Saturday, July 25, 2015

BA must find solution to Bermuda service problems

Delays and cancellations: British Airways must work towards rebuilding customer loyalty on the Island, a reader writes

Dear British Airways,

I am writing this letter not to help destroy your reputation but to help to stop you from destroying it.

The simple truth is the scale of delays and cancellations of BA 2233/2 have reached a point where the people of Bermuda, our business visitors and our vital tourists are nervous using your service.

Nervous for two reasons: first, because travel involves organisation, expense and personal commitment to show up, and all of those go to hell when you cancel or severely delay a flight.

Second, we’re starting to get concerned about why our plane breaks so much. It doesn’t feel right. Are you sure it’s OK?

The odd technical issue here and there, every couple of months, seems acceptable but once or twice a week? Really? It’s lucky you manage to catch all these technical issues when the plane is on the ground. So far.

I’ve heard two great excuses from your staff, neither of which sends me rushing to stroke my Gold loyalty card.

First, it’s our fault because we’re the last big plane to leave Gatwick and if any earlier departures have problems, they get to swap. Second, we’ve got a very special plane because the business class section is so vast it doesn’t hold many people, so when something snaps it’s hard to find another one like it.

You’re in danger of allowing annoyance to turn to resentment. You hold monopolistic power; with that should come a deeper respect for our custom, not what feels like a casual disregard.

I encourage you to take out a full-page ad in the Gazette apologising for the disruption that is continuing to occur because we don’t get an apology when we go back to the airport 24 hours later to try again. We get told we’re lucky to be on the next flight because many people are not.

I encourage you to give us a plane that works and to take a look at your problems over recent months and identify a solution that doesn’t continuously ruin our plans. That way you will rebuild some loyalty and perhaps enjoy another ten years of no competition.

A few of my friends told me that I’ll never get another upgrade if I send this message. I can’t live like that, unfortunately; you need honest feedback now.

Back to that Gold card, for about ten years I have stuck it on my briefcase like many of the other people who live in airports.

It was sort of a badge of pride and honour, but now when most people see it, it’s closely followed by a tale of woe: a missed wedding, a missed graduation, a missed appointment, a disappointed child left at school, a messed-up start to a holiday or business trip with missed objectives.

We’re tired of scrambling to rescue the situation at great personal and financial cost. We need you to step up.

We have an America’s Cup to host; it’s important to us that it’s a success.

We have international business we’re trying to nurture and grow in the face of adversity. It needs a reliable communication link to compete.

We have friends and family we want to see, vacation days we want to take, tourists we need for our economy to grow.

You have a lot of planes. Find a sustainable solution that deserves your unique status on this Island.