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  • carter 6 posts

    I noticed a few weeks ago the aircraft we’re due to fly on with Virgin in a few weeks has changed and the UC cabin is now smaller. I contacted them as was unable to reserve seats and told not to worry as can see we’re booked UC and they have blocked out seats.

    Subsequently received a generic email saying they have may not have enough seats to accomate all passengers and are looking for volunteers to downgrade to Premium with an appealing compensation but we would rather remain UC and take our chances.

    If we are downgraded at the airport. What rights do we have and compensation can we claim.

    TIA

    NorthernLass 8,274 posts

    You don’t say what Virgin are offering but I’ve seen very attractive offers mentioned on here. Statutory compo for downgrade is 75% of what you paid for the downgraded leg on long haul so you’d need to work out which is better. You wouldn’t have the right to be re-routed on another airline, as would happen if your flight was cancelled altogether.
    If you have a look at some of the EU/UK261 threads on here there’s more info on this.

    Richie 1,040 posts

    Is the flight now a B787 with the old UC seat?

    carter 6 posts

    Its our inbound night flight that is now on a new A350-1000 with smaller 16 seat Upper class from a 44 configured flight so hard to know how many need to moved to accommodate, hence want to remain in UC

    The compensation offered to us is a round trip voucher anywhere on their network including taxes valid for three years. Tempting but they do state has to be used on reward flights and given we have children finding rewards to destination we want to go to, in UC for the 4 of us during school holidays isn’t the easiest.

    So my point is if we are involuntarily moved at the airport what are our rights?? thanks

    carter 6 posts

    I shouldve added this original booking was made with companion ticket and VA points

    SamG 1,686 posts

    75% of the fare . Which if you used a companion ticket makes you a good target unfortunately as 75% of 0 points is of course 0 points refunded!

    That is the “involuntary denied boarding” compo as mandated by UK261. They may still offer a similar offer at the airport though so you could continue to risk it and see what happens on the day

    Thegasman 204 posts

    You don’t have the right to demand to be put on a different airline in Business or to be shifted to a later flight. Basically they can say fly in PE (or even Y) or not at all.

    If you fly in a lower class then you get a refund of 75% of the fare for that leg (not the outbound as well). The fare includes any carrier surcharges but excludes genuine taxes & airport/government fees.

    For a reward flight then you should get 75% of the miles back as well.

    carter 6 posts

    Thanks,

    So as my dad used to say they’ve got us by the short and curlies. In theory any reward customer could find themselves bumped out their cabin if a more lucrative offer comes in for the seat at any time and the airline just had to issue a refund for that leg.

    Not very fair

    yonasl 976 posts

    Thanks,

    So as my dad used to say they’ve got us by the short and curlies. In theory any reward customer could find themselves bumped out their cabin if a more lucrative offer comes in for the seat at any time and the airline just had to issue a refund for that leg.

    Not very fair

    Correct. And also a cash paying customer. If I pay £3,000 for a LHR-LAX J seat (return) and somebody needs a last minute ride they could bump me to Y, pay me the 75% of £1,500 and charge the new passenger £££!

    JDB 4,663 posts

    Its our inbound night flight that is now on a new A350-1000 with smaller 16 seat Upper class from a 44 configured flight so hard to know how many need to moved to accommodate, hence want to remain in UC

    The compensation offered to us is a round trip voucher anywhere on their network including taxes valid for three years. Tempting but they do state has to be used on reward flights and given we have children finding rewards to destination we want to go to, in UC for the 4 of us during school holidays isn’t the easiest.

    So my point is if we are involuntarily moved at the airport what are our rights?? thanks

    If you aren’t interested in Virgin’s offer, hopefully their offer is sufficiently attractive (and much more than the statutory reimbursement) to attract others; that’s how the system works and they may up the bid if they don’t get sufficient takers. The statutory reimbursement often works out to be really rather low vs cancellation/delay compensation.

    meta 1,466 posts

    75% of the fare . Which if you used a companion ticket makes you a good target unfortunately as 75% of 0 points is of course 0 points refunded!

    That is the “involuntary denied boarding” compo as mandated by UK261. They may still offer a similar offer at the airport though so you could continue to risk it and see what happens on the day

    If you paid with points it’s not 0. I know about a dozen of cases regarding this on Virgin and BA. It works out at 75% of full purchase price of Virgin points on the leg in question. Not sure what the current non-discounted rate of Virgin point is. You have to take this to MCOL, not CEDR. You also get 75% of fuel surcharges, but not taxes for the downgraded leg.

    Now, of course this will be significantly lower than tickets, so you have to weigh it up. You don’t say which class they offered. You could negotiate and ask them for anytime tickets regardless of award availability.

    BA Flyer IHG Stayer 2,272 posts

    I’ll write more later but the VS voucher / points offer is in addition to EU/UK261 statutory rights.

    SamG 1,686 posts

    75% of the fare . Which if you used a companion ticket makes you a good target unfortunately as 75% of 0 points is of course 0 points refunded!

    That is the “involuntary denied boarding” compo as mandated by UK261. They may still offer a similar offer at the airport though so you could continue to risk it and see what happens on the day

    If you paid with points it’s not 0. I know about a dozen of cases regarding this on Virgin and BA. It works out at 75% of full purchase price of Virgin points on the leg in question. Not sure what the current non-discounted rate of Virgin point is. You have to take this to MCOL, not CEDR. You also get 75% of fuel surcharges, but not taxes for the downgraded leg.

    Now, of course this will be significantly lower than tickets, so you have to weigh it up. You don’t say which class they offered. You could negotiate and ask them for anytime tickets regardless of award availability.

    I was thinking of this article – https://www.headforpoints.com/2017/03/03/ba-responds-to-my-question-on-2-4-1-downgrade-compensation/ but yes you are right – https://www.headforpoints.com/2021/02/15/compensation-for-british-airways-downgrade/ real life example of winning at MCOL

    A voucher for a round trip is of course still a better offer though and I’ve had one of these from Virgin at the airport before so you’d be better off taking that if it comes to it on the day

    Blair Waldorf Salad 1,164 posts

    I’ve said it before, the gap in the law on rerouting not applying in a downgrade situation is something that needs to be addressed. There are a dozen reasons why someone books the class they have booked; and far be it from any given airline to feel they can assume the sole reason was greater comfort. For me, after being caught up in an air rage incident in a tight economy formation I stopped travelling in that densely packed part of the plane. I’d simply not travel if economy was what was on offer; but at present would have scant legal protectioms.

    carter 6 posts

    Appreciate everyone’s feedback and input.

    This article, https://www.headforpoints.com/2021/02/15/compensation-for-british-airways-downgrade/, is gorunds for how we could and should get compensated if downgraded at the gate. The fact they are looking for ‘volunteers’ shouldnt change what we should expect by way of compensation.

    However my wife is now coming to the think we accept voluneering to downgrade and take the offer they have made. At least this way we can travel without anxiety over what might happen and then can look forward to a long haul UC round trip…. till they then downgrade us on that one!

    Lady London 2,142 posts

    75% of the fare . Which if you used a companion ticket makes you a good target unfortunately as 75% of 0 points is of course 0 points refunded!

    That is the “involuntary denied boarding” compo as mandated by UK261. They may still offer a similar offer at the airport though so you could continue to risk it and see what happens on the day

    @Sam G I’m pretty sure Virgin is subject to same EU261 reg as BA. That would mean the companion seat is entitled to the same reimbursement as the first seat. Even if the companion seat had cost zero.

    BA was observed in earlier times apparently deliberately selecting people on companion tickets for downgrade doubtless hoping the cost to them would be zero in reimbursement/ compensation. Apparently the courts corrected BA’s error for them- compensation or reimbursement would indeed be due to a second 241 or companion seat and it’s calculated on the same basis as for the first seat, and that’s due per seat.

    If reimbursement was for a points or avios fare then I’d be so annoyed I’d not want points or avios back and I’d want whatever standard rack rate selling cost is, back for the relevant number of points/avios in cash

    Virgin is generous as @NorthernLass says so if you can use anything they might offer, I’d try to take their offer.

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