Mustafa Al-Bassam asked the airline for help on Twitter when the ‘manage my booking’ section of its website – where passengers choose seats and download their boarding passes – became stuck on a loading page.
After being told to clear his cookies and delete his browsing history, Al-Bassam tweeted that turning off his adblocker had solved the problem. He then challenged the airline on how his no longer masked information would be shared with advertisers.
It worked after turning off adblock. So that let me down a rabbit hole, and it seems you leak my booking information to tons of third party advertisers and trackers (including LinkedIn, Twitter, DoubleClick) when I attempt to check in online. Why? I did not consent to this. pic.twitter.com/4hpFi7Y3J2
— Mustafa Al-Bassam (@musalbas) July 17, 2018
Other Twitter users responded to Al-Bassam's exchange with BA to report similar experiences of having to disable their adblockers to use some of its online services.
"Trying to book a flight on @British_Airways and I've had to make multiple, temporary exceptions in @ublockorigin and @The_Pi_Hole...," wrote one user. "When I'm coming to your site to buy something why is there so much privacy invasive stuff? The site literally doesn't work without them!"
Another tweeted: "Pretty sure this also applies to buying tickets. I have to turn off adblock in Firefox otherwise the continue button on one page doesn't work."
British Airways did not comment on The Drum's specific question about why passengers would need their adblockers to be switched off to check in for flights.
Instead a spokesperson attached the company's 1688-word cookies policy and said: "We are transparent with customers about our cookie terms and conditions, and always ask them to review the details before choosing whether to accept or opt out."
British Airways chief executive Alex Cruz apologised to customers on Friday (7 September) after the company revealed that the personal and financial details of customers making or changing bookings had been compromised in a data hack.
"We are committed to working with any customer who may have been financially affected by this attack, and we will compensate them for any financial hardship that they may have suffered," Cruz told the BBC's Today programme.
Some 380,000 transactions were believed to have been affected.