Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forums Other Flight changes and cancellations help When does 50% reduction in UK261 compensation apply? Reply To: When does 50% reduction in UK261 compensation apply?

Lady London 2,160 posts

Those of us who were observant of BA’s flight cancellations last summer, noticed that mysteriously BA was often only offering or pushing passengers towards replacement flights that were earlier not later.

If you think about this it’s not very logical. Most people are in a place and know how early they can leave, and don’t want to leave earlier. As that would take away from their holiday, or they have things like work that meant their cancelled flight was the earliest flight they could take without great inconvenience.

And yet we saw BA suggesting only earlier flights to passengers, even when sometimes BA was operating, say, 2 later flights that had seats available. Why was this?

(1l The later flights are more attractively timed and BA wants to get money for selling seats on those flights. This, despite the legal fact that if there is any seat on a later flight( on any day if the passenger wants it not just the same day), whether it is an avios seat or not, a passenger whose flight is cancelled has a right to that seat. (No matter how much more money it can be sold for, if the seat is available the airline is not legally allowed to deny a cancelled passenger that seat if it’s in the same cabin the passenger booked (not the same booking class, just the same cabin).

(2l BA knew it waa cancelling lots of flights so it was much better to offer only esrlier flights. As, in case of further delays or cancellations on the passenger’s journey, BA would be more susceptible to having to pay compensation amd expenses like hotrls nweded due to flights now being later. So it seemed they had a deliberate policy of trying to push passengers to take earlier flights than their cancelled flights, rather than later flights, to reduc this risk to BA.

(3) Getting the passenger to take an earlier flight also reduced the amount of hours late a passrmger was likely to arrive at their destination – with, of course, the passenger “paying” for that by the inconvenience of taking an earlier flight if they could, thereby losing personal or professional activities they had planned earlier, to help BA out.

This means that as the passenger was then almost never going to arrive more than a very short time (at most) after their original booked time at their destination, then thanks to the passenger’s efforts helping them, BA could invoke the clause in EU261 / UK261 allowing them to reduce the passenger’s compensation by 50% in case of only short delays to arrival time on theircrerputed (replacement) flight. (Something like delay less than 2 hrs short haul, less than 3-4 hours medium haul, less than 5 hours long baul lets the airline reduce compensation by 50%).

Note that if the cancelled flight was part of a longwr journey, eg EDI-LON-MIA, then even if they only cancelled EDI-LON and the replacement flight was only, say 1 hour later in landing in London but you were too late for your originally booked MIA connection and had to take a later flight, then it’s the time of landing in MIA that counts, and not the time landing in London. So in that case you would get the full £520 compensation and any attempt to halve it to £260 should be rejected.

BA thanks you for helping them out and saving you money by taking an earlier flight.

I genuinely can almost never take an earlier flight but I would advise other passengers to think very carefully before they inconvenience themselves by taking earlier rather than insisting on later.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.