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Bumped by BA – anyone know what I can expect?

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  • JSkel61

    Hi

    Booked BA in club world from Cape Town to LHR on 7 Oct. When we reached the airport we were told flight was overbooked and we would be on standby. We hadn’t been able to check in online at all. After some complaint we were downgraded to premium economy with the subsequent bumping meaning that two people couldn’t fly. Appreciate that airlines overbook. Anyone know what we might expect in compensation please? I can’t seem to make sense of the regs. Also told by Trailfinders that ant money was likely to take 12 weeks. Has anyone had this happen to them please?

    Lady London

    Sorry please be clear.

    Who ended up flying in what class, and when.

    What is ant money

    NorthernLass

    Maybe what you pay to listen to ant music? (You have to have grown up in the 80s)

    But 12 weeks would be a good result from BA. As @LL says, needs more specifics on exactly what happened to whom in this instance.

    JDB

    For the downgrade from Club to PE, you are entitled to compensation amounting to 75% of the fare paid for that leg, but this doesn’t usually include the taxes, fees and charges element. When you refer to the bumping meaning two people couldn’t fly, I am taking it they weren’t part of your party?? If they were, there are different compensation rules for denied boarding vs downgrading.

    Matt

    It’s a reimbursement, not compensation, for a downgrade – make sure you ask for the correct thing. And it’s 75% of the fare for that leg, calculated by distance – so if it was a straight return then you’d get 75% of 50% of the total you paid. If there were other legs (eg CPT-LHR-DUB) then the affected leg would be less than 50% of the total, so you’d get slightly less.

    You don’t get 75% of any taxes or airport fees, you DO get 75% back of the BA carrier charge and other bits of disguised fare.

    There is no “exceptional circumstance” clause or similar for downgrades, so as long as you keep chasing you will get it.

    JDB

    It’s a reimbursement, not compensation, for a downgrade – make sure you ask for the correct thing. And it’s 75% of the fare for that leg, calculated by distance – so if it was a straight return then you’d get 75% of 50% of the total you paid. If there were other legs (eg CPT-LHR-DUB) then the affected leg would be less than 50% of the total, so you’d get slightly less.

    You don’t get 75% of any taxes or airport fees, you DO get 75% back of the BA carrier charge and other bits of disguised fare.

    There is no “exceptional circumstance” clause or similar for downgrades, so as long as you keep chasing you will get it.

    It isn’t clear that you get 75% of the carrier imposed fees back – see Case C‑255/15 Steef Mennens v Emirates Direktion für Deutschland. «to the exclusion of taxes and charges indicated on that ticket, as long as neither the requirement to pay those taxes and charges nor their amount depends on the class for which that ticket has been purchased». If the charges are the same for Club vs PE, which they often are, that would preclude getting the money back.

    Matt

    For the case in question the airfare was Eur2371 and the total including ‘taxes and charges’ was EUR 2471.92, so I don’t think that was considering BA style charges, it was looking at airport fees etc.
    The judgement states “solely the price of the flight itself” – I can’t see how BA surcharges can be anything other than part of the price of the flight itself.
    Allowing airlines to redefine as much of the price of the flight as they want as a “charge” does not seem compatible with the overall aim of “ensuring a high level of protection for passengers”.

    From the judgement mentioned it isn’t clarified, but that was 6 years ago – my impression from the very active Flyertalk page on the topic is that people are claiming and receiving the appropriate reimbursements – is there evidence to the contrary?

    JDB

    The judgment (sic) may have been 6 years ago, but it remains the law until a further judgment or change to the Regulations. What you say is the obvious common sense interpretation, but not strictly what it says and since 2016 there has been an explosion in carrier charges; it’s a shame the Court wasn’t more explicit if by charges it just meant third party imposed charges. I mentioned it because we have had reports here of BA, on Avios bookings, not refunding 75% of their carrier imposed charges, but that my represent their opening gambit/try on, so the OP needs to be alert to this, although he doesn’t say whether it was an Avios or cash booking.

    Lady London

    Hum.

    I think if BA tries not to include 75% of their fake YQ charges they mendaciously like to call tax, in any downgrade reimbursement claim, I think they will back down if challenged.

    A challenge on this that went far enough and they lost, would blow the gaff on these fake charges, which are indeed an unavoidable part of the fare paid. I don’t think BA would want too much judiciary or rwgulatory scrutiny of the way they manipulate their fare constructions and particularly what tbey are still calling tax. They’ve got tbe CAA squared away never to put their teeth in BA’s posterior, but other regulators may eventually take an interest.

    Lady London

    PS the original poster hasn’t come back to us but I hope he hasn’t just asked Trailfinders to process a refund for the fare difference between the class of cabin paid and the class of cabin travelled in. The reimbursement provided by law (which overrides BA’s preferences and rules and any of BA’s ts and cs), of 75% of the fare paid, per seat, in cash, will be worth much much more.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe taking a refund, even partial, loses the right to claim tbe 75% reimbursenent?

    Magarathea

    I have had 2 successful downgrade claims against BA via CEDR where the difference in Avios was credited by BA as their first and only attempt to resolve the claim. In the last claim, I rejected the Avios refunded as UK261 requires the reimbursement to be in cash unless otherwise agreed by the passenger. CEDR accepted this and I received the downgrade reimbursement in cash. BA never came back for the Avios.

    JDB

    I have had 2 successful downgrade claims against BA via CEDR where the difference in Avios was credited by BA as their first and only attempt to resolve the claim. In the last claim, I rejected the Avios refunded as UK261 requires the reimbursement to be in cash unless otherwise agreed by the passenger. CEDR accepted this and I received the downgrade reimbursement in cash. BA never came back for the Avios.

    Presumably the difference in Avios proposed by BA and what you claimed at CEDR in cash was 75% of the total fare paid (if it was long haul) rather than just the difference between the classes?

    Magarathea

    BA refunded the difference in Avios for the downgraded flight to try and settle my claim. I rejected this and successfully claimed 75% of the total fare of the flight less taxes and fees, all paid in cash.

    nike85

    BA refunded the difference in Avios for the downgraded flight to try and settle my claim. I rejected this and successfully claimed 75% of the total fare of the flight less taxes and fees, all paid in cash.

    Seems like a good outcome. In this case though, what’s the basis for the cash fare when it was booked with Avios? Are BA able to look back and see what the fare ‘would have been’ had you booked it on the same day?

    Matt

    BA refunded the difference in Avios for the downgraded flight to try and settle my claim. I rejected this and successfully claimed 75% of the total fare of the flight less taxes and fees, all paid in cash.

    Seems like a good outcome. In this case though, what’s the basis for the cash fare when it was booked with Avios? Are BA able to look back and see what the fare ‘would have been’ had you booked it on the same day?

    It should be the value of the avios – if you’ve any sense you’d put a claim in for the cost to buy that many Avios from BA. It will be much more than you think they’re worth, and BA can hardly argue it’s an unfair value to assign.

    Magarathea

    UK261 requires that the percentage reimbursement be paid in cash unless the passenger consents otherwise. For a reward flight the Avios percentage to be refunded is converted to cash at the BA selling price for Avios of 1.6p/Avios. If you used an Amex 2-4-1 companion voucher, the “companion’ gets the same reimbursement as the main passenger as there is no mechanism to refund a percentage of the companion voucher. I have done this twice before via CEDR when BA rejected my claim.

    Matt

    The judgment (sic) may have been 6 years ago, but it remains the law until a further judgment or change to the Regulations. What you say is the obvious common sense interpretation, but not strictly what it says and since 2016 there has been an explosion in carrier charges; it’s a shame the Court wasn’t more explicit if by charges it just meant third party imposed charges. I mentioned it because we have had reports here of BA, on Avios bookings, not refunding 75% of their carrier imposed charges, but that my represent their opening gambit/try on, so the OP needs to be alert to this, although he doesn’t say whether it was an Avios or cash booking.

    The judgment remains the law, but while it is not particularly clear it definitely doesn’t say “airlines can call a random amount of the airfare something different and that bit won’t count”. It was making a decision about actual taxes and charges, so I don’t see how that can be read across to something else entirely different.

    I’m fairly sure BA have and will try it on in line with your intverpretation, but they try on all sorts of excuses and refusals that don’t get very far when challenged.

    Lady London

    UK261 requires that the percentage reimbursement be paid in cash unless the passenger consents otherwise. For a reward flight the Avios percentage to be refunded is converted to cash at the BA selling price for Avios of 1.6p/Avios. If you used an Amex 2-4-1 companion voucher, the “companion’ gets the same reimbursement as the main passenger as there is no mechanism to refund a percentage of the companion voucher. I have done this twice before via CEDR when BA rejected my claim.

    Exactly. You’d be nuts to want avios back anyway even if you’d paid any avios towards your flight, after BA messed you around. Much better for you to claim and CEDR or MCOL process to award 1.6p per avios instead.

    StillintheSun

    @Magarathea
    Thank you for letting us know that you have won on this point twice at CEDR. Whilst one decision is not binding on another claim it is really helpful to know what is practically going on and that claims put in the way you are suggesting are winning. I’d also expect a county court to ascribe the same value as BA sells the points. Ascribing zero monetary value (which I think some airlines assert) would nullify the mischief that the Regulations are designed to target and be contrary to the stated purpose of providing a high degree of consumer protection. The Regulations are deliberately stacked in favour of the consumer because of the airlines poor behaviour before it (and frankly continuing).

    JSkel61

    Sorry for not being clear in the first place and taking time to come back – my very elderly cat had to be put to sleep so other things on my mind. My husband and I were downgraded from Club world to premium economy for the return Cape Town to LHR. BA advise that reimbursement should be claimed via the agent which I’ve now done. Sorry for not being savvy about this – would be grateful for any advice on next steps. Thanks

    JDB

    Sorry for not being clear in the first place and taking time to come back – my very elderly cat had to be put to sleep so other things on my mind. My husband and I were downgraded from Club world to premium economy for the return Cape Town to LHR. BA advise that reimbursement should be claimed via the agent which I’ve now done. Sorry for not being savvy about this – would be grateful for any advice on next steps. Thanks

    As advised by many in this thread, you were misinformed by BA to go to the agent. What you will likely be fobbed off with is the (contractual) difference in price between Club and PE which will likely amount to very little. What you are actually statutorily entitled to under EC261 for the downgrade is reimbursement of 75% of the total fare (ex taxes and third party charges) for the leg on which you were downgraded, obviously be a bigger sum. You should probably speak to the agent in the first instance to ascertain what they have done as it’s conceivable they have asked for the right thing. If they haven’t, you should apply to BA online. If they do fob you off further which is likely, you will need to go to CEDR (simpler, cost free) or MCOL to get the correct reimbursement.

    Lady London

    @JSkel61 sorry about your cat. It does fill your mind when you have to deal with something like that doesn’t it.


    @JDB
    is absolutely right. You do not have to go back to the agent, and if they’ve taken it upon themselves to just accept or go for fare difference you would really be losing out. So please find out what they’ve done, if anything, and start your claim for the considerably better amounts you are really due, with BA.

    If you take a look around the Flight Cancellations and Delays category here on HfP you will see that you should contact BA for your downgrade reimbursement under the UK APR regulations and EU261. You can call but also do in writing/email. Record or take notes during and immediately after any call with date and time and who you spoke to.

    If the full payment is not made to you after your initial request plus 2 further chases, say around 21 and 40 days, after 8 weeks send them a snail mail signed-for letter headed Letter Before Action addressed to BA Legal at their Waterside address. Look for LBA abbreviated or in full on HfP if you need to.

    If you paid any avios they each count as 1.6p. Generally don’t claim or accept avios back as part of what you get – would you want to take more of a vulnerable currency from a company that messed you around? Only APD and any true taxes, may be deducted from what you paid before you calculate 75% value of all the cash and avios and claim ‘statutory reimbursement for downgrade’. BA has to give this regardless of their terms and conditions as the legislation overrides any terms they make.

    Claim for each seat. If anyone is in this situation and their 2nd seat was a 241,claim the same amount for 2nd seat based on the first seat.

    Good luck and let us know how you get on.

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