HFP and the new data protection rules

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The new European data protection rules come into force today.

As you know, HFP collects very little directly identifiable data about readers since you do not need to register to use the site.  There are four areas where you may voluntarily choose to provide directly identifiable personal data to us and I thought I would run over how we operate:

Our email list

Some readers prefer to receive HFP articles by email instead of visiting the site directly.  You can read how we, actually Mailchimp, handle your data and your rights regarding it on this page.

We have not asked subscribers to reconfirm their interest as everyone on our list explicitly signed up to receive articles by email in the first place. We have never randomly added reader email addresses to our list.

When you comment on HFP

We have produced a page of information about what data we collect on comments on the site and your rights in relation to the deletion or export of comments you make.  You can read that here.

Head for Points and GDPR

When you enter a competition

Future competitions will include a statement on how your entry data is treated by Gleam, our Data Processor.  We have never used competition entry data for any other purpose and won’t be starting now.  We are deleting all of the existing entrant data held by Gleam, so we will no longer know if you entered a specific competition back in 2015 or not!  Going forward, entry data will be deleted shortly after a winner has been selected and verified.

When you contact Bon Vivant with a luxury hotel booking enquiry

Our Bon Vivant enquiry page now includes details on how Emyr and ourselves handle your enquiry.

This covers all of the scenarios under which you may provide directly identifiable data to us.

You also provide indirectly identifiable data to us when you use the site, since we are obliged to use various cookies for the site to function.  The ‘legitimate interest’ basis allows us to collect indirect data as long as it is bare minimum required for the smooth operation of the site.

We have made necessary changes where possible to cookie collection.  There will be more to come over the coming weeks as a consensus emerges on what is and is not needed – WordPress is a patchwork quilt of products and we are reliant on a large number of people to update their code.  With WordPress running 25% of global websites there are obviously many people supporting this effort.

We do not, and never have, used indirectly identifiable reader data to build behavioural user profiles or to market for any other purposes.  You do not, for example, see ads for HFP popping up when you visit other websites.

We have also taken this opportunity to add a disclosure to our articles stating that HFP may receive a commission if you make a purchase using a link on the site.

Our full privacy policy can be found here.  You can find this page at any time via the link at the bottom of each page on the desktop / tablet site.

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  1. O/T: Awful service with KLM yesterday. Paid over £500 for BLL-AMS-NCL as I had a very tight schedule. First leg was 50 mins late arriving (plane not at BLL on time) and so was denied boarding on the connecting flight, despite it being at the gate, because “they had already disconnected the tunnel”. Was rerouted via SOU on Flybe which would already be a 3.5 hour delay, and then the SOU to NCL leg was also delayed by about an hour.

    Have put in an EU261/2004 claim for the delay but also requested a full refund as there was no longer any reason to travel to NCL (although I still needed to go as my flight home with another carrier was from NCL).

    Customer service was terrible – cabin crew saying they have been told we won’t have a problem so everything would be fine, when it clearly wasn’t as we were still in the air when boarding for the next flight was due to close. In fact “alright” meant already rebooked on different flights that were too late (and vastly different level of service).

    What do you think the chances are on the compensation and refund claims?

    • the real harry1 says:

      If KLM through-ticketed it on one PNR then they obviously thought there was plenty of time to make the connection. Provided you arrived at NCL about 4.5 hrs late, and there were no extraordinary circumstances, you should get your short haul compensation EUR250. (You wouldn’t necessarily accept at face value their possible defence of extraordinary circumstances without asking for further details & possibly challenging them – eg knock-on effects from an earlier delay on another flight genuinely caused by extraordinary circumstances don’t mean later flights can just claim extraordinary circumstances as well. Though plenty try.)

      No chance in law on the refund front as you made your journey and any consequential losses (incl missing out on whatever it was you were due to do NCL end) is irrelevant. You might hope for a goodwill gesture, I guess, though pretty unlikely IMV..

      • Thanks. KLM’s own literature does suggest that if the journey becomes pointless you should get a refund, and their staff who rebooked me suggested the same, but doubtless their highly-trained claim blocking task force (AKA customer service) will try to say otherwise…

        I’ll post the outcome, although I suspect it may take a while – KLM seem to be experiencing a high volume of customer complaints right now, for some reason…

        • If it gets annoying just hand it over to an EU261 no win no fee online company.

  2. Amusingly, I just had an email from Google to say that it will be October before they have worked out the technology to allow WordPress sites like ours to switch off targeted advertising on a reader by reader basis. So they are fully on the ball ….

    That said, this is a stupid concept. You (the reader) either:

    a) like targeted advertising – I personally do
    b) hate targeted advertising – which you can turn off on ALL two million Google-driven sites in one click via the link in our privacy policy
    c) hate all advertising full stop – in which case you’ll have a blocker

    I can’t seriously believe that anyone thinks ‘you know what, I like seeing targeted advertising on Head for Points but I don’t like it on Business Traveller or ft.com so I want different setting for each site’ ……

    • Rob,

      Unfortunately opportunity to monetise Data is too lucrative and Business believe they own data and is equivalent to your Capital adequacy war chest for future, to let it pass in digital era. World doesn’t look things in Black & White.

      For Businesses- some of the key principle they should operate for data processing in post GDPR World:

      1. Lawful, fair& transparent processing
      2. Purpose Limitation
      3. Data minimisation

      Now let’s take your above concept for targeted advertsCan any of the individual access say Google or facebook services w/o accepting their Privacy policy sans data collection and analytics? There goes your fair processing and voluntary consent through the window.

      You can build individual credit risk profile on any individual based on their browsing pattern, travel and social media posts- all the above can be done through Cookies, IP number and GPS w/o any voluntary disclosure of PII. You don’t need any consent; which is gold dust for behaviour analytics firms. Today we are building so many business models for Banks or fintech (like Kabbage) based on data profiling, Cambridge Analytica is more a trailer for real picture.

      • … I delete cookies and don’t have GPS turned on, precisely because I don’t want to be tracked in this way. I don’t like IP address being used, but thankfully most residential ISPs in the UK still use dynamic ones so this is hopefully of limited utility. But what most people don’t realise is the extent to which they’re tracked… I work in data so know what they’re capable of! A friend works for a branch of a telco that does ‘innovative’ data mining. Whenever your mobile phone is turned on, booster signals in shopping centres, that kind of thing. Free WiFi in shops, cafes, etc… ever wondered why it’s ‘free’ even where the place doesn’t have any need to offer it? Yep, so you can be tracked. ‘The Cloud’ (Sky) and O2 are the biggest, and track you across multiple sites, even ones you don’t go in, just so happen to walk past the entrance doorway and your phone triggers (e.g. O2 auto-connects at every McDonald’s and non-franchised Costa). Scary as hell when you think about it. I’m glad regulators are finally starting to catch up, just don’t think they’ve gone far enough.

        • Lady London says:


          “To make your life easy just sign up for our app” really means “sign up for our app so we can totally track you, sell everything we get from this, match your data with other site data so we know things you thought you hadn’t told us” and soon “let us knowvexactly what you are willing to pay for something from us sobwell never offer you a lower price unless you refuse 10 times” etc.

          If someone commits a crime don’t bother asking the police to find them just ask Google!

        • the real harry1 says:

          Turn off telemetry with 1 click https://www.safer-networking.org/spybot-anti-beacon/

          Speedup your computer as well, which just goes to show how much stuf you’re sending the other way.

    • I would say Rob though, this is a site I support, I read when I can and try to slightly point people into this direction. Obviously not everyone I meet travels or worries too much about travel.

      I have a blocker, as some sites adverts take a long time for a page to load. I am trying to add thsi site to my approved pages. If a company advertised on here I would try to use the link if I was interested in buying things from them.

  3. Melvin says:

    *Sorry, my terminology was wrong, I meant MCOL.
    I did find an alternative carrier that was fair more convenient and got me to the correct airport on the same day. I was unaware that I had the right to be booked (by Vueling) onto another carrier and they certainly did not offer, even though I made them aware that their alternative flight was not suitable.

    I thought I’d been hard done by and from what you say, it sounds like a might have a case worth pursuing via MCOL, especially as it was for a party of 7 people.


    • the real harry1 says:

      Don’t worry, you’re not alone – the vast majority of people don’t realise they can force the re-routing issue when their flight is cancelled. It sounds like you accepted the refund voluntarily, in which case you don’t have a snowball’s, sorry to say. Once you press ‘accept’, it’s case closed.

      To get another opinion/ several opinions! from quite expert EC261 people, some lawyers, you could describe your case on the Flyertalk British Airways EC261 thread.

  4. @mkcol says:

    OT: Curve rewards no longer pay on B&Q transactions

    • TGLoyalty says:

      They’ve stopped at M&S for me too

    • Alex W says:

      On the flip side, I have been getting 5% back at National Express coaches, which doesn’t seem to be advertised. Have the black card.

  5. OT: How long does it take to transfer SPG points from one account to another SPG account (same address)? It’s been 5 working days and no luck. Also, how long doe the SPG->Marriott transfer take? I need the miles part urgently as will be purchasing Marriott Travel Package but am wondering if this will work for me at all as I thought it would be quite quick. Amex to Delta was almost an instant transfer.

  6. the real harry1 says:

    O/T just a reminder of a couple of tips I find useful. For non-status people like us Blueys. Out tomorrow to place in the sun for a week/ half term. 4x Avios redemptions, Dad + 3 kids, I went for the cash/ Avios option where I could ‘buy’ (or not redeem) 20,000 Avios for £160, so I effectively paid 0.8p/ Avios and kept 20,000 Avios in the bank. Lesson 1.

    I checked us in T-24 hrs today and was a bit fed up because there were 3x great seats up front which I moved the kids to within about a minute – but somebody was faster and it fell through, so I just moved them up the plane to about row 16. However, knowing how dynamic it is, I checked back a few times and surprise surprise, row 5 opened up with 3 seats a couple of hours later so I grabbed them instead. I’d managed to get a window seat about row 6 for myself at T-24.

    So we’re all up front. Lesson 2 here: 1. Don’t make your online check-in crystallised by printing the BP or getting the PDF if you’re not entirely happy with your seat. Otherwise it’s done & dusted. If you just check in but nothing else (eg choose collect BP @ airport) you can go back and change seats later.

    Lesson 3 – whilst I am now pretty happy with our seats all up front – kids together & me in a window seat – I’d like to get an exit seat. Currently 3 showing as available. I’m not willing to pay for that. Of course, you can ask at check in for the agent to do that. But if you go to the self check-in machines (@ LHR and elsewhere), you can do this yourself. Earlier, so you are first. Ie we have checked in already, securing our seats, we haven’t printed BPs, tomorrow I will arrive @ LHR a bit early, go to the OLCI machines, select check in again and see if I can move myself to an exit seat.

    • the real harry1 says:

      Should have said self check in machines 🙂

      The point is: getting exit seats for free.

      • Top tips thanks Harry. I have done the check-in thing you mention myself and it works well.

        • the real harry1 says:

          Anybody living near an airport with self check in machines could go there any time after T-24 hrs and use them to grab an exit seat.

        • the real harry1 says:

          Whew! or as my son says: bang! Flawless journey up the motorway, though it was getting pretty heavy going the other way towards Somerset/ Devon/ Cornwall by 9am, no exit seats remaining but happy with my 6F, no problem dumping bags T-3.5 hrs, admitted into No1 T3 with a few smiles from me with all 3 kids, despite them turning away some people in front of me, apparently 100 more reservations due to arrive in the next hour and most tables occupied or reserved! Even serving something cold, white & bubbly, not sure if it’s Prosecco or ersatz Prosecco but tastes good after the motorway 🙂

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