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Forums Frequent flyer programs British Airways Executive Club Downgrade compensation – help for taxes and charges

  • Scotty665 28 posts

    Hoping someone can help me with this query….

    I was downgraded on a flight from LHR to Atlanta. Well the flight was cancelled and I received the £520 compensation for the delay as was a BA issue. However, BA couldn’t get me another Club world ticket the next day and other carriers were also full, so I was booked into Economy on United.

    I have received after 5 months. 67,500 Avios back, which I believe is the 75% of the outward leg. However Since there was 2 of us, and I used an Amex 2 for 1 voucher, should I pursue another 67,500 avios for the second passenger?

    Also they haven’t refunded any of the taxes and charges either so I am going to have to chase that up. Below is what was paid, can someone help with what I due here? Im not sure what of the below is actually due to be refunded or not. I am also not sure what the £867.70 total is as I only was charge £900 for the 2 passengers.

    Avios Paid – 180,000 per passenger however 2 for 1 AMEX voucher used.

    Taxes/fees/charges
    Government, authority and airport charges Per adult
    Air Passenger Duty – United Kingdom GBP 191.00
    Animal & Plant Health User Fee (Aphis) – USA GBP 3.20
    Passenger Civil Aviation Security Service Fee – USA GBP 4.60
    Immigration User Fee – USA GBP 5.80
    International Transportation Tax – USA GBP 17.50
    Customs User Fee – USA GBP 5.40
    International Transportation Tax – USA GBP 17.50
    Passenger Service Charge – United Kingdom GBP 69.00
    Passenger Facility Charge GBP 3.70

    Total government, authority and airport charges* GBP 317.70

    British Airways fees and surcharges Per adult
    Carrier Imposed Charge GBP 550.00
    Total British Airways fees and surcharges
    GBP 550.00
    Total taxes, fees and surcharges per person GBP 867.70

    JDB 4,315 posts

    You should be due £104pp of APD if you travelled in economy (£87 vs £191). The other charges should be the same, irrespective of class and yes, you should get 67,500 for the second passenger as well.

    There is a discrepancy in the breakdown vs what you actually paid because of RFS, but that’s normal. In theory it might be arguable that you should the difference between the J and Y RFS rates which would be £150pp but that’s a slightly dangerous argument to pursue.

    Scotty665 28 posts

    Cheers JDB – Ill pursue the additional 67,500 and also the APD refund. I agree, I think ill leave the J and Y RFS rates as to be honest I have done ok out of the delay claims as the return leg I was also delayed more than 4 hours so received both ways.

    sayling 49 posts

    I would argue you should get 75% of the Carrier Imposed Charge, too – for both pax.

    Where it gets sticky is claiming reimbursement for the value of the Avios you haven’t actually spent, ie for your companion.

    I took BA to court after getting downgraded from First to Club coming back from Canada on a Companion Voucher (didn’t bother with CEDR, as I wanted cash and didn’t think that pursuing the claim through the County Court would enable an Avios reimbursement). The case was ‘heard’ at Uxbridge, BA’s home court, but the Judge didn’t seem that au fait with the idea of the Companion Voucher. However, he also didn’t seem too concerned about the claim for 75% of ALL of the carrier surcharges (arguably, it should have been 75% of half of the surcharges, as it was only a downgrade on one leg of two flights – this should also apply to the overall value of the Avios spent, so I disagree slightly with @JDB here).

    I put the case of Avios valuation as per the cost to buy them from BA, which was accepted by the Judge. He did not allow me to claim the ‘lost’ Avios incorporated in the Companion Voucher, however, as there were no Avios used. As I couldn’t put a value on the voucher itself, it was – effectively – lost.

    Perhaps if I had done a bit more homework on that last bit, I may have a had a stronger case

    JDB 4,315 posts

    @sayling – the issue is that the OP didn’t pay the itemised surcharges which are displayed for BA accounting purposes. To the extent that under the RFS scheme one effectively pays what were cash costs in extra Avios, you get them back via the 75% formula.

    He paid 90,000 Avios for which he is getting back 75% (the 67,500 indicated) and he paid RFS charges of £225pp each way, total £900 for two people.

    If travelling in J on this routing, on the outbound BA actually has to pay away more in cash than it receives. You can’t get back 75% of the £225 paid because even in Y, BA has paid away more than that.

    While you could argue that the OP should receive the difference between J RFS and Y RFS which would be £150pp then logically you should only get the difference between the J and Y Avios cost which would only yield 60k each vs 67.5k. You can’t just pick the best bits!

    How much are you suggesting the OP should be claiming if you think he is being short changed?

    sayling 49 posts

    @sayling – the issue is that the OP didn’t pay the itemised surcharges which are displayed for BA accounting purposes. To the extent that under the RFS scheme one effectively pays what were cash costs in extra Avios, you get them back via the 75% formula.

    He paid 90,000 Avios for which he is getting back 75% (the 67,500 indicated) and he paid RFS charges of £225pp each way, total £900 for two people.

    If travelling in J on this routing, on the outbound BA actually has to pay away more in cash than it receives. You can’t get back 75% of the £225 paid because even in Y, BA has paid away more than that.

    While you could argue that the OP should receive the difference between J RFS and Y RFS which would be £150pp then logically you should only get the difference between the J and Y Avios cost which would only yield 60k each vs 67.5k. You can’t just pick the best bits!

    How much are you suggesting the OP should be claiming if you think he is being short changed?

    I’m not sure I understand where the RFS bit comes from* – @Scotty665 said he used a companion voucher and has a breakdown of the charges listed, which I presume has come from the original booking email. My understanding is that he paid 180,000 Avios… I missed some of that myself, and you’re quite right – half of that (90,000) would be reimbursable at 75% (67,500) under EC/UK261.

    * Okay, now I think I might… I’ve never availed myself of an RFS booking, so wasn’t completely familiar with how that works – and hadn’t even realised that a Companion Voucher could be used in conjunction with an RFS booking. Live and learn!

    I see that you worked out it was an RFS booking by virtue of the £900 payment not equating to the breakdown of taxes and charges (as you say “for BA accounting purposes”).

    I’m not sure I agree with the line BA actually has to pay away more in cash than it receives, however. £900 was given to them in cash – the taxes charged by BA in their ‘accounting’ amount to £317.70. The fact that they have provided that breakdown effectively shoots them in their own foot, doesn’t it? If this was produced in court as evidence of the breakdown of cash charges, 75% of half of the carrier surcharges would be reimbursable under EC/UK261 (£206.25). If they then wanted to counter that the RFS costs were just that, and the breakdown of taxes and charges was merely included for accounting purposes, then the full £900 becomes the airline charges to apply the Mennens formula to, ie 75% of half of £900 = £337.50.

    Here, I am relying on the ruling in the Mennens case that:

    Article 10(2) of Regulation No 261/2004 must be interpreted as meaning that, the price of the ticket to be taken into consideration for the purposes of determining the reimbursement owed to that passenger, where he is downgraded on a flight, is solely the price of the flight itself, 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

    inasmuch as either the Carrier Imposed Charge and/or the Reward Flight Saver charges do vary, according to the whims of BA and completely on the class of the ticket purchased.

    Apologies for the wall of text…

    NorthernLass 7,466 posts

    I know it doesn’t set a precedent but posters on HFP have had success, e.g. a few years ago this one took BA to court for downgrade compensation for the “companion”:

    https://www.headforpoints.com/2021/02/15/compensation-for-british-airways-downgrade/

    JDB 4,315 posts

    @sayling you don’t get “75% of half of £900 = £337.50” that you suggest because the airline is entitled per the Mennens case to deduct the actual money paid away to third parties so that’s already £156 in the UK (APD + PSC) of the £225 they each paid and some of those US charges are attributable to the arrival – at least £40 more.

    Re disputing how much BA pays away – the cash element paid for Club to LA was £225 and out of that BA has to pay cash away, £191 APD, £69 LHR charges, £40 to US authorities = £300.

    You are also double counting the surcharges that are rolled up in the new Avios charge combined with RFS. The pax has already been offered 75% of that. It’s only the cash that is in dispute.

    JDB 4,315 posts

    I know it doesn’t set a precedent but posters on HFP have had success, e.g. a few years ago this one took BA to court for downgrade compensation for the “companion”:

    https://www.headforpoints.com/2021/02/15/compensation-for-british-airways-downgrade/

    Yes, that isn’t being disputed here by anyone.

    sayling 49 posts

    @sayling you don’t get “75% of half of £900 = £337.50” that you suggest because the airline is entitled per the Mennens case to deduct the actual money paid away to third parties so that’s already £156 in the UK (APD + PSC) of the £225 they each paid and some of those US charges are attributable to the arrival – at least £40 more.

    Re disputing how much BA pays away – the cash element paid for Club to LA was £225 and out of that BA has to pay cash away, £191 APD, £69 LHR charges, £40 to US authorities = £300.

    You are also double counting the surcharges that are rolled up in the new Avios charge combined with RFS. The pax has already been offered 75% of that. It’s only the cash that is in dispute.

    Still not sure I agree with your calculations or assertions here…
    BA can’t have it both ways – they either have to use their ‘accounting’ figures, which means the genuine taxes are deductible and leaves the carrier surcharges reimbursable (75% of half of £550 then being due) OR they have to consider that the cash element of the RFS, ie all of it with no deductions for any hidden taxes – they can’t have been disclosed, because the sum of the disclosed figures (the ‘accounting’) is actually less than the RFS charges – is reimbursable.

    Even if they did say ‘the Total government, authority and airport charges of £317.70 should be excluded’, that would surely leave £900 – £317.90 left as the the amount dependent on the class for which the ticket has been purchased, wouldn’t it? In which case, 75% of half of £582.10. I think you’ve included the taxes for two but the RFS charge for one?

    Effectively, the price of the ticket included carrier charges that were dependent on the class (not) travelled, and thus are liable for inclusion in the reimbursement due, as per Mennens.

    There’s no double counting – 180,000 Avios and £900 cash for the whole trip.

    90,000 Avios and £450 for the downgraded leg.

    75% of the fare paid is due for reimbursement, whether the currency is Avios or cash.

    Still not sure what I’m missing here

    Scotty665 28 posts

    Update – In a strange turn of Events….BA have refunded me the AMEX 2 for 1 voucher. Just logged into my account to check on an up and coming booking and there it was, with the original expiry date of August this year. It is of little use to me really with that expiry date now as already have all this summers travel planed. Do we think they might have done this to Avios paying out the 67,500 Avios for passenger 2??

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