British Airways - today you were RUBBISH

I use www.ba.com to book Heathrow-Oslo flights a lot. I just booked another one and accidentally specified a return day of March 20th instead of February 20th. I'm pretty careful about this kind of thing but this time I got caught out, partly because both days are a Saturday. I spotted it immediately and changed it straight away. For a flight costing £265.50 ba charged me an extra £200 which frankly I find outrageous. Their website says to ring 0844 493 0787 for help. I tried that - it's a waste of time. Endless recorded messages saying they're sorry lots of passengers have been separated from the luggage because of the snow. But no human being.

I'm reminded of something Jeff Bezos said recently - that there were two kinds of companies; those that work to charge you more, and those that work to charge you less. All my previous Heathrow-Oslo flights have been for one week. Suddenly their system was being asked for a much longer stay. It surely wouldn't take a lot of effort to get the system to spot that sudden difference and before accepting the booking simply say "we've noticed your booking is for a longer period than usual - are you sure it's correct". If their system had done that I would have been very impressed. I would have told my friends. But it didn't. Instead it charged me an extra £200.

4 comments:

  1. I wonder if, for only £65.50 more, you could've booked flights from Oslo to Heathrow on Feb 20th, returning on, say, March 13th, and got two trips to Oslo out of your ~£500. Although I'm sure that there's some catch in their software to stop you doing that (and I've no idea if you'd want to go twice in as many months).

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  2. I did look into that option and some others too.

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  3. The point that I thought in my head (but didn't make very well) was that they probably put lots of effort into stopping people "abusing" the system (like interleaving two sets of tickets in the way I described) but none into doing the useful things that you talk about. If this were code in a library I'd try to wrap it to provide the interface/behaviour that I want, but I guess that ba.com doesn't offer any such interface, and even if it did, setting up an entire flight-booking webservice is probably beyond the effort/reward threshold of pretty much all of us (which is a shame, as one of the best things about OSS (or even just extensible software) is that one of us can fix it for all of us). Sorry, a complete ramble there. Less tea, more to-the-point-postings...

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  4. Ah I see. Yes I agree.

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