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. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.!)