Irish wedding in Greece ‘ruined’ by British Airways’ error

Pricewatch: Party of 10 arrives in Dublin Airport to be told they have no tickets

British Airways Boeing 777: airline blamed a wedding party’s ticket confirmation problem on human error.   Photograph: Tim Ockenden/PA

British Airways Boeing 777: airline blamed a wedding party’s ticket confirmation problem on human error. Photograph: Tim Ockenden/PA

 

Earlier this week we got a mail from a reader by the name of Aisling who was very distressed after British Airways “ruined” her wedding week and appeared to be very, very slow in making amends.

“On Saturday, May 20th, myself and nine other guests were scheduled to travel from Dublin to London Gatwick to Rhodes for my wedding,” her mail began. “When we arrived at Dublin Airport, we were informed that there was an issue with our tickets and we should head over to the BA desk to get it sorted. At the BA desk, we were told that our flight tickets had not been issued as there was no confirmation on payment.”

However Aisling had “both the booking confirmation and payment confirmation emails in my hand. As we had booked through group sales, they tried to get hold of someone in that department who could issue our tickets but as it was a Saturday, no one was available. Everyone from BA that we spoke to that day was thoroughly rude and unhelpful and all we got told was nothing could be done and the only way to get to our destination for our wedding was to pay €9,000 for new tickets.”

At this stage, the wedding party’s original flight to Gatwick was closing. “We were left paying €1174.40 for tickets for 10 passengers on our original BA flight from Gatwick to Rhodes but would have to find our own way to London,” she writes. “We scouted around the various airlines that fly from Dublin to Gatwick and our only option was Ryanair. However, they only had four seats left available on the flight. We booked these four seats at a cost of €1,155.96. We then had to book the remaining six passengers on standby for the flight and wait at the gate to find out they would be able to get on the plane. These additional six tickets cost €1,723.94.”

Honeymoon money

They all did make it to Greece in time for the wedding but only after an additional outlay of €4,054.30 on top of the original outlay for the tickets. “The only reason we had this money available was because we had put extra aside for the wedding and honeymoon. We had to cut back on the wedding itself and have also been unable to take our honeymoon which we planned to book on our return to Ireland, ” she writes.

“When we were in Rhodes, we received an email from the group bookings department asking for us to get in touch on our return. I rang the number provided and was put through to one of the supervisors who was very apologetic about the whole situation and informed us that the fiasco was down to human error.

“He also told us we would have our original tickets refunded, the additional tickets refunded, and compensation for our troubles. He gave me a customer relations reference number and I was told to get in touch to sort out the refunds.”

Aisling called BA customer relations and “eventually got through after being on hold for four hours and the treatment I received was absolutely appalling. I explained the situation and was then asked ‘Why are you ringing?’ I explained that we had been told that we would be receiving a refund and the operator’s response was, ‘The original flights have already been refunded so there is nothing else we will do, you can’t expect to fly for free’. I found this response very disappointing considering it was a BA error that cost us an additional €4,054.30 and ruined our wedding week and non-existent honeymoon.

Profuse apologies

“Following this call, I again rang John from group sales and he again apologised profusely for the treatment we were receiving. We have still yet to receive any refund from BA and have no confirmation that we will be receiving any refund or compensation.”

We contacted the airline and received a one-line comment in response. “We have apologised to our customer, and are resolving this issue with them directly,” was all a spokeswoman was prepared to say.

We then heard back from Aisling who told us BA had called her after we’d be in touch and she had been told that the airline had processed a refund for the additional flights (approximately €4,000).

It also offered her and her husband €500 in flight vouchers.

We did get back in touch with the airline to say that this hardly seemed like an overly generous response given that BA had effectively deprived this couple of their honeymoon, put a cloud over their entire wedding and withheld a refund from them for two months.

If we hear anything back we will update this story.