Monday, October 18, 2010

British Airways: a love affair (not)

Mediocrity. I hate it.

If you're doing a job, do it right. I don't care if it's packing grapefruits or building bridges, do your fucking job.

Somehow, the airline industry doesn't seem to subscribe to this school of thought. Mediocrity thrives. Actually, complete failure thrives, and occasionally you get something mediocre, IF YOU'RE LUCKY.

Everyone has rough times flying, and with all of the security issues it's become a nightmare. I travel frequently, and can say without question that the overall quality of service has become complete shit, and the airlines use any excuse they can to shirk responsibility.

My latest story of joy and sunbeams begins with British Airlines, flying in and out of London. I'm flying for a job and traveling with the hair stylist I'll call J.

First rule of flying is never put anything valuable in your checked baggage or it WILL get stolen, probably by baggage handlers. Don't believe me? Go here:

Once it's gone, the airline will have you fill out all kinds of paperwork and provide receipts for everything you packed, only to offer around $300, which may or may not cover the cost of the bag itself. Unfair? Take them to court.

** side note - a friend checked a bag of equipment (that they wouldn't let him bring on board), from LA to Chicago, stopping in Vegas. He got to Chicago, his bag didn't. He got a call a few days later from Vegas Police saying they found his bag in an alley, and he can claim the bag and miscellaneous clothing if he shows up in person. No equipment.

I digress.

So all of my camera equipment and computer equipment comes with me on board. Getting through security varies from ridiculous to rectal exam. J unfortunately can't bring her bag on board - it's too large, too heavy, and has all kinds of tools that could be used to hijack a plane, like curling irons and bobby pins. We check her kit and our 2 bags of clothes, then cross our fingers.

3 bags checked, 2 arrive. The 3rd never left LA, and clearly won't make it for our connection to Paris.

This is J's clothing. Thankfully her kit arrived, but apparently she'll be working naked, as her clothing don't fly out till the next day, missing 3 flights with no explanation. Thanks a bunch BA.

Flying home is worse. I'm exhausted after fashion week and shooting, and I'm sick from rain and no sleep. All I want is to sleep on the plane.

I go to the BA check-in kiosk and it spits out some error ticket, saying I have to go across the terminal to a customer service desk. When I get there they tell me I have a ticket, but no seat.

What the fuck??

I show the guy my email confirming my seat, and he just smiles and nod, with a dull look on his face. Actually it was a mix of dull and smug. Smull. He had a smull look on his face.

He repeats: I have a ticket, but no seat, and this flight is oversold. He's gonna see if he can squeeze me on the plane.

What kind of horse shit is this??? SQUEEZE ME ON THE PLANE???

The airlines don't care. Period. With BA, when you select a seat, it's just a request, not a reservation. God forbid I actually want to sit in the seat I selected when I bought the ticket in the first place. You pay for a ticket, but now BA makes you pay EXTRA, to confirm your fucking seat!

How does this happen?? Will they start charging for fresh air and a seatbelt too?

I can't wait to go to a restaurant, pay for a sandwich, and have them deliver a turkey leg because I didn't pay extra to confirm my sandwich.

Or maybe I should buy a ticket to a JayZ concert, then be thrilled when they switch my ticket to Justin Bieber.

I end up getting a seat in the back, right next to the bathroom, where all of the large old people bump into me while doing their strange plane exercises or frequent trips to the baƱo. One guy who looks like ET, with a blanket over his shriveled head, does repeated trips up and down the isle, leading me to wonder if he's sleepwalking. The stewardess is about as pleasant as a rhino with a hemorrhoid, and the final icing on the cake - on my one trip to the bathroom, I find someone's teeth on the bathroom counter. Yes, teeth.

So, to recap: If you want to have your luggage lost, your seat snatched out from under you, ET bumping into you all flight, and teeth in the bathroom: FLY BRITISH AIRWAYS.

Otherwise, I recommend getting some rollerblades, flippers, and a snorkel - it will be far less painful.

1 comment:

  1. That picture is actually horrific...

    Still this adventure has given you the means to write an interesting travel article :)