Conservative Activist Candace Owens Got Hosed By British Airways

Conservative media personality Candace Owens bought business class tickets to London for her family on British Airways. Her seats had no working power, so they wouldn’t recline. Seat power didn’t work to charge her devices. And the seatback entertainment screen didn’t work either.

The London-based carrier didn’t tell her about the problem in advance. She discovered it on board when, apparently, it was too late to switch seats or even downgrade to economy where should could use seat video to entertain her kids. And while she says she was promised a full refund for the problem – she did not get what she paid for – the airline’s customer service only offered her $200 in travel credit against $18,000 in airfare.

This is what’s wrong with airlines. They advertise and sell a product, take customer money, and then when they do not deliver what they promised fall back on a claim that they only ‘really’ committed to provide transportation between two points. It’s fraud, and they’ve been getting away with it for years.

She had a lap infant in addition to three paid seats she reports costing $6,000 apiece (though I assume that’s actually the roundtrip cost, perhaps she did buy one way tickets which often price higher for international).

She says she’d have downgraded to economy for working TVs to entertain the kids. I’m surprised she doesn’t travel with a tablet for them to use on long flights, though she notes the lack of seat power. Always charge your devices before a trip, even when the plane is supposed to have pwoer!

Owens will likely get her money back because she has a huge (divisive and controversial) social media presence. The rest of us don’t wind up so lucky.

Some of her followers are cheering her on, while others drag her a bit over paying for business class. That makes her less relatable. When I was a pre-teen my father, who had been a radio disc jockey earlier on, told me “never go on the air and talk about your golf game.” Some people like Trump make hay out of (exaggerating) wealth, but most people become far less sympathetic.

Ms. Owens is married to a British citizen and makes the hop across the Pond with some regularity, and seems to stick with oneworld. Their codeshare arrangement has created problems getting refunds for her.

A regular American Airlines flyer, she thinks they fake delays in order to get passengers to choose not to fly on overbooked flights, avoiding paying out compensation. She believes they want all of your AAdvantage miles to expire, too, yet still buys premium cabin tickets on the airline and once bought first class DC to Dallas, leaving me on the upgrade list.

Owens was an anti-Trump activist and liberal consultant before switching teams in 2017. Her husband is the CEO of Parler, and she attempted to co-found an anti-woke bank which failed. So while no matter what you think of her current takes on the world, my own view is that she’s something of a grifter, but she is 100% in the right in this instance.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I’m sure this played out exactly as she claims. She’s never given anybody any reason to doubt anything she has said.

  2. Politics aside, isn’t the majority of the product (international business class on BA) a reclining lie flat seat? BA owes her a refund in fair difference between business and premium economy at a minimum.

  3. Candace Owens is basically the Republican Party’s version of Meghan Markle, except she married a rich aristocrat and not a prince of the blood.

  4. Another example of the incompetent Biden administration and how badly they have mismanaged British Airways!

  5. Ms. Owens politics are not relevant here.
    I’d say we don’t want airlines canceling or delaying flights for things such as inoperable seats. However, in this day and age it would be very easy for airlines to begin publishing those seats that are broken on their website. Create added transparency and let the passengers make their own decisions regarding seats that are not 100% in operation. This would go a long way to minimizing passengers complaints if they chose to bypass a notice that a seat is not fully operational.

  6. Gary you’re no better than the liberal media. Why are only conservative views “divisive and controversial”? Pretty much by definition, many things political will be, no matter which side you’re on. Grow up.

  7. Happened to me once on BA LAX-LHR (video and charging but bed worked thankfully).
    BA gave me a 75 pound credit.

  8. Wouldn’t be surprised if BA deliberately disabled the power to her seats prior to her boarding.

  9. Hah! You expect us to believe anything the comes from Candace’s Owen’s mouth (or twitter)?

    Changes that this played out in the way she claims are essentially zero.

  10. It’s one thing to identify her political affiliation, but it’s becoming exhausting to see “journalists” interjecting opinions. Are you a gossip columnist?

  11. Haven’t read any of Gary’s articles in a long time bc he has become so negative. And here he goes again. A legit BA story turned into a neg human story. And I’ve never even heard of this lady but he obviously doesn’t like her. I think I’d be upset too if I were in her situation.

  12. Politics aside (because frankly, it’s not relevant here), why does she keep flying oneworld airlines if she complains about them so much and thinks they’re grifting her? It doesn’t make sense.

  13. Absolutely unacceptable for BA to sell a business class fare ticket and not deliver. We all know the HIGH likelihood that others received upgrades or had non-rev seats. This operational level of detail should always be proactively managed ahead of time by an airline gate agent.

  14. “Sometimes the most remarkable things seem commonplace. I mean when you think about it jet travel is pretty freaking remarkable. You get in a plane it defies the gravity of a entire planet by exploiting a loophole with air pressure and it flies across distances that would take months or years to cross by any means of travel that has been significant for more than a century or three. You hurtle above the earth at enough speed to kill you instantly should you bump into something and you can only breathe because someone built you a really good tin can that seems tight enough to hold in a decent amount of air. Hundreds of millions of man-hours of work and struggle and research blood sweat tears and lives have gone into the history of air travel and it has totally revolutionized the face of our planet and societies.

    But get on any flight in the country and I absolutely promise you that you will find someone who in the face of all that incredible achievement will be willing to complain about the drinks.”

    ― Jim Butcher

  15. The same thing happened to me. I bought a business class seat going from JFK to Europe. after the plane took off I discovered the seat would not recline and that none of the electronics would work. I was not offered another seat, even in economy where OI could at least recline a little. The airline’s response? To bad. I’m still fighting fore some compensation but they say that they make no guarantees about seats.

  16. Odd that 3 seats were inop, and they were just her party’s seats.

    Makes me wonder if someone on BA staff saw her on the pax list and sabotaged

  17. I think it best, Gary, to leave personal political feelings off your website.
    Just the advice from an 83 year old.

  18. Hate that you decided to be just as “divisive” by injecting your political beliefs into this, otherwise would have been a good read. No need in reading anymore from here though since you can’t be unbiased.

  19. The real crime was bringing two infants and a third 2 year old on board a plane, let alone in business class. I feel bad for the remaining passengers who had to deal with the whining, screaming, complaining, and grumpiness of them all as they sat there (or probably jumped around) for hours on end. BA seems to cater to babies in business for some reason.

    That aside, yeah she did buy a product and received substantially less than what as advertised. An airline likely won’t delay a flight for a single seat that is non functioning. Not a good situation for the passenger or the airline. I always travel with my own entertainment on my ipad and keep my devices fully charged before getting on the plane. Plan ahead. Plan for no power, no internet, and no entertainment. Plan it out and there is little to worry about (at least in manually reclining seats).

  20. I didn’t know about her history. The problem with the Republican Party is it is full of rinos like McConnell who undermine us from within by telling us they are on our side but block any action or disavow any action when we get close to something substantive. Most Republicans in congress are owned and controlled by the same people who own and control most establishment Dems. It’s the same for “Conservative” commentators. Candice says the right things but going from anti freedom to pro freedom in 1-2 years is suspect. DTA. I do find it of note that Gary followed the Wikipedia guidelines of labeling her “controversial and divisive” when liberals and Dems are not labelled the same way. 100% of conservatives find liberal politicians and pundits “controversial” yet we hardly see Reuters or etc label them as such. Things like the border wall which had 70% support are labelled controversial but things like biological males in female sports is labelled as “empowering to the trans community”.

    She is 100% right about how awful the airline is not to provide a proper refund. If an airline advertises a business class product and doesn’t deliver, it’s fraud if it knows it can’t deliver or doesn’t compensate for the issue. If there’s one case where the racketeering statute should be used, it’s this one.

  21. Nicely said.

    When George Washington was President, he warned about not establishing political parties in America. Then case along Adams and reverse that…so sad…political parties are ruining my country and we should all be damn sick of it.

  22. I guess she got what she paid for. If you advocate for anti-regulation politicians, you should have to suffer the consequences of a lack of regulation in silence. The free market says she should buy her tickets from another airline next time

  23. Ms. Owens could avoid these problems by just following the example of another prominent African American conservative and flying free on Harlan Crow’s private jet.

  24. I’m on team Candace.She needs a full refund from BA..Hope it comes soon or she should try other airlines…

  25. The yt liberals show their segregationist past when a black conservative dares speak out of turn.

  26. Oh Gary….the pathetic caveats and desperate pleas not to offend (the intolerant left) — all the while savaging someone who dares to bring a black, independent, conservative voice to the debate.

    Let’s stop for just a moment and examine the truth:

    Candace Owens: thinks all Americans should have to produce a valid photo ID to vote — just like they do to board an aircraft, enter a courthouse, buy liquor, etc.

    Liberal Response: Outrageous(!), xenophobic(!), racist(!), homophobic(!), transphobic(!) dictator(!) Nazi(!), Monster(!)

    Joe Biden: Let’s murder 600,000 unborn babies in America every year and call it “healthcare”

    Liberal Response: Yes…that is the civilized, humane, logical, compassionate, smart thing to do. Better yet, let’s monetize it (Planned Parenthood) and make a fortune!

    The insanity of the Left never ceases to amaze. It is literally demonic.

  27. What the hell do her politics have to do with what happened? If she paid for something and didn’t get it, she deserves a refund. Stop blathering on about your personal world views.

  28. bhcompy says:

    “…If you advocate for anti-regulation politicians, you should have to suffer the consequences of a lack of regulation in silence. The free market says she should buy her tickets from another airline next time”

    It’s precisely because airlines are subsidized and bailed out by the government that they feel they
    can repeatedly treat their customers like garbage. If you are referring to airlines as examples of a free market, you are a sorely misinformed ideologue.

  29. Gary, she may be a grifter , but everyone of prominence on the left and right are grifters. Everyone has an agenda and they all make money off of it , their followers, and corporations. Everyone makes money off their BS Left and Right.

  30. @lewfalo Yea, and? There’s no current regulation in what she’s bitching about. She’s free to buy her tickets from another airline.

  31. @bhcompy And she’s free to drag them through the coals on Twitter too, which is what she’s doing. And free to call for less regulation when those regulations accomplish nothing other than to protect government-favored industries from competition. She isn’t going to be “suffering in silence” any time soon, and neither is anyone else that disagrees with you or any similar collectivist.

  32. The seats can be manually reclined if the electric recline is not working, so she didn’t lose the flat bed.

  33. @lewfalo “She isn’t going to be “suffering in silence” any time soon”

    Of course she isn’t. Being obnoxious is her game. She’s free to do what she wants, and I’m free to wish she would shut her yapper. She sure shut the hell up when Ted Lieu put her in her place

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