Whoa: British Airways Is Extending Status By Two Years For Those Impacted By Outage

Filed Under: British Airways

Last weekend British Airways had a massive power outage that left tens of thousands of travelers stranded. It’s clear that they weren’t at all prepared for the situation, based on their slow response, and for how many days their operation was failing.

Furthermore, their initial response was disappointing. They refused to to reimburse people for travel on other airlines, and at first many were told they wouldn’t be eligible for EU261 compensation, since this is was an “extraordinary circumstance” (though they’ve since changed their tune on that).

The airline has been getting so much bad press for this situation, so it seems like they’re now deciding to take exactly the opposite approach, and are being overly generous. British Airways has sent out an email to all elite members who were impacted by last week’s outage, and will be extending their status by two years. That’s right, by two years.

Here’s the email that British Airways seems to be sending out to those customers:

As someone who flies with us so often, I want you to know that we always strive to offer you the highest level of service, and make your journey as comfortable as possible.

However, we clearly fell far short of this commitment last weekend.

I’m so sorry you had to endure such inconvenience, and understand the frustration it must have caused. So as a gesture of goodwill, we’d like to renew your current tier status for a further two years, regardless of how many Tier Points you collect in that time.

We’ll be making these changes over the coming days, and you’ll soon be able to see your updated details on ba.com.

If you want to make a claim for any food, transport and accommodation expenses, you can do this through our customer relations teams.

You can find additional information on ba.com about your customer rights and what you can submit a claim for under the EU compensation regulation.

I hope this goes some way to making up for your experience last weekend, and rest assured we’re working to safeguard against this in the future.

Again, please accept our apologies, and thank you for your patience.

Wow, now that’s generous, and sure makes me wish I were BA Gold, and were flying with them last weekend.

(Tip of the hat to @cbyrne01)

  1. Got the email. What am I going to do with emerald until 2020??? Can I even access the CCR without flying BA???

  2. Preparing an umbrella before rainstorm. Hopefully the rain doesn’t transform into hail. I’ve read somewhere BA’s FA is planning a 4 days strike.

  3. Lol. In other words: hey man, sorry I screw you up yesterday. But lets still be friend so I can screw you up again and again.

  4. That is NOT generous. Basically they said “We aren’t going to give any cash compensation, but what can we give away that doesn’t cost us any money?”

  5. Giving away status that costs nothing to the airline is not generous nor is it fair to the regular non every day traveler that continuously gets screwed by a mainstream airline becoming a low cost caricature of itself. So they get screwed by on meals, leg room, amenities, a comfortable cabin, etc and then their travel plans get completely screwed over during a bank holiday weekend and the most they might receive is what little they have the right to by EU law(and that is if BA chooses to follow through with their change of heart, which is a massive if)? That’s absolutely disgusting, IMO. I feel in circumstances like this, you absolutely have to try to do right by the customer. Always offer some type of compensation PLUS refunds for all expenses caused by this massive screw up. Sure, it costs money but it also gives you a better chance to retain a customer and will likely be offset by insurance. The premium will go up, but its the price you pay for having a massive screw up like this. Im in sales. If I screw up, I feel miserable and always go above and beyond to make it right for my client. I feel most big corporations have lost sight of the fact that the customer is what makes you stay in business for a long time.

    Remember how awful that JetBlue screw up was with passengers waiting hours on end on the tarmac because of snow? That was the fault of the weather yet JetBlue took full responsibility, went above and beyond to make it right, took steps to ensure it would never happen again and created a set of rights for the customer that gives compensation and refunds for delays and cancellations if it was controllable. Now, they still continuously get high marks for customer satisfaction while continuing to grow the airline.

  6. And we have to imagine how will BA be in two years.
    I think it will be the first legacy low cost 🙂

  7. This is absurd. Great for the elites flying that day. Useless for non-elites flying BA that day. And essentially a big middle finger to those BA elites who weren’t flying that day – and don’t get the benefit of the status extension.

  8. Does BA Gold come with any annual perks that are actually valuable? AA ExPlat and DL DM come with four useful international upgrades each year that are worth about $4000.

    There are the usual benefits that you get each flight and BA isn’t spending any more to offer those for another two years, but extending a valuable annual benefit like that would actually be expensive. But I think only US airlines offer that kind of bonus.

  9. I don’t see why this is whoa. It’s only going to be useful for a very small pool of people, while most elites will be flying BA a lot anyway and reearn that status without the need for this.

  10. If anything it allows BA elites to test out other airlines without fear of losing status that they may normally chase.

  11. I disagree with those here and do agree with Ben. This is a nice gesture by BA. I was flying the day of the IT issues, but was one of the lucky few that did make it without much of a delay. Reading reports on FT, BA has been quick to reimburse the out of pocket expenses for hotels and meals and quite flexible on the rescheduling. And even though I will requalify for my GGL this year as it stands, it’s still a nice gesture on BA side.

    BA does have upgrade vouchers but that’s at 2500tp and 3500tp earned.

  12. What does “extend by 2 years” mean exactly? I am silver no, and my membership year usually finishes in May. Does this mean I will be silver until May 2020? I would have been silver til May 2019 anyway.

  13. Yes it is a nice gesture (only relevant to some of its elite customers though), but what about all the other Executive Club members who weren’t flying that weekend? (I should have been, by the way, but had changed my flights a few days before. But I’m flying them long haul tomorrow).

    Now all those people who’ve had their status extended for two years can do what they like – fly BA, or why not use this opportunity to build up status points with another airline/ alliance? Meanwhile it’s the rest of its ‘loyal’ customers who’ll be buying and flying BA, never upgraded, long queues to board, smaller meals in Club Europe, strikes, etc, etc, not to mention the fear of future IT problems… way to feel valued!!

  14. Does this solve every BA complaint floating around these days? Surely not. But, lord, some people are never happy.

    Elite status in a programme isn’t a “free” perk — it actually does cost money to run and maintain these programmes. Why do people think programme benefits have been slashed over the years? Traveling is no longer a luxury, and far more people are benefiting from these programmes than imagined when they were conceived.

    People get upset when airlines make it too difficult to gain status and receive perks. Now people are getting upset because an airline — in what I thought was a fairly gracious email — is extending a benefit to their loyal customers affected by the outage. Doesn’t say ANYTHING about “this is it — tough re. financial claims.” This was one extra step by BA as they know very well that their loyal customers have other options.

    I flew in/out of LCY that weekend, so I was only mariginally affected. But the cabin crew went above and beyond on that flight: could not have been nicer, and on the slightly delayed return, I was proactively offered doubles on my G&T and extra snacks (still runnin’ that perk out of LCY). And now this? Guess what? Regardless of my travel requirements this year, I know I’m locked in for an additional 2 years of benefits… so if I want to play around outside of the alliance, no skin off my nose.

  15. @Bob
    “And essentially a big middle finger to those BA elites who weren’t flying that day – and don’t get the benefit of the status”

    WTF are you on about? You weren’t flying in the chaos so you weren’t inconvenienced. Just how vast us your sense of entitlement if you think someone being compensated is some sort of life-threatening insult to you?

    Get a sense of proportion. And try to be happy if someone else gets some good fortune. I’m with Lucky on this one.

  16. Yes but what about all those poor sods that don’t have status whose holidays have been ruined by the incompetence of the airline? It’s all very well looking after those fortunate enough to earn status from flying regularly through work (or because they can afford to) but many regular folks effectively had their plans thwarted and BA’s response has been a disgrace. Sadly I have no choice but to fly them as they still offer the best prospects for me to earn enough airmiles to fly business in the UK (through credit cards rather than flying I might add) but if there was another airline that offered the same option I would be jumping ship in a heartbeat

  17. @Anne
    They’ve said they will compensate.

    I’m not sure how that’s disgraceful, but maybe you should turn down the volume a notch. It wasn’t pretty. It was annoying and bloody inconvenient. It looks like it was incompetence (just like Delta’s recent meltdown – BA is not unique). But… no-one died.

    BA isn’t my first choice airline though as an LHR frequent flyer it’s surprisingly often the most convenient option. I’m OWE. I’m not the slightest bit bothered that other FFs got their status extended but I did not – I’m just grateful I missed that chaos.

  18. I’d like to know what is being done for Oneworld Emeralds (non-BA) who were flying BA that day. I was scheduled to fly WAW-LHR-JFK with LHR-JFK on AA. The incident happened just before boarding for my WAW-LHR flight was to begin. The flight eventually departed, but arrived too late for me to have made the connection. Not being one to wait and see what would happen, I called AA (it was an AA ticket and my BA flight was on the AA flight number) and got moved to the next day. Later that afternoon, as it became clear Sunday would be a mess too, I booked a ticket on KLM/DL and flew WAW-AMS-JFK (KLM to AMS and DL to JFK) and cancelled the BA/AA flight I had. While I was traveling for work, so none of this was money out of pocket for me, it did cost the company an extra $3000 for the new KLM/DL ticket and an extra $500 in expenses for the extra day. I can reuse the unused portion of my AA/BA ticket, which I will in the next few weeks, but I think they should pay for the KLM/DL ticket and, more importantly, I want the miles and EQMs from the original AA/BA flight. How should I go about making that claim?

  19. I got the email as I was due to be flying that morning having arrived in from HKG on BA, but my flight was canx meaning I missed my onward flight from ARN. Yes a PITA but not the end of my world.

    What I don’t quite get is the slightly woolly wording – my gold status was due to expire April 2019…..so will it now be May 2019, April 2021 or May 2021? Answers on a postcard…

  20. I got this email as I was delayed two days getting home from Copenhagen. As of today I haven’t seen any change to my account. Has anyone else?

  21. I also got this e-mail. For me this feels very fortunate as I was travelling to Istanbul on the Monday evening and the flight was only delayed 30 minutes, however, there was significant uncertainty for us over the weekend and was considering making alternative arrangements.

    My Gold membership was originally valid until 31st May 17 and my account has just been updated to show 31st May 20. So that’s a full two year extension.

  22. Well my original year was due to expire April 2019 (having only just requalified for gold anyway) and I got the 2 year extension email from James Hillier too.
    Yesterday my expiry date was extended to April 2020.
    I’ve emailed James back to query it & point out that in the maths I do, that’s a 1 year extension not 2.
    I look forward to his reply.

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