Monday, 26 January 2009

Fly BMI!

Well it's official it seems that whatever country I am in my life is complex, busy and definitely never without a dull moment. This weekend's challenge/ problem, depending on how you look at it, was with regards to my flights to Moscow with British Airways. As part of the regulations with my visa I had to book return tickets to Moscow and so as not to end up being deported from Russia, which would then mean that I would be banned from Russian soil for 5 years, I decided that it would best to check the expiry date on my visa. It read 30th June I knew my course ended on June 5th so I thought that I would book my ticket a few days later so that I could have a last chance to see everything in Moscow. Later that week I found out that the expiry date was in fact June 8th, hum I thought that's ok will just have to phone BA and ask them to change my return flight to June 8th. In the past I flew to Russia with BMI and if you needed to change your flight you simply called them and they would change it for about £20.
Naively I assumed that BA, being as it is the official UK airline would do the same, WRONG! I was told that I would need to cancel my whole flight including the flight that leaves on Saturday, forfeit all my money and then buy a new ticket with the correct dates. This would end up costing around a grand to do all of this as tickets to Moscow are stupidly expensive. I suppressed the very strong urge to tell the person from BA exactly what I thought of them and their rubbish approach to customer services, and instead tried to calmly explain that I had to change my flight for visa reasons and that it honestly was by mistake that I had booked the wrong date. A mistake yes but one that could have very serious consequences. This did not work so I simply hung up and glared at the phone.
After much ranting about how rubbish British Airways were, mild panic at potentially being deported in June, mad praying for some solution, mad planning of how to get to Riga to buy a tourist visa to avoid deportation I decided that I should email my University in Moscow for advice on what to do- try to extend my visa or run off to Riga?
Luckily the situation was resolved by asking for my visa to be extended by a few days so that I would not be deported, amazingly this was resolved very quickly and with a surprising lack of difficulty for Russia, trust me I've have more problems trying to order beer in Krushka than I have had sorting this.
Lessons for the future do not fly with British Airways, if you want to go to Moscow fly with BMI, or for those brave hearted people out there fly Aeroflot to Moscow.

1 comment:

Damon Lord said...

Like a number of UK brands, the B in the brand name has ceased to stand for British. BT, not British Telecom, but Bloody Terrible. BA, not British Airways, but Bloody Awful.