I just arrived back from a bit of a marathon business tour to Europe and Florida. As is fairly typical on such a trip, a lot of planned travel arrangements don’t work.
While you get used to it to a certain extent, it still has the habit of raising your blood pressure.
On this trip, it started with British Airways randomly cancelling my flight out of JFK and changing to Newark and advising me that they don’t give a rip about any additional costs because of their changes, I would be responsible for those.
That was not exactly great customer service after spending money for a business class ticket. Then, on arrival, my suitcase had a wheel ripped off and it was the second time I had used it. After three weeks of trying to get it resolved, I was offered $40 by British Airways.
Once I had arrived in Europe, everything ran a little smoother until my schedules changed and I had to fly back to Florida for some additional business.
I called British Airways, explained that my business commitments had changed and could they get me in to New York earlier.
The answer was a resounding yes, but with the additional charge over and above my business class fare of $12,000 for a one-way ticket.
Once I had regained my breath, I suggested that it did not sound right and I have never seen a change fee for such a large amount.
I asked if I could just leave my ticket on hold, but apparently that was not possible — again, one of the very few airlines that would not allow a business traveler to bank a ticket. Instead they suggested they could refund the unused portion.
Miraculously for British Airways, the weekend I wanted to now fly back was very valuable, however, I had originally booked a ticket on a very cheap day, so my refund was $250.
I had no choice but to book another ticket and throw away the value on the one I had originally purchased. So off to Dublin I was for a short overnight layover before flying to Florida the next day.
The hotel was comfortable, but unfortunately the room next to me decided to book a room to hold an all night party. I called the front desk at 1 a.m., a.m., 3 a.m., 4 a.m., 5 a.m., and finally at 5:30 a.m., they decided to sleep for some odd reason.
With all of the frustration of various travel plans not working and facing a long days travel, I was frankly quite ready to rip the receptionists head off and spit down her neck. It wasn’t even her fault.
She asked me how my night at the hotel was. Typically, I don’t complain readily, but this time I thought it only fair to point out that the food in the restaurant was much better than the quality of sleep I got.
Sympathetically she looked at me and exclaimed how horrible that must have been and could she arrange to pay for a taxi for me to get to the airport.
The cost to her - $20. The savings? One irate customer who would perhaps have shared the story on social media or a review site.
What she did was defuse a challenging situation with a $20 decision. It made me feel as though somebody was actually listening.
So British Airways, if you are reading this, you could have solved my concerns very easily if somebody had actually listened.
Instead you lost a lot of business.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.