"We are sorry ..."
when uttered by a large organization's PR department this phrase means absolutely nothing more than "we won't accept any come back for the problems that we cause by our incompatence".
It's not the summer holidays without an IT cock-up causing a major delay at UK airports, once again courtesy of British Airways. Folk travelling with the airline are having problems checking in online at London's lynchpin airports, which is affecting travel across the UK, including shorthaul flights to other UK airports. …
Recently, Canada IIRC, the credit firm that lost a lot of credit card data, posted their response:
"Thankfully no Credit card data was lost... ... ... except for those 100 thousand accounts with Credit card data that were lost."
I guess they were hoping their customers attention span only reached the first half of the statement.
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It's good to see that the consultancy services firm who run the bulk of their IT are continuing to prove their reputation is well earned.
My previous job was TUPEd over to them, as part of an outsourcing deal but I decided I was best off out. In hindsight it was the right decision as they seem to lurch from one eff up to another.
(Anonymous to protect the guilty!)
..........that the canned statements always mention "SOME" disruption,hacks,letdowns. In this case it is SOME flights form Heathrow. The £ 183 million ICO fine will of course be recovered from customers eventually. We end up paying for big corporate's penny pinching and ineptitude.
But it is always SOME, no matter how big the size of the breach, hack, cockups.
I remember the Talktalk hack (thrice in a year) and they still mentioned SOME customers hacked.
And then the words "we are working hard" to restore/fix/band aid/coverup our incompetencies. The PR dept jumps into overdrive. At least they pay for their keep.
Bar stewards all !
It's not actually a fine yet, it's been miss reported across most media as a fine, it's an "intention" to fine. BA have 28 days to respond and then the ICO will either fine them that amount or increase/reduce it depending on what BA has to say and other data protection authorities involved as not all data belonged to UK citizens.
"We are offering customers booked on short-haul services departing from Heathrow, Gatwick and London City today, the opportunity to rebook to another day."
Amazing what language can do. Perhaps the word "forcing" should be substituted in place of the word "offering" and the words "the opportunity" deleted, along with the preceding comma.
Have you noticed how we've been downgraded from passengers to customers? And passengers on the Scottish sleepers have been relegated to mere guests.
There've all forgotten that we've passengers and all we want is to get from A to B at roughly the agreed times, awake, asleep, or otherwise.
All this PR speak makes me sick.
Seriously why would you do (risk) it!
Surely the repeated outages and the massive customer inconvience likely due to the quality or lack of it of your BPO IT partner negates the initial so called savings...... Makes you wonder what goes through Willie Walsh's brain putting Alex Cruz in charge!
Curiously, this is the second recent BA problem where Cruz has been totally absent from the story (the other is the BA pilots' dispute). Walsh appears to be leading on both. Given the way Cruz handled the previous IT cock-up, I suppose that is not illogical.
But is Cruz still alive? Enquiring minds want to know.
Suspect it's a software issue. I would not mind but BA like most other major airlines used to use the Amadeus booking system which is a centralised booking system across the whole industry.
This was of course before everything software related when to Tata Consultancy Services (ie India). I do not know, but maybe they chose to save some money (ha!, ha!) and develop their own internal system using cheap Indian developers.
Glad I got out of BA years ago, even back then they didn't seem to know how to run an effective IT service.
BA still uses Amadeus. Slight problem is that it has deployed its own custom-made middleware layer and UI over the top of the check-in components, which is the part that usually goes wrong. Outsourcing management and maintenence to offshore providers ensures that the expertise needed to fix things when they go titsup has been dispersed to the four winds.
AC because I still have friends there (though not as many as I used to)
It's maybe just my bad luck but BA are the worst airline I've ever used and I've had to use them numerous times.
Last time was on a return leg from Rome just a few weeks ago. It was late, cabin was deeply dirty (just just a few bits of rubbish from the outbound flight) and there was hardly any food on board (ran out of M&S sandwiches by row 5).
Compared to the EasyJet we flew out on. The Easyjet was cleaner, had more legroom and the food was far better quality for the same price.
I get that they are based in the UK and the planes will be cleaned overnight and restocked in the UK. But it was as if BA was unaware that their planes would fly back from where ever they flew to. That seems to be my predominant experience of BA, everything is a surprise. When a plane had a fault it was as if no plane had ever had a fault before they had no idea what to do or how to tell passengers. When the passengers complained it was like they'd never had a complaint before. It's not comforting to see an airline rep wander about shouting "I don't know what to do".
I guess their staff are just thrown in with no training. I just avoid BA now if possible, they're shit.
That's my experience too. I fly a fair amount with work (normally at least a couple of times a month) and all my experiences with both easyJet and BA lead me to avoid the latter whenever at all possible.
Neither are perfect, but when things do go TITSUP with easyJet they handle it much better and do what they can for you (rebooking, overnight hotels at their expense, compensation via a simple on-line form) whereas BA just seem to throw their hands up in the air and panic.
Both used to fly from LGW to GVA (Geneva), but BA gave up on it as they were always late or cancelled. Over the last couple of decades I've flown that route with BA about 4 times (delayed/cancelled twice) and with EJ probably a hundred times (seriously delayed or cancelled about 6-8 times). The stats say it all.
Basicaly both are basically budget airlines these days, just BA aren't priced that way. But their aircraft are always much less clean, new and comfortable than EJ's.
And that's not even mentioning the way BA always (fail to) control boarding at the cattle-market known as LHR T5. If there's one thing I hate more than flying BA, it's flying from there. So having to do one from the other is a double-whammy of crap.
My last BA flight was to the States years ago...I was served a curry that was inedible...me having been called a food hoover before could not even swallow it, had to spit it out. Now go with the cheapest airlines and have a jacket which can fit 2 packs of sandwiches in each outside pocket!
From Edinburgh (EDI) I can get BA flights to:
That looks like about it. I can get Easyjet, RyanAir, Jet2 or a host of other airlines to dozens of destinations each, but BA insists on funnelling everyone through London (especially Heathrow).
Instead of building another stupid runway there, why not expand regional airports? Why not have smaller planes take direct flights to places people want to go, rather than always, always changing in London? And then when Heathrow falls over due to IT, or Gatwick due to drones, or City because of rafts charging the runway, it's a vastly reduced impact.
I. Fucking. Hate. Flying. Via. London.
I can't remember the last time I took BA to anywhere except London. There's usually a better way to go from here.
I flew LHR to Duluth with work, Business class! Champagne was OK. After that I find the best thing to drink is a bloody mary, without ice. So I ordered one and it turned up with ice in it. At the end of the flight I could attract the attention of the hostess and she'd say "bloody mary wthout ice" and return with tomato juice dripping from her fingers. After 14 of the buggers!
I've never understood why anyone drinks champagne on a plane.
Don't worry, we all have blind spots about other people's behaviour(*), that's why the maxim de gustibus non disputandem est was invented. In this case I fancied a glass of fizz as an aperitif for my evening meal on a late flight out of the US back to the UK. As they gave me the entire bottle I used it to accompany the meal. All terribly nice until I got to Heathrow in the early morning and found that as my flight took off on Friday evening and landed in the early morning, my company had booked my taxi for Friday morning.
(*) Mine tend to involve sports and soap operas, which can make conversations with some of my in-laws a tad disjointed.
It would be an interesting exercise to prove/disprove the existence of any kind of Business Continuity Plans at BA.
The reactions lately seem to just be "let's cancel a pile of flights and keep people at the airport until we work out what the fuck is going on".
Failover systems? Some kind of smooth manual systems? Maybe they've heard of them.
You would think that the amount of money they're losing whenever they have these problems would make it worthwhile to build some alternatives. Or perhaps they have some other way of recovering the money, so they don't care? Penalties on the outsourcers? Insurance?
Or perhaps they're just regarding it as a cost of doing business. Profits have been ok lately.
Disaster recovery? I think maybe they've only grasped half of this concept...the first half...
See above. From my humble experience BA have no contingencies for any issues; small or large.
And no staff training to deal smoothly with minor issues to prevent them becoming major issues.
I guess their business plan is to monopolise some route so you have no alternative to fly with them.
"I guess their business plan is to monopolise some route so you have no alternative to fly with them"
I think you may have misunderstood, but only slightly.
The corporate business plan is to ensure that corporate travellers using corporate travel agents are *forced* to book flights with BA. Nothing to do with corporate kickbacks for the corporate travel agents at year end, obviously, it has to be done so that manglement can mangle costs as cost effectively as their bonus schemes permit.
Competition. Fair markets. What a concept.
They are all competing amongst themselves to achieve a level playing field in terms of service, cockups, delays, customer services etc and the lowet common denominator being Ryan Air to aspire to.
Whats not to like?
Except the fares, and their arrogance.
Worlds Favourite? Says who?
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BA has for years outsourced it's IT to India.
Obviously you can guess I work in IT, but it doesn't mean any disrespect to any IT staff in India. I've seen good IT staff who were PAYE paying higher levels of TAX be made redundant to outsourcing...the external companies in India do not respect their own staff and a certain amount of bullying is encouraged to force them into these roles and support.
The only issue with that, is once these IT guys from India start working in the UK they realise they are paid less than 50% what UK staff are paid and so the divide is created.
This issue is caused by Legacy IT systems and the outsourcing company in India, which doesn't know how to support these OLD systems. It is a failure by all those British IT managers at BA, for not ensuring the outsourcing partner is aware... Obviously, those IT manager will pass on the issue to the outsourcing company, but unless it was registered the technical details in the contract nothing will be done...these British IT managers are simply being incompetent.
The downside for me working in IT, is these 'clowns' will appear in other roles in IT as if they produced a major success for BA...….
In a similar example: The same issue happened in RBS in 2012 when the entire IT staff from 'Legacy systems' were made redundant and the task of any future change was handed over as a documented 'script' what to do next. Unfortunately the IT staff in India, did not know how to work outside this documented 'script' and any customer of RBS, NatWest, Ulster Bank was unable to access their bank accounts for about a week. Stephen Hester at the time says it wasn't due to outsourcing...….
RBS had to pay 1,000 GBP per a day to re-hire those made redundant to fix these legacy systems...…..good on them :)
For the role of BA, they have to consider their customers. Too many BA staff are being asked to change shift rotas to longer timings in order to compensate for the companies mistake.....
It is a shame to see BA fail (being British), but naturally you have to look at management first. The staff in those terminals, planes,etc., don't have any choice...
The sooner new management is hired to replaced Alex 'the clown' and those other IT 'clown' managers, who hide behind him the better!!
Yep - the sooner we get away from idiot bean counters and MBAs running companies the better. They just don't understand that IT is actually really, really hard to do right - and that it will involve experienced people and that will cost them. However IT is the core of most businesses nowadays - they can't mess around and try to save a quick buck by outsourcing it to the cheapest bidder. IT is core, keep the people in-house and treat them well - it's in the long term interest of the company.
So this is just karma. In my experience you might find a few good IT resources in India, but typically 1-2 on a team of maybe 50-80. Coding quality can vary from "barely acceptable" at best to "oh my God - spaghetti hell - it looks like a 12 year old coded that / my eyes are bleeding". Also the best Indian resources tend to be already abroad e.g. in the US / Europe.
Sort of still is except it is a King and the county is Spain, since 2011 they have been owned by a spanish company International Airlines Group (IAG)
IAG's operational headquarters, which controls the management of both its British and Spanish subsidiaries, are at the Waterside building in Harmondsworth, London. IAG is incorporated in Spain as a Sociedad Anónima, where the company board meetings are held, and is domiciled in Spain for tax purposes.
To sum up if a company has British in its name is most like not.
From an outsiders viewpoint, there seems to be an acceptance by the management of these large companies that IT cockups are inevitable. It has become part of the culture. The response is to minimise the overall cost to the business by blustering and limiting compensation, and to increase lobbying and marketing activity to counter any external comeback. To change this will require a change in culture.
Every time there is such a cockup you sack a senior manager. Preferably you remove the chosen sacrifice's head and place it on a pole outside the company HQ to encourage the others. This will never happen. They are world class entrepreneurs and just require greater stock options to increase their motivation. Sacking is for the peasants.
One of the reasons why the low cost airlines have become so successful is that their quality of service, though not great, is not much different from the "quality" companies like BA. You get screwed either way but the ticket price is lower.
My guess is their TCS designed ESB failed. AFAIK BA don't use native Amadeus Altea FM for Departure Control functions.
They have their own bespoke front end built onto the standard Amadeus product.
So other airlines weren't affected.
Quite what they are doing making (reported elsewhere) config changes during the summer peak is anyone's guess.
Everyone I know at BA (good people, VERY good people) has left/been sold off so I can't get any actual information.
Which says a lot about IT at BA.
So the biggest target for Extinction Revolution (rebellion) has been hacked and fallen over? Or was it criminals looking for homes to target whilst their owners were abroad? Or more likely the unpredicted/unpredictable outcome of yet another software update?
Given the problems the NHS and Universities have had with various microshite updates this week I'm opting for the latter!
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