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The HfP chat thread – Saturday 20th November

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We are running this daily chat thread on Head for Points during the coronavirus outbreak.

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Comments (214)

  • Hulk says:

    I’m guessing there are restrictions as to what HfP can (or cannot) say about travel insurance and/or various scenarios and rights of claiming from airlines etc. But it would be useful to have some type of guide if possible.

    • marcw says:

      Know your rights, ask the airline/hotel first, then ask your insurance.

      • Spurs drive me mad says:

        My advice is read the policy properly before you buy it. Lots of info on web already about consumer rights. If it’s a specific problem with a company then post it and people can try and help.

  • Blenz101 says:

    In terms of claiming this site does provide coverage when there is news angle. For example see –

    https://www.headforpoints.com/2020/03/19/can-you-claim-ec261-compensation-due-to-coronavirus/

    https://www.headforpoints.com/2020/08/13/british-airways-first-class-downgrade/

    The daily chat thread generally tries to help with claims which are more niche or complex and posters generally get a good range of responses from both those who are pretty litigious and those who are more cautious where the outcome isn’t a certainty.

    In terms of travel insurance consensus is generally to read your own policy and if still in doubt speak with your provider. All policies are written in plain English so an article would add nothing beyond what is already in the policy booklet.

    • meta says:

      The first article is now out of date. It’s now harder for airlines to blame covid for commercial reasons and technical failures. In most cases, EU compensation will be payable then.

  • Vit says:

    Hello, just used my amex travel offer (Spend £200, £50 off) to book flight BKK – PNH. For those who used it, how soon the £50 is credited back into your account?

    Happy weekend everyone!

    • Sandgrounder says:

      My credit took about 2 weeks.

    • Dan says:

      Mine took a month and a big disagreement about whether i’d signed up for the offer before or after I booked the travel. What with the change from BST>GMT and Amex working in both Mountain and Pacific time it was impossible for me to work out but they gave it to me in the end.

    • David says:

      20 days

    • Venturelog says:

      Am I right in thinking that any refund requests need to be done via the airline\hotel used and not go to Amex Travel?

      • David says:

        nope Amex travel and they take ages

      • meta says:

        @Vit Sorry to barge in on your thread. I can’t seem to find direct flights to Siem Reap from Bangkok. Do you think they’ll add them?

        • Vit says:

          @meta, I don’t think there is any at the moment and you can guess why (i.e. heavily tourist market). There are only 4 flights weekly by PG and 3-4 weekly by TG to PNH (on top of Lanmei and Cambodia Airways — which I have never flown).

          Though based on the “full reopening” of Cambodia and PM Prayut not allowing to fully open Thailand (i.e. alcohol served in only specific areas, etc.) I would not be surprised if tourists will start using the test-and-go as a stepping stone onward to Cambodia. So I think flights to REP may come back end of next month or early Jan the latest. I think Cambodia has a bit of upper hand here in a sense that Thailand is doing the hard work for them (by sieving / filtering through) the tourist with rt-pcr test and they can use that results from test-and-go to to fly to cambodia which only require rapid test as I think Cambodia won’t have such large volume of facilities to perform rt-pcr test for mass tourism!

          • meta says:

            Thanks. I am planning for January, so I guess it will be a last minute thing, otherwise staying in Thailand.

  • Jon says:

    Morning all,

    Could I ask for your collective wisdom and especially any advice from the MCOL experts on here?

    I’m about to prepare my Letter Before Action and MCOL case against BA, for their failure to provide my EU261 statutory rights (specifically reroute at later date per Article 8.1c) re a long-haul First flight they cancelled in December last year (originally for travel in August this year).

    1. In terms of legal process, is it better to:

    a) Issue LBA requesting provision of ticket, wait two weeks, then buy the ticket myself (if no resolution from BA in the meantime) and immediately proceed to MCOL; or

    b) Buy the ticket, issue LBA requesting reimbursement, wait two weeks, then if no reimbursement from BA, proceed to MCOL.

    I see from reading about Amy C and Stephen’s cases in yesterday’s thread that perhaps it’s not necessary to actually buy the ticket before going to MCOL, subject to risk of price fluctuation. Is it generally considered better to have made the purchase and hence have suffered the financial loss before going to court, or doesn’t it matter? Anticipated fare is about £5-6,000.

    2. What’s a reasonable amount (if any) to claim for my time? I’m aware that the guidelines state the costs should not exceed 2/3 of the rate a solicitor would reasonably have charged for the work, but elsewhere an hourly rate of £19 is also given (do any solicitors work for that?! 😉 Over the eleven months this has been going on (including a CEDR case whose ruling BA has failed to comply with), I must have spent a good 30-40 hours on it, but I assume not all of that can be claimed?

    3. Statutory interest is presumably from date of purchasing the replacement ticket until settlement? So I’d let the court calculate that? Or is from some earlier date?!

    4. Claiming for any sort of compensation for distress/inconvenience, and/or punitive damages against BA for their appalling attitude and behaviour is out of the question, I suppose?

    Many thanks!

    • Jon says:

      In case the detail may be helpful to anyone else in a similar situation…

      – October 2020, I booked BA First KUL-LHR return, for travel in August 2021.

      – Booked via Malaysia Airlines as a partner redemption using their Enrich miles (which should make no difference as far as EU261 goes – BA is the operating carrier).

      – December 2020, BA cancelled the flights (and route) but refused to provide reroute, instead directing me back to MH who of course sent me back to BA…

      – Went round the houses for a few months then went to CEDR in March.

      – CEDR ruled in my favour.

      – BA failed to comply (and even submitted ‘evidence of compliance’ comprising a two line email to MH asking them to sort it out).

      – Late September 2021, BA did finally provide reroute and issued a ticket (on Malaysia Airlines, being the only other direct flight – comparable transport conditions etc).

      – MH then advised the ticket would not be accepted for travel as the new dates went beyond original ticket validity (I had originally asked for December 2021, but BA spent so long doing nothing that the moment passed and I had to make other arrangements for that; my next window is July/Aug 2022, which BA agreed to, but apparently the OTV was Feb 22).

      – My understanding is there’s a very simple solution: BA issues the booking as a new ticket. BA has declined to do this and instead (on the evening before the latest of CEDR’s many extended deadlines) offered a “compromise” that MH would provide me a full refund. Not acceptable to me.

      – I notified BA (and CEDR) that I would not accept any further deadline extensions, and if they did not furnish me with a valid ticket within the current deadline, I would buy the ticket myself and seek reimbursement through the courts.

      – The deadline has now passed, yesterday, and I have had nothing from BA.

      As an aside, CEDR did say that BA has never yet failed to comply with their rulings – looks like I’m the first… 😉

      • Blenz101 says:

        LBA before you do anything else, see if this prompts either airline into action. If no movement then MCOL with MH and BA as defendants. You will need to pay the court fees up front.

        If you buy the replacement ticket and issue your MCOL on that basis it is preferable as you will have incurred the loss and if successful with your claim do not have the risk of the price moving. This reduces the chance not only of the price of your new ticket moving whilst the claim is in progress but also any counterclaim you are inflating the costs. You will need to buy the ticket as you say if you want to claim interest.

        I don’t think you can claim anything for your time. Legal advice can’t be charged to the defendant even if you win so I don’t see the court valuing your time any differently.

        No compensation for your distress although I actually think it is MH who you should be directing your frustration towards.

        • Jon says:

          Many thanks Blenz, that’s really helpful. I did wonder whether I should make MH a party to the claim – I was reluctant to as I like them, and they have been far more proactive and helpful than BA, and the law (and MH’s partner T&Cs, and CEDR’s ruling) make it very clear that it is BA, as operating carrier, that is responsible for providing reroute (and indeed BA has accepted that).

          But I do recall someone (you? 😉 saying on here a while ago that it may be better to include both parties so that if there’s any ambiguity or loophole, the court can decide who’s responsible.

          To that end, do I send an identical LBA to both parties, or should I tailor a letter to each individually? Thanks again.

          • meta says:

            You can’t claim for time, but you can claim for postage costs. Also if there is more than one passenger separate the claim into two and thus make them pay two sets of court fees. For statutory interest, you do need to buy a new ticket as @blenz101 says and yes both MH and BA should be on the claim. Then the court will decide who is liable.

            I understand the appeal of going first to CEDR to save costs, but it has been proven time and again that it is a flawed process as they can’t enforce anything. This is why it’s better to go to MCOL straight away.

          • Jon says:

            Thanks meta. Yes, I’m increasingly coming to the view that the six months I spent going through CEDR has been a complete waste of time.

            But perhaps one benefit of having done it might at least be that, given the whole point of CEDR is supposedly to reduce the need for litigation, presumably a court might take a fairly dim view of BA failing to comply with CEDR’s ruling and thus necessitating court proceedings…

            On the subject of putting both MH and BA on the claim – just to check: given that BA did (eventually) accept its responsibility to provide reroute, in that it agreed to do so, agreed the details, and issued a ticket – just not a valid one as it turned out, and it has since failed to do anything to make it a valid one – is there not a risk that including MH might just muddy the waters?

      • Amy C says:

        I submitted to CDER this morning after balking at the cost of MCOL. Bit disheartened now that BA can and do just ignored this and reading that it’s unenforceable. Only given a tiny bit of room to write your account on CDER too which was irritating. Half of me is absolutely incandescent with BA and wants to take it all the way and the other half is thinking I might very likely be throwing away money by going MCOL against a huge company who’ll bleat that ticket validity is in the T’s and C’s etc. I do wish you best of luck with your claim and will be looking out for updates.

        • Jon says:

          Thanks Amy, and likewise good luck with yours! I know exactly what you’re feeling – BA has regularly left me frustrated, angry, and incandescent with rage throughout this process. Not so much because of the situation itself, but because of their absolutely appalling attitude, and apparent complete lack of awareness of (or deliberately ignoring) the law. It really is like banging your head against the wall.

          CEDR seems to be taking about six months to provide an adjudication at the moment, due to Covid (though maybe things have sped up a bit now since I submitted mine back in March). My reason for going that route first was really an effort to show that I was being reasonable – not sure that wasn’t a mistake in hindsight, but now that it’s done, I think I can take from it that I’ve been demonstrably patient and reasonable, that CEDR shares my understanding of regulation 261, and with them having pretty clearly spelled out what BA needs to do, and BA having finally accepted its responsibility, albeit not actually fulfilling it, I am far more convinced than I might otherwise have been that I am in the right – I honestly can’t conceive of a scenario in which the court would not find in my favour, having been through all this (though nothing is guaranteed, I suppose – perhaps I’m missing something 😉 But another angle perhaps is that if BA suddenly introduced in court some argument they had not previously used in their CEDR defence, I assume it might raise the question of why not, and what sort of view the court might take of them arguing one thing at CEDR and another at court.

          It will be interesting to see what sort of defence BA submits in response to your claim. Their response to mine was laughably poor, I thought, and completely failed to actually address the issue. So my advice there would be: don’t be intimidated (which I suspect is exactly what they are aiming for). They use a lot of legal language to say very little of relevance.

          On ticket validity, regulation 261 Article 15 states (and CEDR confirmed in their adjudication) that nothing in the airline’s contract of carriage can limit or waive the obligations provided for by the regulation – statute overrides contract. I bet they’ll try though 😉

          Final thought – you can upload files to the CEDR portal to support your case, so if there’s stuff you didn’t have room to enter in the online form, set it all out in a Word doc or whatever and attach it. Not sure whether there’s a time limit.

          • meta says:

            CEDR ruling won’t have any effect on MCOL. They won’t even look at it. It’s an entirely separate process.

          • Blenz101 says:

            Agree with this. And the purpose of naming MH is that they are a party to the claim. MCOL is entirely separate process and to anything CEDR will have looked at and may also affect how BA will approach resolving the dispute.

            If it gets to court It is perfectly possible BA will file a defence this time around given it is going to have an actual cost to them by paying you cash for a new commercial ticket. If THEY muddy the waters by saying you had no direct contractual relationship with them and it is for MH to make right you may end up throwing good money after bad. If both are named the the judge could apportion the costs as they see fit.

          • meta says:

            I also think there is nothing stopping you starting a MCOL process while CEDR is still ongoing.

          • Blenz101 says:

            Another option may be to contact CEDR and ask them about how to enforce the arbitrators decision through the E&W courts. It is supposed to be legally binding. The advice may well by to MCOL it but worth speaking to them first should the Arbitration Act 1996 have provisions you can take advantage of.

            If you can save the court fees and potentially buying a new ticket it may be worth a call on Monday morning.

          • Lady London says:

            Do what Blenz101 says next.

            All LBA and court documents naming both as defendants jointly on same bit of paper. You don’t care which is liable and pays. The court will sort it out.

            I agree with you mention the non-carrying out of CEDR judgment enlosing file(s) as an Appendix in your MCOL. Keep communicating (LBA) and suing (MCOL) both BA and MH even though CEDR awarded against just BA. Again, you don’t care. You name both to ensure that the case does not fail if the only party you sue can escape by pointing at the other party absent from your suit so you make them both present (co-defendants alongside each other) in your suit.

            You are correct. Ticket validity is irrelevant and can’t be used by airline as an excuse. Because (1) no limit in governing eu261/uk261 statute (2) process and especially BA dragging feet and not ensuring the delivery of the CEDR judgment caused it, as yoy say (3) perfectly reasonable for you to only have some time windows into which you can reroute either due to personal limitations like holiday time or fulfil the purpose of the trip eg seasonal. (4) issuing new ticket is perfectly easy for airline if they want to

            I believe you should claim your time now especially if it displaced ability to deliver your professional work. Worth adding due to BA dragging it out and especially not ensuring fulfilment of CEDR judgment. Seems fair, time can be awarded in cases where defendant has been particularly timewasting and unjustifiedly obstructive etc. I would 100% put in acreasonable claim for time hearing your story.

            As meta says if you can pay and use the amount to claim or at least hold similar ticjet reservation for a booking fee payablw or refundable nearer the time that makes the amount practically not challengeable. Harder but not impossible with a good selection of quotes 3-5 airlines/providers to prove market rare if you’re skint. If you have to do the latter I’d mention you are forced to but mention you hope the range of quotes is acceptable to indicate the replacement cost as you are feeling intimidated by the airline perhaps knowing you are not in a position to lay out the cash proactively so you have done your best.

            8%statutory interest, if you do pay out for replacement ticket, request this from date you paid until money claimed reaches your account.

            BA seems to play particularly cheating and hardball when they cancel a route don’t let them

            Good luck, I cannot imagine you’d lose this, please keep us advised.

        • Lady London says:

          Amy statute overrides contract.
          EU261/UK261 is a statute.
          Any terms and conditions of BA are contract.
          Therefore EU261/UK261 overrides BA terms and conditions.

          And incidentally, any incompetency or inability/systems problem of BA.. or basically, anything BA says or refuses to do.

    • Anne says:

      BA put me to proof of loss in their MCOL defence as I only had tickets held on deposit – thus you need to purchase tickets to demonstrate actual loss.

      • meta says:

        You don’t. You can prove loss by providing quotes. You pre-empt such a defence by listing quotes in the document section of the MCOL claim and spelling it out in the particulars.

    • Jon says:

      Thanks everyone. This is really helpful stuff.

      I’m going to spend the weekend, and probably a few days next week, preparing my LBA and getting everything ready for MCOL. While it will be inconvenient, I do have the means to pay for the ticket up front, so that is likely what I will do two weeks after LBA if no resolution is forthcoming beforehand. Ironically I’ll probably put it on my BA Amex (although the thought has occurred that I should put it on my soon-to-be-cancelled Creation IHG card, but I think the timing will be too late for that 😉

      Will report back as things proceed. I kind of hope someone senior at BA is reading this, because I’d like them to know that I have plenty of time on my hands and I will pursue this to the maximum extent possible – I’m not going to let it go 😉 I think it would be in everyone’s interest if they settle promptly before we end up in court, but if that’s what it takes then so be it.

      • JDB says:

        @Jon in respect of BA’s failure to comply with the CEDR, I would send a registered letter to the CEO of the Civil Aviation Authority, Richard Moriarty, together with CEDR’s correspondence. Send a copy also to BA Legal. Their failure to comply is serious. I think this may quickly persuade BA to co-operate. You should win at MCOL but the case will be re-decided, it will be slow and a hassle. The CAA is rather feeble, but in not honouring the arbitration scheme decisions they are creating real trouble for the system that the CAA will not like. Well worth a try.

        • Jon says:

          Thanks JDB. That’s a very good point. I asked CEDR yesterday to escalate to CAA (they suggested it, sort of implying it’s their nuclear option, when I asked exactly what powers they have to enforce their rulings). No idea where that will lead but as you say, worth a try. And no harm, I think, in me writing direct to the CEO also – will do. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • roberto says:

    Any recommendation on Bermuda Hotels or Guest houses please?

    • Anna says:

      Depends what/where you’re looking for, a lot of Air B n B accommodation seems to have popped up over the last few years. You can rent tiny electric days these days which makes the island more accessible now, previously it was bus, taxi or moped to your accommodation!

    • Biki says:

      We stayed at the Hamilton Princess for a few days in 2019. It was ok, but felt a bit tired, especially in the hallways. It has a Fantastic art collection in the public areas though and you can do a tour on a Saturday morning. We also stayed at the Rosewood Tucker point which was amazing! Pretty high prices for most things in Bermuda which isn’t a surprise as it’s in the middle of nowhere!

      • Anna says:

        We stayed at the Rosewood in Hamilton years ago, a nice, old-fashioned guest house with an honesty bar but I don’t know if it’s still there. Also stayed at the St George’s Club at the other end of the island (you need transport, a relative took us and our luggage), extremely cute 1 and 2-bedroom units with full kitchen facilities but also full service and restaurant etc.

    • Amy C says:

      I stayed Grotto Bay and loved it.

  • Anna says:

    @Polly – saw your post last night, hope you’ve had a wonderful day!

    • Polly says:

      Anna, Tnx, yes it’s fab, great 1st swim.this evening.. glad to be moved to our patio room at last. No sun, but balmy.

      Scam warning tho. Nearly got caught out by a 7am call purporting to be from Raffles Med, their doctor, stating my PCR was inconclusive not negative, and not to leave the room. They would be over to take another PCR test, and be charged! Tried to say l had my email etc confirming it, and was let out of the room by duty manager. Insisted l was wrong…unbelievable. Suddenly he hung up. Was waiting for him to call back, nothing from the front desk. Totally random. Apparently inside testing staff are using info to scam visitors to Singapore.. they had been doing it re the vaccines but seems to have moved on to PCRs. Bit unsettling to say the least..still feel like we are in a dream to be finally back here.

      • Anna says:

        Yikes! Worth knowing about stuff like this going on. Hope the rest of your trip goes smoothly.

  • 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

  • Dante says:

    Are people still bothering with the day 2 LFT and if so from where? Seems an unnecessary waste for a 1 night trip next weekend. My last flight I got test and traces on day NINE – by which time I’d been in contact with at least 200 people – so quite clearly the PLF’s and LFT’s aren’t time/money we’ll spent.

    I did have to laugh at the 8 text messages and 10 missed calls from test and trace – which I eventually picked up – who told me that I should now be on my final day of self isolation. Yay.

    • Peter K says:

      Asked regularly here and usually in such a way that it feels like trolling for a reaction. Yes, people do do the day 2 tests.

      • Worksop Dave says:

        Some people clearly didn’t get enough attention when they were children

    • John says:

      Ok

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      “by which time I’d been in contact with at least 200 people”
      And people wonder why cases are high when you have such m****s.

      • Dante says:

        What is your advice? If my job involves travelling frequently, should I (double vaxxed) self isolate pretty much my entire life between trips?

        To be clear those 200 people (a wild guess!) are comprised work colleagues, fellow passengers on the tube, people in the supermarket and those at the local pub. I’m not throwing “let’s catch Covid” parties!

        • Phil W says:

          I’d like to see the guest list, if you change your mind 🤣

        • TGLoyalty says:

          So then why isn’t your work picking up the £12 the day 2 costs from simplytestme?

          Just do the test.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          What’s buildbackbetter’s point then?

        • Worksop Dave says:

          “ Who said to isolate you weirdo?”

          Do a test to confirm you don’t need to isolate and then carry on as normal. Pretty obvious stuff really m8.

          People really are weak and cry about minor things like a test now and again. Everything has been open for months so there’s no reason for people to still cry about lockdown etc

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Not sure what your point is. If you don’t have to isolate after a trip why wouldn’t you continue with life?

        Sound a pretty reasonable estimate of contacts but I suspect close contacts was much lower in 9 days.

        “Learning to live with covid”

        • BuildBackBetter says:

          Simple. Take the test and isolate if positive. How hard is that?

          People don’t want to follow rules and then blame nhs and govt for everything.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            You’ve completely missed the point

            OP was contacted on day 9 after being in close contact with someone, on their flight, and asked to isolate. I’m assuming before the fully vaccinated don’t need to isolate change.

            Either way I agree take the test and isolate if needed.

    • Yorkieflyer says:

      I think it’s a valid point to ask why the palava after a flight when with no seat number on the plf everyone gets pinged for a pcr anyway. Then back in brexitland everyone is infecting each other on the tube and down the pub.

      • Roy says:

        There used to be a seat number on the PLF, I believe. I guess they stopped asking because it became clear that the system was verging on unworkable, because people often didn’t know their seat number before check-in – which in many cases wasn’t possible without a PLF!

        Threads in other forums suggest many people were just either leaving it blank (contrary to the instructions) or worse, inventing seat numbers so as to be seen to be complying!

    • Roy says:

      An important reason for the day 2 test is that *if* you test positive, you are of course strongly encouraged to take a PCR test, a proportion of which are sequenced to track the spread of variants. I *think* there’s supposed to be some system to track those back to the original PLF so they can see which countries variants are arriving from. The track and trace aspects, whilst no doubt of some value, are probably very much secondary.

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