BA ‘worst airline for dealing with complaints’
British Airways is the airline most likely to leave customers disappointed when they complain about problems with delays and cancellations, according to a Which? survey.
The consumer champion collected details of more than 2,500 experiences from passengers who suffered delays and cancellations – finding out how they rated their airline’s immediate response and handling of any subsequent complaints or claims.
In 44% of all cases, passengers said there were no staff at all available to help them – and even when airline employees could be found they were not helpful in one in five cases.
Only 27% of people told Which? they were satisfied overall by the way their grievance was handled when they complained about a delay, while 61% were disappointed.
The lowest level of satisfaction was recorded by BA passengers – only 15% were satisfied with the outcome of their complaint, while 75% were dissatisfied.
This was considerably higher than the number of disappointed travellers with Ryanair (63%) and easyJet (49%).
But British Airways passengers affected by disruption were at least able to find a member of staff at the airport in 69% of cases.
Ryanair customers were the least likely to be able to find a member of staff to assist them – six out of 10 passengers with the Irish carrier said they found themselves in this position.
The passengers most likely to be given assistance by staff in the event of a delay or cancellation were those who flew with Emirates (74%), Jet2 (73%) and Virgin Atlantic (73%).
Which? found that when airline staff were on hand to assist with inquiries, they were generally helpful – passengers said staff were helpful in 80% of cases overall.
This was the case for BA customers who reported helpful staff in four out of five occasions, however, 18% of passengers told Which? that the airline’s staff were not helpful.
Just over half (58%) of Ryanair customers who manage to find a member of staff said that they found them helpful, while two in five found them to be unhelpful.
Norwegian Air and Jet2 staff were both deemed to be the most helpful overall (92%).
In response to the survey, BA said its own data showed that the ‘vast majority’ of customer queries were resolved to satisfaction in one response. It pointed out that its new portal ba.com/helpme, which provides passengers with assistance for queries such as re-booking and refunding flights, had speeded up response times.
In a statement it said: “We continually review and improve our customer service performance, and always aim to provide our customers with a satisfactory and speedy response to their complaints. Our social media team respond to enquiries 24 hours a day, and together with our contact centres and customer relations teams, provide assistance to tens of thousands of customers every week.
“We’ve now made it even easier for customers to receive assistance by launching a dedicated page on our website at ba.com/helpme.”
Which? Travel’s Naomi Leach, said: “Our research shows that it’s not just the usual suspects who are letting their customers down with poor customer service – even British Airways is falling well short in dealing with complaints when flights are delayed or cancelled.
“With the potential for widespread disruption to summer holiday travel plans in the coming weeks, airlines must ensure they have the staff and resources to deal sensitively with passengers hit by delayed or cancelled flights.”