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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)

  • NICK says:

    Any experience from people booking hotels (indirectly via expedia, 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?

    • Anna says:

      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.

      • LST says:

        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!

  • 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.

  • Alan G says:

    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?

  • meta says:

    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.

  • Matt says:

    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.

  • PeterK says:

    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.

  • Anthony Edwards says:

    Sarajevo is a fascinating city. So much to learn about and to explore. I absolutely loved the week I was there.

  • Anna says:

    It’s encouraging that the CAA are holding BA to account over this, I have come up against the brick wall of “It’s not our policy to reroute on other carriers” a couple of times, it makes you lose the will to live after a while.

    How easy it will be to get anything out of BA in respect of all the inconvenience caused remains to be seen; they are still ignoring my requests for the EU261 compo they agreed to pay us in July! I may write to the CAA also as they seem to have BA in their sights at the moment.