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BA - You Need to Seriously Rethink Your IROPs handling

BA - You Need to Seriously Rethink Your IROPs handling

Old Oct 27, 12, 5:53 am
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BA - You Need to Seriously Rethink Your IROPs handling

Finally sitting in the lounge trying to get to BOS and couldn't be more disappointed with BA's handling of IROPs. Now, I understand that yesterday saw a lot of delays and a lot of misconnects to deal with, but my measure of an airline is whether I can trust them to manage problems that do arise. BA failed badly on this count - the worst performance from any airline that I have ever experienced.

It shouldn't involve going to 7 different agents, phoning the US, and 5 to 6 hours spread over 2 days to simply get rebooked. And the first 6 agents should put in the sort of effort that the 7th did to try and make things right. And I was lucky - I have a gold card. Everyone else was waiting in lines so long that I wonder how they managed to stay upright.

What is truly amazing is that I even needed to be rebooked! Why does BA need me to tell them that, no, I don't want to take up residence in London and, yes, I would like to be rebooked on the next available flight? Really? You need me to stand in multiple lines to deliver this message? Just rebook me behind the scenes and save your staff the headache.

Since I would like to not have this happen again, I'll give BA one simple piece of advice: don't willfully misallocate your staff in times of massive IROPs. I understand that there were a lot of folks to accommodate, but at least pretend you are putting in the effort to manage the situation. It was clear to anyone watching that you were under allocating staff toward fixing the problem. BA had 7 people manning the F check-in desks, working at less than 10% utilization and leaving 2 agents to sort through the real heavy lifting for every Club, F, and BAEC cardholder caught out last night and today. In what universe is that the right thing to do? I know that you don't want to steal from Peter to pay Paul, but taking 2 from the F desk to the service desk would have done wonders and not impacted performance. Empower your floor managers to adapt to the situation.

I'm not going to trot out the time-honored tradition of swearing off BA forever, but I will book them again warily, knowing how badly things can go wrong and that management simply doesn't care. They don't care about the passengers inconvenienced and they really don't care about the handful of staff they throw into the fray without proper support to try and do what they can.
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Old Oct 27, 12, 6:01 am
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Originally Posted by pbarnette View Post
BA had 7 people manning the F check-in desks, working at less than 10% utilization and leaving 2 agents to sort through the real heavy lifting for every Club, F, and BAEC cardholder caught out last night and today. In what universe is that the right thing to do? I know that you don't want to steal from Peter to pay Paul, but taking 2 from the F desk to the service desk would have done wonders and not impacted performance. Empower your floor managers to adapt to the situation.
That's akin to saying "If there is nobody in the hospital waiting room, move the reception staff to the Operating Room to perform some surgery".

Check in staff don't do the same job as ticketing staff.
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Old Oct 27, 12, 6:10 am
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Originally Posted by DYKWIA View Post
That's akin to saying "If there is nobody in the hospital waiting room, move the reception staff to the Operating Room to perform some surgery".

Check in staff don't do the same job as ticketing staff.
Yes, because those are specialized functions on the order of being a doctor... Have them handling hotel vouchers, then. Or meal vouchers. Or handing out boarding passes at the absolutely mobbed standby desk. Heck, have them simply organizing the lines.

If BA's systems and procedures are so convoluted that it takes special knowledge to assist customers, then I'd offer that I'm understating how urgently BA needs to rethink their IROPs handling and understating just how massive the problem is.
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Old Oct 27, 12, 6:39 am
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Clearly you don't get it do you.

Check in staff uses let's say Windows. Ticketing agents use Mac. There are much more people using Windows at BA because we don't need as many people using Mac. Mac is used to rebook flights and issue hotel vouchers and bookings. Training for Mac is very complicated, very long and costly.

Check in staff is not trained to deal with tickets and believe me it's not copy and paste when it comes to rebooking. There's no point having five million ticket agents manning the desks and do nothing. That is why there are two in Zone J. Because it's sufficient for 90% of the times. Rebooking at the airport isn't an only option. You can use internet or telephone too.

BA cannot predict bad weather and disruption and cannot call in extra ticket agents with hours notice.

As for seeing seven members of staff I have no idea what were you doing. If there is a cancellation or missed connection you can go to premium ticket desk, call gold line or use internet.

You cannot be rebooked 'beind the scenes' because not all people want to be rebooked. We cannot rebook people en masse because of auditing purposes.
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Old Oct 27, 12, 6:47 am
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Originally Posted by arthurolecki View Post
Clearly you don't get it do you.

Check in staff uses let's say Windows. Ticketing agents use Mac. There are much more people using Windows at BA because we don't need as many people using Mac. Mac is used to rebook flights and issue hotel vouchers and bookings. Training for Mac is very complicated, very long and costly.

Check in staff is not trained to deal with tickets and believe me it's not copy and paste when it comes to rebooking. There's no point having five million ticket agents manning the desks and do nothing. That is why there are two in Zone J. Because it's sufficient for 90% of the times. Rebooking at the airport isn't an only option. You can use internet or telephone too.

BA cannot predict bad weather and disruption and cannot call in extra ticket agents with hours notice.

As for seeing seven members of staff I have no idea what were you doing. If there is a cancellation or missed connection you can go to premium ticket desk, call gold line or use internet.

You cannot be rebooked 'beind the scenes' because not all people want to be rebooked. We cannot rebook people en masse because of auditing purposes.
Pathetic. Delta does exactly this with some expertise.
Its not super human for ba to achieve the same!
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Old Oct 27, 12, 7:19 am
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Just woken at the Hyatt MCO after another one of those IRROPS on BA yesterday. I have had cause to complain in the past and admittedly have gotten wise to the tricks. Having missed AA57 due to an inbound BA delay from MUC it was straight to the connections desk. There, I self-opened the taped off First/Club line and started a line. I was helped immediately. The resourceful agent took 30 minutes to reroute and reticket us via DFW to MCO. No mean feat at the start of half-term holidays. There were about 6 agents occupying desks and about 200 people in line. The First line was taped off again as I left the area.
Now, our baggage was also supposed to be rerouted and that according to BA is now in Chicago. But that's a matter for a different thread.

Last edited by Tafflyer; Oct 27, 12 at 7:32 am Reason: typo
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Old Oct 27, 12, 7:24 am
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Originally Posted by arthurolecki View Post
Clearly you don't get it do you.

Check in staff uses let's say Windows. Ticketing agents use Mac. There are much more people using Windows at BA because we don't need as many people using Mac. Mac is used to rebook flights and issue hotel vouchers and bookings. Training for Mac is very complicated, very long and costly.

Check in staff is not trained to deal with tickets and believe me it's not copy and paste when it comes to rebooking. There's no point having five million ticket agents manning the desks and do nothing. That is why there are two in Zone J. Because it's sufficient for 90% of the times. Rebooking at the airport isn't an only option. You can use internet or telephone too.

BA cannot predict bad weather and disruption and cannot call in extra ticket agents with hours notice.

As for seeing seven members of staff I have no idea what were you doing. If there is a cancellation or missed connection you can go to premium ticket desk, call gold line or use internet.

You cannot be rebooked 'beind the scenes' because not all people want to be rebooked. We cannot rebook people en masse because of auditing purposes.
I guess I have a different opinion of the quality of BA frontline staff. This notion that folks can't be cross-trained and flexible is simply unfathomable for someone that works in a place where virtually everyone does exactly that. My interactions with most BA staff suggest that they have the ability and motivation to do the same.

As for the rest... I did call and that was largely unhelpful. And I did go to the premium ticket desk. Multiple times. I think that is pretty much the point.

The end result is that BA did worse than the other airlines I use. I recognize things get complicated, but if expecting BA to achieve the same standards of service as DL is asking too much, then I don't know what to say.

Originally Posted by DFB_london View Post
Pathetic. Delta does exactly this with some expertise.
Its not super human for ba to achieve the same!
Thank you. My point exactly.
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Old Oct 27, 12, 7:28 am
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Originally Posted by Tafflyer View Post
Just woken at the Hyatt MCO after another one of this IRROPS on BA yesterday. I have had cause to complain in the past and admittedly have gotten wise to the tricks. Having missed AA57 due to an inbound BA delay from MUC it was straight to the connections desk. There, I self-opened the taped off First/Club line and started a line. I was helped immediately. The resourceful agent took 30 minutes to reroute and reticket us via DFW to MCO. No mean feat at the start of half-term holidays. There were about 6 agents occupying desks and about 200 people in line. The First line was taped off again as I left the area.
So you decided your issue was more important than all those other people queuing?
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Old Oct 27, 12, 7:36 am
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The IRROPs handling is not always ideal, but I find that they aren't generally horrific given the mass disruption. The only really miserable experience I had was during the Snowmageddon but I can't really blame BA for their handling - I was under the impression that they were doing whatever they could, but everyone had a miserable time. Inevitable (except for BAA's handling - I am still unhappy with them!) consequence of what happened at LHR, really, and there were so many people doing their best to help.

Not everyone is ticketing-trained. Ticketing is a bit harder than meets the eye and if they trained everyone to do it, I suspect the fares may well need to go up to make up for the extra costs and then passengers will be complaining.

I got disrupted in a pretty bad way the other night but BA handled my case excellently. In fact I posted a thread about it.
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Old Oct 27, 12, 7:37 am
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Originally Posted by darthlemsip View Post
So you decided your issue was more important than all those other people queuing?
Priority assistance with disrupted journeys is a stated benefit of the BAEC gold tier.
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Old Oct 27, 12, 7:37 am
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Originally Posted by darthlemsip View Post
So you decided your issue was more important than all those other people queuing?
Simply put, yes. I would also expect BA to treat premium and status passengers in that way too. Which they did once we reached the agent.

Are you saying it's ok for BA to "demote" status and first class pax when there are IRROP's by closing the premium lines?
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Old Oct 27, 12, 7:45 am
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Originally Posted by dubbin View Post
Priority assistance with disrupted journeys is a stated benefit of the BAEC gold tier.
Originally Posted by Tafflyer View Post
Simply put, yes. I would also expect BA to treat premium and status passengers in that way too. Which they did once we reached the agent.

Are you saying it's ok for BA to "demote" status and first class pax when there are IRROP's by closing the premium lines?
I'm aware it's a benefit of gold (as I am myself), but am perfectly capable of picking up the phone and ringing the gold line to resolve.

What I absolutely would not do is look at a queue of people all in the same position, decide I'm not waiting in it because I'm more important than them, and then open a closed off area because of this.
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Old Oct 27, 12, 7:49 am
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Originally Posted by darthlemsip View Post
I'm aware it's a benefit of gold (as I am myself), but am perfectly capable of picking up the phone and ringing the gold line to resolve.

What I absolutely would not do is look at a queue of people all in the same position, decide I'm not waiting in it because I'm more important than them, and then open a closed off area because of this.
No different from using the first/status queue for checking in, IMO, and opening the queue is simply doing what the desk staff should have done. Would you have used the queue if it were open?
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Old Oct 27, 12, 7:57 am
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Originally Posted by dubbin View Post
No different from using the first/status queue for checking in, IMO, and opening the queue is simply doing what the desk staff should have done. Would you have used the queue if it were open?
If it were there, yes. But if it's not available, I don't take it upon myself to open it up. Flag some staff down and ask them where it is by all means, or, as I said, use the gold line, but do not decide you are better than other people. It's beyond rude, massively selfish and smacks of DYKWIA
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Old Oct 27, 12, 7:59 am
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Originally Posted by LTN Phobia View Post
Not everyone is ticketing-trained. Ticketing is a bit harder than meets the eye
If it is so hard, then why do they let me book myself?

But even if we accept that re-ticketing might be a bit more difficult, we are left questioning quite a few things, such as a) why do they have such a vulnerable and complicated process to begin with and b) why can other airlines proactively book me, when BA can't?

Point b is the big one to me. I remember being on a DL flight that was delayed, making it likely I would miss my onward connection. While in flight, I was able to check my record and they were proactively offering rebooking options. Now, I can accept that BA is hurt by the absurdly fragmented European mobile phone system, making in-flight internet difficult, but they could at least let me use the web to rebook on the ground or <gasp> do it for me, just like DL does and push the update to my mobile. Save me the hassle and reduce the stress on the ground staff.

Similarly, I was on a DL flight that turned back due to volcano activity. We landed, before we even deplaned, I called the elite line and they told me I was already rebooked. I walked off the plane and my boarding pass and hotel vouchers were already printed. I was in the hotel within 30 minutes. I was even able to sleep in because there was none of this "come back tomorrow and maybe we can help you".

I like BA, but they really dropped the ball. I'm simply offering them constructive criticism. They should be thanking me, because McKinsey would charge them a few million quid to tell them what I did here. Benchmark against competitors. Simplify processes. Empower staff and line management. These concepts are cliches at this point and BA's IROPs handling suggests they need to give them a bit more emphasis.
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