Not so much A-B cos of BA

An update to my previous problems on booking a flight with a cello….

Today was the day for booking the quartet’s flights to Norway. Looking more like a test for Which? magazine, four of us sat around a circular table with a MacBook and PC Laptop between us. After some minutes avoiding the process of making us poorer getting organised, and before it became necessary to draw straws, I was nominated to go first as I had to book a seat for my cello.

First I found the telephone number for customer services, and before calling to check about how to book the cello seat decided to get the flight info up on screen for easy reference. The phonecall too should have been fairly easy.

Me: (After 10 minutes on hold to ticket sales dpt) Hi. I’m travelling to Norway and need to book a seat for my cello. Can I do that online?
BA: Sorry, this is the wrong department. I’ll put you through.
Me: As above.
Real Ticket Sales Dpt: No. You’ll need to do that on the phone, and it will incur a £15 charge because you’ve chosen to do so rather than paying online.
Me: But you said I couldn’t do it online, so I ‘m not really choosing am I?
RTSD: Well, this is the wrong department. I’ll put you through.
Me: Third repeat of opening statement.
Some other BA Department: Have you already booked your own ticket online?
Me: No.
SOBAD: Well, you have to do that first, then call us and we’ll sort out the cello ticket.

So that’s what I do. I book my ticket online. Except airport security must be getting really tight now, because I had to enter my information 3 times because the site kept crashing. Then, my credit card’s latest internet security secure-code thingy made my credit card so DiVinci-code secure even I couldn’t crack the code. Brilliant. So I have to make myself instantly poorer now, instead of using well-established delaying tactics. Also how many dpartments do BA have? I know they’re a massive company, but you’d think they’d make sure the Sales department was easy to find, and certainly where they said it would be wouldn’t you? That’s just simple business sense…

Then there’s an obligatory 25 minutes on hold to the same BA customer service line. Still, only 3 more people to go…

Me: Hi, I’m calling because I spoke to one of your colleagues earlier about flying with a cello to Norway. I’ve booked my own ticket online, and now need to pay for a seat for my cello.
Nice Man: Cool. Okay. Um. Er. Um. Can I call you back in 5 minutes? It’s only I’ve only done a cello once before, and I need to check a few things.
[10 minutes later]
Nice Man: Do you have the dimensions?
Me: You wouldn;t believe this, but there’s actually a violist in front of me with a tape measure (there really was!). [So they measure it and read it out, in a strange mix of metric and imperial, which dliutes Nice Man’s mood a little…]
Nice Man: And its weight?
Me: [Now, at this point I have to work very hard to resist a quip about it being shy about its weight and having put on a few pounds over Easter]. Two Stone?
Nice Man: I’ll say 10kilos. That’s what they normally are. [I’m reassured by his clear authoritative voice, having dealt with a cello once before].
Nice Man: Excellent. Well, we’ll ge back to you within 24hrs with a quote for the cello. Have a nice day. [click]

And he was gone. A quote? Did he not hear I’d already booked my own seat? What am I going to do, put the cello on a Ryanair flight if I don’t like the price they quote me with a little tag saying ‘please look after this cello’? I mean, it has no luggage and at 180 years old it surely qualifies for an OAP discount. I’m happy paying full fare, so just give me a ticket?

Needless to say the other 3 were now a bit more shy about going next. Still, I’m off to Norway, so I guess I just have to wait and see whether tomorrow my cello is coming too, or whether it will be Dvorak’s ‘American’ Quartet for string trio and stressed-looking guy singing pathetically as his cello was unfortunately detained in Britain. Probably due to George Dubya.

PS British Airways, if I wanted to hear Delibes’ Flower Duet played on classical guitar I’d find it in the panpipes section of HMV. If I wanted to hear it for 25 minutes non-stop, I’d probably investigate the local psychologists on Yell.Com…

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