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British Airways goes OTT and gives 2 years of status to last weekend’s passengers

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There have been a few developments since I wrote my (well-received, I think) article last Tuesday on BA’s IT melt-down.

The good news is that British Airways is starting to back-peddle on its initial intentions to refuse to compensate passengers.

BA will now consider refunding passengers who bought alternative tickets on other airlines

Mail cover

BA has accepted that it will have to pay EU261 compensation, despite initially telling claimants that they would not be paid

BA will now consider claims for incidental expenses – the current issue is over whether it will insist you claim from your travel insurance first, which is likely to lead to you incurring an excess

The only issue where I don’t have any clarity is whether BA is still insisting that passengers who booked 2 x one-way flights instead of a return ticket will not be compensated for the return tickets they can no longer use.

That said …. if you read the comments under this article, you will see that the reality about what BA is offering to pay seems different (worse) to what they are telling the press.

A surprise gift for Executive Club status members

Some – but not all – travellers last Saturday, Sunday or Monday with British Airways Executive Club status received a pleasant surprise last night.

(Perhaps not as pleasant as being on holiday, which is where many of them were hoping to be but aren’t …..)

BA is extending the Bronze, Silver or Gold status of members travelling last Saturday, Sunday or Monday for two years.  This is a decent gesture and is the first genuine sign of attempting to ‘make good’.

In fact, to be honest, it is a bit OTT.

I can perfectly understand doing this for anyone travelling on Saturday.

On Sunday, however, 2/3rd of Heathrow flights departed – albeit some with long delays.  However, every single flight from Gatwick got away.  Almost all flights on Monday departed as scheduled from both airports.

We are now in a slightly odd situation where there are people who may still be left out of pocket – such as those with 2 x one-way flights booked – whilst many others who were not disrupted at all have had a very generous early Christmas present.

For some reason not everyone who should receive it is receiving the email.  I know of couples, both with the same status, where one has been sent it and the other has not.  Anika also hasn’t had it despite a flight last Monday.  Hopefully BA is not randomly picking out people to receive this, because if it is then there will be even more PR issues coming down the line.

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Comments (126)

  • Angel W says:

    My husband and I were due to fly out from Gatwick for a short break last Saturday. It was two one way tickets. The return journey was bought with Avios. When we rang up to cancel the ticket, the call centre agent made us pay for the cancellation charge as there were told not to refund one way tickets. I initially refused to pay as I thought it was ridiculous. He said “for argument sake, if someone bought 3 singles to fly from London to Paris, Paris to New York, New York to Hong Kong, BA would not pay the 2nd and 3rd leg” I still think it’s reasonable so will try to claim the cancellation charge through the compensation claim.

  • TripRep says:

    You could argue that even if you got on a plane on Sunday you were inconvenienced by having to deal with anxiety and hassle of watching the news unfold the day before your flight. Also busy airports + potentially missing out on decent stay in the lounge.

    I think its good that BA seem to be waking up to the fact they need to compete and deter pax trying out Qatar, etc.

    That said, I still can’t find anywhere on their webpage where it clearly mentions pax rights for downgrades & IDB. HFP Kudos to anyone here to prove me wrong? 😀

  • Richard says:

    I don’t think that anyone who received the 2 years extension would consider it “over the top” (is some jealously creeping in here).
    The extension also means that those receiving it who think the grass is greener on some other airline can try things out without risk of losing their status and return to BA if they realise BA isn’t that bad after all.

    • TripRep says:

      Good points, slightly Freakanomics effect of extending the status.!

    • Frenske says:

      Silver status holders still need to fly with BA or partners to get lounge access. Very few people have status at other airlines so they won’t get extra luggage, priority, lounge access there. So BA made it attractive for affected people to fly BA in the future.

      • John says:

        Except of course there is no need to fly BA at all in order to use the status.

        The only really special thing that BA offers is the First Wing – but the F wing is only good because of how bad the regular security screeners are at LHR T5.

    • Mandy says:

      It is completely over the top!! Flights are cancelled all the time causing inconvenience. Last weekend was a hassle and BA have handled it badly. And passengers should be compensated. But all that handing out free status for two years does is antagonise other BA card holders. Something like a six month extension to earn tier points would have been more appropriate. In fact, why doesn’t BA give every cardholder an extra two years of status, so that ‘those who think the grass is greener on some other airline can try things out without risk of losing their status and return to BA if they realise BA isn’t that bad after all’?!

      • the real harry1 says:

        yep I’m so jealous at this unfair largesse, I really wish we’d been flying the next day so that we could have been cancelled, got some compo & a status upgrade, albeit at the cost of missing 10 fantastic days out here in the sun 🙂

        not – obviously

        of course the people affected deserve something & as others have pointed out, it’s not that expensive for BA and makes good commercial sense in terms of PR & customer retention for the future

        naturally – BA will need to ensure that they sort out anybody who misses out (looks like a few didn’t get the emails but that could be for various other reasons such as email preferences etc & in any case would be remedied by emailing BA)

    • Rob says:

      Saturday = perfectly acceptable offer

      Monday = totally unnecessary

      No jealousy from me, in fact they are doing me a huge favour if they extend Anika’s status.

  • Angel says:

    My husband and I are both Gold and received the surprise email last night. We were due to fly out for a short break on Saturday to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. i think it’s a pretty decent goodwill gesture. BA has finally done something right! In regards to “further 2 years” though, does that mean additional 2 years from the current expiry date? Mine has just been renewed and will expire May 2018. So it will be extended to May 2020???

    • Frankie says:

      Yes. The email is confusing. The wording says ‘further two years’


    Had our email from BA yesterday confirming full EU261 compensation plus £60 for out of pocket incidentals. They have refused to cover the cost of our lost first nights accomodation despite us making the decision to recover our car and drive home, a 4 hour return trip with petrol rather than take a local hotel and incur those costs plus taxi costs. This would have been significantly higher than the £150 I claimed for – doesn’t seem really fair, given I tried to do what I thought was best for us and BA!!

    • Paul says:

      Don’t let that go. Purdue them for the lost night or go via your insurers. They certainly will go after BA

    • Tony says:

      We also lost our first night’s accommodation in Bangkok due to arriving there 24-hours late, Graham. Reading Money Saving Expert it states that you are highly unlikely to be successful with this claim and should approach your travel insurance provider in this regard. I understand that this doesn’t appear fair, but I think I’ll just claim on my travel insurance. I hope this helps.

      • the real harry1 says:

        consequential loss is virtually always refused (and won’t generally get overturned by small claims etc)

      • CV3V says:

        Think it was the MSE article that included a summary of what travel insurance policies covered consequential losses and what ones didn’t. It is worth people having a read to get an understanding, turned out my travel insurance policy didn’t cover consequential losses. Need to check the Amex Plat insurance policy.

        • the real harry1 says:

          sure – sorry, I meant refused by BA – but yep: you can get cover for this elsewhere

        • Tony says:

          As a last resort you may be able to claim under Section 75 from your credit card provider.

  • Paul says:

    It is OTT but it is also a measure of how desperate things are at BA and how much the brand has been battered,
    I didn’t fly last weekend but did so on Wednesday. Thankfully a short trip to AMS but even that is now a chore with BA. It was my last day as a gold card holder and I used First check in. The agent was miserable and lacked any interest in what they were doing. It took an age to issue 3 bag tags and repeatedly check the passports and home printed passes. We were dismissed with a wave of the hand and no eye contact to south security.
    Miserable staff greeted us at the lounge. In general the ground experience was just poor becoming ghastly when we had to be bussed to the plane.
    On board is cramped and this despite being in the emergency exit row. Crew baggage as usual occupied the front sections of club and bizarrely a bag of blankets occupied the over head storage above our seats.
    None of these first world issues were calamitous in their own right but cumulatively the tell of an airline that doesn’t care and staff who are just doing a job.
    I felt better that they were Avios seats and comforted my self that I had not wasted cash.

    • TripRep says:

      Staff probably exhausted, depressed and suffering low morale working under the terrible anbagement oif AC & co.

      Hence why more strikes are being planned…

    • TripRep says:

      Staff probably exhausted, depressed and suffering low morale working under the terrible management oif AC & co.

      Hence why more strikes are being planned…

    • Richard says:

      I don’t think the extension is that generous by BA, so not really over the top. Many who fly a lot will retain the status anyway, so for them this offer means nothing. Those who move up in status will not benefit (the extension applies to your current status).
      If they had given a gift of tier points (like Lufthansa did a few years ago after a year with many strikes) then it would have created some new status card holders. But with the extension offer they are just preventing the downgrade of some cardholders.
      It would have been nicer to apply it to all cardholders though – since everyone will have lost some trust in BA, regardless of whether their travel plans were disrupted or not.

  • xcalx says:

    OT but BA related.
    One of my sons checked his Household account last night ( not something he does often) and found that 152,000 Avios had been used in January to book a hotel in Kiev leaving just 10,000. He contacted BA to report the issue and was told they would investigate and get back to him within 30 days.
    Has anyone here had their account hacked and will he get the Avios back.

    • TripRep says:

      Another reason to use AwardWallet…

      • xcalx says:

        My exact comment to him last night, but he is not as motivated by Avios as some of us here. He only checked his account to see his balance because another son had phoned me asking how to move Amex to BA. He checked back through all emails from BA and none related to any type of booking on his account.

    • Scallder says:

      I had something a few months back where I had 4,000 taken (so much less than your son!) which was per my account activity used to buy a flight.

      I called BA and they looked into it and reinstated the points, however said that there was no fraudulent activity which obviously was at odds with the whole situation.

      Not sure if getting them back for a hotel will be more difficult than a flight but I certainly hope your son gets them back!

      • the real harry1 says:

        xcalx: yes, there have been similar hacks reported and istr they all got the points reinstated with no dramas – as it was pretty easy to prove it had to be a 3rd party, ie in a different place/ country at the time etc

        good reminder to check from time to time, though – we have consolidated points to some extent but still have 4 a/cs with decent hackable quantities

        • xcalx says:

          That’s good to know re getting the points reinstated. I update AW everyday but am probably OTT with this hobby.

    • Pangolin says:

      It may sound harsh but, in the modern world of cybercrime, checking your accounts (included bank and CC accounts) should be a routine habit – the sort of thing you do reflexively every day like checking the back door before you go to bed. Now that you also have mobile apps for most accounts it needn’t be such a PITA to keep on top of everything.

  • Nate1309 says:

    O/T do any of you know if the strikes that are happening next week will affect the Bristol flights? I know previously not all flight were affected as different types of staff. Thanks.

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