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.

(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.)

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Comments

  1. 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://www.headforpoints.com/2019/07/13/40-tesco-clubcard-conversion-bonus-for-shell-drivers-club-members/

    • Article should still be active.

      • 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

    • 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

  2. 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.

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

    • 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

    • 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.

        • 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.

        • 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.

        • 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?

          • 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.

  6. Any experience from people booking hotels (indirectly via expedia, hotels.com etc) with young kids

    I am looking at booking a twin room in Tel Aviv. Room only basis. No extra crib or roll-away bed is needed.

    Do I need to declare 2 young kids (ages 5 and 2) on the booking?

    • The problem you might have is that hotels will sometimes have a maximum number of people per room and if you turn up with more than that they may refuse to accommodate you. I would either adjust your search so it shows the correct number of adults and children or contact the hotel in advance and ask if the twin room will accommodate all of you.

      • Hi. I would always include the kids, know too many people who have been either refused accommodation or had to purchase an additional room/suite in the same hotel. I had the frustrating situation earlier this year where we trying to book a family pool room at the JW Marriott in Khao Lak, that could be booked as such via Emirates Holidays but not directly with Marriott who insisted I needed to book a suite (at five times the price). I know a lot of people think that Airbnb is great for families, but I have had two bookings cancelled at relatively short notice, so am wary about using it again. My wife much prefers hotels (I am not cleaning or making the bed whilst we are on holiday 😂) so she is happy anyway!
        LST

  7. Neil Donoghue says:

    Can we complain to the CAA and get them to investigate all these issues! I was also another person who got stung massively with incorrect information! Spent £1100 on new flights only to be told my flight was now running 2 days later…Never witnessed anything like it!

    • Lady London says:

      You can request BA to reimburse you the additional costs you incurred to their actions / misinformation. Ask 3 times giving then 2 weeks each time to reimburse you or get their statement of their “final answer.” Then go to moneyclaim dot gov dot uk, pay the small fee, and wait for the court to decide.

  8. Hi Rob I have 2 for 1 voucher expiring Oct 6th and was looking for a last minute break and would also be interested in trying to obtain an extension in the circumstances. Any advice on how to go about this?

  9. Using Lloyds voucher do I have to pay with Lloyds Avios card? In the past I have done it on Lloyds card as I needed it for the spending for the new voucher. Now I want to pay on my BAPP to benefit from higher earning.

  10. Hi all when does the Addison Lee credit get added to platinum? I had a journey on 10th August. Last statement was issued on 13th August. No credit as yet.

  11. BA’s current policy of only allowing re-booking onto a few oneworld carriers is useless if your ticket is on a cancelled flight to most European destinations. If BA can’t get its act together to rebook you on a low cost carrier such as easyjet on the day of a cancelled flight then it should at least allow the customer to make the booking and pay up the difference.

    • Lady London says:

      If corporate travel agents book for their business traveller clients all the time via internet for seats on airlines that are not in GDS systems such as Easyjet, Ryanair and even, used to be Brussels Airlines, then i cant sée any good reason why British Airways cant organise to make the same possible on irrops.

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