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British Airways has just launched a new section to its website which has been designed to assist passengers at times when things don’t quite go to plan.
According to the airline, BA.com/helpme has been introduced to help customers change bookings and find out what their consumer rights are during times of delays and cancellations.
British Airways customers can now manage their bookings, re-bookings, refunds and flight changes on the new help page and the page now links flyers to the specific customer relations teams empowered to help them with their specific issue rather than just to the general customer relations team.
If passengers require special assistance, want to claim compensation, find their bags or apply for a refund for any extras they may have paid for (e.g. seating, meals etc..) then BA.com/helpme has been designed to point them in the right direction.
Here’s what BA’s General Manager of Global Customer Care had to say:
“We know that when our customers have experienced an issue they expect us to respond quickly. They also want us to give them more control over their journeys. The new section of the website means our customers can clearly identify where to send their enquiry, and, as it is immediately delivered to the appropriate team, we are able to deal with it faster.”
Essentially the new help section should be a streamlined version of what the help page offered before with more detail and more direction for passengers so their queries/issues are handled by the correct people.
I have to confess that my first thought was along the lines of “why hasn’t the airline’s help page always directed passengers straight to the relevant department and not just the general assistance line?” but, leaving that aside for now, I also have to confess that this sounds like a good improvement.
I’ve looked around the new help page (I’m not sure exactly how much has changed as I haven’t had the need of BA’s assistance very often) and it definitely looks pretty easy to get to where you want to go.
If you type in ba.com/helpme you’re automatically directed to the “help with delayed or cancelled flights” page or, if you’re looking for help from the homepage, that’s pretty easy to find too:
The options that the first page offers are pretty obvious….
…and when you start to drill down into the sub-pages they appear to be set out pretty clearly:
I’ve tried a number of the links offered and each opens up a little more of the page to provide details relevant to the issue at hand….and it’s all very clear.
There are clear links to help passengers claim compensation online, claiming for expenses incurred due to a delay or cancellation looks straightforward enough and the step-by-step instructions available to passengers who want to check the status of their flights, have had their flights delayed/cancelled or have other flight-related issues are very clear – it’s hard to find fault here.
However, the key to all of this isn’t anything that can be seen just by playing around with the BA website – the key to customer satisfaction will be the speed at which British Airways’ staff will be dealing with passenger issues, getting passengers reaccommodated and issuing refunds and compensation.
Clearly it’s great that BA has taken steps to make sure that its help page is user friendly and that passengers can find information relevant to their issue(s) as quickly as possible (and the new help page does this well)….but it will all be for nothing if the staff at the other end haven’t been given the support they’ll need when things go wrong.
Still, it’s important to give credit where credit is due – I found the BA Help Page incredibly easy to navigate and it was easy to find the information that most people facing delays and cancellation will be looking for…and that’s a big positive.
When things go wrong it’s usually more than just one or two flyers who find themselves inconvenienced and that’s when the phone lines can go into meltdown and we get hold times of over an hour – that’s when good and easy to find information can really help out and what BA has done here is a big step towards just that.
Base on my experience with airlines like American and United the new BA help page is a noticeable step up from what a lot of airlines offer online so, as long as BA has also made sure that its support staff are adequately resourced and empowered to actually help, this should be goon news for flyers.