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Unread 2 Feb 18, 05:55 PM  
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geoffa
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Hola! or Ohla! A Barcelona experience. Day 4/2

Day 4 (Part Two) 21/1/18 - In Gatwick Airport, no one can hear you scream!

So having had a brilliant time in Barcelona we want to return soon we get a message on Darrins phone at lunchtime to say our BA 17:25 flight is cancelled.



Darrin tries to call the number theyve given but just cannot get through. It is constantly engaged. We decide to head to the airport and find out what is going on. We use the RENFE mainline train from Passeig de Gracia.



Within 25 minutes we are back at the El Prat station. We have to drag our cases from there over the half mile long link bridge and down into terminal 1 where we catch the shuttle bus outside to Terminal 2.



Now I think this bus went via Seville it took so long.



We passed an Agave farm (mezcal / tequila) and I dream how I wish had a glass in my hand.



On arrival at the terminal we go to the information desk. BA dealings are handled by Iberia staff who dont seem too concerned about our predicament. Eventually one woman appears to inform us we have been re-booked onto another BA flight at 8:25p.m. (CET) but to Gatwick not Heathrow, our original departure airport - 3 hours later than the original. My DIBB mind kicks in more than two hour delay meal and drinks voucher. We are told we will get these at the check in desk. Over we go. We wont be able to claim for flight delays as its all down to Adverse weather. Apparently, the runway at Heathrow was covered in ice. We have checked.
We go over to the check in desk.

Well, Attila the Hun would have had better attitude!



She grabs our passports, presses some buttons and produces two boarding cards. It is only then that we realise that we have been allocated seats in World Traveller (Economy). We were booked for Club. OK, so they have got us on a plane but they are still obliged to get us to Heathrow. We ask what will happen at Gatwick. We then get a Its not my fault and its up to BA to sort us out kind of retort. We never said it was her fault. She books in the cases and then tells us to go to another check in desk for a meal voucher where a young man is having a siesta. He has a plaster on his chin. Heaven knows why!
I ask Attila which way it is to the lounge.

The response is You cant use the lounge. You have Economy tickets! We reply that we paid for Club Class and as we have not yet been refunded any difference the contract effectively still stands so the least they can do is let us in to the lounge. We then get a lecture about how it is not BAs lounge and that BA would have to pay for us to use it and.. I decide to collect our meal vouchers and then go back to the dis-information desk.

Once Jesus (that was his name!) awakens from his slumbers he gives us not just dinner vouchers but lunch ones as well even though its now past 3p.m. So we are up on that deal.



We return to the dis-information booth. I explain we have been downgraded but that I feel we should still have use of the lounge. We get a similar response that we got from Attila. I ask to speak to a manager and the response is that BA managers dont work Sundays. I ask if Iberia managers work on Sundays. The lady goes to get somebody (couldnt she have done this in the first place?) He argues the same old line we have Economy tickets so cant use the lounge. I ask if he has VIP authority. He does. I request him to use it and get us two passes to the lounge. He eventually relents. British Airways / Iberia are the same in my book. Each comes under the International Airlines Group and each act as agents for each other.
Dictionary definition Agents - persons who act on behalf of another person or group.
Legal definition person or group authorised to act on behalf of another (called the principal) to create legal relations with a third party.
In other words Iberia have as much responsibility and liability as British Airways.

I ask what we should do at Gatwick about getting to Heathrow to be told Theyll organise something. Look for their staff.

So we go off to the lounge the meal vouchers are not really needed now.



When we find some seats I down a good half bottle of Chardonnay. Its something I do to stop me committing murder!

We sit, we eat ,we drink, we read, we sit, we eat, we drink, we go on our laptops. Have you tried killing 5 hours? Then the great news the Gatwick flight will be delayed until 9:14 p.m.
OK another 45 minutes. They do have a relaxation room at Barcelona (something they should put in at other airports). It is a screened, dimly lit area with Chaise Longues where you can get you head down for a few hours. I manage about 2 hours.

At around 8:40p.m. we are given a gate number. When we get there we are allowed to board via Club / Business line. (Work that one out.) We are in row 15. Our fellow passengers are Joe Swatch (Eastenders) and Stacey Solomon. They are dating apparently. They are also far from chuffed at being in the same situation as ourselves. They are pleasant enough with us. Stacey naps during the flight. She has to be in Salford by morning.

Eventually we take off around 9:45p.m. (CET) BA no longer do free drinks or eats on European Economy flights so we have to buy two cups of tea using Avios points.

We land at Gatwick around 10:55p.m. By the time we have done Immigration automatic and quite quick) and collected out luggage which takes forever , it is getting on for 11:30p.m. UK time. Now its time to play hunt the BA staff. There are no notice boards, no announcements, no nothing! No blasted BA staff. Nobody else has a clue. The last Gatwick Express has gone. The last National Express service to Heathrow has gone.

At this point we go to the Bloc hotel which is in the South Terminal and try and get a room for the night. For 84 they give us a family room. How youd manage a family in there I cant imagine.








At least we can have a shower and a comfy bed. I take the Queen bed and Darrin has the bottom of the two bunk beds. We set the alarm for 7. Darrin needs to get into work tomorrow so he needs some sleep.

Monday morning dawns.

We get up feeling refreshed, wash and get dressed then head to Wetherspoons for breakfast. We decide we cant really charge BA for that. We return to London on the Gatwick Express for convenience and then the tube so we can get home.
We will get a refund on the difference between Club and Economy but not the full amount apparently!

However, Monday evening was spent filling out the complaints form and claim for expenses.




I have always defended BA in the past after a particularly bad experience with Virgin some years ago. On this occasion they let us down badly and unless they apologise and refund our legitimate (and I think reasonable) expenses they may lose us as customers.
It really took the shine of what had been a wonderful break in Barcelona. It was as if once we had been downgraded we didnt count. Well, that is not what we pay Club prices for as Willie Walsh will find out.

Motto stand your ground and know your rights.

** Some library pictures used in this Part 4/2 report.

INDEX: https://DIBB.in/13036728
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Edited at 06:00 PM.
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Cancelled because of illness.
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Unread 2 Feb 18, 06:06 PM  
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Gryff
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You go for it tried the same on me coming back from Orlando in August did get a refund and an upgrade voucher out of them though
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Unread 2 Feb 18, 06:23 PM  
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Mr Tom Morrow
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Geoff. Ahh the final instalment. As I alluded to earlier I knew about this as we were texting at the time.
Very poor show all round however there is no excuse whatsoever for no BA staff to be at Gatwick upon your arrival.
It's not rocket science to know they have a plane load of their passengers arriving and arrangements need to be made.

But. A great trip was had and it was only at the last hurdle things went awry.

Lovely informative report as always. Well done.

Oh and dont forget the compensation can pay for a few treats on the Route 66 trip.
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Unread 2 Feb 18, 07:17 PM  
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mick
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Shame a great trip had to finish on such a low

Hope you manage to get things sorted out!

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Unread 2 Feb 18, 08:05 PM  
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DisneyDaffodil
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What a shambles, I understand cancellations/changes happen but it is how the company deals with it that counts. BA seemed to be non-existant in helping in this situation. I do hope you get suitable reimbursements for the extra expenses.
Apart from the flight, it seems a lovely trip. I really enjoyed the trip report 😊
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Unread 2 Feb 18, 08:23 PM  
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Scotty
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BA on the ground at Heathrow were awful when we flew home in December. Put from 1 queue to another. We gave up in the end and got a train back to Scotland as there was no guarantee they could even get us back the next day.
The website said to allow 7 days for a refund to be processed - we finally heard on Wednesday.
Not Happy as we are considerably out of pocket still.
Glad you enjoyed Barcelona though. We love it there.
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And so it goes on... again
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Unread 2 Feb 18, 08:28 PM  
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Melvin Pearce
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So sorry how you were treated. Hope that you get your refund if you aren't happy with what you get, let us know as our son works for BA and should know who to complain too.

But glad you had a lovely time in Barcelona

Lesley and Melvin
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Unread 2 Feb 18, 08:56 PM  
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Eeyore rocks
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Glad you had a fabulous time in Barcelona... shame it ending soured it a bit..Hope you manage to get all that is owed to you.

Thanks for sharing.
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