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Am I Being Unreasonable to think that British Airways treated us in an absolutely unacceptable way?

(131 Posts)
Lololala82 Thu 22-Sep-16 12:26:50

This is the letter of complaint that I wrote to BA. I am still awaiting a response. Has anyone else had a terrible experience with British Airways losing their luggage and having to deal with City Bags?

Dear British Airways,

On Friday 19th August I travelled from Nice to London Heathrow with my husband and our 15 month old son on Flight BA 0347. I was 8 months pregnant.

At Nice airport we were told that our pram would be put in the hold and returned to us at the gate when we landed; orange ‘Priority’ labels were attached to all of our items of luggage, I presume because we were flying Club Europe.

When we landed at Heathrow we found that our pram was not waiting for us at the gate meaning that I had to carry Finn through the airport which was extremely uncomfortable as my son is heavy and I was heavily pregnant.

After waiting for over an hour at baggage reclaim (still holding my son), we were told that our three checked bags, our pram and our car seat had not made the flight. We were assured by BA that all of our luggage would arrive the next day at the latest. We arranged for them to be delivered to my mother-in-law’s flat in SW10 where we were staying that weekend.

Saturday 20th August 2016
Our bags were not delivered as promised.

Sunday 21st August 2016
We received several text messages that morning to say that our bags would be delivered but they were not. This was not only highly inconvenient as we did not have the pram but also a risk to my son’s health as his prescription eczema cream (which is more than 100ml so could not be taken as hand luggage) was in the check in luggage. I telephoned British Airways to ask them to change the delivery address to our house in N4. You confirmed that our bags were (a) in the UK, (b) were with your courier City Bags and (c) that the change to the delivery address had been registered.

After we arrived home, we found out that City Bags had attempted to deliver the bags to my mother-in-law’s house. Our message to deliver the bags to our house had obviously not been relayed by British Airways as promised. I telephoned both British Airways and City Bags who informed me that some of our bags had arrived in the UK but they were not sure which ones and that they had now been sent back to the City Bags depot.

Monday 22nd August 2016
One of our bags – sadly not the one containing my son’s medicated cream – was delivered, and also our son’s pram which was badly damaged. The rubber on the handle of the pram had been slashed open and one of the wheels is now completely wonky. The pram cost over £600 and is now unusable meaning we will have to buy a new one before my second child arrives later this month. In addition, our son had been struggling to sleep without his eczema medication.

That evening we received more text messages from City Bags. The first one at 19.51 said that our bags would be delivered between 23.42 and 01.42. We telephoned City Bags to say that we had a baby and did not want to be woken at such an antisocial hour, and to ask if they could deliver them the next day. At 22.07 we received another message to say that we would be delivered our bags “today between 14.22 and 16.22” – which at that point was in the past!

Tuesday 23rd August 2016
On Tuesday evening the remaining two bags were delivered. When the courier arrived he also had a Mamas & Papas pushchair that did not belong to us but had a label with our name on it. When I told him that it wasn’t ours, the courier said that “you may as well take it anyway though”. We obviously refused.

This whole ordeal was hugely stressful and upsetting for my family, and I spent much of the four days we were separated from our luggage in tears. I am due to give birth to my second child in a week and a half; the pram we were intending to put our new baby in has been completely ruined. It is British Airways’ responsibility to ensure that its customers get their luggage when they land, or at least in a timely fashion. City Bags is utterly incompetent and incapable.

In summary, I would like a response to the following questions:
-On your website you claim ‘We take great pride in carrying your bags safely and speedily to your final destination but if something goes wrong we’ll pull out all the stops to fix it as quickly as possible.’ How is this compatible with our experience of excessive delays and constant mistakes which ultimately put my 15 month old son’s health at risk?
-My £600+ pram was damaged and is now unusable a fortnight before my second child is due as a direct result of my experience flying with BA. What compensation are you going to offer me to meet the extra and unexpected cost of replacing it?
-Will you be raising my concerns about customer service with City Bags? Do you think that it is acceptable to organise a delivery to a family with a young child between the hours of 23.42 and 01.42 on a Monday night?
-I am particularly perturbed that their courier was encouraging me to partake in the theft of someone else’s property. Do you think that this service is in keeping with British Airways’ ethos and customer service policies?

Given the extreme nature of our experience and particularly because of the City Bags courier’s suggestion that I steal someone else’s luggage, I will be reporting my concerns to a number of independent consumer advocacy organisations. I have copied this letter to You and Yours, A Spokesman Said and the Guardian’s consumer team.

Mrs xxxx xxxx

JudyCoolibar Thu 22-Sep-16 12:29:04

It does sound pretty bad. Have they replied?

RaskolnikovsGarret Thu 22-Sep-16 12:30:42

We had a terrible experience when BA lost our luggage travelling to LA. We were not given a reference number at Heathrow, as their carousel had broken. From then on they refused to locate our luggage as it was apparently our fault for not having a reference number. Absolutely infuriating. I hope you sort your issue out. We were never adequately compensated. We refuse to fly BA now.

19lottie82 Thu 22-Sep-16 12:30:42

Hi OP- I also had a horrendous experience with BA and delayed luggage, the situation wasn't as bad as yours as nothing was damaged, but they constantly churned out lies about when the case would arrive and pretty much ruined 3 days of our holiday.

I actually posted a thread about it on here but I'm not sure how to find it.

amy85 Thu 22-Sep-16 12:37:30

Sounds like your issue should be with City Bags.

Why didn't you go the doctor's and get more of the cream for your son as soon as you were home instead of waiting days for the bag to be returned?

This is why people by cheap buggies to take on holiday so it doesn't matter too much of they get damaged...check your travel insurance the pushchair might be covered.

Why didn't your husband carry your son at the airport? You can't really have a go that you had to carry your son at the airport when your husband was there too

OnTheEdgeOfItAll Thu 22-Sep-16 12:39:15

IT doesn't sound good from BA, but why on earth didn't you arrange a replacement prescription for your son? I wouldn't have waited in these circumstances.
Regarding the damage, claim on your insurance and let them take it up with BA?

LineyReborn Thu 22-Sep-16 12:43:44

Because the OP was told she'd have the bags the day?

ItsLikeRainOnYourWeddingDay Thu 22-Sep-16 12:44:41

Cream - you should have sourced more cream.

Carrying the baby - why on earth did your husband not do it?

For the delay in getting your bags you can claim on your travel insurance and also for the pram. The additional issues you need to suck up as they wont give compensation unfortunately. As for the bag delivery so late at night why didn't you just accept it? Your son might have woken up. It probably not and it would have taken all of about 90 seconds to get the bags form the man and sign for them

Imnotaslimjim Thu 22-Sep-16 12:46:35

granted, it's not great that you went so long without your luggage and it was very stressful for you but how much is it going to cost to repair the pram? Surely it just needs a new wheel and handle grip? I'd get them repaired and inform BA you're sending them the bill.

icingonthewall Thu 22-Sep-16 12:47:15

We once flew with BA and they left ALL the economy class bags behind - I kid you not, the WHOLE LOT. On purpose too: they had 'more important things to transport'.
I don't think you'll get them to pay up for buggy damage, they expect you insure your stuff - some poor lady has been fighting for months/years because they damaged her incredibly expensive wheelchair.
They ought to give some compensation for the massive mess up in getting the stuff back to you tho...

Barmaid101 Thu 22-Sep-16 12:47:41

It happens! Getting yourself worked up isn't going to help. Why didn't you go to a pharmacy to try and get an emergency supply of your sons medication? Why did you take an expensive pushchair with you when you know a pushchair is going to be thrown in the hold on a plane? Why not get a £50 stroller?
They tried to deliver earlier but you refused! If it had been that important to get your sons cream back then you wait up for it.

bbcessex Thu 22-Sep-16 12:51:20

Sorry that you had such a dire time. . I think you're naturally peed off, as you should be, but it's not quite as dramatic as you may feel.

At least you were at your home and could have sourced alternatives if really needed. Would have been far worse had you been on your outbound journey.

Think you DH should have schlepped your DS though..

BarbarianMum Thu 22-Sep-16 12:52:10

I think you should take all the emotion out of it tbh and stick to the facts.

Why did you have to carry your ds when you dh was there? Why couldn't you put him down in baggage reclaim? If your son's health was truely damaged why did you not get more cream (your doctor will fax a prescription to a local pharmacy in an emergency).

You do sound as though you are being over dramatic about something which though highly annoying was trivial.

WhatWouldCoachBombayDo Thu 22-Sep-16 12:53:13

Cream - why didn't you go get more on Monday?

Pram - see if you can claim on travel insurance

Shifty service, no compensation will be given.

Someone upthread said they left all baggage because of something important, this can sometimes be the repatriation of a body. Grim I know but that needs to go, some bags can wait 48 hours.

TheFlis12345 Thu 22-Sep-16 12:53:18

Never ever put medication in hold luggage! If it's over 100ml you can still take it in hand luggage, you just need certification to prove it is needed, a prescription should be fine.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Thu 22-Sep-16 12:54:40

It won't help you here but when we fly we have a "buggy bag". It is a specially made black material bag that we bought after many friends arrived on holiday with their buggies missing a wheel.

It is a massive faff to have it as you invariably end up putting the buggy in it too early. But it does keep the buggy safe. (It is also rather useful for putting a few extra nappies in when cases are overflowing!)

stopfuckingshoutingatme Thu 22-Sep-16 12:55:40

I am afraid to say that this shit happens, and your letter is WAY too long, and emotional

I think a shorter and more factual letter would get you better results

and Given the extreme nature of our experience
and I spent much of the four days we were separated from our luggage in tears , I think you need to take the emotion out of it, as really I got this letter I would be like "silly moo", sorry!!! its stressful, but not extreme

I know you are heavily PG (and hormonal) , but this shit happens - good luck with your birth but really, on this take a chill pill - and get the damage for the buggy as that's really the main issue

MuseumOfCurry Thu 22-Sep-16 12:58:18

Your letter is far, far too long and frequently lapses into rhetoric.

SarahJane333 Thu 22-Sep-16 13:00:19

You're being dramatic, your dh could have carried your son, your pushchair is not unusable - the foam is damaged which is unsightly, nothing more and the wheel is wonky which can be fixed. Your son could have got excema cream from a doctor/pharmacy.

The delay getting your bags is not great and you should definitely get compensation for that, plus the actual cost of repairing your pushchair (not the £600 you'd like for a new one!)

All of this will be covered by your travel insurance anyway, surely?

redskytonight Thu 22-Sep-16 13:02:49

I thought you could put prescribed medication of more than 100ml in hand luggage?

That said, I realize it's rubbish not to get your luggage straight away, and poor that you had to wait several days, but other than asking for compensation for damage to your buggy, I'm not sure what else you expect BA to do?

I guess you've sent the letter now, but in general I'd suggest that this sort of letter is better sent as factual rather than emotional, which would also make it shorter to read.

MaddyHatter Thu 22-Sep-16 13:04:41

a pram that expensive should be repairable, throwing a £600 pushchair away over damaged handle sponge and a wonky wheel is ridiculous. Claim on the insurance and contact the manufacturer for a repair.

you should have contacted the Dr for some more medication for your son.

Crying for 4 days over this is silly.

By all means complain about it all, it shouldn't have happened, but your complaint should be about City Bags and the damage to property.

Lololala82 Thu 22-Sep-16 13:06:11

My husband had to take all the hand luggage and he waited for the bags that never arrived for over an hour. Holding our son seemed like the lighter option. While he was waiting I went through to arrivals and put our son in a highchair in Costa Cofee as we didn't have any other means of containing him. I wish I had got another prescription for the exzema medication but it is almost impossible to get a same day appointment with our GP unless you are dying and every day I was told that the luggage would be delivered. In retrospect I probably should have taken the bag delivery they offered in the middle of the night but I just could not face being woken at almost 2am. We have travelled lots of times with our pram (not on British Airways) and it has never been damaged like that before - normally they have let us transport our child to the gate and returned it at the gate on arrival as they said they would this time.

totalrecall1 Thu 22-Sep-16 13:07:17

Agree with PP - the cream can be got from the chemist. There are 24 hour chemists everywhere these days. Why on earth did your DP allow his heavily pregnant wife to carry your DC? They should compensate you for the pushchair, but the drama you have portrayed undermines the entire issue - it makes you look like you blow everything out of proportion. Ask for your pushchair handle to be replaced and compensation for the baggage delay. Leave the rest out.

LauraRoslin Thu 22-Sep-16 13:10:30

City Bags may be at fault in this case, but OP is right to complain to BA - that's who her contract of sale was with, so that is who she should raise the issue with. It is then up to BA to raise the issue with City Bags.

YelloDraw Thu 22-Sep-16 13:12:44

The complaints letter is terrible - you need to be concise and factual. Take all the emotion out.

Letters like that don't work in terms of getting a satisfactory response from the company.

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