British Airways souvenir sale falls short of first class

Tammy Hughes
·2-min read
Disgruntled customers have posted pictures of damaged products - @MelchettsTash/Twitter/@MelchettsTash/Twitter
Disgruntled customers have posted pictures of damaged products - @MelchettsTash/Twitter/@MelchettsTash/Twitter

Hundreds of angry customers are furious after British Airways memorabilia they bought online failed to arrive or was damaged during delivery. 

The airline has sold thousands of surplus items including first class blankets, bread baskets, champagne flutes, mugs, plates and meal trolleys.

But the sale proved so popular that the company BA tasked with selling its products has struggled to cope with soaring demand. 

Online retailer Whatabuy repeatedly crashed, sometimes after customers had paid, sparking panicked calls to their customer service team. 

Many customers are still waiting for their products and claim they have had no response from Whatabuy. 

Others have reported receiving broken items that were smashed after being poorly packaged. 

Hannah Gibbs, a GP from Hampshire, ordered bread baskets, starter plates, blankets, casserole dishes, six saucers and six champagne flutes from the collection.

But when her delivery arrived she was surprised to find the only item she had ordered was a set of first class blankets. 

She had also been sent some mugs, tea cups and bowls that she hadn't ordered.

"Whatabuy? What a shambles!" she wrote on Twitter.

 "Most of what I ordered is missing and I've been sent things I didn't order. Did anyone actually check the dispatch note?"

Speaking to the Telegraph Ms Gibbs said that she initially thought she had received someone else's order until she saw the dispatch note attached with all the correct details.

"I think it shows that someone had been completely rushed off their feet and hadn't read the instructions," she said. 

"I don't want to moan because there are far worse things happening in the world but it's not rocket science."

BA under IAG - a decade of turbulence
BA under IAG - a decade of turbulence

Public relations expert Nicholas Hadjinikos, whose girlfriend is still waiting for her bread baskets, said BA should have been more cautious before working with Whatbuy.

"Companies should always partner with firms that share their integrity, brand values and service levels," he said. 

"Even if your relationship is at arms length or commercially removed, the other company is still using your name and brand as a part of what they are doing - so the responsibility and the risk sit with you.

"A third class site was selling memories of a first class experience. With predictable consequences."

A spokesperson from British Airways said the airline was working hard to ensure all customers received their orders in time for Christmas.

"We’re in touch with those who may not have received their items yet to reassure them they’re on their way," they said. 

"All products are quality checked before they leave the warehouse but we’ll offer a refund for any items that are not in the condition advertised on the site."

The Telegraph contacted Whatabuy for comment.