Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Off topic moan - Price Promise that isn't

Although I try to keep this blog within its very loose boundary of software and business there are times when you want to say something that doesn’t fit.

I could try and justify the following story on the basis that it concerns my upcoming trip to Agile Eastern Europe. Or I could justify it as an example of poor system thinking, but I think it is really a moan.

It also shows how I was fooled. I’m not as bright as I like to think I am, for once I believed what the corporation told me despite my natural cynicism.

It all began when I set out to book my flights to Agile Eastern Europe in October. As usual I did a quick check on Opodo to see what the market fare was and who had flight. Turns out British Airways had a direct flight, was fairly competitive and since they are my usual airline I decided to book with them.

As usual I then went to the BA website to see if it was any cheaper. It wasn’t indeed it was more expensive, but since I was now logged into the BA system and all my details were on file I decided to finish the booking there.

However, BA was more expensive. That’s OK I thought, BA make a big thing of their “Price Promise.” I’ll just keep a record of what Opodo offer and they’ll give me the money back, about £25.

Wrong.

British Airways won’t pay up. Despite sending them the PDF I took of the Opodo offer they say its a different itineracy. Erh? Same flight out, same slight back. But it seems, Opodo was offering me two single tickets and BA were offering a return ticket.

Wonderful. British Airways are hiding behind word play. I want a flight to Kiev and a flight back. Do I care about the niceties of ticketing? No. The difference is lost on me.

So there you have it. BA have made an extra £25 out of me. Clever, pat yourself on the back guys.

Except, I’ll never book with BA.com direct again. That means 20%-30% of all the ticket revenue will go to Opodo in future.

I’ve been avoiding BA for much of this year because of the strikes. This means I’ve rediscovered Heathrow Terminal 1 and flying with BMI and Lufthansa. Looks like I’ll be using them more.

Advice to companies: if you are going to make these kind of price or quality promises don’t hide behind word play when people try to claim. It annoys them even more.

I have only myself to blame, a quick bit of Googling shows other people with similar complaints - here and here.

Sorry to my regular readers for a well off topic piece.