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Late by one minute

Dear British Midlands Customer Service:

I arrived at Heathrow Terminal 1 departure level at 17:15, exactly one hour before my flight BD113 to Amsterdam was scheduled to depart. The queue for the BMI counter was not nearly half as long as the one I joined on 4th January.

After waiting about 20 minutes, a young man joined the queue and alerted a BMI staff member that he was travelling to Amsterdam. The BMI lady assured him that there was plenty of time. I raised my hand and told the passenger and the staff member that I, too, was queuing for that flight.

It seemed almost eternity before my turn came up. While checking in my heavy black suitcase and assigning me a seat, the agent serving me suddenly got distracted. She said that the flight just closed. Her colleague appeared to ask me to get on the next flight.

I was furious. I had patiently waited for my turn. No one called to ask for passengers of this flight to jump the queue like last time. I have never missed my BMI flight between London and Amsterdam in three years. I've been flying as frequently as once every two weeks, so I'm not a stranger to their procedures.

The agent's colleague started arguing with me. She said that I should have alerted a member of staff 40 minutes prior to departure. But I did.

She also said that normally there would be an announcement, calling for late passengers. But they did not have enough staff today.

There was no point arguing. Luckily there was one more BMI flight I could go on. From my experience, I hesitated to fly on the last flight of the day because of the high probability of delay.

At the ticketing desk, I expressed my frustration at not getting on the flight. I asked if I could wait at a lounge. "No, you'll have to ask a supervisor."

After getting my ticket, I went to counter C to find a supervisor and to check in my suitcase. The supervisor told me that she could not upgrade me to business class which had the business lounge.

This experience was stressful and illogical. I don't feel appreciated as a frequent passenger of BMI and certaintly not as a human being.

I would like to ask you to review your check-in procedures at Heathrow Airport to avoid blaming the passenger in future circumstances.

Yours sincerely,

Anne Ku

2 February 2004 Monday

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Anne Ku at Ilp in May 2001
Anne Ku

writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page.
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