British Airways' Staffers Ridicule Their Customers

British Airways' Gatwick staffers use Facebook to belittle their passengers.

ByPHILIP VICTOR
November 3, 2008, 12:19 PM

LONDON, Nov. 3, 2008 -- A group of British Airways staffers based at London Gatwick Airport are under scrutiny for a series of posts they made on Facebook, ridiculing their passengers.

Some of the comments included in a thread titled "Things That Irritate You More When Working on Check-In" featured British Airways employees expressing frustration over passenger behavior, according to U.K.'s Daily Mail. Employees complained about passengers putting boarding passes in their mouths and then handing them back [to staff].

The Daily Mail also reported customers were called "smelly" and employees were irked by people "breathing in your face," as well passengers "asking for a complimentary upgrade." Another British Airways employee remarked on U.S. customers and their "stupid accents."

In a statement to ABCNews.com, British Airways said: "We will be talking to the individuals concerned about their disappointing and unwise comments which are totally unrepresentative of the vast number of hardworking ground staff we employ at Gatwick."

The Facebook row involving British Airways employees comes after Virgin Atlantic recently fired cabin crew members after they used the social networking site to criticize the airline's' safety standards and called passengers "chavs," a slang term referring to brash, badly behaved, lower-class Brits.

In a statement to ABCNews.com, Virgin Atlantic said its investigation determined that all 13 staff members participated in a Facebook discussion that "brought the company into disrepute and insulted some of our passengers."

The statement also confirmed the 13 staff members were relieved of their duties after "breaking staff policies due to totally inappropriate behavior."

While customers have borne the brunt of recent criticisms, British Airways passengers have used Facebook too to vent their frustrations about poor service. A number of groups critical of British Airways have been created, including, "British Airways, You Suck!!," "Fed Up With Poor Service on British Airways," "British Airways -- Best at Losing Luggage in Europe!" and "I Vow Never to Fly British Airways."

One poster in a group wrote: "I am sitting at an airport in Dubai having a drink to cool me down after BA has just told me 'ooops, we rescheduled the flight to an earlier time and now I couldn't board.' No information online when I checked in last night, and after having this experience added to my previous -- three times lost bags! -- I have had enough of BFLA -- British F*ing Lost Airways!"

There's no word on whether British Airways will follow the move by Virgin Atlantic in taking action against the employees involved.

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