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The HfP chat thread – Friday 19th November

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Comments (466)

  • Stephen says:

    Thanks Andy, meta, Lady London

    Yes, have sent a LBA via email and post to Virgin/ANA registered office.

    FRA-HND – 1 x First Class (return) – return segment cancelled, ANA have provisionally added the following day (unable to make this flight)

    FRA-HND – 1 x Business Class (return) – both segments cancelled, ANA have provisionally added an outbound segment for the following day (unable to make this flight) but no return flight

    FRA-LHR – 1 x First Class (return) – both segments cancelled, no replacements offered

    Virgin Atlantic responded to the email (Executive Team) saying they have no control over what seats ANA release to them. ANA won’t change the ticket as it “belongs” to Virgin Atlantic. No reply from ANA as of yet.

    As I anticipated issues with the December 2021 flights, in July 2021 I booked some flights for April 2022, but only managed to get 3 x One-Way outbound segment seats (due to limited availability). These outbound flights are on 15th April 2022, so have asked for the return segment to be added for 27th April 2022.

    As these flights have been cancelled four times, and each previous time I’ve worked around their restrictive requirements about re-booking, I thought on this occasion I would request what I’m entitled to

    I have stated to Virgin/ANA that they can use our existing April 2022 reservations, so only need to add the return journeys but legally I’m guessing they are responsible for arranging both segments.

    The quote for £25,639.70 is the one-way flight cost with ANA (for 3 passengers, same class of travel). I’ve just taken a look at the quotes for a return flight (which actually is cheaper than one-way from Japan), but still a significant amount of money.

    Quotes (return journey) –

    Japan Airlines – £8,261.00 / ANA – £9,183.00 – LHR to HND – First Class
    Lufthansa – £6,584.00 / ANA – £6,591.00 – FRA to HND – First Class
    Lufthansa – £2,544.00 / ANA – £2,546.00 – FRA to HND – Business

    Total = £17,389.00 / £18,320.00

    I’ll give them another 7-10 days to respond to the Letter Before Action sent via email/post, before starting a MCOL.

    From looking on the MCOL/Gov websites, it looks like a £18,320 claim would cost £916? How solid do you think this case is? Is there anything else you would do if you were in my position?

    Thanks for your help

    • Blenz101 says:

      Just a note of caution if your original flights departed FRA that the UK courts won’t have jurisdiction and ANA/Virgin’s legal team would defend on that basis.

      UK261 now applies in the UK and that is applicable only to passengers departing from a UK airport as well as to passengers departing from an airport located in a country other than the UK to an airport situated in:

      -the UK if the operating air carrier of the flight concerned is either an EU/EEA carrier or a UK air carrier; or

      -the EU/EEA if the operating air carrier of the flight concerned is a UK air carrier.
      Passengers therefore enjoy the same coverage between the UK and EU regimes as they had enjoyed under the previous unified regime.

      You right are under EU261 and any such claim would need to be made in an EU Member State.

    • Matthew says:

      I had a nightmare like this when a Finnair booking from HEL-CTS (using AS miles) got cancelled and no one would take responsibility for rebooking. Ending up just getting a refund of miles in the end. But I totally understand why you’d want to pursue this as first class ANA is hard to come by and they should offer you alternatives. Who knows when Japan will open to tourists!

      • meta says:

        I am just thinking now that it might be better for you to go via S75 route as @blenz101 points out about jurisdiction.

        In order to succeed at MCOL, you need to claim like for like, so looking at a return flight when all that you need is one-way is not a good idea no matter how cheap it is.

        • Blenz101 says:

          S75 doesn’t sound like it is also worth a try before shelling out court fees. My caution here would be that you don’t have a direct relationship with ANA as Virgin have broken the chain acting as a travel agent. For S75 you need a direct relationship with the entity supplying the goods.

          I also suspect your CC company if it did accept it was jointly liable would cover only the what you spent on the card (taxes and fees) by way of refund which doesn’t get you any further forward than I suspect VS would do now if asked.

          • Blenz101 says:

            Sorry – meant DOES sound like it’s worth trying. But noting that it may fail for the reasons I’ve set out.

          • Stephen says:

            Thanks everyone, interesting about S75, but I think I’ll really struggle to get AMEX to even consider paying up without having paid for the new tickets already. I remember there being some discussion before, but not sure if anyone tested it in the end?

            I was hoping that ANA/Virgin could see that I’ve been reasonable, and tried to re-book using their award availability, leaving them to only add the return segment.

            Question is whether they will respond to the Letter Before Claim, or not bother until the MCOL is served to them?

            Does anyone have any contacts within Virgin Atlantic/ANA by any chance, that would be able to take a look at this and resolve this?


          • Blenz101 says:

            Presumably in the letter you gave them a reasonable period to respond so once that time is up your only option is to issue proceedings. It is true that ANA won’t be able to touch a ticket issued by Virgin. If you have already heard from VS exec team you have taken it as far as you can. It doesn’t sound like VS have a process to get their partner to force availability open or move you to a revenue ticket due to the cancellation. If they did the exec team would surely have done it by now. The court papers if you go MCOL would not be dealt with by customer services.

            As noted by meta you need to claim a like for like flights. You are claiming a monetary amount for the replacement flight you are going to buy (or ideally have already bought). You will need to pay the court fees upfront which you have correctly calculated.

            You may get extremely lucky and Virgin/ANA’s legal team will settle once the claim is issued, they may offer to put you on the flights you want and cover your court fees. However, anybody working in-house at either airline would quickly see the UK courts have no jurisdiction on these flights. They will have a template defence for this scenario and it would be odd for them not to file it. There is a strong chance ANA UK may not even respond at all. In the event you get a judgement against them when they don’t respond you would then have the issue of enforcement (i.e. getting them to pay). Enforcement will cost you more in fees and I think the limit for a Warrant online is around £5k. A writ will likely require you to use a solicitor.

            Before you spend on court fees you may wish to get some legal advice on your chances of success.

            You do still have your EU261 rights but it may just be that you need to enforce them through the courts of an EU member state.

            Also if you do claim for the flights on your specific dates you still have no guarantee Japan will allow you in so may need to move them again.

          • meta says:

            I invoked previously S75 for TAP flights bought via Expedia and Amex paid up. That was last June. I argued that given the flights were cancelled, Expedia sold me an invalid ticket, so Amex paid for a new flight later.

          • meta says:

            @Stephen the discussion here before was that Amex only needs to give you a go ahead to purchase the new tickets, so you can do it. And then they’ll refund you straight away. It does mean paying upfront for a short amount of time, so might not be feasible depending on circumstances.

          • Blenz101 says:

            Agree meta, it would seem sensible to try S75 first given the alternative is spending a minimum of £900+ on court fees with the uncertainties of winning or enforcing a judgement.

            The S75 claim alone may make someone see sense even if technically it can fail due to VS sitting between the customer and the supplier. Amex do try to keep their customers happy wherever possible so can’t see them just rejecting it out of hand.

          • Stephen says:

            Ahh, I paid with an AMEX Platinum (Charge Card) so don’t think S75 will cover it? I’ll get in touch with them and see how I get along tomorrow

          • r* says:

            I have stopped booking flights on the plat for precisely that reason, as amex supposedly offer voluntary s75 equivalent cover but it clearly isnt equivalent if they wont provide the joint liability part of it.

          • Lady London says:

            S75 covers consequential losses ie higher cost to replace if needed; chargeback doesn’t.

            I would still want to see 3-5 market quotes for *each* of these amounts being claimed. You did not buy First Class on ANA. You bought First Class on any airline between the origin and destination of each ticket. You have to consider other airlines who have flights available reasonably close to your required time, and it’s the airline that ends up paying/providing that gets to choose which airline replaces your First Class travel between origin and destination by any reasonably comparable route.

            I ‘would’ also provide quotes for the return journey and not just one way, if cheaper. You have to show you’ve made reasonable efforts to mitigate the amount of your upcoming loss to replace your travel (ie you can’t appear to only consider the one way solution if canning what you have in April and choosing a solution for the whole return journey would work out cheaper).

            Not sure about jurisdiction. Might depend on dates of purchase etc. I think I’d ask the court clerk upfront.

          • Andrew says:

            I believe the credit provider is liable for the total regardless if only a portion was on credit.

  • Secret Squirrel says:

    If BA show no availability via executive club for a flight using AVIOS, does AA have access to reserved seats via their reward booking system? I have just booked a BA flight using AA points but BA shows no availability on that date?

  • Polly says:

    Singapore….all good, negative PCRs, OH`s result came back in 3 hrs, so happily escaped outside to smoke, funny thing is hotel happy to release both of us on the 1st negative result…Boy, was it anxiety time waiting tho. Nerves of steel required. Now it’s raining, but it’s 5.30am here..
    Anna, we will be sinking into that pool by 8am, rain or no rain…
    Am framing those F boarding passes for posterity, it was such hard work getting this trip done!

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      Enjoy! Post the hotel review after your stay!

    • Guernsey Globetrotter says:

      Congrats you guys ! How was the flight in first? Post a review when you’re finished lounging in the pool 😜

  • BP says:

    Lanistar is open for registration….

    • Froggee says:

      The one that couldn’t even pay its own staff and offers customer service out of North Macedonia? Sign me up!

      • BP says:

        As long as it comes with a box of MS tricks then I don’t care too much about service.

    • Aston100 says:

      I thought we agreed to call this one Tyrion?

  • Benilyn says:

    BA J CW long haul – when can you see your flights menu? Are you able to pre select what you want? Not talking about special meals here

  • Stephen says:

    Thanks Blenz101, Virgin Atlantic is saying they have no direct communication with ANA, unlike they do with other airlines. If they want to discuss any of these reward tickets, they need to call through to the normal ANA customer services line who are limited in what they can offer.

    If I just claimed for the LHR – HND (First Class return ticket), rather than the other tickets departing from FRA would that make the process easier? I guess I’d still have the issue about enforcement, and the complexity of Virgin and ANA being involved

    • Blenz101 says:

      I don’t know how far the flights are out but one tactic could be to issue a MCOL for the ex-LHR flight which won’t be subject to jurisdictional challenge and see what happens. At the very least it will keep your initial court fees down and the hopefully you will find out who responds and makes the situation right.

      Once in correspondence with a legal department you can let them know you are about to issue 2 other claims on the same basis and provide the details, they will save themselves picking up your court fees if they just go ahead and fix it in the same way they hopefully will for the ex-UK flight. It will give you a good feel for how things may go on the other flights.

      If VS say it is ANA and they don’t respond you have at least limited your exposure whilst you come up with a plan C,E and F….

      • Stephen says:

        Thank you, flights are scheduled for late December, I think that’s the best option if no luck with AMEX or response from the Letter Before Action. Thanks for your guidance – will post and let you know how it goes

        • Lady London says:

          Remember sue them both, LBA before suing etc, jointly.

          Virgin’s lack of processes with ANA is not your concern. The court will just tell whichever or both, of them to sort it and they will have to. Fingerpointing and bleating it’s the other party is totally irrelevant to you and you stop this by communicating/LBA’ing and suing them jointly. You really don’t care.

  • Grimz says:

    Border control at Miami was horrific again. We managed to get through in 1 1/2 hrs last night but some passengers would have been double that! Luckily one of the senior border control guys took over and started sending passengers via the USA citizens route!

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