British Airways accused of treating customers with contempt during enforced New York stopover
British Airways has been accused of providing “deplorable service” after more than 100 London-bound passengers were stranded in the US for nearly three days due to a technical fault on a plane.
Passengers said their children were forced to sleep on the floor of New York’s JFK airport after their flight from Orlando in Florida to London was diverted.
Flight BA2036 was scheduled to leave Orlando on 1 November at 19.25 ET and arrive in London eight hours later. But after being held up by a “technical defect” and then a diversion to New York, it did not arrive in London until Sunday 4 November, 77 hours late.
The airline put up passengers in a hotel for the night in Orlando and returned them to the aircraft after repairs were made. The flight was diverted to New York after a further “minor technical issue”. Passengers said many people were stranded at JFK without information, accommodation or access to food or drink for several hours.
Ceri Todd, from Mumbles in Wales, said she was on the flight with her husband and two teenage children, who spent seven hours trying to sleep on the floor of the terminal before being moved to a departure lounge.
Describing it as “the journey from hell”, she said there were fire engines on the JFK tarmac when the plane landed but no BA staff to greet passengers. “There was a lack of leadership, a lack of strategy and there didn’t appear to be any plan in place for when things like this happen.”
Another passenger, Rosie Slater Watts, said her children had to bed down for more than five hours on a JFK terminal floor. She told the Guardian: “We were treated with contempt and like we didn’t matter. When we got on the aborted flight, the customer care manager advised us that they weren’t sure the aircraft had been fixed. No way would we ever use BA again.”
BA said in a statement: “We appreciate that this was an exhausting and frustrating experience for our customers, and we have apologised for the long delay to their flight. Customers were rebooked where possible and while there were limited hotel rooms available, our teams on the ground cared for customers in our first class lounge providing bedding, food and drinks to ensure they were comfortable during their stay.”
The company said it had been unable to find accommodation for all passengers because the New York marathon meant that hotels were fully booked.
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