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
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 😉
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?