Bits: you may get £400 from MasterCard!, BA’s refusal to check through bags begins to bite

News in brief:

MasterCard may owe you £400!

The Daily Telegraph reported yesterday that a class action lawsuit is being prepared against MasterCard in the UK.  This will be one of the first cases to be brought following changes to the law via the Consumer Rights Act 2015 which made them possible.

The case comes after the EU found that MasterCard had broken the law by charging ‘excessive’ interchange fees to retailers between 1992 and 2008.

The crux of the case is this:

“Mr Merricks argues that because MasterCard’s fees have already been found to be illegal by the European Commission, this ‘follow-on’ claim need only prove the damage consumers suffered as a result of MasterCard’s anti-competitive behaviour.”

As retailers were forced to pay MasterCard more than necessary for accepting their cards, you may think that it should not be difficult to prove that consumers suffered ‘damage’.  The total overcharging is believed to total £19 billion which would result in a £400 payment to anyone who had a MasterCard during that period.

There is no need to ‘opt in’ to the case.  The case will proceed and, if MasterCard loses, you will be able to apply for a share of whatever money MasterCard is forced to make available.  Based on what I have seen from similar US cases, I would imagine this to be a flat sum and not based on your actual MasterCard spending between 1992 and 2008.

You can read more on The Daily Telegraph site here.  Thanks to Tony.

Avios Suitcase

The new oneworld policy on through-checked bags begins to bite

Last month I wrote about a new policy adopted by the oneworld alliance airlines, including British Airways.

Historically, it was alliance policy to check through bags to separate flights on separate tickets when both airlines were members of the alliance.   From 1st June, this is no longer the case.

BA has taken it a step further.  It will no longer check through bags TO ANOTHER BA FLIGHT if it is on a separate ticket.  This policy hits Avios redemptions hard because many regional customers will buy a cash domestic flight to connect to a long haul redemption.

This story was on Flyertalk yesterday and shows how it works in practice:

I had my first terrible experience under this new system with exactly this trip today. [I booked a BA Club Europe flight to Madrid on Avios to connect to a cash business class Madrid to Miami flight on American.]  When I checked in at First desk in LHR I was firmly told they wouldn’t route the bags through. Connection time was 3.05hrs (2.05hrs before Madrid checkin closed) which I thought wouldn’t be too much of a problem.

However, we landed 45min late due to French ATC strikes, and I had naively thought Terminal 4S was a separate terminal rather than just an outstation of Terminal 4. To collect and recheck my bag I therefore had to run all the way through 4S, clear immigration, wait for the little train and then run to the baggage carousel in Terminal 4. I got there with 15 minutes to go before check in closed (yes it took a full hour from plane landing to do this!)

Unfortunately though, Madrid baggage handlers are even slower than I am, and the bag didn’t appear until T – 3 minutes!  Queue a mad sprint up to departures and I arrived at the desk at T + 1 minute. 

AA agents initially refused to check in my bag, until I literally got down on my knees and begged. I think had it not been for flying J, as OW Emerald, and having clearly been running for far longer than my doctor would recommend, they wouldn’t have let me on.

Obviously I then had to rush all the way back again to 4S and got on the flight with 10 minutes to spare. However rather than departing relaxed, having spent the past hour in the lounge, I arrived hot, tired and stressed – having almost not made the flight at all. All because of this ridiculous new policy.

Not good at all ….

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My review of the British Airways arrivals lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5
How to use Avios points to get to Tallinn, Estonia
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Comments

  1. JamesWag says:

    I completely forgot about this ridiculous baggage policy when looking to get an Avios redemption to ARN (Stockholm) on a very specific day. No direct flight was available so I booked flights LHR-TXL, TXL-ARN. I’m gunna get screwed over for sure 🙁

    • Not if it was booked on one ticket. If you have two booking references then, yes, you’re stuck.

      It’s a good job the outlook for travel and flying is so positive at the moment so BA can afford to alienate passengers like this …….

    • Graham says:

      You’ll probably be fine at TXL James – it’s very small and one hour between flights will probably be sufficient for a re-check, particularly if the TXL-ARN flight departs from terminal A. If it is terminal C or D you have a 10 minute walk but provided you get your skates on it should be ok.

  2. Please can someone tell me what the reason for this policy is? I don’t understand it on any level.

    It is clearly bad for passengers- I can’t see how ba would even try to pretend otherwise. Although this is hardly a reason for them not to do it. I can only assume that it is therefore to save costs, or discourage complex bookings. If the former, then how are they saving costs? Seems to me that the new policy involves more work, not less. If the latter, then why?

    • It seems that BA is deemed ‘responsible’ for the bag and so has to pay to forward it if your bag fails to make your connnecting flight. It is now free of that responsibility (when travelling on separate tickets).

      Why it doesn’t make an exception for BA to BA is unknown. Cathay, for example, is specifically still allowing Cathay to Cathay although they will refuse Cathay to anyone else.

      • BA’s argument is that a separate PNR/ booking means a different contract – this is naturally obvious & correct. Any previous help with interlining/ disruption costs etc was voluntary & was simply a matter of goodwill.

        Legally correct, yes – but an extremely poor decision to end interlining of luggage – I can’t see why BA could not have continued with interlining whilst making it clear to passengers that in the case of disruption there would be no free re-ticketing or disruption assistance (between different PNRs).

        • The next logical step, though, is to refuse to re-route people on BA-BA tickets when the first flight is late and telling them to buy a new ticket …..

          Fundamentally, flying and running an airline are unpredictable. The industry works because each side of the contract accepts that flexibility is often required. When this ‘bargain’ breaks down you have problems.

    • Singing Dwarf says:

      The stock answer from most organisations is usally “We’ve listened to what our customers want and heard that the system needs to be simpler to understand and easier to use. Ending xxxx means that we can focus on a simpler approach that’s appealing to everyone and from which customers can benefit”

  3. Matthew says:

    BA, like every other airline, have an objective to get you from A to B. If you choose to create two contracts with them: to get from A to B, and B to C, you cannot legally imply that that is one contract to get from A to C. If you choose to split the route, then that’s your choice. But it doesn’t mean that you can pay less by buying two tickets AND expect BETTER service by virtue of changing the terms of both the contracts to appear to be one.

    If you are playing the mileage/status game, then two options really stand out, one from the comments above. Firstly, travel with hand baggage. Secondly, ship your baggage.

    If you’re travelling for work, then work should get you from A to B. Full stop. I travelled for work with materials and we always freighted contents, carrying only what we needed. There was never any question about having to break my journey onto two tickets because it was cheaper.

    • Anthony Dunn says:

      Or, a third option, you just allow plenty of time between your initial flight and the connecting flight. Now, if you are a BAEC Silver or Gold, presumably this will entail your working your way through very considerably more food and beverages than you would previously have done.

      I just cannot see how this is going to save BA a penny and I can see that it is going to cost them a packet in previously loyal customers telling them where to stick their new T&Cs.

  4. Connor says:

    OT but there’s a sale on AAdvantage miles right now.

    You can get up to 250,000 for under $4000.

    That’s enough for a first class return on AA’s epic 16-hour flight from DFW-HKG, which costs $18,000+ for a random date in July I picked out.

    I think it finishes today or tomorrow.

    • £3000 (unless you have a USD payment card) for 16 hours on AA F doesn’t seem a good deal to me… considering that most people here are based in Europe

  5. Anyone having difficulty updating Tesco CC accounts using Awardwallet?

    • Yes me, not for a few days now 🙁

    • idrive says:

      I think Tesco got a problem. They blocked the account and obliged me to reset the password.

    • Graeme says:

      I’m having difficulty with several accounts with AW at the moment. Not least BA.

  6. OT and admittedly it is to do with Economy flights but may be of use for some

    I have been looking for a chance to visit my Fiancee in Cyprus for the weekend but flight costs are crazy due to the summer peak. Avios availability also limited and I can’t see any being released 24 hrs before. BA wanted nearly 700 in economy to fly out Sat Am and back Sun night.

    I did a search on Momondo.com.au (the Australian variant of Momondo) and got a ticket for 387 AUD, approx 220 GBP. It has ticketed fine and could even via the App preselect an exit row despite being HBO which must be another BA IT mistake!

    Hope it’s of use for someone, it was showing a lot of flights far cheaper than I saw on BA.com, maybe due to Australian point of sale?

    • Which app is that pls?

      • BA App for seat selection .

        I am silver and it let me pick an exit row less than 48 hrs in advance for free. This was within 1 minute of me adding the booking ref into the App. I don’t think I should be able to select a seat for free on a HBO ticket but I’m not complaining!

        • Thanks. First I’ve heard of that one! Would be good to know if it works for non-status people @ T-24 hrs.

          [ btw Non-status HBO/ Avios redemption ticketholders can select exit seat (or any seat) for free during T-24 hrs by using the self check-in machines @ airport.]

    • pauldb says:

      Yes that’s very stark. If you’re talking about this coming weekend, it appears that even USA POS will sell you a much lower bucket S than UK.

      • Yes I was booked into S class

        Didn’t think to look at a US website

  7. BA have changed their policy, it’s now agent discretion for BA-BA through checking.

    • What is ‘agent discretion’ meant to mean?! If you look fit enough to lug your case through immigration and back to check-in?!

      • Radiata says:

        The contempt inherent in substance and the manner of this change with nil but tinkering on being confronted with aghast passengers is staggering.

        But that a tangible decline in booking results, one doubts change will result. Genuine interest in improving (nay, maintaining) customer experience seemingly a foreign concept.

        It is just not cricket.

  8. Kinkell says:

    Shocking that BA are putting their customers to all this extra hassle and inconvenience. It’s a really ‘prized’ service and one of the reasons we tend to fly with the national airline. Recent case (March) we flew SCL – GIG – LHR- EDI. We had 3 different tickets, 2 airlines, and our luggage (lots of it as per F allowances and we were away for a month) was ticketed all the way to EDI and arrived safely. I dread to think of the time we might have had if we’d had to manhandle it all at each airport. Doesn’t bear thinking about, really. In future, more careful route planning……or HBO….(.only to create more of problem trying to get overhead/ under seat luggage space.!)