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Avios flight cancelled – can you rebook to any date?

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  • qc

    Does this still apply to https://www.headforpoints.com/2020/05/05/avios-flight-cancelled-by-ba-you-can-rebook-for-any-date-even-if-avios-seats-are-not-available/
    I’ve been told otherwise by BA – apparently there needs to be Avios seats available.

    JDB

    In principle the answer should be yes, but without more details it’s difficult to be sure. There is also often some considerable disconnect between your statutory rights and what BA will actually offer without a fight.

    qc

    Avios flights to South America booked in June this year for Jan returning Feb – both flights now cancelled and of course now no Avios availability when I want to go.

    If it changed when did it change as I can’t find anything?

    JDB

    Avios flights to South America booked in June this year for Jan returning Feb – both flights now cancelled and of course now no Avios availability when I want to go.

    If it changed when did it change as I can’t find anything?

    The law has not changed and your EC261 rights are statutory, so you are not affected by any BA policy change. What’s odd is that in notifying you of the cancellation, from what you say, BA did not offer you an alternative in that email. Our flights to EZE for next Feb/Mar were also cancelled because they have rejigged the schedule (in mid September) to have some non-stop flights as well as some via GRU. The cancellation email said they had rebooked, us but those flights did not suit and we were able to select different ones online with no issue. In the first instance, I would call BA again, because if you are simply trying to rebook for similar dates to the cancelled ones rather than say deferring for a year, you should have no issues.

    JDB

    Avios flights to South America booked in June this year for Jan returning Feb – both flights now cancelled and of course now no Avios availability when I want to go.

    If it changed when did it change as I can’t find anything?

    Also – do check online in MMB to see if you can rebook and of course, whatever you do, don’t let them refund you for the cancelled flights as that will extinguish your rebooking rights.

    qc

    My flights were booked in June and cancelled in July but I didn’t bother rebooking as I knew I had up until date of departure to do something.

    They have offered alternative flights but when I want to shift the whole trip forward I vent do it in MMB.

    JDB

    My flights were booked in June and cancelled in July but I didn’t bother rebooking as I knew I had up until date of departure to do something.

    They have offered alternative flights but when I want to shift the whole trip forward I vent do it in MMB.

    I know that many here disagree, but I think it is a great mistake to leave bookings to fester like that. In principle, it should not affect your statutory rights, but as a practical matter it often does as you are now discovering. I like to have all my bookings nailed down to book my hotels, domestic flights, car hire etc. I note also the risk that flights at that time are getting very busy even for cash tickets so your options may reduce – my son was looking in Feb a few days ago to join us in Argentina and he could only book via Montevideo.

    qc

    I know but we’ve been otherwise occupied, travelling etc 😉.

    So do you think I should be covered by the rules in force when we booked – there is still cash availability on the dates we want.

    qc
    NorthernLass

    It’s irrelevant what BA’s “rules” or policies were (and indeed are), you don’t need avios availability to be rebooked. Have a read of the relevant legislation so you know when BA are giving you the right or wrong information. You are legally entitled to re-routing – in theory this can be on different dates to your original travel dates but in practice if you had to enforce this via arbitration or court you might have to justify why you needed to change to a particular date. There are many threads on here with different examples by people in the exact same situation.

    Also as @JDB says, before you get into a tussle with BA, check whether you can actually change your flights yourself via MMB.

    Matt

    BA will generally happily re-book you +/- 14 days I think without needing avios availability. You haven’t said how far you want to move the trip – if it’s less than that then I would just phone again. If it’s months or a year then the law is probably on your side, but it might take a fight.

    qc

    I want to move it a month forward. The flights were actually booked the day before the ‘book with confidence’ was ended.

    JDB

    I know but we’ve been otherwise occupied, travelling etc 😉.

    So do you think I should be covered by the rules in force when we booked – there is still cash availability on the dates we want.

    You have left it four months, which just unfortunately makes it a bit trickier to enforce your rights. You are lucky they haven’t just refunded you. Also, while you aren’t concerned about the flights, I’m not sure which SA country you are going to, but I’m sure you realise Jan/Feb is the main summer holidays that continue until about a week after carnival when schools go back, so places are generally very busy as they would be in Europe in Jul/Aug. The big cities may empty significantly as people go the seaside/countryside and offices have extended closures, but there are extra tourists instead escaping our winter.

    NorthernLass

    Was your earlier post supposed to read that you’ve tried doing this via MMB but can’t?

    qc

    Was your earlier post supposed to read that you’ve tried doing this via MMB but can’t?

    Oops – sorry, didn’t notice the typo. Yes it was.

    qc

    I know but we’ve been otherwise occupied, travelling etc 😉.

    So do you think I should be covered by the rules in force when we booked – there is still cash availability on the dates we want.

    You have left it four months, which just unfortunately makes it a bit trickier to enforce your rights. You are lucky they haven’t just refunded you. Also, while you aren’t concerned about the flights, I’m not sure which SA country you are going to, but I’m sure you realise Jan/Feb is the main summer holidays that continue until about a week after carnival when schools go back, so places are generally very busy as they would be in Europe in Jul/Aug. The big cities may empty significantly as people go the seaside/countryside and offices have extended closures, but there are extra tourists instead escaping our winter.

    Exactly – that’s why I’d like to go after Carnival. I hadn’t thought about that when I booked.

    JDB

    @qc basically then you need to press BA by calling if no options in MMB. Try two or three times in case you fall upon a more sensible agent. If that is still not successful, then you need to write to CEO’s office (I really wouldn’t bother with Customer Relations as they most likely won’t do anything and in any event say their role is post travel complaints). Give them 14 days to rebook you in accordance with your EC261 rights failing which you will go to CEDR or MCOL. They may well not respond so you then need to decide which route to take. Unfortunately the delay in addressing the matter and the consequently short time to your travel dates gives them the upper hand.

    qc

    Thanks – good advice @JDB

    BJ

    Echo advice from @JDB, I really think these things are best resolved asap after the cancellation. Apart from any other reason, the quicker it gets sorted the moreboptions you have. Remember that hundreds to thousands can be affected by cancellations depending on whether it a single flight affected or a full route suspension. You are therefore in competition with all those People to be reaccommodate and it’s impossible for the airlines to please everybody all the time. Therefore, the options you have are better defined as being agent-dependent than rights-dependent because the airlines know that when it comes right down to it most passengers do not know or are unprepared to do what may be required to fight for their rights. That’s why the first and preferred approach of many of us here is HUACA, repeatedly until we get a sympathetic agent. There are quite many of those IME so it is not that hard. However, even they will not always serve up what you want on a silver platter, be prepared to be reasonable and come and go with them on what’s on offer. Good luck.

    Michael C

    I was quite stunned to find I could move a cancelled LHR-MCO (moved to Gatwick)
    to absolutely any day on MMB – now travelling with my offpeak cheapy on the Sat. before Easter!

    Guess they sometimes do things right, but it’s the other 99 times that are the problem…!

    BA Flyer IHG Stayer

    I want to move it a month forward. The flights were actually booked the day before the ‘book with confidence’ was ended.

    BWC does not apply here since the flights needed to be scheduled to depart before the end of September 2022.

    You mention BA rebooked you but you can’t now change the flights in MMB and neither will the call centre.

    If there is any chance that you accepted that rebooking then any further change you want to make to the booking is a voluntary one which would require there to be avios availability (and you paying any additional avios / cash differences)

    JDB

    I want to move it a month forward. The flights were actually booked the day before the ‘book with confidence’ was ended.

    BWC does not apply here since the flights needed to be scheduled to depart before the end of September 2022.

    You mention BA rebooked you but you can’t now change the flights in MMB and neither will the call centre.

    If there is any chance that you accepted that rebooking then any further change you want to make to the booking is a voluntary one which would require there to be avios availability (and you paying any additional avios / cash differences)

    That’s a very good point – maybe that’s what has happened here. Easily done, unwittingly to accept the change. You can see in the app – often the old flight will show but with no ticket details and the new one also showing but with the ticket number. If this is what has happened BA will fight tooth and nail.

    yonasl

    UK/EU261 is for any ticket bought with cash or avios:

    “3. This Regulation shall not apply to passengers travelling free of charge or at a reduced fare not available directly or indirectly to the public. However, it shall apply to passengers having tickets issued under a frequent flyer programme or other commercial programme by an air carrier or tour operator.”

    So there you go. Your rights are the same as those of another paying passenger:

    “Cancellation

    1. In case of cancellation of a flight, the passengers concerned shall:

    (a) be offered assistance by the operating air carrier in accordance with Article 8; and”

    And Article 8 says:

    “Article 8

    Right to reimbursement or re-routing

    1. Where reference is made to this Article, passengers shall be offered the choice between:

    (a) – reimbursement within seven days, by the means provided for in Article 7(3), of the full cost of the ticket at the price at which it was bought, for the part or parts of the journey not made, and for the part or parts already made if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to the passenger’s original travel plan, together with, when relevant,

    – a return flight to the first point of departure, at the earliest opportunity;

    (b) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at the earliest opportunity; or

    (c) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at a later date at the passenger’s convenience, subject to availability of seats.

    2. Paragraph 1(a) shall also apply to passengers whose flights form part of a package, except for the right to reimbursement where such right arises under Directive 90/314/EEC.

    3. When, in the case where a town, city or region is served by several airports, an operating air carrier offers a passenger a flight to an airport alternative to that for which the booking was made, the operating air carrier shall bear the cost of transferring the passenger from that alternative airport either to that for which the booking was made, or to another close-by destination agreed with the passenger.”

    I do not think BA can argue that “availability of seats” relates to Avios seats. If so, you could then argue that a person that bought a ticket with an offer cannot be put on another flight because they don’t have a similar price.

    qc

    I definitely didn’t accept the changes – both sets of flights are showing the cancelled ones as well as the ones they rebooked me on and there is still the option to accept the new flights or change to new dates.

    JDB

    I definitely didn’t accept the changes – both sets of flights are showing the cancelled ones as well as the ones they rebooked me on and there is still the option to accept the new flights or change to new dates.

    Yesterday you said there was no option to change dates…

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