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BA >14 days cancellation & re-routing

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  • JDB

    @Abdul the law is intentionally silent and what is fair/reasonable in individual circumstances can only be decided by a court or arbitration if you can’t agree with the airline. The legislators in 2004 probably didn’t anticipate flights being cancelled for months, air travel coming to a sudden halt and countries effectively closing their borders for months or years. That is why no time limit is specified and has demonstrated the flexibility of the law.

    BA’s published policy is obviously not illegal per se but, like most things, it could be challenged. The time limits to which you refer won’t get you very far in this sort of case. Tickets, even if electronic/LCC still have validity dates but those can be extended and those validity dates form part of your contract or the Conditions of Carriage which are fairly standard IATA global ones, also not illegal. Some people are trying to extend their ticket validities in ways that are unreasonable so airlines, courts and arbitrators have unsurprisingly pushed back.

    memesweeper

    @jdb what courts have pushed back? I only follow things here and may have missed something

    JDB

    @jdb what courts have pushed back? I only follow things here and may have missed something

    BA wins more rerouting cases than it loses and particularly ones on stale tickets. We have also seen more CEDR losses than wins on the ticket validity reported here. Still a mystery how few MCOL case results or settlements get reported here vs claims supposedly issued.

    JDB

    @jdb what courts have pushed back? I only follow things here and may have missed something

    Sorry, was in a bit of a hurry earlier. I understand that amongst others, BA has won cases in Milton Keynes, Birmingham and Chelmsford with BA’s ticket validity + maybe a bit argument winning over we can rebook whenever we want. I don’t think this is inconsistent with the more mainstream advice generally offered here. It’s pretty clear there are two poles – reasonable and greedy, plus quite a big space in the middle and it’s very subjective as to what “at the passenger’s convenience” means or is intended to mean so they fight many cases, although the number of these cases is now, unsurprisingly, waning rapidly. BA has opened a new front, denying many claims for Article 9 rights if a flight is cancelled more than 14 days in advance. This will probably have the effect of shaking out a great many cases but it will be interesting to see if/how they defend the remaining ones. I sense that they take some comfort generally from a strict reading of the text vs some of the ECJ decisions which, while supposedly “normative” to use another poster’s term, don’t carry that weight that they supposedly should.

    Lady London

    If judges are falling for BA trying to say despite the legislation being very clear, that they don’t owe Article 9 rights which are basically duty of care, then this goes against the intentions of the legislation which was to stop airline abuse by cancelling booked flights leaving passengers with all the financial and non-financial costs of that.

    These xosts occur whenever a flight is cancelled by the airline. Someone has to ensure they are covered and passengers given the chance to still be transoported (rerouted) amd there is no way the passenger caused this so the perpetrator of the change must pay for its impact.

    We have seen this this summer with BA cancelling many flights at short notice, some being return flights leaving people stranded abroad, other people having their holiday flights cancelled very close to the date so having their holiday ruined etc. If they werent obliged to pay duty of care expenaes and to reroute the cancelled pax fairly then airlines they will just cancel anything they like anytime they like and passenegers take tbe brunt. Any judge that lets BA get away with failing to provide duty of care, is opening the door to passenger abuse by airlines.

    JDB

    @Lady London I’m not aware that any judges have accepted BA’s current position on 14 day plus cancellations which seems a new thing. BA doesn’t generally adopt this refusal policy for late cancellations where their handling seems strangely variable in timing of payments (some within a few days) and what they will accept with no apparent logic.

    StillintheSun

    I think there seems to be plenty of assertions and counter assertions as to where the balance is falling with regards to victories over BA vs failures.

    There would be a way of having some independent verification giving the fact that county courts in small claims do not often give written judgments although CEDR does. On my reading of the CEDR rules there is no duty of confidentiality as to the final determination. Court pleadings (that is the particulars of claim and defences) together with Court Orders are public documents. If someone with IT skills could set up a page where people could upload a short summary of their case together with their determination/pleadings and final court order we would be able to have some idea as to how decisions are going and more importantly perhaps start to make a database as to where and on what issues are successful.

    For example it would be very interesting as to how the judges at Uxbridge County Court are finding because that is one of BA’s local courts and thus a litigant would always be able to choose to have their case tried there.

    BA almost certainly has one of these databases also. If someone set one of these up there may even be money to be made from banner advertising such as from firms that charge to bring claims. Hell, Bott and Co probably have one of these databases anyway. If you could search the page by Court, Judge, adjudicator and type of claim even better.

    Anyone interested in a little public access project?

    StillintheSun

    Just to make my bias clear. It is my desire that as many people take on the airlines as possible but with the understanding that no one should be spending monies that they cannot afford to lose and that some people will lose. The cost of CEDR adjudication is £25 to the passenger if they lose entirely. An amount I venture that most people who are flying can afford to lose.

    We do not know what the cost is to an airline for each successful claim against them. On top of that cost is the administrative cost of reading claims and providing written documents in response whether or not the airline wins as CEDR. Thus globally it is worth as many people as possible pursuing the airline for the taxi they promised to pay for and did not, the hotel room that they were required to pay for and did not, the new flights purchased after the airline cancelled flights and refused to provide reasonable alternatives. It just might with time alter airline behaviour.

    My frustration is that posters on here are deliberately citing straw men such as mythical claims for failing to receive a meal and suing as a cover for the systematic refusal by various airlines to conform to their consumer law duties. Most claims will be for things that again I venture the vast majority of people would support. Why should a family left stranded not receive what they are entitled to under the EC Regs?

    Turning to the supposed piddling claim for seat selection. If I did not have BA status and had paid between £158 – £182 for a couple to reserve club world seats which had never been provided is it really unreasonable to utilise CEDR to get that money back if British Airways are refusing to return the same and you think you have an arguable case?

    On here we have very interesting discussions as to how the relatively affluent can “screw” BA for expensive Christmas business class seats to the Maldives by utilising the Regs. Different people will have different views on the ethics of this. Sadly, the vast majority of people affected by the airlines appalling behaviour in the last couple of years will be ordinary people perhaps taking there one much treasured family holiday a year or as people I have met their one trip in years to see distant family. It be really nice if such people were not put off from pursuing BA through for example CEDR which is a relatively inexpensive way to enforce your rights.

    StillintheSun

    Lost a post for the first time!

    In case it isn’t clear I wanted to make clear that my personal bias is to encourage as many people as possible to bring claims, hopefully valid ones, against the airlines who have in general systematically refused to comply with their duties under the EC Flight Regs. That is a starting fact. My opinion is that no one should be bringing claims for sums that they cannot afford to lose. Secondly, some people will lose.

    Fact is that a complaint to CEDR costs £25 if the passenger loses entirely. I would venture a sum that most people could afford to use if they can afford to fly. We do not know the cost to the airline for each claim they lose. We do know that there will be an administrative cost and burden in reading claims and providing written submissions. If enough people who had been denied the taxi fare promised to them, the hotel night not refunded or the replacement flights following cancellation its just possible that the airlines may begin to change their ways. Or at the very least those people will receive what they are entitled to.

    We have interesting discussions on here as to how the relatively affluent can “screw” BA for an expensive Christmas business class flight using the regs. Different people will have different views on the ethics of the same. However, that shouldn’t detract from the fact the vast majority of people adversely affected by the airlines will be “ordinary” people (whatever that means) who have saved up for their one yearly treasured family holiday or once in five years trip to see distant family. Why should such a family left stranded at the airport not receive what they are entitled to?

    What frustrates me is that some posters use mythical tales of legal claims for a missing meal to deter others from bringing sound claims. What on earth does that have to do with the poster’s request regarding a cancelled flight? Secondly, if I had paid approximately £150 to reserve two business class seats on my once in a lifetime avios flights to New York after hard saving why on Earth should I not pursue BA through CEDR if they failed to provide the same and then not give me my money back?

    The airlines have behaved terribly generally although of course not in every case. However, given the regulator’s complete failure to deal with this people are going to have to navigate their way through themselves with perhaps a little help from the good people of HFP.

    memesweeper

    BA wins more rerouting cases than it loses and particularly ones on stale tickets.


    @jdb
    thanks – that’s news to me, and suggests BA are managing to convince a court that their T&Cs on validity have a bearing on 261 claims. Terrible news if true.

    We have interesting discussions on here as to how the relatively affluent can “screw” BA for an expensive Christmas business class flight using the regs.

    My conscience is untroubled by “screwing” BA for several reasons:
    – they sold tickets for flights that they must reasonably have known were not likely to fly
    – they sold tickets at cut price (eg the half price Avios deals) and then cancelled months later and now wish to wriggle out of the obvious liability they created for purely commercial reasons
    – they have repeatedly abandoned customers abroad and failed to inform them of their rights

    … good luck to anyone who second-guessed “this flight isn’t going to operate” correctly, and then secured a seat at peak times. BAs behaviour makes it clear they do not deserve our sympathy IMHO.

    Lady London

    Also at CEDR in particular there seems to be a problem of competence of arbitrators. They don’t have to obey the law but they are supposed to take account of it (ie at least know it or look it up.) Unlike mcol/courts and even tribunals which are supposed to follow the law even if the judge thinks the result is unfair.

    So of course BA is going to rejoice if someone isn’t going the legal route (mcol) and has chosen CEDR as due to what appears to be incompetence in too many cases reported, MCOL has a better chance of putting a stop to BA’s tricks than CEDR.

    Stillinthesun’s idea to pursue everything even small ie make BA take admin cost instead of being able to coldbloodedly estimate a vast majority of passengers illegally denied smallish refunds won’t bother, is in the right direction. Kind of like a ‘denial of service’ attack on BA. Trouble is, BA also rely on passengers they systematicaliy lie to, bully and deny being dispersed and not uniting.

    JDB

    @JDB
    Very happy to see you have joined the litigation bandwagon and issued a claim. I warn you it is quite infectious. We’ll make a radical of you yet…

    Being a radical might be a step too far, but the good news is that after asking for an extension of time to file a defence (to a duty of care claim for a flight cancellation over 14 days away), BA has filed that defence two weeks early:- “each and every fact and allegation pleaded in the Particulars of Claim is denied.” BA then continues that, without any admission of liability, it instructed payment of the claim in full plus £50 court fee a few days ago, but refuses to pay the c.£4 of interest! Included dinner for one at £94 including wine, not so unreasonable for Reykjavik.

    StillintheSun

    @jdb
    An excellent result. I’m glad BA were prepared to take the glass of wine on the chin.

    Abdul

    In order to present a claim against an EU carrier I’ve been researching some cases regarding Article 8, section 1 c) that is ‘re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at a later date at the passenger’s convenience, subject to availability of seats.’

    As discussed, this section has no CAA guidance and limited case law.

    Lufthansa have lost a number of cases in the German courts. They held that the right to later re-routing is absolute in law and the timeline to ask for that is limited only by the statute of limitations (This varies from Member State to Member State). This was the court in Duesseldorf which has a good reputation of getting stuff right on EC261. Lufthansa did not appeal. One has the impression that in Germany at least, there is no debate regarding this section.

    I would say the German courts have taken a really hard line on EC261 and they’ve advanced passenger rights by referring cases to the CJEU. CJEU is always happy to increase the scope of EU Law…

    It was Duesseldorf regional courts referral, (as well as Austria) that led the CJEU to decide in December 2021 that a flight brought forward by an hour is considered a cancellation and eligible for compensation when notified less than 14 days to departure.

    If I understand the post-Brexit position correctly, this would only apply to BA if flying ex-EU, but would obviously apply to EU carriers flying from anywhere.

    I’m starting to develop a picture that ticket validity is meaningless when the itinerary has “UN” and maybe “TK”.

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