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BMI/British Midland: Is it worth complaining?

BMI/British Midland: Is it worth complaining?

Sep 18th, 2003, 08:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,420
I think you should complain to BMI, maybe it will give you something to do as you clearly have too much time on your hands to sit around ruminating over every little interaction you have with a business. The flight was overbooked, so they told you you can't change seats. This seems rather normal.

I suspect if their is any truth to the cancellation threat, perhaps if SWilliams threw a little fit and started getting obnoxious because of not getting to switch seats, the employee may have offered to cancel the booking if he/she did not find the seat satisfactory.
Christina is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 08:55 AM
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Since you are obviously having a hard time communicating on this forum exactly what your problems were w/ Delta and BMI -- maybe, just maybe, there were some sort of communications errors or misunderstanding in both situations.

Because for the life of me, so far I do not see anything either employee did wrong.

If I were you I'd forget about the complaints - unless you can describe them better I don't think either airline will be able to help you much.
janis is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 08:56 AM
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SWilliams, I'll posit that these things that happened to you were NOT directed at you PERSONALLY. Most everyone of us, at one time or another, has been abused somehow by a stranger, so you're not unique. Haven't you been cut off on the highway?

When one is treated hurtfully by a friend or acquintenance, that's one thing; by an anonymous airline employee, that's another.

Stay cool!
TuckH is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 09:27 AM
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Boy, my latest experience with BMI was much worse than SWilliams, but I didn't see the point in complaining. Unfortunately, they have a bit of a monopoly on a major route for me, so I'm just waiting for a couple of other airlines to get those routes.

We were flying from DC to Belfast, and arrived in LHR about 5 hours before our flight to Belfast. We waited in line about 45 minutes to check in (a lot of airlines have stopped transferring bags at Heathrow, or even issuing boarding cards for connecting flights). When we got up to the desk, we had to wait until 2 hours before our flight to check in, and they wouldn't take our bags. Then, after sitting with our massive bags tripping people for 2 hours, we got back in line. Once at the front again, we were told our bags were overweight. Fine. I gave her a credit card. She said I had to pay at a different window. So I went over to the other window. After 30 minutes (would have been an hour, but I ended up cutting in front of people accidently), I returned to the check-in. My husband said the BMI women just sat there the entire time--never bothered to check in anyone else during those 30 minutes. And he also heard the clerk at the next desk tell a family that they couldn't check in yet, but that BMI would gladly tag and hold their bags for them! Lovely.

I later checked my e-tickets and BMI's website, and nowhere does it mention the stupid 2-hour time limit.
Ann41 is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 09:30 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Any intra-Europe flight I've ever taken from Heathrow has made me wait until 2 hours before to check in. So while it didn't make your situation any better, I don't think it's exclusively a BMI thing.
allovereurope is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 09:34 AM
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I've flown in and out of Heathrow more than 20 times, and have never run into that problem before.
Ann41 is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 09:51 AM
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Wow is this hard to follow. Above you said you wanted to switch your seat to a window seat and the attendant said none were available so if you wanted one you'd have to take a later flight. What did you want them to do, kick somebody out of a window seat so you could have it? It is not at all unlikely that at the time of booking that flight -- apparently soon to depart -- that the attendant would know what seats were or were not available, especially since it was overbooked. So what would be the point of him looking it up on the computer if he already knew that? Should he have done that just to make you feel better, even if he KNEW there were no window seats available? Then a few posts later you said, they "wanted me to alter my travel plans. . ." Huh? It sounds like you were the one who wanted to alter them and they were merely saying that if you needed a window seat you'd need to take a later flight, which in fact sounds like something they were willing to offer to meet your request for a window seat. That's a whole different story than the original comment that they threatened to cancel your booking. At what point? When you stood there ranting and raving that you would refuse to take the non-window seat that you already had????

And as to the Delta employee refusing to speak to you, again, at what point. Did you merely walk up to the counter with a smile on your face and have her not say a word??? Hard to imagine. How did you approach the counter that made her refuse to help you. And how could she refuse until you explained your problem, which I'm beginning to think probably sounded more like a threat or a demand to her than a request?

Sorry, I think you need to quit while you're ahead here. I doubt you'll get much sympathy when the more you explain, the more it sounds like a result of your actions and attitude. I can only say what it looks like to me.

Patrick is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 09:56 AM
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Ann41--Maybe it's a new thing? All my intra-Europe Heathrow flights (4 or 5 at this point)have been in 2003...
allovereurope is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 10:02 AM
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<<I am disguisted at the way I was spoken to, especially since I was flying Business class. >>

<<Maybe, I should just keep flying American at least with my Platinium AAvantage membership I have never been treated the way I was treated by the BMI and Delta>>

This kind of gratuitous information, suggesting that "elite" travelers deserve different treatment from ordinary travelers always makes me suspect that the attitude problem lies somewhere other than with the airlines.
StCirq is online now  
Sep 18th, 2003, 12:04 PM
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SWilliams... please re-fill your prescription.
michelleNYC is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 12:51 PM
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The BMI guy was a Highlander and doesn't take fools gladly !
I really can't believe you wrote this sentence...
"I am disguisted at the way I was spoken to, especially since I was flying Business class".
Do you think its ok if your not in business class???? >-)

Mucky is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 12:56 PM
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S., do you find that maybe if you don't get your way, the person denying you is rude?
francophile03 is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 01:21 PM
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I'm reminded of the obnoxious man checking in at American in Paris this past August (yes we were in the business class line and he made sure everyone was aware of his "elite status"). "I've been flying with American for years and I've never been treated so rudely in all my life" he bellowed. "Well, you're lucky," said one woman, "they've always treated me rudely. Guess it was your turn."
Patrick is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 01:49 PM
Original Poster
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In Edinburgh I checked in at about 4:05PM for a flight that was suppose to depart at 6:00PM. (The flight was late). I did not check in late as it has been suggested here. I had asked the BMI employee to check if there was a window seat available, at this time I was unaware that the flight was overbooked, the BMI employee responded by saying that he would cancel my booking and put me on the next available flight and provided me with no other answer. He did not even check if seats were available on the computer.

Like I said before I have travelled the world and have never had this experience before. I should add that I have flown economy, business, first and the Concorde. I do not expect and did not mean to suggest that rudeness is OK for economy class passengers, but from experience I know that there is a differnce in service amoungst the different classes.

The only reason why I posted the question was to find out if Delta/BMI do repond to complaints. On serveral occasions I have filled out comment cards giving airline crew/hotel staff credit for the service I have received from them, but I have never been provided with feedback from the airlines/hotels. Until now I have never considered making a complaint because I have had no reason to.

I should have asked if it is worth complaining on this board - that question has clearly been answered.
SWillams is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 02:18 PM
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Like all service-oriented companies I would think that airlines respond to complaints. Your circumstances weren't unsusual so I doubt you'll receive more than an apology. The employees who you found to be rude were not doing anything incorrectly.
francophile03 is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 02:38 PM
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Real snobs sure aren't pretty. They're transparent, too. Thank goodness I'm not one.

Since we're talking about the value of (legitimate) complaining, I'll share my most recent beef which occurred with Continental. I went to Ohio for Christmas last December. I often take two cameras, flash equipment, a tripod and my Powerbook and I pack them very carefully in my checked Tumi luggage. I've been doing this for over ten years and I've never had a problem. I had special locks for my bags and my items are insured. I like to walk around airports weight free. My back and neck can't take the strain any longer.

Upon my return (Dec. 27 at curbside check-in), I abruptly discovered that Continental decided to enforce their "new" no-locked-bag rule three days before it was scheduled to be TSA official. I had no advance warning of this action. When I started to question the curbside agent, he cut me off, ripped off the check-in tags, and scurried my bags into the terminal and placed me in line for check-in. I was mad. When I approached the check-in counter, I was told my locked bags would not be accepted. I asked for a counter manager and the first thing I did was write down her name. I hit the counter manager with every piece of intelligent logic I could. Why wasn't an e-mail sent announcing the 27th as trial day? Why wasn't I called? Why wasn't the local press informed? Why are you punishing people who are returning home from Christmas? Who's going to be financially responsible if items are missing from my bag? What is the airlines financial liability for stolen goods? Why can't you check my bag right here and now and then let me lock it?

Needless to say, I wasn't happy with any of her answers (there was too much she didn't know) and in her frustration she ended up saying to me, "If you don't like our policy, you can find another airline to fly." At this point all of her co-workers turned to her and just stared in silence. Mind you, the airport was dead. With that, I opened up my bags and repacked every item right if front of everybody. My carry-on must have weighed 90 pounds and I was waiting for anyone to tell me I wasn't boarding with my carry-on.

When I got home, I sat at my computer and wrote a letter to Mr. Gordon Bethune, CEO of Continental Airlines. Less than two weeks later I received an apology for Ms. Manager's behavior and a travel gift certificate. I'm a firm believer, when you're mistreated by anyone in the service business, make sure their boss hears about it.
NYCFoodSnob is offline  

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