BT defends free flights offer

BT says that only 'about 20 people' are now waiting for their flight vouchers to be processed - and that 5,000 customers have taken or booked their flight

BT has hit back at claims that delays and backlogs have turned its free flight offer for new broadband customers a fiasco, saying that most customers have received their flights and 5,000 vouchers remain unclaimed.

New BT broadband customers were offered a free flight to the US or several European cities in a promotion earlier this year, and 10,000 vouchers were given out during the qualifying period.

Initially there were delays in processing some applications, which BT put down to the unprecedented demand.

A BT spokesman told ZDNet UK's sister site silicon.com: "There were teething problems and we did experience delays through the summer and we apologies for that but we will honour those who have a voucher and anyone who wants a flight will get it."

He said since then 5,000 customers have returned their vouchers and either taken their flight or have been booked on one and that the backlog is down to "about 20 people". He said the rest of the customers have not applied for their free flights yet.

"The other 5,000 we haven't heard from but they have until the 31 March, 2005, to redeem the vouchers," he said.

When the initial delays hit the BT offer there were comparisons to the Hoover free-flights debacle in the 1990s when customers who spent over £100 were offered two free transatlantic flights -- up to 100,000 people didn't get their flights and the company was forced to make massive compensation payments after a court case.

Any BT customers having problems with their claims or wanting more information on how to redeem their free flight vouchers can contact a helpline on 01274 256058.