A British family endured an 11-hour, 885-kilometre taxi ride costing the equivalent of AUD 3770 to catch a holiday flight after British Airways overbooked their connecting flight.
London’s Sun newspaper tells the tale of Roy Ferguson, 48, his wife, two teenage children and 80-year-old mother in law, who had to be driven through the night from Aberdeen on the northeast coast of Scotland to London Gatwick – arriving with just 30 minutes to spare.
According to the paper, the family had been due to fly from Aberdeen to London Heathrow and then drive to London Gatwick to catch their charter flight to Greece. The drive from Heathrow to Gatwick is only about 65 kilometres, a rather more manageable distance.
The Fergusons missed their first flight because BA overbooked their plane “forcing them to undertake the stressful marathon journey”, the Sun says.
The airline offered them compensation and covered the astronomical taxi fare but Roy Ferguson said the hassle of it all, and the tight deadline, left them upset.
“After lots of phoning around, it was established that the only way of BA getting us to London in time for our flight from Gatwick was by arranging a taxi,” he said.
“It was a bit of a shock to find the taxi was not a more comfortable one, considering the time this journey was going to take.”
BA apologised but added: “It is common practice within the airline industry to overbook flights on certain routes where it is known that a number of customers with flexible tickets are unlikely to turn up for the flight. If all such seats were left empty it would prevent other customers from travelling on the day they wanted.”
Alice in Wonderland logic there.
Written by Peter Needham