Swiss Sunday: An American’s Rebellion Against (the) British (Air)

UPDATE: I like to give credit where credit is due. I tweeted this post and tagged BA. Their Twitter person contacted me, asked me what I needed done. I told him, and went to bed. I woke up in the morning to new flights scheduled. From now on, I begin with Twitter and not the dumb call center.

It’s been three years since I stepped foot on American soil. (Unless you count trips to the embassy, which is technically American ground, but it’s more tile than soil.) I’m super excited about my trip to the US this summer. Both for the Winning in HR Tour for my first week and then two weeks with family.

But getting across the ocean is proving to be an utter disaster.

(If you’re planning to use this post to know when I’ll be gone so you can come to steal my Ikea furniture, please know I have a house sitter to watch the kitties and the fish.)

I’ve spent over 5 hours on the phone with British Air because they keep canceling flights and, my favorite, rebooking us on flights that land in London after the flight from London to Basel leaves. I guess their computer program doesn’t understand that you can’t just urge the pilot to fly a bit faster, so you don’t miss your next flight.

And please understand, every time I call, I have the flight numbers of the flights I need to change to, and it still takes FOREVER. British Air might think they are saving money by canceling flights right and left, but they are not.

They need a call center makeover. Someone needs to take a look at their systems and processes and make real changes. Think of all the money they could save if I didn’t have to spend 7 hours on the phone to rebook flights. (Why 7 instead of the original flight? Because the offsprings’ flights are now messed up. Their leg from Basel to London was canceled, leaving only their flight from London JFK. No problem–right? They can just teleport from Switzerland to the UK. I get to call again. I’ve tried twice today to be told that they cannot assist me and call back later.)

My flight (the offspring are flying to America with their father and home with me) got changed to flying from Frankfurt (yay, a 3-hour train ride for me!) to London City, and then I have to spend the night in London and then fly out of Heathrow the next morning. The only problem with this is that no one can tell me if this is even possible.

The UK website says I can do a “landside” transfer without quarantining, but the rules say I need to go straight from one airport to the next. Which technically means I can’t spend the night in a hotel (even though I’m fully vaccinated). I’ve asked three different British Air reps, and they all say the same thing, “we have no idea.”

Come hell or high water, I’m coming to the US, but by golly, British Air is making it difficult. And it will be equally difficult to get back.

Who knew when we moved to Switzerland that it would be so difficult to get home for a visit? And hopefully, we’ll be able to get back before Offspring #2 has to be in school. (Offspring #1 found out she loved online schooling at the start of the pandemic, so she’s doing online school again, so it’s not as critical to get her back.) So, come hell or high water, we’ll be back across the ocean to be with the kitties again come August.

But, pandemic or not, this is the last flight I book on British Air. Where’s George Washington when I need him? I’d even dump some tea into a harbor if it would help.


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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6 thoughts on “Swiss Sunday: An American’s Rebellion Against (the) British (Air)

  1. I hope that you eventually get the travel arrangements needed for both the trip here and the trip back. Don’t think that it’s just a British Air travel problem as we have the same problem here in the USA in arranging travel. I blame it on many things—the sudden “need” to travel, but these travelers want bargain prices, with last minute purchases. Okay the airlines want full planes ( all seats booked) to cover their costs, but refuse to deal with any changes to flight plans unless I get the same setup for travel that I pre-booked and paid for. It is advised that you purchase all travel arrangements 6 weeks ahead of time. That alone should guarantee that you should not be affected by changes in the scheduling of the travel arrangements other than flight numbers. But unfortunately there are last minute accommodations made unknown by the traveler that effects placement, etc. , plus those last minute travel purchasers who assume that they can upgrade their purchase to your accommodation and you wouldn’t mind. If I paid for a first class seat, I am not going to switch it with someone whose travel partner got a Coach ticket to avoid cost for 2 first class tickets. I have made the airlines issue me credit if I can’t get what I paid for immediately. Good luck, with your traveling. Get what you paid for.

  2. Who are British Air?

    Did you mean British Airways? (Not trying to be pedantic, but… )

    1. Oh, I think you are trying to be pedantic.

      You’re right, but I’m not changing it.

  3. I have flown BA to and from Basel for years, and though I actually like the flight experience, even if I don’t enjoy Heathrow. But when things go wrong, the BA disfunctions really come out. They’ve lost my luggage several times over the years, and the BA “customer service” reps couldn’t be less helpful. They often try to make it my fault that they lost my luggage. Given that I’m likely to travel to Basel several times a year for the foreseeable future, I would think my business would be worth more than that.

  4. This is the type of situation where a good travel agent makes a difference. You can leave it in their hands and they deal with the airlines. I have a good one, and I’m grateful for them every time there’s some kind of hiccup in my travels. Well worth the per ticket fee.

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