British Airways – Still Incompetent

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A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog highlighting a couple of ways in which in which British Airways is know to screw up and, potentially, seriously impact your travels and plans. One of the examples I provided in that post was something I was dealing with at the time and, unsurprisingly, the issue still hasn’t been resolved.

To say that BA are annoying me a little right now would be quite an understatement. In recent weeks the airline and its staff has shown a propensity for lying and for being incompetent to a worrying degree…..and that’s not even taking into account how it’s screwing up right now!

The Background In Brief

At the beginning of June I booked a pair of tickets for travel between London and Madrid. There was nothing complicated about the booking and I paid for the flights with my Amex Platinum Card.

I received a confirmation email shortly after I made the booking and I gave it no further thought.

Fast forward a month. I noticed that BA hadn’t taken payment from my credit card and, when I checked my records, I noticed that I didn’t have e-ticket numbers for the booking.

When I attempted to retrieve the e-ticket details from the British Airways website I was given an error message (never a good sign).

a screenshot of a computerI contacted the BA call center who promptly confirmed that my booking had “somehow” fallen out of the system and not been ticketed – lucky I’m on top of things isn’t it?

The agent assured me that he had sent the booking details back to the “ticketing team” and that this would all be taken care of asap.


As the flights are still a few months away I decided let things lie for a while.

The other day it occurred to me to check if BA had issued the missing tickets and, to my annoyance, I got the same error message from

I can’t say I was particularity surprised – if being incompetent was an Olympic event BA would win Gold every time.

I didn’t have the energy to deal with one of BA’s call center agents again so I sent the airline an brief email together with the booking reference:

Please would you let me know why, nearly two months after making this booking, it still hasn’t been ticketed?

Today I got the following reply:

Our record indicates that, you ticket has not been issued yet. Further to get the e-tickets issued, please contact the original booking agent.

Please feel free to let us know if we can help you with anything else.

I hope they resolve this swiftly for you.

Kind regards

Ignoring the poor grammar (I’m not exactly great with that myself), what kind of reply is that?!

  1. The reply simply restates what I told them in the first place
  2. They don’t appear to realise that they are the “original booking agent”

The airline has all the details it needs to figure this out – name, booking reference, flight details & payment info – so why on earth is this such an issue?

It Could Be Worse

The problem I’m having right now comes hot on the heels of a story which ran in the Irish Times about a similar issue which didn’t end particularly well (thanks to @DarraghMcCashin for highlighting this)

This is how the passenger in the Irish Times story described what she faced:

On Saturday, May 20th, myself and nine other guests were scheduled to travel from Dublin to London Gatwick to Rhodes for my wedding,

When we arrived at Dublin Airport, we were informed that there was an issue with our tickets and we should head over to the BA desk to get it sorted. At the BA desk, we were told that our flight tickets had not been issued as there was no confirmation on payment

Hmmm…that’s sounding very familiar.

Where the story differs from the issue I’m facing right now is that, apart from the fact I haven’t yet found myself at the airport without a ticket, the customer had both the booking confirmation and payment confirmation emails in her hand.

Despite that the story didn’t end well.

BA couldn’t (wouldn’t) sort out the issue at the airport and the party ended up spending over €4,000 on new tickets to get to the wedding.

British Airways subsequently admitted that the issue was caused due to “human error” on its side before proceeding to completely screw up how it dealt with the situation from there (read the full details at the Irish Times).

Bottom Line

I’ve now written yet another email to BA, this time pointing out how ridiculous their reply was and once again asking for the flights to be ticketed, so it will be interesting to see what response I get back this time. If it’s half as incompetent as I expect it to be I’ll have to see if the airline’s Twitter team can do any better.

What this all really comes down to is that British Airways is an airline that’s rotten from the top. The bosses at IAG are arrogant beyond belief and the airline’s CEO appears to know little about how a full-service an airline should be run – Alex Cruz looks like a man so out of his depth that no number of life preservers can help him.

For my part I will continue to shine a light on the incompetence of this airline each and every time I come across it (that should keep me going in blog posts for quite some time) and I’ll continue to recommend that, if at all possible, travelers should book with anyone other than BA – life’s just too short.


  1. On the few occasions I’ve had ticketing problems with BA (usually as a result of a failed upgrade with Avios) I’ve only ever got results from their Twitter team. On one occasion I held the price of the tickets for 72 hours then paid the following day. Unfortunately the countdown clock in Manage my Booking to the time when my booking would be cancelled carried on counting… Some frantic tweets later and I was ticketed just before the deadline. In my experience the further away in time your flights are, the lower the priority they are for the poor, overworked ticketing team in Manchester!

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