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British Airways questioned by CAA about its strike rebooking policy

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The Civil Aviation Authority is investigating whether British Airways has complied with its legal obligations during its strike mitigation actions over the last few days.

Under UK consumer law, airlines are required to do one of three things when a flight is cancelled:

Refund the customer within 7 days, for either the full ticket or for those sectors not flown

Re-route, under the same conditions (ie. class) to final destination as soon as possible

Or re-route to final destination at a later date agreed with the customer.

If your flight is cancelled within 14 days of departure you will also be due EC261 compensation under EU law, but this is totally separate to the UK regulations quoted above.

The CAA – see here – seems to have decided that British Airways has not been as forward about these options as they should have been.

In particular, British Airways is being accused of not offering to re-route some affected passengers on other carriers.  If British Airways does not have a re-route agreement in place with an appropriate carrier for your journey, rebooking will not be cheap and is clearly something that the airline would prefer to avoid.

If the CAA believes that British Airways has been encouraging call centre agents to not offer re-routes where a discounted deal was not available – or blocking such functionality in the booking system – it would represent a breach of its legal obligations.

Edit: British Airways has issued the following statement:

“We appreciate the frustration and inconvenience that this strike action has caused our customers and our teams are working tirelessly to help them.

As soon as we were issued with dates, we contacted airlines across the world to support with rebooking agreements, and since Friday we have been providing customers with the option to travel on other carriers.  ​

Our contact centres are operating 24/7, and we have brought in additional resource, with over 500 colleagues working to support customers during this time. ​

Our teams are providing customers whose flights have been cancelled with options to seek a full refund or rebook, including to a different date of travel, or flying with an alternative airline​.”

British Airways CAA complaint

But a plus point ….. BA is now allowing multiple changes to cancelled flights

As the days go on, British Airways is agreeing deals with more airlines, and indeed UK train companies, to accept its passengers.  Malaysia Airlines is one of the latest to sign up, along with LNER trains.

This means that if you agreed a change last weekend when the strike was first announced, you may not have got the ‘best’ deal.

British Airways has now agreed that “Multiple changes will now be permitted for customers travelling on cancelled flights, if space becomes available on an earlier flight.”  This is not usually the case – once you have accepted a flight change, BA will usually refuse to discuss it further.

If you are not totally happy with your new flight options, I suggest giving BA another call in a few days.  You may find something better is on offer.

…… and a 2-4-1 extension

I also heard from a HFP reader who had managed to secure a six month extension to her British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher.  Interestingly, she had not actually got a flight booked but the voucher expired in two weeks and she was planning a last-minute break – something not now possible with most availability pulled.

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Comments (117)

  • A270 says:

    OT: Booking 4 x Swiss Air economy tickets. I have looked at the wheretocredit website but still finishing it confusing. I only have an account with Singapore but for most economy it’s showing 10% miles of none! We are a family of 4 so household accounts work better. Do Swiss, Lufthansa etc do such a thing. It’s a long haul flight so do want something I can make use of rather than little bits here and there that expire. Please advise.

    • Sundar says:

      How many Star Alliance flights are you likely to take ? If you will take about 24K miles worth of *A flights, then Aegean can be an option to acquire status and get a household account, thereby merging all miles together.

      • A270 says:

        Thanks. I take about 2-3 holidays with family usually on economy flights. Ending up with so many accounts here and there. With BA it’s easy as I get all my Qatar etc miles in one place. Maybe not the best use but somehow they accumulate and we make some use of them. To answer your question, not likely to take many star alliance flights.

        • A270 says:

          Although bought from the Swiss Air website, one flight is with Swiss and the next with Etihad. Etihad are not part of Star Alliance from what I can see so not sure crediting them to Singapore Krisflyer would work.

          • tony says:

            SAS Eurobonus now offers pooling of miles.

            Also, if you can find the availability, it’s only 100k miles for a round trip to Asia in J so long as you fly SAS, plus about £300 of taxes.

      • Lady London says:

        Could also look at how thé flights would crédit to TK which can also be a good Star Alliance program.

        Can also check if jour flights could be usefully crédités to Alaskan which is outsider thé l’Ain alliances but has specific tie-ups across all for mileage earn and burn.

        • Jtz says:

          I also had some Turkish economy flights and am deliberating over crediting to Turkish, or another star alliance programme, not sure yet which one though

  • ChrisC says:

    I see the Transport Select Committee (when we have a functioning Parliament) taking an interest in how BA dealt with this and the CAA probably realised it could be on the cards as well hence then getting in early so they look good.

  • AJ says:

    OT: has anyone tried repaying CapitalOnTap balance using Curve (linked to credit card) to ‘double dip’ on points? Or will it go through as a finance transaction to underlying credit card?

  • Steve S says:

    OT
    Has anyone had more than one 40% Avios bonus post for previous Shell conversions from Tesco?
    Rob
    Has this article been locked.
    https://headforpoints.com/2019/07/13/40-tesco-clubcard-conversion-bonus-for-shell-drivers-club-members/

    • Rhys says:

      Article should still be active.

      • Jerry says:

        Original post doesn’t seem to accept comments. No email from BA but did a test clubcard transfer and the 40% bonus posted (just once) will now convert all my tesco vouchers as this is the best bonus likely. I also have the grandfathered 800 conversion rate.

    • Simon J says:

      Yes had it twice and have now converted more

    • Louise says:

      Still chasing mine even after BA confirmed I’ve had shell points post to my account! They are said they are asking Tesco where my points are, I’ve told them it was their promo! I’m guessing they are all pretty busy at the moment

  • Paul says:

    BA once cancelled the LHR – KEF route that I was booked on and I was given the option of refund only.

    They were absolutely adamant that they had no obligation to reroute me with Icelandair despite my many arguments.

    It ruined my holiday since Icelandair tickets were then three times the cost of what I’d paid BA. But they simply wouldn’t budge.

    In the end they sent highlife vouchers as an apology despite me telling them I’d never fly with them ever again.

    I hope their shoddy practices get picked up by the CAA and there’s a case to answer for all the people who have rebooked and paid for new flights given the lack of options offered by BA.

    • Gavin says:

      Could not not claim back the cost of the Icelandair flights via MCOL if BA were incorrect about their obligations?

    • skins says:

      This has happened to me too for an upcoming KEF flight in November that we booked in February. LHR flights cancelled but agreed to LCY on same dates. Then LCY flights cancelled and no BA flights now on our dates. BA call centre refused to book either Iceland Air or EasyJet replacements so reluctantly agreed to change dates extending by one day incurring extra hotel costs (rate and extra day). Didn’t know rules Rob outlines above.

    • Lady London says:

      Was it within the last 3 years? If so lodge a claim online at money claim dot gov dot uk. You will get the small fee back when you win.

  • 1nfrequent says:

    BA categorically refused to reroute my return leg on Lufthansa. Tried several agents. Each time I got told that as I had booked using Avios I wasn’t entitled to be put on a Lufthansa flight to Heathrow. I guess the fact that the Lufthansa fare was £800 for that leg had nothing to do with it …

    • Lady London says:

      Give it a few days for BA to issue new instructions to their front line and then try again.

      You do need to be seen to be reasonable and give them the opportunity to fly you on BA or Oneworld if you can.

    • Lady London says:

      Rubbish. In the case of irrops/ rerouting due to cancellations there does not have to be an avios seat still available for them to book you into. All target seats in your same class of travel are considered. That’s practice and the law.

      The avios is just how you paid for your ticket and now your ticket – as a ticket not as avios those are long forgotten – needs to be replaced. Or refunded, but only if you agree to this.

  • TripRep says:

    BAs behaviour regarding these cancellations coupled with their previous poor history of honouring customers rights has influenced myself selecting a more expensive (direct flight) with Turkish airlines. Who I believe also serve food for economy pax.

    • Aston100 says:

      Turkish airlines definitely serve food on short haul economy, and it’s pretty decent food too.
      They also give a snack (a sandwich in our case) on domestic flights too.

      • Aston100 says:

        Which reminds me that Skytrax have classified Turkish Airlines as 3 star, which is below both BA and even Easyjet…

        • Lady London says:

          I think the word is that TK are great but just dont get stuck in any irrops with them as ground services may not be as smooth.

          • Aston100 says:

            Right, but I’m struggling to understand how Easyjet have a higher overall rating.

        • Swanhunter says:

          Which simply proves that Skytrax is a load of nonsense. TK are a very good carrier, IRROPS aside and better than BA in many respects.

          • Spaghetti Town says:

            Don’t listen to it and form your own opinions. Price wins the majority of times anyway for Economy travel

  • Richard says:

    OT:

    I’m struggling to spend the £4K I needed to for my sign up bonus.

    I have to transfer my friend £1500 for a holiday we are taking. If I PayPal them using my Amex will that count as ‘spend’ for the purposes of getting me over the £4K line?

    Richard

    • Spaghetti Town says:

      be careful, i think it can cause some issues with Amex/paypal.

    • Rob says:

      Yes. Another option is to buy a chunk of gift cards for your usual garage or supermarket and work through them over the next few months.

      • Aston100 says:

        Is there an article about this subject anywhere (methods to quickly hit a spending target)?
        My brief skimming of the internet seemed to suggest there may be issues when purchasing giftcards.
        Seemed to be a bunch of talk about manufactured spend and money laundering etc
        I’m confused.

        • Mark2 says:

          If you buy them from Tesco, Morrison’s etc. the credit card company will not know what you have bought, but why should they care? Morrison’s sometimes have a limit on number per transaction. ISTR that at Tesco they count for the petrol offer.
          Also see the Monese article.

        • Rob says:

          Not many options. You either bulk buy gift cards, load to Revolut (Visa/MC only and some cards treat it as a cash advance) or you PayPal money to a friend off your card. PP is VERY trigger happy however and will close you down – and hold your cash – if there is any potential sign of abuse / money laundering, but a one-off payment to a friend for a modest sum should be ok. No fees.

          • Lady London says:

            Amazon gift cards? can be bought for yourself too.
            And sometimes there are offers giving credit if a certain amount of Amazon gift card is purchased. Current one that’s popping up is £6 credit for a £50 giftcard.

        • TM says:

          Does the method of booking a fully flexible air ticket and cancelling later still work?

          • Aston100 says:

            Wouldn’t the spend be refunded back to your card (and you lose any MR / Avios etc), thus taking you back below the spend target?

          • Rob says:

            Not for an MR card before they claw it back unless spent. On a BA card the Avios would have gone over BUT you end up with a major negative Avios balance at Amex.