My $20 worth of fun with British Airways

A couple weeks ago British Airways published what appeared to be a great sale fare for flights from the USA to India.  I want to go back to visit India, as does my wife.  So I bought a couple tickets and we started planning.  Just about 72 hours later, however, BA decided that they actually didn’t want to sell the seats at that fare.  Three days after I bought our tickets, the airline cancelled them.  Sure, I got a nice email claiming that the sale was a mistake.  But that was it.  Eventually a relatively worthless $300 coupon also showed up but, well, it is relatively useless.

IMG00002-20091019-1059I tried to talk to them about the situation but they really don’t like taking phone calls.  I actually managed to defeat their auto attendant system and got to a human.  Their customer service rep told me that if I didn’t like the decision I should “fly another airline” or speak to their legal department.  But there was no phone number available to contact said group.  Well a bit more ingenuity and a week of trying yielded some results.  I got a phone number for the legal departments and played phone tag (mostly me tagging them for a while) with the crew there.  Eventually I managed to speak with someone in their legal department.  Jim wasn’t particularly interested in having a conversation, however, essentially telling me that I’d get nothing and I’d like it.

And that brings me to my $20 worth of fun.  It is amazing what $20 will get you at the Clerk of the Court’s office.  In my case, it is a trial date in Small Claims Court for Manhattan.  Just fill out one short form and hand the clerk $20 and you get a trial date.  Mine is December 3, 2009.  I’m very much looking forward to it!

And I didn’t even have to take the $20 from Mother’s wallet (very obscure movie reference – UA or CO drink chit in the mail to the first to get it right).

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. Paul Giamatti takes $$ from his mother's wallet in Sideways before embarking a trip, but assume that's not the reference you're making?

  2. Indeed, it was $50 in Sneakers, but I'm not going to pay New York extra for my fun if I don't have to. Assuming you're on FlyerTalk, PM me an address (sbm12) and a preference for a CO in-flight or UA RCC chit and I'll send it along.

  3. I take it you're not hoping for BA to send you on an all-expense-paid junket to promote their new A318 service from LCY to JFK… 😉

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