This is my first post with a Coronavirus link. Don’t panic, I’m not about to join the ranks of covidiots. What, I am about to share, is my frustration with the folks that I contracted to take me home.
Last October, my wife, Gerry, and I flew out to Perth WA. We booked return tickets with British Airways (BA), the flights being London to Perth via Kuala Lumpur (KL). BA serviced the London / Kuala Lumpur leg and partners Malaysia Airlines serviced the remaining Kuala Lumpur / Perth leg.
The outward journey was almost trouble free, apart from a little glitch over boarding cards for the KL / Perth leg. However, we duly arrived in Australia, met up with our family and here we have been ever since.
Little did we know, at that time, what the world had in store for us. In fact, little did anybody know.
So up pops Covid-19 or Coronavirus, throws the whole world into chaos. Not the least of which is the worlds airlines.
A short while ago I received an email from BA informing me that my flight from Perth to KL is cancelled. Of course behind this cancellation is the fact that Malaysia closed its borders to all foreigners. Amazingly, the KL / London leg is still scheduled.
Which is where my frustration comes in.
The BA email provided links to change my flights or accept a voucher … aka … IOU or grab a refund. Since I still need to get home I chose to explore the flight change option.
Of course things are changing so rapidly I didn’t really expect this to go smoothly. However, I was surprised that the BA supplied link came back with the following …
This was a surprise since I had already been on the Malaysia Airlines website and it was indicating flight availability.
It seems that the BA app can only see BA flights.
So, I thought I would try going direct to Malaysia Airlines. After a surprisingly short wait I was connected with a very pleasant lady. I explained my dilemma, she called up my details on her system. She then politely explained to me that she cannot transfer my booking to a new flight.
The reason for this, is that my tickets are not on Malaysia Airlines “ticket stock”.
This confirmed, apparently, by the ticket number commencing with “125”. Bottom line was that I had to go back to BA. Obviously I need to speak to a real person, not an app.
The BA Customer Service number is for an office over east. What that means is by the time you get up in Perth, they have all gone to lunch. It’s obviously not that bad but it might just as well be.
I listened to the “all our customer service reps are busy” message many, many times. In between messages, I listened to an ear bleedingly tinny recording of the BA theme, The Flower Duet from Léo Delibes Lakmé. Not the beautiful operatic version but one that sounds like it is being played on a National Steel Guitar recorded through a length of steel pipe. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the National Steel Guitar. Over and over I listen while waiting for a customer service rep. After an hour I have a headache and have lost the will to live. Eventually, I hang up. Resolved to call again tomorrow, earlier.
I used to like that tune.