Stranded Before Taking Off — The Ordeal of Reaching British Airways to Solve the Issues for Flight Cancelations

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

To Fly or Not to Fly

Is it a good time to travel? Probably not. As usual, we scheduled our yearly vacation to Europe months in advance. We book our flights, car hire, and hotel through British Airways Holiday. Since we began using them, we’ve had a wonderful experience, so there was no question about re-booking with British Airways (BA). Also, to our advantage, we always buy travel insurance. We learned the hard way it is better to spend a couple of hundred dollars more on insurance than not have any at all.

Coronavirus Ruined our Trip

Unfortunately, the 2020 trip was canceled and we understand the reason (Coronavirus). Therefore, we booked it for October 2021, which is great. A little over a year in advance gives us plenty of time to save more spending money for our upcoming trip. However, the cancellations haven’t ceased. A few months after re-booking, they had another flight cancellation. At first, we received emails advising us of changes and/or cancellations to our upcoming trip. Every time I received a notification, I contacted BA and re-booked or made the changes necessary — no biggie. Anyway, we have travel insurance just in case.

Monarc Duffel Bags

But then, they stopped sending us notifications. No emails, no calls, nothing came from BA letting us know of changes and or cancellations to our flights. It was not until I logged onto my BA account to check the time of arrival that I noticed we had outgoing flights and no return flights!

“What the hell? No, I need to contact BA now!” So, there I was on their website trying to reschedule a return flight. Unfortunately, I could not proceed with the online booking since I did my reservation through the BA Holiday department, therefore, I had to call them. There I was, phoning away to sort out our return flight. Seconds turned into minutes and minutes into hours. One hour, two hours, and I was still on hold. I didn’t let frustration get a hold of me. Remember, this is a one-time situation because of Coronavirus. BA has never failed us.

Photo by Jack Edwards from Pexels

Frustration Kicks In

“Breathe in, breathe out,” I’d say to myself. “Have patience. It’s not the customer agent’s fault.” And so I waited.

Finally, a customer service agent could help me reschedule my return flight. [Sigh] What a relief. The relief didn’t last long though, and a few months later, there was another cancellation. This time, it was our outgoing flights.

“Well, fucking great! We can return home. From where? We have no destination flights!”

To make things worse, there was no “Cancelled” status on our BA account itinerary. It just seemed like we booked a flight returning home from nowhere. Therefore, there was no proof the airline canceled the flight had we wanted to file a claim to the insurance company. What’s going on? What is BA doing?

This is Not Working for Me

So here we go again on the call waiting game to re-book our outgoing trip. Are you kidding me? Hours of waiting. Breathing in serenity and breathing out stress helped maintain my composure until it was re-booked. Over two hours on hold and an hour of customer service agent interaction back and forth again.

“From now on, I’ll just check the itinerary every day,” I told my husband.

It is a good thing I took this approach. With less than two weeks for our departure, the airline canceled our return flight yet again. My mind was racing, and I was in panic mode. I called BA as soon as I saw the cancellation. It is very hard to get through to BA. There have been so many changes at BA in the last year. When I finally reached a customer service agent, they gave me another phone number to try, and another and another. They had given me the run-around all morning long. After about four calls, all stemming over a 40-minutes wait, I hung up and tried the next day.

The next day, I was on the phone with BA at 8:53 a.m. Being the organized person I am, I checked their flight itineraries available for my return date beforehand. I knew which flight time we wanted and just waited for someone at BA Holiday to pick up that darn phone and help me. At that point, it worried me that, any time, while we are at our scheduled destination, BA might cancel our return flight and leave us stranded. Will I have to continue checking our return itinerary while on our vacation to verify if there are any cancellations or changes to our return flights? Absolutely! This means I might miss out on some of the many experiences we have planned because I will be on the phone waiting for BA to help me re-book my return flight. But I will not dwell on that now.

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Three and a Half Hours Later

Well, whoopti-freaking-doo! Finally, we are booked. Hopefully, it will be the last of it and I can enjoy my vacation. Will I fly BA again? I don’t know. It seems there are many flight delays and cancelations throughout the airline industry. I’ll think about that later. But for now, bon voyage, my friends!

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