Thursday, May 8, 2008

British Airways - Total Lack of Assistance and Compassion

Location: British Columbia, Vancouver
Industry: Transportation
Company: British Airways
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I acquired BA points through one of their credit card partnerships. Previously I had travelled this route by converting credit card points to Asia Miles.

I booked a flight to Hong Kong from Vancouver - BA points on a code-share flight with Cathay Pacific. When I booked the original flight, I was able to book Business Class to HK, but only Economy home. No big deal. However, my understanding was that I could change this at a later point if seats became available. All in all, the BA call centre in Toronto (when I booked the flight, they have subsequently closed this office) was very helpful.

I flew to HK with no problems. However, while in HK I broke my ankle (broke the tibia, snapped off both sides of the joint, completely dislocated the ankle). I was hospitalized for one night, and the ankle was set in a temporary cast. I was advised to undergo surgery as soon as I returned to Canada (which was scheduled for a few days later). When I was released from the hospital (to the great care of my friends whom I was visiting), I proceded to try to contact BA. Sunday - no luck.

So, waited until Monday, and called BA in Hong Kong - they wouldn't deal with me and advised that as I had booked the ticket in North America, I must deal with North America. So, wait another 12 hours for it to be Monday in NA. When I called the service centre (now in Fort Worth, Texas), I provided my booking number and explained my predicament - I have an unstable fracture, I must have emergency surgery, and as I am not a HK resident, I must have it when I return to Canada. In the interim, my foot must be elevated (problematic in cattle class on a 12 hour flight!) - I would like to use 25, 000 BA Miles to upgrade to business class. Reply - you have started your trip, you cannot make changes.

After much discussion the best I was able to get was to use 50, 000 points to book an entirely new one way business class ticket (with taxes and fees - which, of course, I had already paid once).

I expected better... Next time, will convert my credit card points to Asia Miles!

Cathay Pacific gets kudos, they treated me very well and were helpful throughout my flight and all the way to my family who were picking me up to take me to a Vancouver emergency room to await surgery - the next trip should be interesting (will set off metal detectors with my ankle from now on!).


  1. must have been awful. Oh did you hear up to 100,000 dead in Burma cyclone? Wonder if they had any Asia Miles to trade up to better medical care?

  2. Sorry to be heartless but what was the issue here ? I assume you had travel insurance like any sensible person to cover this very circumstance. Next time walk a little bit more carefully

  3. " Sorry " to be heartless...? You get off on it , ya prick!