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BA cancelled my companion flights after voucher expiry and refused to compensate

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  • SueWang

    Hi all,
    My family had been using BA’s companion vouchers to fly to China before Covid. However our 241 booking for 2021 was cancelled by BA, after which we rebooked for this spring, which was later cancelled by BA again at which point the voucher expired…
    BA refused to extend the expiry date of cancelled voucher, issue a new voucher, or adding the equivalent Avios to my account. They said the only thing they could do is to rebook us to a new flight to China before the end of September. However, there is no BA flight to China at all!
    I feel it’s utterly unfair that BA cancelled my flights twice, which caused my voucher expire, and I have to pay for the consequence.
    Any advice would be much appreciated!
    Many thanks in advance,
    Sue

    NorthernLass

    Hi – there is a huge amount of information in various threads on here about your rights if BA cancels your flights.
    What happened when the 2nd trip was cancelled? Did you accept this or make it clear to BA that you expected your EU/UK261 rights to be honoured? Even if there were no BA flights, you are entitled to rebooking on another carrier if there is one operating (I’m not sure if any flights to China have re-started yet?).
    Was there the option to request a voucher which would have extended your companion voucher until Sep 23? If you provide as much extra detail as possible people will be better placed to suggest possible solutions.

    SueWang

    Thanks Lass,
    This is the first time I hear about EU/UK261, which is really helpful! BA didn’t give me an option to extend the voucher to Sep 23. I asked for extension, but they said no because it’s already expired… Is this something they should automatically do? Or should I call another department of BA?

    JDB

    Thanks Lass,
    This is the first time I hear about EU/UK261, which is really helpful! BA didn’t give me an option to extend the voucher to Sep 23. I asked for extension, but they said no because it’s already expired… Is this something they should automatically do? Or should I call another department of BA?

    It’s a little complicated! UK261 doesn’t give you any specific rights re the voucher, but the flight cancellation by BA gives you rerouting rights at no extra cost and the voucher is rolled up inside the old and new bookings. I’m not sure if you have received a refund of your Avios and cash and an expired voucher or whether you have left your cancelled booking intact. If you have received a refund it’s going to be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to get BA to do anything about the expired voucher. If you have simply left the booking (and BA still has the Avios and cash) you are entitled to ask for a rerouting on any airline, on any reasonable routing of which very few are currently available. Obviously BA is making life difficult in saying they won’t book beyond September which is probably their standard ticket validity argument, which they may stick to unless ordered by arbitration (CEDR) or a court (MCOL) to rebook you later but that is a grey area with no certainty of winning.

    yorkieflyer

    Key here is whether you agreed to a refund. If not and if you rejected a refund and they refunded you against your expressed wish then you have a chance. First request a copy of any recording of phone calls to establish what was said by who

    NorthernLass

    Aren’t they supposed to inform you of your rights as well? I think there’s a link to this in MMB these days but I don’t know when BA added that.

    SueWang

    Thank you very much guys for your messages!
    No I didn’t accept BA’s refund offer, but they said something like – if I couldn’t find an equivalent flight in the same reward zone, I’d lose the companion voucher anyway… And there is no flight to China at all.
    What’s worrying is that the booking isn’t shown in my BA account anymore. Even I typed in the booking reference, it says “Error
    Sorry, we are unable to find your booking…”
    I tried to call BA again, but haven’t managed to talk to a real person yet 🙁

    memesweeper

    What outcome do you want, Sue?

    Do you want to travel to your original destination, but at a later date? I think you have a fighting chance for that. Start by requesting copies of your phone calls with BA as a “subject access request”. Then write to BA legal explaining you do not want a refund, you want rebooking within X months of flights restarting on Y route (or on Z dates with another airline) as is your legal right under EU/UK261. If you were not advised of your rights under EU/UK261 at the point of cancellation or on the call either, make this point too — I think BA are required to tell you about your rights in these circumstances.

    Do you want your voucher back with extended validity? I know of no means to force BA to do this. Ask BA for an extension in writing. If they refuse, I’d be inclined to complain to Amex in the next, make it a formal complaint, quoting BA’s refusal, and pointing out you paid £X for a credit card and had received a useless voucher in return. Amex are a regulated business and will not want to be caught handing out useless vouchers while charging for the service. If you get any goodwill offer from either BA or Amex you have done well.

    SueWang

    Thank you so much Memesweeper! I’d be equally happy with either outcome. I raised a compliant with BA in April about this, still haven’t heard anything yet…
    I shall try the Amex route now!

    SteveR
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