News

Trade turns back on BA

OPERATORS
and agents are planning to switch-sell away from troubled British Airways
following the carrier’s latest disaster.

Many
said their decision to sell alternative carriers was customer led, with
consumers fearing a summer of strikes. However, others claimed the move was in
revenge for the flag carrier turning its back on small operators by ending its
net and IT fare contracts.

Club
Med UK and Ireland director Chris Woodbridge-Cox said: “This has done BA a vast
amount of harm, but considering it is turning its backs on tour operators, then
I don’t really mind.

“It
handled the situation badly. Introducing the clocking-in changes on the first
weekend of the summer holidays was a bit remiss,” he said.

Midconsort
chairman and Tana Travel managing director Neil Basnett spent the Saturday of
the strike weekend trying to sort out flights for two passengers who were
flying to Johannesburg on a £16,000 holiday.

He
was unable to get through on the BA helpline number and eventually the
customers travelled with Virgin the following day – and paid £600 more each.
Basnett said the customers have sworn never to travel with BA again. 

“We
are switch-selling to Virgin and South African Airways. There’s no end in sight
to the strikes, so when we’ve got a choice of airlines, why encourage hassle?”

Travel
Trust Association director Todd Carpenter said agents may lose clients because
they booked them on BA flights. He said: “Customers may be angry the agent
booked them with BA and may never go back to him or her again, even though it
wasn’t their fault.”

Independent
Options development director Sue Foxall said customers are already requesting
alternative carriers.

She added agents had been trying to help clients with
BA problems but “still don’t get paid for it”. “Asking for compensation is like
flogging a dead horse,” she said.

Share article

View Comments

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.