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British Airways to stop US and Canadian members joining class action lawsuits

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British Airways Executive Club rolled out an interesting update to its terms and conditions this week to the 1 million members based in the USA and Canada.

This was the email that members received:

We’re writing to let you know about some changes to your Executive Club membership. These changes include adding an arbitration agreement and class action waiver to our Terms and Conditions from 28 May 2020.

At British Airways, we would always try to informally settle any issues that may arise. However, if that’s not possible, we require our US and Canadian Members, such as yourself, to use arbitration to resolve disputes individually – and not through a court or a class action.

You’ll be asked to accept these changes the next time you book with us on ba.com.

British Airways to force members to drop class action lawsuits

If you look at the small print, US members must file a claim within two years of becoming aware of whatever issue led to the dispute.  This clause is not in the Canadian terms, presumably because local law does not allow it.

British Airways Executive Club has been hit by class action lawsuits in the past.  In 2018, British Airways was forced to pay out 2.2 BILLION Avios in a US class action lawsuit against fuel surcharges on Avios redemptions.  The claimants filed that these ‘fuel surcharges’ bore no relation to the actual costs of aviation fuel and were not valid surcharges.  All US residents who had booked an Avios redemption between 2006 and 2013 were able to claim up to 35,000 Avios.

There is no change to the Terms & Conditions for members outside the US and Canada.  This is interesting as, of course, there is a class action lawsuit in progress in the UK against British Airways seeking compensation for the 2018 data breach.

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