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CEDR victory – BA ticket validity rules beaten

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  • beardysuhz

    Just received a CEDR victory today against BA regarding cancelled flights to Tokyo.

    https://www.headforpoints.com/forums/topic/cedr-vs-mcol-what-to-do/

    My original post above..I ended up CEDR’ing as it was less hassle and wanted to try my luck at the CEDR process.

    To give an indication of timeline i submitted my CEDR claim on 19th July and received the outcome 30th September.

    Reasons for decision
    1. The customer relies upon his rights under the APR Regulations. The customer has produced evidence of a Twitter conversation held with the company on 16 April 2022 in which he requested that he be allowed to rebook the Flights and was informed that: i) re-booking was not available, the Haneda route being suspended, but a refund could be provided; ii) the company could not offer a Future Travel Voucher for the “type of booking” and “even if we could, we’d be unable to hold the expiry date of the Companion Voucher on there”; iii) the company could re-book the Flights provided the outbound flight was taken between November, when the route re-opened, and 24 December 2022; and, iv) that the ticket expiry date of 5 July 2023 was only relevant once the outbound First Flight was flown; travel upon the First Flight extending the validity by 12 months from the date of that First Flight. However, the company explained, as the First Flight did not operate, “your outbound flight must be before 24 December as per your ticket validity from making this change”.

    2. The company has provided a history of the booking explaining: that the original booking was made on 20 November 2019 for flights on 2 June 2020 and 9 June 2020 at a charge of £1,077.44 and 170,000 Avios; the initial flights were cancelled and the customers rebooked to travel in April 2021; on 19 February 2021 the rebooked flights were cancelled and an FTV was provided “for new travel to be completed by 30 April 2022”; and, on 11 August 2021, the FTV was redeemed against the Flights for travel on 5 July 2022 and 26 July 2022, a further payment of £41.00 per person was required and 20,000 Avios refunded and the tickets were issued on 25 December 2021. The company accepts that it cancelled the Flights on 10 March 2022. The company accepts that the customer wished to rebook for travel on 24 April 2023 and 10 May 2023 but submits that, those dates falling outside the tickets’ validity period (one year from date of issue), the customer was offered a full refund or an FTV with a travel expiry date of 30 September 2023. The company explains that it can rebook for travel up until 25 December 2022.

    3. The company refers to its General Conditions of Carriage, section 3b, and submits that a ticket is valid from one year from the date of issue or one year from the date of first travel upon the ticket as long as the first flight took place within a year of issue. The company submits that, the ticket being issued on 25 December 2021, it is valid for travel up until 25 December 2022. The company refers to EC Regulation 261 and states that it has offered the customer the choice required, reimbursement or re-routing. The company submits that Article 8(1)(c) does not give customers the right to rebook at any future time of their choosing and cannot be interpreted as providing an indefinite right of rebooking, its purpose being to reduce the trouble and inconvenience caused to customers’ travel arrangements on a certain date. The company submits that the right to rebooking offered is in accordance with IATA Resolution 735.

    4. Post the departure from the EU, the APR Regulations apply to the claim and, despite there being little difference, it is the APR Regulations to which I shall refer. The APR Regulations, Article 8, provide that, “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”.

    5. I remind myself that the purpose of the APR Regulations is to ensure a high level of protection for passengers and that Article 15 states, “Obligations vis-à-vis passengers pursuant to this Regulation may not be limited or waived, notably by a derogation or restrictive clause in the contract of carriage”.

    6. I take into consideration: a) that the APR Regulations do not impose a time limit on the option to be re-routed at a later date at the customer’s convenience and prevent the limitation of the rights provided through contract terms; b) the concept of equity, questioning whether an interpretation resulting in open-ended re-routing would be equitable; and, c) the customer’s requirement that travel takes place to enable them to meet with friends for Eid. I find that the company was obliged, under the APR Regulations, to offer the customer the choice between reimbursement; re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to the final destination at the earliest opportunity; or rerouting, under comparable transport conditions, to the final destination at a later date at the passenger’s convenience, subject to availability of seats. It appears from the evidence before me that the customer wishes to be re-routed at his convenience and that the company does not argue that seats are not available on the dates concerned, the company confirming that the amount claimed is the value advertised of the seats that the customer wishes to book in 2023. Consequently, I am satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that the company failed to provide the re-routing required by the APR Regulations when refusing the customer’s request to be rerouted in April / May 2023, it not being argued, or found, that such seats were not available.

    7. The company submits that the amount claimed, £8,517.32, is based on an online quote for the travel dates requested and not a cost incurred, or amount paid, by the customer. The company submits that the total charge incurred for the Flights was £1,159.34 and 150,000 Avios. I accept the company’s submission and do not direct that a payment of £8,517.32 be made, no such loss having been incurred. However, I find it appropriate to direct that the company either re-route the customer, under comparable transport conditions, at a later date at the customer’s convenience and to include dates outside the tickets validity period such as those concerned, subject to the availability of seats, as required by the APR Regulations or, should the customer so request, provide a refund.

    Thank you to all the helpful advice provided on here by everyone but special thanks to: @stillinthesun, @JDB, @meta, @LadyLondon, @points_warrior, @@MingtheMerciless and @memesweeper and countless others I may have missed out.

    JDB

    @beardysuhz – well done, that’s great news. The tone of the decision is significantly more precise than normal from CEDR and also shows the value of the evidence you had gathered to support your case.

    points_worrier

    Great news, great to hear, and a reasonable interpretation and clearly argued decision.

    marshy11

    Excellent news and thank you for sharing the judgement.

    meta

    Well done!

    StillintheSun

    Congratulations! Very pleased that we have another win against BA on the bogus ticket validity nonsense. Personally I think CEDR is a good mechanism for enforcing your rights as the risk is £25 to them if you lose completely and the non-refundable part of your purchased alternative flight (if you purchased one). The total risk in my claim against BA was £25 plus £186 Qatar non refundable aspect on their Business ticket. It really is possible to challenge BA and others at minimum financial risk to yourself if you are a little careful as to how you proceed. I hope others continue to take these cowboys on.

    Lady London

    Cpngratulations @beardysuhz

    It’s so great of you to come back and share this. As your supporters have all said, with care, BA’s unfair denials of reasonable rerouting dates for the passenger’s needs can be beaten.

    Good heading – this will stand now to help others find what they need.

    I particularly liked the CEDR adjudicator’s Point #5 – which showed the Adjudicator knows his stuff – that BA’s trying to restrict passenger rights by putting restrictions into their Contract of Carriage does not win out over the governing statute – APR, aka the UK version of EU261.

    Thank you again.

    Lady London

    Cpngratulations @beardysuhz

    It’s so great of you to come back and share this. As your supporters have all said, with care, BA’s unfair denials of reasonable rerouting dates for the passenger’s needs can be beaten.

    Good heading – this will stand now to help others find what they need.

    I particularly liked the CEDR adjudicator’s Point #5 – which showed the Adjudicator knows his stuff – that BA’s trying to restrict passenger rights by putting restrictions into their Contract of Carriage does not win out over the governing statute – APR, aka the UK version of EU261.

    Thank you again.

    PS A pity about the £8,517.32 though 🙂

    Luca M

    I wished I had perused similar Avenue when I was given as the only option for my cancelled June 2021 trip to Tokyo (CW both ways, using Lloyds Avios voucher, 119,000 Avios and £1040 tax and charges) a full refund.. I do not think I will be able to book at similar condition again..

    Lady London

    Exactly Luca.
    This is why airlines puah so hard to make you think you can only get a refund.

    As you’ve said, taking a refund is what the airline wants. Because as soon as you take a refund the airline can walk away from the mess they made. And these days a eefund for a flight booked previously is unlikely to cover replacement cost.

    So long as you don’t take a refund, the airline, at no cost to you, must provide your choicw of :

    travelling as near as possible to your original timing. This can technically mean they are responsible for you travelling on another airline if your booked airline can’t do this if you tell them you still wish to travel with as near as possible same timing after your flight is cancelled.

    The cost of your replacement flight is of no concern to you as you won’t have to pay. The airline that cancelled you must pay. Don’t cry for them, the interline cost they pay is far below retail price you would pay.

    If you choose this or if the airline puts you in the position where you’re travelling longer or later or waiting for replacement flight, the airline is responsible for your meal costs, accommodation costs if needed, transport to and from accommodation, internet costs (or 2 phone calls)all at reaonable prevailing prices for where you get stuck.

    At your choice you can change all the travel on your ticket to a later date that is convenient to you, instead.

    Or, you can take a refund. This is your choice not the airline’s.

    Can you see why airlines tell outright lies to people that they can only have a refund when the airline has cancelled their flight?

    All the above applies under UK APR regulations, which currently are still much the same as EU261. These regulations apply to any leg departing UK or Europe on any airline, and to any flight departing anywhere in the world if operated by a UK or European airline.

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