Bits: BA Holidays / Sandals promo, new EU ruling extends flight delay compensation

News in brief:

Special BA Holidays / Sandals deals

British Airways Holidays has teamed up with Sandals, ‘the World’s leading all inclusive resorts’ (in quotes because I have never been to one).

The promotion offers discounts of up to 55% at any of the 12 Sandals resorts when packaged with BA flights.  You need to book by 22nd August for travel at any point until the end of 2017.

Remember that you earn 2 Avios per £1 spent at BA Holidays, on top of the usual Avios from your flights.  Following recent changes, you pay a deposit now and only need to pay the balance five weeks before travel.

Full details can be found on this special BA Holidays page here.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

Sandals Resorts

New EU ruling on flight delay compensation

The screw continues to turn on airlines who attempt to get out of their obligations to pay passengers the legally obliged compensation for delayed or cancelled flights.

You may remember my article on Huzar vs Jet 2.  This was a landmark case which meant that airlines could not escape paying out due to mechanical problems or lack of alternative aircraft.

The latest European Court of Justice ruling covers flight delays that were caused by bird strikes.

Commenting on a Czech case where a delay was caused by a bird strike, Advocate General Bot said the court does not consider bird strikes an “extraordinary circumstance” and therefore airlines should be responsible for compensation for delays caused by them.

The opinion of the Advocate General, while not legally binding, is apparently usually consistent with the official judgment that follows later.  Once finalised, the judgment would be legally binding throughout Europe and cannot be appealed.

More information on the case can be found here.

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  1. We booked our honeymoon through BA Holidays to Sandals La Grande in St Lucia and absolutely loved it. However, like many other companies I would take their ‘sales’ with a pinch of salt. They always seem to have some sort of 2-4-1 or 50% off deal running, when you factor those in they still seem to have comparable prices to similar resorts. As ever YMMV…

  2. Monarch adamant that Birdstrikes do not qualify. Have to pursue via small claims court at present. How long before they accept the judgements and save customers the hassle.

    • Some airlines have worked out that the benefits to cashflow are worth the heel-dragging – there must be a high level of total claim attrition over time with claimants dropping out through sheer fatigue etc.

      btw did you see the weekend article showing that tfl now have something like £250m sitting on dormant Oyster cards? – with the total increasing by £50m pa! That’s what you call cashflow enhancing!

      • on my hols so can’t collect

        the Laithwaites girls are the pleasantest in the whole world, please marry me one of you, oops I’m married already!

        I would combine it with another deal so you got the Amex credit and another deal on top.

        Probably bring your genuinely excellent wine down to £4-5/ bottle delivered. Let us know how you get on!

        • James67 says:

          Hmmm, I’m not sure you can combine marriage to a Laithwaites girl with any other deal Harry…I think the sun at Harry Towers has gone to your head :)

          Happy hols.

      • Yes but at least the £250m is easily refundable and anonymous, unlike e.g. the Navigo, OV-chipkaart or Rejsekort which charge you a non-refundable fee for a new card every 5 years.

        The OV-chipkaart is the worst as it forces you to maintain a balance of EUR20 at all times even if you only want to take a EUR4 train from AMS to Amsterdam.

      • Surely that will reverse now you can use contactless for the same price as oyster (country bumpkin here, think I understand that to be correct)

        Only problem with contactless for your regular HfP reader will be making sure you always tap in and out with the same card!!

      • Agree on the attrition point. The behaviour of some airlines reminds me of the insurance company in the John Grisham novel The Rainmaker. Ignore the law and keep denying claims until they go away. There really should be some punitive measure for airlines flagrantly knocking back legit claims.

        FWIW, monarch did this to me years ago. I ran out of steam with the claim (5 hour delay due to tech problems with the aircraft), but I will never fly with them again because of it. They won’t notice, but it makes me happy when I avoid them and use someone else even if it is slightly more expensive. I’m probably cutting off my nose to spite my face, but it makes me smile.

  3. Frankie says:

    Will Brexit (when/if it comes) have an effect on this compensation entitlement?

    • Impossible to know, all depends on the specifics of the split.

    • Most EU law is brought into force through UK legislation. My understanding is that we don’t have domestic legislation covering this, just the EU directive. So it may need parliament to specifically enact something if we want to keep it.

      Personally, I think the current regime may have swung too far in the consumer’s favour. In the end, it just pushes up ticket prices.

      • Nick Haley says:

        While I’m inclined to agree, I remember a few years ago I was delayed from one of two daily LGW to FAO flights being cancelled with Monarch. Mine was the early bird 5am-ish flight … and with no sight of a text message saying your flight is cancelled we showed up in the early hours now facing a 6hr delay until their midday-ish departure.

        At the time the customer service lady on the ground at Gatwick said to a somewhat angry mob: “I suppose you’ll all want compensation – you will put us out of business you know – you won’t have cheap air travel if this continues”, referring, of course, to these sorts of EU claims. While she is correct, no recompense (a £5 meal voucher if you’re lucky) just doesn’t outweigh the stress and upset caused at the beginning of a holiday.

        This was back in my pre-HFP days when I’m sure something like my Amex insurance would have covered me for at least something(!).

        The takeout for me was to let these guys go bust on their own, hopefully. I vowed that day to never again fly with Monarch. In flight comparison results, even when cheaper, I will ignore them – it is my little attempt at success at them cocking up the start of that holiday.

        The fault was caused by a missing aeroplane part which was due, which then failed to make it on time (or something). “Operational failure” was the reason given. Apparently this was unexpected. Tried to claim, but gave up as one person put it ‘through fatigue’ after a few months of the back and forth…

        So while hardly a success story, I’d encourage low level boycotting to do the same. That or bolster up your insurance, e.g. Amex, and hope someone somewhere in the chain can pick up the slack – either way – I think you have to pay a little more to get reliability these days.

        • I don’t think its very professional for the staff to mention compensation as if its a naughty thing to claim for, if your entitled to it then I would be claiming for it. If an airline goes bust because of compensation claims you have to question their business model and how reliable they really were, wouldn’t want to be flying on an aircraft that can barely afford to run their business.

          • Nick Haley says:

            Agree again. It was not professional but then the airline wasn’t professional. The plane we ended up flying Titan Airways (monarch chartered them in for the midday service) – but then there was no tea/coffee/food etc it was a bit crap overall.

            Then perhaps the ‘too much in the consumers favour’ argument here means things like the maximum refund should be that of your ticket, rather than the fixed EU fee… maybe then cheap airlines would pay out their cheap refunds! However considering they’re being as naughty as they are to avoid it, literally anything would be a start…

      • The ticket prices are getting cheaper, not more expensive.

        IHG made billions in profits in 2015, granted 2016 will not be as great for them.

        Oil price is far more important factor that claims/duty of care. In the US, there is no EC 261 Directive but the airlines print vouchers for the hotel and food like pancakes — the hotel room for several hours can turn out to be more expensive than fare collected.

      • While it’s not something you can easily monitor, I’ve not seen a scrap of evidence supporting that claim.

        Is it too generous? Of course. But I struggle to believe it’s putting up prices. Are prices rising faster at EU airlines than the others, given they’re more exposed to it?

  4. Appreciate the heads up for this but I have been keeping a close eye on the Caribbean for this winter, particularly November/December and I am not convinced that this sale is any different to the usual price that has been on the BA holiday site – in fact a lot of the prices appear to have gone up ? May be missing something..

  5. Have been to 2 Sandals resorts (Jamaica & St Lucia) in butler rooms and I wouldn’t recommend either. Very over priced for what it is. The food is mostly frozen which us disappointing when you can see fishermen catching fresh fish, drinks are mostly served in plastic glasses.
    None of the beaches are like the pictures as most are public and full of hawkers, and the rooms were in dire need of renovation.

  6. Has shopperpoints gone on holiday?

    • Tech problem. The site is (just about) reading ok, albeit slowly, but the back end is very screwy. The scheduled article did not post and I cannot make it post. These issues usually resolve themselves.

  7. Genghis says:

    OT. I’ve been rumbled for topping up Mondo account multiple times using different Visa pre-paid cards from Tesco and then withdrawing the cash at an ATM. They’re closing this loophole and are in the process of drafting a FUP. Was a way of earning reasonably priced avios (0.8p)
    (395 / ((150*2.4) + 53.95*2.5 (using Lloyds Amex))). Oh well – more Mr Muscle and Sunday Times travel type offers please…

    • That sounded like a good earner there, do you think they didn’t like one thing in particular like the multiple card payments or the cash withdrawals or both?

      • Genghis says:

        It was not topping up from a debit card but multiple pre-paid cards. ATM withdrawals are OK. Shame the loophole will be closed but it won’t stop me experimenting to find the next loophole…

        • So I guess they will be putting strict limits on the amount of cards used, I do like Mondo and I am sure there will be opportunities right around the corner

  8. *** Off Topic question but I would appreciate hearing the wisdom of HFP readers ***
    *** I appreciate this site isn’t a gripe site but wanted to check with others, thanks Rob ***

    >> Here’s the story: Turned up at LHR T3 for a flight to Chicago. BA booking, BA flight number, AA metal. Travelling hand luggage & opted for a “desk check-in”, with 65 minutes remaining. AA staff, citing “new system screens” took longer than normal. Them (AA staff): “Sorry, cannot check you in as you’re too late, as you’re now less than 60 minutes”. Me: “I believe I was here within time and, btw, it’s a BA flight & that has a minimum of 45 minutes”. Them: “Talk to BA”. Walk over to BA: It’s an AA flight, you need to talk to them”

    >> Here’s the current situation: I had to travel, so paid a £150 change fee to get on a later flight. I raised my issue with BA Customer Services and, after over a week, they say “AA need to investigate & get back to you” I reply with, well, the above story. After a couple of back & forth emails, BA refer me to CEDR – to my mind, effectively saying sod off.

    Am I right to consider I have a case for redress here?

    • You allowed AA agents to brush you off. Good portion of AA staff is anti-customer.

      Then, there is the questioning of their incompetent “security agents” at Heathrow who block one’s way to check-in desk and ask to disclose the amount of private information that far surpasses the requirements.

      You need some proof that you were there on time, had reasonable time to complete the check-in (clear 5 minutes should do) and they failed to check you in citing the slowness of their “new system screens”. Then, small claims court or insurance I am afraid.

    • You’re right to seek redress, but it was an AA flight so AA check in rules apply, not BA’s (which you did – only just! – comply with anyway).

  9. I stayed at Beaches Turks and Caicos last year with my family and it was a fantastic all inclusive resort. I agree however than the discounts are all year round and nothing special. It is not a cheap destination but we found the deal with BA was the best we could get with CW seating.

  10. Jon Glopher says:


    My wife and I made the mistake of trying their supposedly highest-end Royal Plantation resort in Jamaica for our honeymoon, where we stayed in their top suite. It was a pathetic joke from start to finish. We visited one of their other properties briefly during the trip and it was beyond low class. If you are used to high-end travel, Sandals has nothing that will not disappoint you. These are tourist traps for Americans who don’t know what quality is. Years later I’m still sick to my stomach over the experience.

    • Back when bmi British Midland was operating, I remember a lot of pushback from the frequent flyer community when bmi ran a competition to win a Sandals holiday.

      bmi was still controlled by the openly gay Sir Michael Bishop at that point, whilst Sandals had a slogan at the time which went something like “holidays exclusively for loving couples, as long as you are a man and a woman and not two men or two women”. It is astonishing that you could still get away with that as little as ten years ago.