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Bits: 10% off pre-ordered BA duty free, should BA use EU261 as a marketing gimmick?

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News in brief:

Save 10% on pre-ordered British Airways duty free

You have been able to pre-order duty free items for delivery to your aircraft seat on long haul British Airways flights for some time.  Not that I know anyone who has ever done it ….

To give you some encouragement, BA is offering a 10% discount on pre-ordered duty free items until 30th April.  You will also receive the usual 2 Avios per £1 spent on inflight duty free items.

Here are the rules:

You need to order via

Tobacco and clearance items are excluded

Offer not available for home delivery

You need to use promo code H01EXEC17 at checkout

What is not clear is whether you need to be flying by 30th April or whether that is the deadline for placing your pre-order.

British Airways BA 777X 777 9X

Should BA use EU261 as a marketing gimmick?

Bear with me on this one 🙂  I’ve never had a marketing job and I haven’t read a marketing book since “The Long Tail” by Chris Anderson was published eight years ago.

We have discussed EU261 compensation – the compulsory EU legislated compensation for flight cancellations, delays or downgrades – extensively on Head for Points recently.   Here is Anika’s guide to claiming EU261 from British Airways for her own benefit after a delayed flight.

There is one tweak to EU261 rules.  Inbound flights operated by non-EU airlines do not qualify.  If your Thai Airways flight TO Bangkok from Heathrow is delayed by four hours, you get €600.  If your inbound flight is delayed by four hours, you get nothing.

British Airways is legally bound to pay you this money – so why don’t they make a virtue out of it?  Perhaps put a little logo in their ads reminding readers that flights on non-EU airlines don’t quality coming home.

There is, after all, very little to choose between long-haul economy carriers these days when you balance out seat width, pitch and service.  The chance of losing out on €600 compensation if your flight home is delayed may be enough to swing a few potential passengers, especially when their ticket is likely to cost less than €600 in the first place.

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Comments (111)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Stu R says:

    ‘don’t quality’ …. that much is true!

  • Gabriel says:

    To answer your question, Rob, if it’s just a gimmick they shouldn’t, but if it’s a real advantage for their clients over the competition they should. But maybe a more important question is how forthcoming is BA with paying these compensations and what will happend in 2 years after Brexit.

  • Andrew says:

    I’d be willing to bet the vast majority of passengers still don’t know about EU261 and don’t claim what they’re entitled to. I doubt BA want to remind them.

    • Von Schmallhausen says:

      I like to advise fellow passengers when 3 hours+ delay kicks in they get paid! As I’m normally flying without deadlines I’m the happiest passenger at the customer service desks 😉

      • Brighton Belle says:

        You must be joking. BA cancelled my flight and just said a problem somewhere else on their network caused the cancellation . No compensation allowed. After several ping pong emails they just wouldn’t accept any liability. It seems you have to be actually on the plane or checked in before you’ll get anywhere.

      • Lady London says:

        Apparently you count as taken off once the aircraft is pushed back. And you count as landed when an aircraft door is opened? Can anyone confirm?

    • zsalya says:

      The last sentence of the below means that they *should* suffer no more from advertising it a priori (that’s asuuming that passenger pay attention to written material). However, I don’t see any explicit penalty If airlines are not doing the notifying.

      “Article 14
      Obligation to inform passengers of their rights

      1. The operating air carrier shall ensure that at check-in a clearly legible notice containing the following text is displayed in a manner clearly visible to passengers: “If you are denied boarding or if your flight is cancelled or delayed for at least two hours, ask at the check-in counter or boarding gate for the text stating your rights, particularly with regard to compensation and assistance”.

      2. An operating air carrier denying boarding or cancelling a flight shall provide each passenger affected with a written notice setting out the rules for compensation and assistance in line with this Regulation. It shall also provide each passenger affected by a delay of at least two hours with an equivalent notice. “

      • DV says:

        It’s an offence for the airline not to notify the passenger of his rights in accordance with Art 14 of the Regulation.

  • Anon says:

    I know stories of VS actively informing pax onboard that their flight has been delayed so long it qualifies for EU261. Never heard the like from BA.

    I’ll fess up, I actually wasn’t aware of that quirk for EU261, so I guess the same goes for a QR flight DOH-EDI, maybe BAEC aren’t such a bad option Vs QR

    My guess is that only 10% of pax are aware of their rights in such circumstances, and I can’t see why the management at BA would want to raise awareness further.

    I put a claim in on Friday for my 14 hour delay rtn from the Maldives, no human acknowledgement so far…. (tumbleweeds)

    • Von Schmallhausen says:

      Cruz probably gives BA staff a P45 if they tell them about EU261…

      • the real harry1 says:

        heh heh

        yep – I’ll bet you overall only 10% of passengers get it when they qualify

    • Alan says:

      Interesting re VS. I was also impressed with Virgin East Coast, who actively made on board announcements re Delay Repay when the service was running late, plus switched WiFi over to be free for everyone.

      Definitely worth keeping this element of EU261 in mind, I had a 10h overnight rolling delay with AA JFK-LHR – would have been €600 with BA, instead had to fight hard to get a Few AA miles!

      • Rob says:

        Last time I was delayed on East Coast the PA announcements actively encouraged everyone to claim.

        • @mkcol says:

          They usually encourage to claim and particularly when it’s a Network Rail fault as the TOC will be claiming massive compo from them too.

          • Crafty says:

            Virgin Trains automatically refunds your bank card if Delay Repay is due and you booked directly through their app.

    • evelyn thomas says:

      Maldives are wonderful but @ Anon – did you get downgraded, lost luggage and 14 hour delay all in same trip?

      • Anon says:

        Yep, sure did all thanks to BA.

        However in sharp contrast the service I received from the Conrad was the best I’ve ever had on any holiday, simply just awesome.

        • Alan says:

          Glad they at least made up for it – hope you had a lovely holiday regardless and can plan another one soon with lots of BA compensation! (once you beat them to smithereens via MCOL if reqd!)

  • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

    I dimly recall some regulation about advertising statutory rights as a benefit (why you don’t see credit card issuers advertising Section 75), but that might just be a finance thing.

    • tony says:

      No, you’re right, Airlines are supposed to make passengers aware of their rights – it’s just that BA seem spectacularly bad at doing so. I know first hand that the much-maligned FlyBe have a far more pro-customer approach here, but as noted up thread given the fact many BA passengers won’t know about EU261, why promote it. Also seen as a negative to promote products that kick in only when things go wrong. Banks don’t shout about FSCS of their own volition, etc…

    • Adam says:

      You’re right – paragraph 10 of Schedule 1 to the Consumer Protection From Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 provides that the following is a commercial practice that is always unfair (ie it is a blacklisted practice):

      10. Presenting rights given to consumers in law as a distinctive feature of the trader’s offer.

      • Will says:

        You could argue though that it’s distinctive not of the trader but of EU carriers as opposed to non EU carriers.

        If worded correctly and not specifically as a BA benefit it would likely stand up to scrutiny. Of course you may then decide to fly another EU carrier in that knowledge:)

      • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

        Thanks for citing.

  • Zoe says:

    OT had an issue with an Avis car hire on Saturday. Booked a car through BA on the Swiss side of the airport. Voucher states you need to inform Avis if driving into the EU. If you drive a Swiss plated car over the border you can be charged 10% of the value of the car. Told the agent we were headed for France, and she said that’s fine. Bus to parking garage and she has assigned us a Swiss plated car. Agent in garage phones the main desk and they offer a smaller EU plated car and say they have nothing else. I wander around the garage noting down all suitable EU plated cars. Bus back to main desk. Queue for agent, eventually get allocated massive Mercedes with EU plate at no extra charge. We have Avis Preferred – I hate to think what the standard service is like. (For anyone wondering why we rented on the Swiss side it seems it is very difficult to find the way to rental returns on the French side) Arrive in ski resort after all bars stop serving food. On a brighter note Thollons des Memises is great although snow is melting.

    • FreddieTheFrog says:

      I assume this is Basel ?

      If so, I am slightly mystified by your comment about it being “very difficult to find the way to rental returns on the French side”.

      Unless somethin has changed since last July, it must be one of the easiest airports in the world to return a hire car to – even on the French side !!

      • Zoe says:

        Sorry,it was Geneva

        • FreddieTheFrog says:

          Bon, d’accord 🙂

          • Concerto says:

            It’s true, I had an issue once driving a Swiss rental car across the border. But that’s because I did it a lot over the same crossing and they stopped me. It’s extremely easy to spot a Swiss rental car with the AI number plates.

    • John says:

      Well, after Brexit this problem won’t exist 🙂

      The EU forbids EU citizens from driving non-EU cars into the EU, so if you are British you will still be able to drive a UK car to France (but if you are French and living in the UK you won’t be allowed to drive your UK car home…)

      • mark2 says:

        unless a sensible compromise is reached.

      • Rob says:

        It will exist because it will automatically become UK law.

      • RussellH says:

        AIUI, this only applies to **hire** cars, though I forget the logic behind it. It is a pretty recent development. You certainly see plenty of Swiss registered cars inside the EU close to the borders. There are Swiss residents who work in the EU and drive to work…

  • Colin MacKinnon says:

    Funnily enough, I was looking at this the other day.

    I have a trip from GLA-Denver planned, and one option was with Delta – DEN-Minneapolis-AMS-GLA – with a 39 minutes ! connection at MSP and the last flight flown by KLM.

    If I miss the connection, then it is an overnight in MSP. Which would be nice with 600 euro to spend!

    So I wondered if the last leg on an EU airline would cover me for the whole trip since it is the delay at final destination that counts. But, it appears not.

    So no MSP connection for me!

    • Anon says:

      Is 39mins really recommended by the airline, seems crazy short.

      • Simon says:

        Delta through MSP offer some v short MCTs onto international flights. My Dad flies that route frequently and has not yet failed to connect- albeit hand baggage only.

        But an interesting point: if I fly MSP – AMS – UK with the last leg on KLM and the transatlantic on DL, can I claim from klm if the Delta flight causes the delay at the final destination?

  • Mark says:

    Pretty sure BA make more money through pax failing to claim than they would make throgh any increased sales.

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