A St Andrews couple say they’ve been treated “abysmally” by British Airways after a series of cancelled flights left them out of pocket and struggling to get home.
Bill and Alison Donald, aged 65 and 62, are currently on the trip of a lifetime in South Africa but have been faced with problems at every turn.
The couple planned to fly out of Edinburgh Airport last Wednesday — stopping off at London Heathrow for a transfer — before arriving in Cape Town for a three-week trip.
However, multiple cancellations by British Airways (BA), as well as lost bags, soon turned their dream getaway into a nightmare and has so far cost them an extra £1900 for replacement flights.
What has gone wrong?
The couple’s plight began four days before they were due to leave St Andrews.
On June 25, they woke up to an email telling them their flight from Edinburgh to London had been cancelled.
After multiple attempts to contact British Airways (BA) online and on the phone, the St Andrews couple decided to book a new flight departing on the same day, costing almost £700.
But the quickly devised plan B was also scuppered when, after checking at Edinburgh Airport, the new flight was cancelled.
The couple were forced to rebook again, this time for the only seats available — two much more expensive club class tickets.
The cost brought the total spent on rebooking flights to just under £1,900.
Bill, who works as a self-employed flooring contractor, said: “It was the only way we were going to make our connection so we grabbed them.”
Believing they had gotten over the hurdles, they were however hit with even more problems upon arriving in South Africa.
Luggage lost during transfer
Their luggage did not arrive, despite being promised by British Airways that handlers would add the luggage to the second flight themselves.
Bill said: “We arrived at Cape Town expecting everything to be hunky-dory but there was no baggage.
“We filed a report and they said they hoped to get it to us within a couple of days, but when we went back the next day, they let us look through all the unclaimed baggage and it wasn’t there.”
Alison, a childcare practitioner for Fife Council, added: “In the meantime, we had to go and buy new clothes.
“We had nothing, just the clothes that we came off the plane with.”
Flights home from South Africa cancelled
The problems didn’t stop there for the cursed couple, despite finally receiving their cases after four days in the picturesque port city.
The couple were told both their return flights later this month had been cancelled — leaving them stranded 6,300 miles from home.
The couple were horrified by the news, fearing they would be stuck in South Africa with no way home.
They considered booking a flight home the next day and scrapping the trip all together, however they decided to stay and see if BA could arrange new flights home.
Following inquiries into the cancellation by The Courier, the airline offered Bill and Alison free club class flights back to Edinburgh on July 20.
They accepted the offer, however BA have now gotten back in touch in an attempt to switch them over to another set of flights.
The couple say they still fear getting stranded and that the uncertainty is making it difficult for them to enjoy their trip.
Bill said: “If they could just be clearer it would be great.
“We still don’t know if they’re going to cancel us again.
“There’s so much uncertainty.
“I’m still a little bit upset as well because when I spoke to BA on Monday morning, the guy couldn’t tell me if I would be fully refunded for our flights.”
Alison added: “We just want to get on with our holiday.
“We’ve missed out on so much of our holiday because of this – missed out on things we were actually going to be doing.
“I just feel that the way they’ve treated us is abysmal.
“You wouldn’t treat anyone like that. You’re just a number to them.”
A spokesperson for the airline said: “We’ve been in touch with our customers directly to apologise and provide assistance to resolve the matter.”