Merry Christmas to all,
Many of you, particularly my friends will know why posts have been infrequent in the past four weeks or so, but come the end of January, they'll be rolling thick and fast.
Given the time of year, it gives me great pleasure to report a good result to you following my rather unfortunate, and frankly shocking experience with British Airways recently.
And no, before you start reading this post in a certain light, BA haven't offered me any complimentary flights, discounts or other freebies, or indeed a refund to the charity that bought the ticket for the unforgivable experience described in an earlier post, so this positive update hasn't been influenced by any such motivation.
Regular readers may remember a slightly miffed post from me the other week following well over a week of being ignored by the BA complaints system - or more accurately, having the issue swept entirely under the carpet. I returned on a flight from Bucharest to London a few weeks back, and guide dog Chipp not being well at the time, I was travelling with only a white stick for mobility. I would have needed assistance anyway, but this magnified the need somewhat. You can scroll down for the story, but the long and the short is that it took me JUST under 90 minutes to leave the airport, and even then, only because I made a real fuss and insisted that I wouldn't wait for up to an hour at immigration, or up to 45 minutes at the special assistance desk.
You may remember that the manager of Omniserve, a company contracted by BA to provide assistance called me up to justify their complete failure, and I was told by them that they didn't think I was waiting for an excessively long time, despite documentary evidence to the contrary. They admitted that staff were "insensitive" to speak about me, in front of me as if I wasn't there, including such gems as "is he blind", or "can he communicate", but they didn't admit that they have totally failed to train the staff.
You may also remember that following an email from CEO Keith Williams who said his office were looking in to the matter, I received an email from someone on his behalf telling me that they're glad I have spoken to Omniserve and that I am totally happy now, without asking me whether I was. In fact, I had emailed BA to tell them I was totally unhappy with the conversation - and the long and the short is that ONLY by tweeting and posting the story here did my very concerning complaints get listened to.
But I can today tell you that a very helpful lady called Lucy called me within the last half hour to tell me that backsides have been kicked, and from now on as a direct result of my complaint, all blind and partially sighted customers will be met off aircrafts, WITHOUT FAIL, and crucially, without a wheelchair in future.
This means to say that there's an acknowledgement that my experience was unacceptable, and that BA are grateful to a point for the issue having been raised ahead of the Paralympics.
I am happy with this result since it means my issues, which effect others, were eventually listened to. I hope BA will introduce some system where non journalist disabled passengers who are frankly abused can raise the issue and be listened to but in the meantime, I certainly welcome BA's eventual attention.
In closing however, BA might still like to refund the charity ticket, or make a donation either to that charity, Light in to Europe, or indeed my fundraising branch for guide dogs here in the UK (Stevenage and District) and I will update this post to reflect the matter... but this is a matter for their own conscience, and though I was expecting this, I am personally happy that my enforced moaning will help others in the future.
So a good result, of sorts for British Airways.
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