Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forums Other Flight changes and cancellations help Flight cancelled and husband downgraded from Club World

  • MrsKT123 6 posts

    Hello,

    I was hoping for some help on interpreting BA’s compensation policy.

    I’m 26 weeks pregnant and travelling with my 2 year old and husband. We booked club world return from London to Dubai and used two companion vouchers (one for my daughter and I and one to reduce my husband’s by 50% – we had two booking references to do this).

    We received an email last night (2 days before flight) to say our flight has been cancelled and we’re on a new flight at the same time on a different aircraft and flight number.

    My husband’s email also said he’d been downgraded to world traveller plus. I’m a nervous flyer as it is and don’t want to be separated alone with my toddler on an overnight flight for 8+ hours. The reason we were ok with an overnight flight of this length was as we would be in club world so more chance of sleep.

    We called up and they said they cannot accommodate us together on the flight in the same cabin class and can only offer us to fly the next day. The person on the phone said we could claim compensation for costs such as hotel etc. but couldn’t give me written confirmation / limits etc.

    This is also not ideal as I am due back at work the following day (land at 6.30am Weds then back at work Thursday) so a lot of disruption but is preferable to travelling apart.

    I’ve checked their website and under the rerouting it notes ‘comparable transport conditions’ which is what they’ve offered but under compensation it doesn’t state this only time so I am unsure if because they offered to get us there that my husband won’t be entitled to any compensation for being downgraded to cover additional costs of having to stay another night to be able to travel home together?

    On the phone they said we could claim and to submit it but I’m not 100% on the accuracy and the complaints team that we submit to is only an email.

    Many thanks in advance for any help!!

    Lady London 2,178 posts

    Not sure if I am missing a cultural cue here, but is 26 weeks pregnant relevant? This made me think your issue was your flight had been delayed beyond the number of weeks’ pregnant you’d be allowed to fly. But luckily this did not turn out to be the case

    Essentially your husband does not have any right to compensation for downgrade. He also doesn’t have the right to refuse to fly on a flight he’s been downgraded on. All he can claim is 75% of the cost of the part of his ticket he was downgraded on, so just 75% of the cost of this one flight within his ticket. I don’t like it either, but that’s all he’s got. One can speculate whether his being on an avios booking and at 50%, that made him be selected for downgrade rather than other passengers, I’d say that’s more than 50% likely.

    You on the other hand, have absolutely no rights at all neither to compensation nor rerouting. Your booking is a different booking to your husband’s and that’s why. The airline is not required to consider your booking in association with his, nor his booking alongside yours.

    This is just how it works given that to use both your vouchers you had to make separate bookings.

    BA has been generous in offering to move you both 1 day later as they don’t have to. You are not even technically entitled to the cost of accommodation for that extra night, as BA wad not obliged to move either of you to a different day.

    Personally I’d be grateful and accept BA’s offer with alacrity, and make the best of the very slight inconvenience and not asking about compensation, sadly it doesn’t apply as BA had proposed to book you on another flight at the same time.

    Richie 1,077 posts

    Have a thorough look with your husband at the alternatives for both bookings when you log into Manage My Booking on ba.com to see if you can spot something that is more suitable.

    BBbetter 821 posts

    “can only offer us to fly the next day.“

    I’d take that offer if I were you and insist on getting all 3 booked on same ticket in CW to avoid similar issue again.
    Can you work from home the day you arrive? If not I’d change the employer.

    @LL, suspect it’s more likely due to hubby booked on a separate ticket, rather than being a redemption. “Never attribute to malice…”

    Lady London 2,178 posts

    PS I’ve assumed “BA cancelled your flight and offered you another flight at the same time” means same departure time as the cancelled flight.

    If they’d offered you a flight departing at a different time you would be eligible for £260 or £520 compensation for each seat including your daughter’s, the amount depending on how long was the timing difference between cancelled flight time and the time of the replacement flight they proposed. This would be in addition to the downgrade compensation for the downgraded seat.

    Lady London 2,178 posts

    “can only offer us to fly the next day.“

    I’d take that offer if I were you and insist on getting all 3 booked on same ticket in CW to avoid similar issue again.
    Can you work from home the day you arrive? If not I’d change the employer.

    @LL, suspect it’s more likely due to hubby booked on a separate ticket, rather than being a redemption. “Never attribute to malice…”

    ?? still an avios booking though that I think made the airline choose him for downgrade rather than, say, a cash paying customer. Separately has got nothing to do with it.

    Unless you’re meaning a single avios-paid passenger was selected for downgrade over 2 passengers travelling on a Companion Voucher (ie also an avios booking). Either because they only needed 1 seat to downgrade, or because on a Companion Voucher both seats could claim downgrade/compensation in full, even though only 1 seat was “paid”.

    So more cost effective to downgrade individual avios bookings if there were enough on tbe aircraft to provide the number of seats needed to downgrade.

    Blair Waldorf Salad 1,190 posts

    I agree that the offer on the table is already above necessity for BA so should be grabbed. I couldn’t quite follow the work problem. Original flight lands 06.30 Weds, back in work Thurs. New flight lands 06.30 Thurs, so still 2.5hrs before even a 9am start to get to office/get home to work.

    Yet again though this shows the massive hole in air passenger rights wrt downgrades. As I always say, a downgrade is a cancellation in my book (and many others, including the family here) as I simply wouldn’t travel 8 hours if it was in economy.

    AJA 1,158 posts

    Just to be clear if your husband took the flight on the original day then he would be entitled to downgrade reimbursement. It is not compensation- it is reimbursement of fare paid.

    I am also slightly confused as you state the flught was cancelled. That should potentially give rise to compensation depending upon the reason for the cancellation.

    I think your original flight may have been operated by an A380 and it was cancelled due to technical issues in which case compensation of £520 per passenger is potentially payable unless BA can justify the cancellation as due to extraordinary circumstances. This would also explain why your husband was downgraded as the replacement aircraft eould have a different number of business class seats.

    In the case of a cancellation that also gives rights to rerouting at the earliest convenience in comparable circumstances.

    MrsKT123 6 posts

    Hi, thanks for all of the responses!

    So we were on an A380 originally and that flight is showing in my booking as cancelled. There is then a new flight at the same time but on a different flight number and aircraft (Boeing 777).

    The emails to myself and my husband are worded differently as to why – mine says just a new flight number, operate as planned and no other changes to my booking (though showing as cancelled when I go to manage my booking as mentioned). Not really true as we’re on a different aircraft with no upper deck 2-3-2 configuration so don’t know how they can say this.

    My husband’s acknowledges the cancellation and downgrade on new flight, apologises and says they’ll do everything they can to make things right, and he then has a page coming up on my booking apologising that his flight has been cancelled and 3 option keys of ‘accept new flights’, ‘find new flights’ or ‘refund booking’. The email also links to his consumer rights on cancelled flights.

    I assume as a single passenger on avios is why my husband was moved as guess they must have some selection process to cause least cost / disruption.

    They mentioned a technical issue / equipment change but I can’t find where now!

    My question was more that in their policy they make reference to ‘comparable transport conditions’ which they’re not providing on this flight offered, so in order to provide my husband this he needs to travel a day later incurring costs. How does this fit in the compensation policy? Surely they should cover his costs for flying a day later? I understand my daughter and I are not entitled just thinking if treated as a single passenger.

    Our concern is me travelling separately with our 2 year old and then only way they can fly us in the same cabin is a day later. They have offered this as they knew we were travelling as a family even if it was on different bookings they have said on the phone.

    Thanks!

    NorthernLass 8,494 posts

    “Comparable transport conditions” applies to cancellations but not downgrades. Your husband is entitled to a business class seat on the original day of travel, due to the flight being cancelled, however that would involve him flying with another airline if there are no BA seats to be had, which would be even more inconvenient for you as a family. So technically it’s your husband’s choice to fly a day later, even though re-routing on the original travel date would probably cost BA more.

    MrsKT123 6 posts

    Thank you NorthernLass!

    That makes sense – BA were definitely not forthcoming with that option!

    However, as you say that wouldn’t be great for us and it would be cheaper for them to fly us a day later (especially as this frees up 2 business seats on the original flight they can give to others in the same situation as my husband).

    So would I be right that my husband would still then be compensated for a cancelled flight even if we flew the next day which would then cover hotel / food?

    I just don’t think it’s fair we’re out of pocket for having to change our plans and fly a day later as they cancelled our flight. Especially where they can now benefit from not compensating 2 others (maybe 3 if someone was downgraded from premium economy) on the new flight offering at a cost to us.

    Re: my work – so if we land at 6.30am by the time we’ve got our bags, picked up the car, driven home I won’t have time to shower and commute. I work for an American firm and we’ve returned to office. I also don’t fancy a full day of work right after in case I don’t sleep, which is why I booked as I did. Luckily work will be understanding and I can likely take the day off / log in from home but I did have some face to face meetings I wanted to do that day.

    JDB 4,853 posts

    “Comparable transport conditions” applies to cancellations but not downgrades. Your husband is entitled to a business class seat on the original day of travel, due to the flight being cancelled, however that would involve him flying with another airline if there are no BA seats to be had, which would be even more inconvenient for you as a family. So technically it’s your husband’s choice to fly a day later, even though re-routing on the original travel date would probably cost BA more.

    The husband didn’t have rerouting rights as the flight wasn’t actually cancelled per the definition in UK261, whatever communication BA might have made to that effect.

    NorthernLass 8,494 posts

    Different aircraft and flight number, plus link to cancellation rights? I’m sure we’re all awaiting your take on this with interest, anyway, @JDB!


    @MrsKT123
    – I don’t know how often you fly on BA?! Sadly you can never assume a trip is going to go to the original plan, especially with BA, and especially on this route which sees a lot of disruptions (we received compensation for arriving 4 hours late in DXB last December, 6 out of 7 departures prior to ours were delayed). The more complicated your itinerary is (e.g. travelling on different bookings), the more complicated it can get in the event of any disruption. I’ve got several BA bookings over the summer and so far had 6 lots of flights changed!

    BBbetter 821 posts

    BA has made it confusing by calling it a cancellation instead of an equipment swap.

    If what’s written by OP is correct, no idea why they’d change the flight number as well.

    AJA 1,158 posts

    I think that’s because the replacement aircraft has fewer seats than the A380 so calling it a cancellation allows passengers more flexibility when it comes to rerouting. I reckon BA has worked out that will be cheaper than paying for IDB compo.

    JDB 4,853 posts

    @NorthernLass – a different flight number doesn’t need to mean a cancellation – that’s a myth perpetuated by a few people here. An aircraft change also doesn’t mean a cancellation.

    BA’s systems handle it like a cancellation to deal with all the ramifications of moving to a much smaller aircraft with downgrades and some people not being accommodated at all on the new aircraft. The definition of a cancellation under UK261 is quite specific and this situation did not meet the definition.

    Cancellation occurs in principle where the planning of the original flight is abandoned and passengers of that flight join passengers on a flight which was also planned, but independently of the original flight.

    Lady London 2,178 posts

    I think that’s because the replacement aircraft has fewer seats than the A380 so calling it a cancellation allows passengers more flexibility when it comes to rerouting. I reckon BA has worked out that will be cheaper than paying for IDB compo.

    +1 Clever you, @AJA. I wouldn’t have spotted that! but it makes perfect sense.

    MrsKT123 6 posts

    Just an update…

    So we thought we would extend by one day as even if we couldn’t get the money back in the end we’d at least be travelling home together.

    We called up to change the 3 of us to the next day – the call handler confirmed no availability on the original date as a first option, so we said we would like to delay to the next day as offered on the previous call and the call handler went away for a little while and came back and said they could actually accommodate my husband in club after all… so who knows what changed!

    We’ve all been assigned seat numbers (together too!) so hoping that’s a good sign!

    Also a tip – we called BA on their Dubai number (800 number) and we went straight through each time with no hold once we selected the option to amend booking which the concierge at our hotel was really surprised at so took the number too! So if you have issues in Dubai definitely google British airways Dubai contact and use that one!

    Matt 357 posts

    @NorthernLass – a different flight number doesn’t need to mean a cancellation – that’s a myth perpetuated by a few people here. An aircraft change also doesn’t mean a cancellation.

    BA’s systems handle it like a cancellation to deal with all the ramifications of moving to a much smaller aircraft with downgrades and some people not being accommodated at all on the new aircraft. The definition of a cancellation under UK261 is quite specific and this situation did not meet the definition.

    Cancellation occurs in principle where the planning of the original flight is abandoned and passengers of that flight join passengers on a flight which was also planned, but independently of the original flight.

    The flight is identified by its flight number. That flight number is no longer in operation on that day – I would say it’s been abandoned. I think you are wrong here, definitely in practice as noted above, and probably in theory as well.

    It’s not just BA – I’ve not encountered an airline yet that doesn’t treat a change of flight number as a cancellation and re-booking.

    On top of that, if the airline has told you that your flight is cancelled, I think you are entitled to take them at their word.

    JDB 4,853 posts

    @Matt – the comment I posted was not my opinion, I simply cited the EC261 Interpretative Guidelines. The flight number change does not equate to a cancellation or ‘abandonment’ in this instance and other similar ones.

    Lady London 2,178 posts

    @Matt you’re right as a rule of thumb a different flight number does mean it’s a cancellation, ie a properly different flight number and not clearly “[same flight #]B” or something. So until further examination would change that, that’s the default case.

    However BA has made that utterly moot by offering to fly the passengers at the same timing as the original flight. So cancellation compensation won’t be claimable. Also TBH it’s a question of decency and reasonableness – BA has found a way to still meet the ticket timing they had sold for these particular passengers.

    So the really annoying thing here is the original imposition of a downgrade. As the OP also felt. As even 75% reimbursement of that leg on longhaul, does not totally make up for the gulf of difference in accommodation, in particular between Y and J. I’m with @Blair Waldorf Salad that on longhaul due to the great difference in cabin/seating facilities and experience sold, a downgrade should have the same rights to compensation and rerouting as a cancellation. But BA helped out here (probably because technically flagging it as a cancellation gave an opportunity for voluntary date change someone else in Club took).

    NorthernLass 8,494 posts

    I think compensation was always a non-starter here, because there’s no delay involved. The question was whether the husband would theoretically have been entitled to re-routing the same day due to the flight being “cancelled”, or only to downgrade reimbursement with no option but to travel home in PE.

    Matt 357 posts

    @Matt – the comment I posted was not my opinion, I simply cited the EC261 Interpretative Guidelines. The flight number change does not equate to a cancellation or ‘abandonment’ in this instance and other similar ones.

    Yes, I can see that. I do not agree with your interpretation of those guidelines. Flights are identified by flight numbers. The airline can change the plane, change the type of plane, but it wouldn’t be a cancellation if they keep the same flight number. They can change the arrival time and/or departure time, but it wouldn’t be a cancellation if they keep the same flight number. An airline can change the destination, and it wouldn’t be a cancellation if the flight number stays the same (I’m thinking “SEN instead of LCY” type changes outside of LCY opening times).

    There may be a theoretical way in which an airline can change flight number but it not act as a cancellation but in practice it’s a cancellation.

    Looking the other way round, if the flight number stays the same (on the same day!), is the flight ever said to be cancelled?

    This is all beside the point in this case – as already identified, a replacement flight at the same time means no compensation is due, but it might matter in a future case (most importantly, getting to change multi-segment flights to the USA because a BA codeshare has changed on one segment!)

    HampshireHog 176 posts

    Maybe I’m a simple fella but if BA say it’s cancelled surely it’s cancelled?

    Blair Waldorf Salad 1,190 posts

    @Matt you’re right as a rule of thumb a different flight number does mean it’s a cancellation, ie a properly different flight number and not clearly “[same flight #]B” or something. So until further examination would change that, that’s the default case.

    However BA has made that utterly moot by offering to fly the passengers at the same timing as the original flight. So cancellation compensation won’t be claimable. Also TBH it’s a question of decency and reasonableness – BA has found a way to still meet the ticket timing they had sold for these particular passengers.

    So the really annoying thing here is the original imposition of a downgrade. As the OP also felt. As even 75% reimbursement of that leg on longhaul, does not totally make up for the gulf of difference in accommodation, in particular between Y and J. I’m with @Blair Waldorf Salad that on longhaul due to the great difference in cabin/seating facilities and experience sold, a downgrade should have the same rights to compensation and rerouting as a cancellation. But BA helped out here (probably because technically flagging it as a cancellation gave an opportunity for voluntary date change someone else in Club took).

    Glad you agree @LadyLondon, how about you and me take a trip to Westminster to make improved downgrade rights an election issue 😉

  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.