective' IT system in October 2015. But since its launch, the system has caused a host of problems costing the company more than £100 million. Workers say it crashes 'all the time' and check-in staff are regularly reduced to tears by its glitches.

- The new BA 'FLY' system first broke down on June 19 2015, just weeks after first being introduced.
- The system then suffered another failure on July 7, 2016. Two-hour, seven-lane queues formed at all BA check-in gates at Terminal 5 at London Heathrow.
- Less than a week later and the check-in system broke down yet again. On July 13, lengthy queues formed once again at Terminal 5, Heathrow, after the 'FLY' system suffered further technical problems
- Five days later it broke down once again and on this occasion TV presenter Phillip Schofield was among those to berate the airline for the delays. The IT glitch also hit Gatwick and caused huge queues as hundreds of thousands of families start going away for their summer holidays. Long queues snaked across terminal buildings as irate passengers said BA workers were nowhere to be seen or 'pretending to be on the phone'.
- In May 2017 an IT engineer allegedly failed to follow proper procedure at a Heathrow data centre and caused 'catastrophic physical damage' to servers leaving 75,000 stranded across the globe. The outage lasted just 15 minutes but it stopped online check-in, grounded planes and broke baggage systems and meant BA was unable to resume a full schedule for four days. More than 670 flights were cancelled, costing the company £80 million.
- There were seven BA system failures in total in 2017. Crashes on June 19, July 7, July 13, July 18 and again on August 2, meant huge delays and cancellations for its customers.
- In 2018 furious passengers blasted BA after airline cancels tickets to the Middle East they bought months ago saying fliers should have realised the £167-return deals were a glitch.
- In July 2019 British Airways was told it will have to pay a record £183million fine for a data breach that saw card details of more than 380,000 customers stolen from its website and app.
- Days later holidaymakers headed overseas for their summer break had to leave their bags behind at Heathrow Airport following problems with luggage handling systems. Passengers including former comedian Eddie Izzard tweeted their frustration and posted pictures of cases piling up in the luggage hall.
- In August 2019 A British Airways' IT meltdown caused 12 hours of chaos for 20,000 stranded passengers.

The airline was branded 'pathetic' after customers at Heathrow, Gatwick, London City, Manchester, Edinburgh and Newcastle airports were told to 'go home' and reschedule after its check-in system collapsed. The IT crash at 4.30am - the third in as many weeks - led to 127 cancellations and another 300 delays.

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