British Airways Threatens Those Who Criticize The Airline

British Airways Threatens Those Who Criticize The Airline

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British Airways has updated its Executive Club terms again. Just a few months ago the airline updated its terms to add a class action waiver and arbitration agreement, while now British Airways has updated terms to threaten Executive Club members who speak unfavorably about the airline.

British Airways’ updated “misconduct” terms

As noted by @JTGenter, on September 25, 2020, British Airways expanded its definition of “misconduct” in the Executive Club terms & conditions.

Misconduct in the Executive Club program was expanded to include the following:

  • any misconduct including but not limited to the use of false, threatening, abusive or derogatory language or behaving in a threatening, abusive or derogatory manner in dealing with or directed at British Airways’ staff or the staff of any Service Partner; or
  • any conduct, including but not limited to making misleading statements, which causes, is intended to cause or is likely to cause a detrimental effect or reflects unfavourably on the reputation of British Airways or any aspect of its business, brands, products or services

I think the second bullet point there is the most interesting. Let’s take out the “including but not limited to” section, and you’re left with this:

“any conduct which causes, is intended to cause or is likely to cause a detrimental effect or reflects unfavourably on the reputation of British Airways or any aspect of its business, brands, products or services”

Airlines have long thought of loyal frequent flyers as brand ambassadors, but this is a step beyond that. I feel like we should also be salaried at this point, no?

In other words, in theory you could be kicked out of Executive Club for any conduct that reflects unfavorably on the reputation of British Airways. Does Tweeting something unfavorable, or writing a negative review of the airline, qualify?

It’s funny to see this update around the same time as the story about the guy who was jailed in Thailand over a negative hotel review.

British Airways’ old business class is the best in the world, bar none 😉

This is worth being aware of, but…

I’m writing about this not because I think British Airways will suddenly shut down Executive Club accounts of everyone who has criticized the airline, but because I find the update interesting, since it’s not a change in terms that we’ve seen at many airlines.

I have a few general thoughts:

  • First of all, keep in mind that airlines reserve the right to terminate frequent flyer accounts for any reason and at their discretion, and that includes taking away your miles; that’s not an option they exercise very often, but it’s something that they claim they can do
  • With people being increasingly uncivil towards airline employees, I think there’s nothing wrong with threatening customers who are abusive towards staff (the potential issue is that we sometimes see employees on power trips make threats and act out of line)
  • The definition of “misleading” can also be open to interpretation, as we saw with the recent defamation lawsuit in Thailand over a man’s review of a resort

British Airways’ business class is exceptionally spacious 😉

Bottom line

British Airways has updated its Executive Club terms to threaten Executive Club members who do anything that could have a detrimental effect on the reputation of British Airways.

On the surface I think this takes it a step too far, though I doubt we’ll actually see this clause enforced much. For that matter, British Airways already had the right to terminate Executive Club accounts for whatever reason even before this change.

What do you make of this change to Executive Club terms? Is it reasonable, or does it cross the line?

Conversations (34)
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  1. Johannes Bols Guest

    "Sir, you didn't finish your tummy sandwich. Sir, if you do not finish your tummy sandwich AND the cup of tea I deigned to pour for you, we will be forced to make an unscheduled landing. You and your baggage... yes, your spouse... will be deplaned. And you will be charged for this. And kiss your Executive Club membership goodbye. Now sir, please finish your tummy sandwich and buckle up..."

  2. VISWA Guest

    Shocking...BA make you buy tickets and disallow flying through Heathrow...it's big scam...why should they let you buy and not allowing passengers...

  3. Balex Guest

    I totally think you have misunderstood why this has been added. Individuals abusing the Executive club and manipulate it for their own benefit. BA staff, ground staff, crew and contact centre employees regularly being abused by aggressive behaviours. Added into the T&C of the enrolment makes it easy to ban membership!
    UK laws are also different from US , the lawsuit, compensation, mentality ! Don’t you get it... the more people that sue and...

    I totally think you have misunderstood why this has been added. Individuals abusing the Executive club and manipulate it for their own benefit. BA staff, ground staff, crew and contact centre employees regularly being abused by aggressive behaviours. Added into the T&C of the enrolment makes it easy to ban membership!
    UK laws are also different from US , the lawsuit, compensation, mentality ! Don’t you get it... the more people that sue and gain monetary benefit from a company, just increase the cost!

  4. mauipeter Guest

    AaronP, Or how about 70K +$766 with Alaskan miles, HNL to MUC, in what they call 'First', which actually is 6 hours in Eco, 10 hours in Business, and the final 1.5 hour hop in First. What a deal !

  5. AaronP Guest

    Want to use an award MIA-LHR-IST on BA with Aadvantage miles, 50k miles plus $768.60 surcharge...

  6. Ghadir Guest

    English people are not democratic at all and they do not believe in freedom of speech in their culture lol

  7. eric Guest

    maybe there is something wrong with a company that doesn't want critiques? I would think you use this this to improve your product/service? Or to make you stand out?

  8. Der Fliegende Amerikaner Guest

    Maybe BA decided to crack down on negative comments after reading this recent trip report on FT:

    https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-reports/2025719-good-bad-ugly-our-17-hour-day-ba.html

  9. Samantha Guest

    The Chinese Communist Party has a new national airline....

  10. Endre Guest

    There’s still a difference between criticizing and wrongfully accusing / defaming someone.

  11. Henry Young Guest

    I have avoided BS like the plague for > 30 years - mainly due to their terrible industrial relations. But also the product hardly compares favourably with the MEs and larger Asians. But stunts like this only serve to strengthen my resolve. Keep alienating your potential customers BA !!!

  12. British Airways Support Hub, (BASH) Guest

    Please be advised that the following have been banned from our flights and removed from our Executive Club membership rolls.

    All of you who disparaged our great brand.

    Have a Capital day!

  13. AC Guest

    @Chase - it is only illegal if entirely factual and doesn’t include opinions. Trust me - many in the US have been sued (and lost) over negative reviews

  14. mauipeter Guest

    So $ 765 copay in addition to 80K miles for a one way Transatlantic flight in Business is just cool, when right now they have a special return from LUX via LHR to SFO in Business for $ 1,020 ? Go figure !

  15. Rebecca Guest

    Everyone needs to get a grip of themselves. Nothing is going to happen to 99% of members/flyers. I strongly suspect this change has come as a result due to some nob who has abused the system for their advantage.

  16. John Guest

    Belligerent Assholes

  17. Greg Guest

    Chase and Steve are correct here -- at least with respect to American members of the BA Executive Club program.

  18. Steve Guest

    The final word on whether this will rest with a court.

    Anyone can put anything they want into an agreement, but courts have the final say on what is enforceable and they generally take a particularly dim view of lopsided terms that are imposed upon one party by another such as here as compared agreements that are entered into jointly by both parties.

  19. AK Guest

    Come the fudge on. Yea, they can pretty much shut down an account whenever they want. I think that's always been kinda the case, no?

    This just goes to tell you, how disloyal loyalty programs are. My advice? Pay money, buy ticket with cheapest airline and forget loyalty. Status and points with airlines seems worth very little now, especially with transferrable points like Amex, Chase and Capital One. In the future, these "clubs" will even...

    Come the fudge on. Yea, they can pretty much shut down an account whenever they want. I think that's always been kinda the case, no?

    This just goes to tell you, how disloyal loyalty programs are. My advice? Pay money, buy ticket with cheapest airline and forget loyalty. Status and points with airlines seems worth very little now, especially with transferrable points like Amex, Chase and Capital One. In the future, these "clubs" will even be worth less.

    Why join anything run by someone who poos all over you? I know this sux for the business/corporate commuter, but for the rest of us, the only vote you get is by taking your money to those who treat u the best.

  20. FF78 Guest

    BA has done a fine job crushing their once decent reputation, all by themselves.

    They don't need my snark to help fan the flames of the dumpster fire.

    Despite being Oneworld Emerald, It's been 10+ years since I've been on their metal, and I haven't heard much positive since I last flew them.

    Fuel ssurcharges, substandard business class, inflexible change policies....the list goes on.

    I welcome them shutting down my account...it'll save me a step.

  21. Kerry Guest

    To me this reads as being targeted towards primary towards people whose behaviour directly threatens either employees or the airline’s reputation with other passengers, eg violence, excessive drunkenness etc. The reputation bit is likely also geared towards people who make wildly inflammatory claims about the airline to tabloids, which actually isn’t all that unusual here (the British tabloid press loves a story about airline service failures - not just BA - which are often extremely...

    To me this reads as being targeted towards primary towards people whose behaviour directly threatens either employees or the airline’s reputation with other passengers, eg violence, excessive drunkenness etc. The reputation bit is likely also geared towards people who make wildly inflammatory claims about the airline to tabloids, which actually isn’t all that unusual here (the British tabloid press loves a story about airline service failures - not just BA - which are often extremely exaggerated).

    I agree that spelling it out in this way makes it sound unnecessarily ominous, but as many have pointed out they have long had carte blanche to cancel your EC membership whenever they please, this just highlights that they expect you to have some defined standards of behaviour. Not really sure why this update was required though....

  22. derek Guest

    I like BA's old style 777 business class if I can get a window seat. Very private. Facing backwards. Like a private cabin.

    However, BA ending A318 LCY JFK service is a bummer.
    BA is stupid.
    BA should be banned.
    BA should be ended as an airline because of this.
    BA is bad, the worse airline in the world because of this.
    BA, do you know my account number?
    :P

  23. Chase Guest

    Retaliation against negative reviews is illegal (at least in the US) as of 2017, when the CRFA was passed, which the FTC is tasked with enforcing. Personally, I would love to see BA get taken to task for violating this...

  24. Sung Guest

    Let me go vent at their twitter, facebook, and tripadvisor. I have 0 problems being banned or kicked out of their executive club. Their excessive "carrier imposed surcharges" on award flights left a bad taste. Last straw was a flight that was around $1,100 if I bought cash, but the award flight was around 60,000 miles and fuel surcharge for around $900. I always filter BA out on any flight searches out of principle. Stingy...

    Let me go vent at their twitter, facebook, and tripadvisor. I have 0 problems being banned or kicked out of their executive club. Their excessive "carrier imposed surcharges" on award flights left a bad taste. Last straw was a flight that was around $1,100 if I bought cash, but the award flight was around 60,000 miles and fuel surcharge for around $900. I always filter BA out on any flight searches out of principle. Stingy pompous airlines.

    (waiting for BA to ban me for this post)

  25. Keith Guest

    As said, BA is simply clarifying one of its "for any reason" reasons. Unfortunately, the lack of civility and restraint that is emboldened by online distance has real consequences and is rapidly contaminating in person contacts, so that open hostility to any control over ones behavior, even in the confines of economy class, has increased. BA and most other carriers, in coordination with the police powers of states, have become less restrained in stating and...

    As said, BA is simply clarifying one of its "for any reason" reasons. Unfortunately, the lack of civility and restraint that is emboldened by online distance has real consequences and is rapidly contaminating in person contacts, so that open hostility to any control over ones behavior, even in the confines of economy class, has increased. BA and most other carriers, in coordination with the police powers of states, have become less restrained in stating and showing this authority.

  26. A Guest

    Well thats you screwed then, isn't it.....

  27. [email protected] Guest

    So they know they’re crap but they don’t want to hear it, way to go BA. Peter hit the nail on the head with his comment. Also didn’t realize there were people who are prepared to fly BA more than once.....

  28. The nice Paul Guest

    It’s a lawyer on a power trip (does anyone read those T&Cs they agree to on Google or wherever, or read the copyright statements at the start of a dvd?). This is the same thing.

    The airline already claims total power to close the account at its own whim, so this makes no difference. Though it does reveal just how much contempt the average multinational has for its customers.

  29. R B Guest

    Friends don’t let friends fly BA.

  30. Herman G. Guest

    Definitely their Busy Class cabin us spacious.. hahahahaha. This is absolutely ridiculous by BA, like many will say: I would take my business elsewhere. I have programs with AA, AS and QF... My points will be collected there and BA would be criticized or praised as I has been doing in letters directly to them.

  31. EC2 Guest

    I don’t feel it’s aimed at you Ben or other sites doing fair reviews. More than anything you promote and explain their hard and soft products. This is clearly aimed at dissatisfied passengers that want to vent via social media. BA is saying do so at your own risk.

  32. René Guest

    Could even a comment on a post qualify you to be kicked out by BA?

    PS - I too was simply "stunned" by the old BA biz class seats.

  33. Peter Guest

    BA has a frequent flyer program? Like, intended for people who would actually fly BA more than once?

    Wow.

  34. Cind Guest

    BA did what BA does.

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The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Johannes Bols Guest

"Sir, you didn't finish your tummy sandwich. Sir, if you do not finish your tummy sandwich AND the cup of tea I deigned to pour for you, we will be forced to make an unscheduled landing. You and your baggage... yes, your spouse... will be deplaned. And you will be charged for this. And kiss your Executive Club membership goodbye. Now sir, please finish your tummy sandwich and buckle up..."

0
VISWA Guest

Shocking...BA make you buy tickets and disallow flying through Heathrow...it's big scam...why should they let you buy and not allowing passengers...

0
Balex Guest

I totally think you have misunderstood why this has been added. Individuals abusing the Executive club and manipulate it for their own benefit. BA staff, ground staff, crew and contact centre employees regularly being abused by aggressive behaviours. Added into the T&C of the enrolment makes it easy to ban membership! UK laws are also different from US , the lawsuit, compensation, mentality ! Don’t you get it... the more people that sue and gain monetary benefit from a company, just increase the cost!

0
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