Thursday, August 9, 2007

Lost Bags, Now A Lost Father....

,,,,But is it all the airline's fault? British Airways have been accused of losing an 83 year old man who was in transit from Jordan to Canada at Heathrow. A woman based in London blames the airline for causing her elderly father to miss his flight, which became the first link in a chain of events that ended with the 83-year-old suffering a stroke and a fall that broke his hip. he was recovering from a toe amputation, his family had requested a wheelchair service during his short stopover at Heathrow.

When the man arrived in London, BA staff decided his foot needed medical attention. He was taken by ambulance to Hillingdon Hospital in west London for treatment and returned to Terminal 4 - three hours after his flight home to Canada had departed. Confused and with no idea what to do, Mr Ghadban spent the rest of the night in the terminal.

"He just got lost in the system. It's quite incredible treatment," Mimi Ghadban said of her father, who does not speak English. A British Airways spokesman said: "British Airways takes the comfort and dignity of all customers seriously. It is the airline's policy to offer assistance at the airport to all passengers with restricted mobility.

We live in a world where we think it's perfectly acceptable to send an 83 year-old, recovering from an operation, half way around the world with no one from his own family with him and think it's perfectly OK to just blame others - strange.


Anonymous said...

Hi Richard,

This article was about my father-in-law.

Firstly, journalists, being journalists, made a few creative tweaks to make the story more sensational.

Naturally, everyone is entitled to their opinion but I wanted you to be aware of the fuller story.

My father-in-law is perfectly "with it" and able to travel on his own. He wanted to return to Canada alone and the operation he had undergone in Jordan was a success and he was in no pain or discomfort. The bandage he was sporting was for precautionary reasons.

We can afford to fly him home and are currently in the process of doing so. This article was written as a last resort to get BA to take the matter seriously and accept some responsibility.

We would have been with him at Heathrow but BAA did not have the resources to wheel him through customs and wheel him back for check in. This is their usual response and something we've had to accept over the years.

Are you saying you feel that BA acted completely reasonably and responsibly in choosing not to fly him, sending him off to hospital in a foreign country, making no effort to get a translator to tell him what was going on (he speaks French too BTW) and not contacting any family memebers?

Also, we always fly BA out of choice and are Executive Club members. A quick search on their customer database would have yielded up his daughter's full contact details.

BA have never been in contact with us, we have always had to initiate the calls. In fact, there was nothing from them for the whole first week after the incident.

Amusingly, I have found out they have issued an "official" response but I had to find this out from a journalist and not from BA themselves. I find this incredible.

If they're happy with their behaviour and wish to tell us to "get lost" I'd have hoped they'd have had the decency to tell us to our faces, or our ears, our eyes via email...

Richard Havers said...

I had expected that the journalists had made a few creative tweaks - it goes with the territory.

I'm only repeating that BA staff took your father-in-law to hospital because, in their opinion, he needed medical treatment. Someone made that decision, I can only assume it was in good faith. However, as to how they handled it that is something I cannot judge although it all sounds very sensible to say what BA should have done, but that is against a background of an airport and an airline n the busiest time of the year. Personal service unfortunately is in short supply, regardless of the individual circumstances.

I'm not here to defend BA and I'm sure your gripes against their communication with you have justification. We certainly live in a world where getting anyone to talk to us in trying circumstances is very difficult indeed. Somewhat typically it's journalists who seem to wield the power when trying to get hold of information.

I hope very much that your father in law is recovering and gets over the trauma of his travels as soon as possible.