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Share your BA shut-down experiences …. and BA adds £16 to Expedia etc bookings

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I don’t try to pretend that I’m an expert on things I don’t understand.  That’s why I am going to spare you my thoughts on the impressive British Airways shut-down yesterday.

There is plenty of in-depth coverage without a paywall at The Guardian, BBC News etc.  It does seem that, this time, the failure went far beyond the FLY passenger management system which has been the cause of most meltdowns over the past year.

I was just lucky that, despite it being half term, I’m not actually on a BA flight until next Friday.  It is a minor consolation for me given that we booked into a UK countryside hotel this weekend just to find that the weather forecast for today and Monday looks appalling …..!

If you were caught up in the chaos yesterday or the consequences today, feel free to share your experiences in the comments to this article.

PS.  Given that BA’s outsourcing of its IT operation will have played a large part in the poor response yesterday, it does not bode well for the BA call centre in Newcastle which I understand is on the verge of being transferred to Capita.

British Airways Embraer 190 London City

British Airways to introduce an £8 fee on third party bookings

Back in 2015, Lufthansa took a brave leap and imposed a €16 fee on every ticket booked via a travel agent or indeed anyone who used a ‘global distribution system’ such as Amadeus, Sabre or Travelport.  The airline claimed that it was paying up to €18 in fees for every ticket sold and wanted to encourage passengers and agents to use its own website.

Many thought that Lufthansa would backtrack but it held firm.

British Airways and Iberia have now decided to add their own £8 / €9.50 per segment (so £16 for a return flight) fee from 1st November.

It isn’t clear what the impact of this will be on the leisure market.  Only BA knows what percentage of leisure passengers book on, say, Expedia versus  How many passengers, when they see British Airways on Expedia costing £14 more than easyJet, will know that BA is actually £2 cheaper if booked direct?

The share prices of Amadeus, Sabre and Travelport all fell on Friday by up to 4% (see this Reuters report) which implies that the market believes trade customers will simply move to booking direct.  Concur, for instance, claims that it will be able to integrate direct booking seamlessly into its system so that corporate users see no change to their current booking process.  Leisure travellers won’t do that if they are not educated that direct booking is sharply cheaper.

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Comments (230)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Ben says:

    Does anyone know what will happen with a 2-4-1 after flights are cancelled? I would hope for a new one, with the full 2 years, as they’re not easy to use when limited to school holidays.

    • BA2 says:

      You can change flights you don’t want for any time up until the end of November rather than cancel them – this includes cases where 2-4-1 vouchers were used. There doesn’t need to be redemption availability so that’s not a concern. There may be some flexibility over destination (within the same zone) but I don’t know this particular bit for sure. Given the above, you won’t get a new 2-year voucher.

      • Anna says:

        A lot of people won’t be able to do that – if you have to book your leave 12 months in advance and/or can only travel in the school holidays you are pretty much scuppered.

        • Ben says:

          Exactly. We need to stick to school holidays, my wife and I need to book leave well in advance, and we have some other commitments. Takes some planning!

      • Ben says:

        Thanks. The reason I was asking is that while we’d love to simply rebook and go another time, it’s highly unlikely we’ll be able to do it between now and November.

  • Rich84 says:

    We flew back from Santiago with BA on Wednesday so fortunately didn’t get caught up in the carnage. We hadn’t flown with BA for quite a long time so wanted to see how flying with them is these days, especially on the 787 Dreamliner. Sorry to say that it wasn’t good, very unfriendly staff and not at all impressed with the seating or space in WT+. So with this current fiasco it will be the last time we ever fly with them, they really need a good shake up, and a CEO who is capable of doing it.

    • Tony says:

      Different strokes for different folks.

      My wife and I flew our first BA long-haul on Sunday, landing today, to BKK, and have to say that I couldn’t find fault. Excellent service, food and, as much maligned as the CW seating arrangement is, I thought it was fine. We were seated in the middle ‘honeymoon’ cubicle and the lie flat bed was comfortable and spacious and the cubicle felt cosy.

      Obviously, we weren’t impressed with the T5 fiasco on Saturday which has left us without our luggage and a missed day of holiday. But we’ve already received 200 quid compo for the luggage debacle, so that’s a start, to be followed by a further compo claim on our return.

      Unfortunately, my wife is threatening never to fly BA long-haul ever again. I’ll let the dust settle on that one particularly as I have quite a pot of Avios to spend.

      • Nony says:

        Thats because she was left with no smalls. No lady generally accepts such a circumstance gracefully. Well, none that I know of unfortunately!

        • Tony says:

          True, Nony, but a little bit more to it than just a lack of undercrackers. Two hours queuing up to check in only to sit in the lounge for an hour and then have to leave the terminal, which was no easy feat. Then to find an available hotel and subsequent hour long trek into London and then up at 4am on Sunday for return trip to T5.

          I know what most upset my wife and that was the uncertainty of the if and when we would of got to BKK. Fortunately my perseverance saved the day and we only lost a day.

          Our twice annual holidays are months in the planning and my wife reasonably expects a seamless trip to see her mum and I don’t really blame her subsequent reaction to BA. Like I said, I’ll let the dust settle and reckon she’ll soften her stance in the coming months.

  • Optimus Prime says:

    Fying to LHR with Iberia tomorrow. Should I bring only carry-on?

    Are people landing at LHR having problems to recover their bags or only those flying out of there?

  • Tom says:

    O/T but BA related…

    We booked LHR to JFK return in WT+, and were upgraded to Club on the outbound flight. Are we entitled to Avios & Tier Points at Club rate, rather than WT+? I feel I’ve read on here previously that you should get points for the cabin you actually fly in. Have only been awarded the points at WT+ rate at this stage; is it worth contacting BA (whether I’ll get anywhere in the current climate is a different point)

    • Genghis says:

      You get the avios and TPs you paid cash for. If upgrade was free then you get WT+ TPs. If UuA you get WT+ TPs. If POUG or AUP you get CW TPs.

  • Frank says:

    I had a flight on the 27th to Portugal. Luckily, when I compared prices, easyJet came out significantly cheaper so I booked with them instead of BA. More happy with that decision than I thought I would be.

  • TripRep says:

    Saw Alex on the TV this eve…

    He said these key points
    1) “Power Surge”
    2) Some hardware needed replaced
    3) Backup system didn’t respond at a particular point in time.

    With those sound bites in mind also recall the recent cyber attacks on the NHS 2 weeks ago exposing the need for new urgent security patches….

    Read the following to judge for yourself if this is what really happened, whilst I feel it is still a little simplistic, I could envisage it being very close to the actual series of events…

    Comment from a Times article. (Reposted on TheRegister)
    From the IT rumour mill

    Allegedly, the staff at the Indian data centre were told to apply some security fixes to the computers in the data centre. The BA IT systems have two, parallel systems to cope with updates. What was supposed to happen was that they apply the fixes to the computers of the secondary system, and when all is working, apply to the computers of the primary system. In this way, the programs all keep running without any interruption.

    What they actually did was apply the patches to ALL the computers. Then they shutdown and restarted the entire data centre. Unfortunately, computers in these data centres are used to being up and running for lengthy periods of time. That means, when you restart them, components like memory chips and network cards fail.

    Compounding this, if you start all the systems at once, the power drain is immense and you may end up with not enough power going to the computers – this can also cause components to fail. It takes quite a long time to identify all the hardware that failed and replace it.

    So the claim that it was caused by “power supply issues” is not untrue. Bluntly – some idiot shut down the power.

    Would this have happened if outsourcing had not be done? Probably not, because prior to outsourcing you had BA employees who were experienced in maintaining BA computer systems, and know without thinking what the proper procedures are.

    To the offshore staff, there is no context, they’ve no idea what they’re dealing with – it’s just a bunch of computers that need to be patched. Job done, get bonus for doing it quickly, move on.

  • Isar says:

    The Guardian is quoting Mick Rix, GMB’s transportation lead claiming that “redundancies that have already taken place have led to a brain drain… [this] has led to issues like this taking place that cannot be resolved quickly”.
    If it turns out that BA’s cost cutting has contributed to these events it would be very troublesome.

  • Oli says:

    Interesting how they prioritise later flights to the same departure even if the earlier ones haven’t departed yet. Might this be because the compensation is a flat fee, no matter if the delay is 3 hours or 10 hours?

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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