Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

  • QRA 21 posts

    Hello All
    My wife and I are travelling tomorrow on a 241 in Club to HKG. We have not chosen seats and at check in at noon the system gives me this message
    “Were sorry, we cannot complete online check-in for your flight on this occasion. Please proceed to the airport with your required documentation (including any vaccination and Covid test certificates that are necessary) to check-in and collect your boarding pass.”
    I also checked load last night (via ft) as I suspected that given expert flyer showed no seats available and 4 blocked seats including 7j/k which are often crew rest seats, that there may be an issue and the load came back at:
    BA 31
    LHR 5:40p → HKG 2:40p
    F0 A0 J0 C0 D0 R0 I0 W3 E0 T0 Y2 B1 H0 K0 M0 L0 V0 S0 N0 Q0 O0 G0
    Stops: 0
    Aircraft: 789
    So it looks like a full flight. I just wanted to garner peoples opinions as to if this looks like a potential downgrade situation, particularly as we are on 241, and if so are there any tips/experience. We are flexible and there is space the following day on BA31 and I would rather do that than fly economy for 13 hours and receive 75% avios return. Thanks

    SamG 1,727 posts

    There wouldn’t be any crew seats on a 787 in normal ops as they have crew bunks.

    Definitely a very busy flight but hard for anyone to tell you anything in advance. The airport would likely be willing to let you fly Friday I’d imagine otherwise you’d only end up in WT+

    BA Flyer IHG Stayer 2,353 posts

    If the flight isn’t due to depart until 17.40 tomorrow OLCI won’t be open until 17.40 today so give it another try after then

    QRA 21 posts

    Thank you both, I have a connection from MAN at 12.05 hence allowing earlier OLCI. Will try again though as something may open up at 5.40pm.

    Hbommie 220 posts

    I’ve had that in the past and on that occasion it was a random security check.

    Lady London 2,160 posts

    As soon as within the 24hr window I’d call the airline, ask if downgraded, and ask nicely for a day later if they are willing to say this is likely.

    Technically though if it’s a downgrade you strictly speaking can’t refuse to fly in the lower class. You’d have to be refused completely any seat on the flight or entire flight cancelled to have compo+rerouting rights.

    I’d have the same misgivings as you on a 241 seeing that loading. Hopefully there is room for you Friday if needed.

    Please post how it turns out.

    NorthernLass 8,438 posts

    I had this in June – 3 of us on the booking but only me who couldn’t OLCI. It was some computer glitch, nobody could explain it and they just checked me in manually at the airport.

    BA Flyer IHG Stayer 2,353 posts

    As soon as within the 24hr window I’d call the airline, ask if downgraded, and ask nicely for a day later if they are willing to say this is likely.

    Please post how it turns out.

    They won’t tell you that. The most they’ll likely tell you is there are some blocked seats (which are now under airport control and so they can’t put you in them anyway).

    In any case the flight is under airport control and the call centre has strictly limited things they can do.

    Whether any downgrades are necessary (and it’s a BIG if) will be determined by things like actual sales, any last minute cancellations and if anyone’s connection flight is delayed and will only happen tomorrow.

    The OP could ask about seat assignments when they get to MAN tomorrow morning for their connection. MAN check in can also deal with any document checks etc (which may the cause of the HKG block)

    I know downgrades seem to be a big thing but in reality there are very few. Most get caused by an aircraft change than through over booking.

    It’s not something I would necessarily worry about. My big worry for the OP is their connection from MAN to LHR!

    QRA 21 posts

    Arrived at MAN, check in agent was not able to allocate seats for HKG as will be allocated at the gate! Advised me to speak to the lounge staff at LHR to see if they are able to assist.

    Guernsey Globetrotter 651 posts

    Arrived at MAN, check in agent was not able to allocate seats for HKG as will be allocated at the gate! Advised me to speak to the lounge staff at LHR to see if they are able to assist.


    @QRA
    this sounds very strange – fingers crossed for you and wife that this is some weird IT issue and not the dreaded redemption rogering…

    Anna 458 posts

    Someone posted recently of the same experience and were actually bumped at the gate. Obviously this would be hugely inconvenient, however on the up side you are entitled to much more in terms of compensation and re-routing than being merely downgraded.

    JDB 4,800 posts

    @QRA as you are at the airport (albeit only an outpost thus far) much earlier than those starting in London, I would be kicking up a big to improve your prospects.


    @Anna
    the OP would have rerouting rights if denied boarding but the DB compensation would be lower than the downgrade reimbursement which would be 75% of the 100/110k off peak/peak Avios cost each, plus some element of cash depending on whether downgrade to WTP or economy vs £520 each. Realistically, who wants either vs travelling in some comfort as booked and not losing a day of your holiday.

    Stu_N 112 posts

    Hoping lack of updates means @QRA and Mrs Q are proceeding presently in an oriental direction and not drawning sorrows at BA’s expense in one of Bath Road’s finer hotels….

    BA Flyer IHG Stayer 2,353 posts

    BA would only pay for hotel if they were senies boarding entirely

    If you asked to be moved to a next day flight to avoid a downgrade that would count as voluntary change and not BAs responsibility

    Tracey 228 posts

    As soon as within the 24hr window I’d call the airline, ask if downgraded, and ask nicely for a day later if they are willing to say this is likely.

    Technically though if it’s a downgrade you strictly speaking can’t refuse to fly in the lower class. You’d have to be refused completely any seat on the flight or entire flight cancelled to have compo+rerouting rights.

    I’d have the same misgivings as you on a 241 seeing that loading. Hopefully there is room for you Friday if needed.

    Please post how it turns out.

    I never realised that. As someone who would prefer not to fly than not have a bed on long haul, there must also be many who feel the same or even have medical conditions that the airline wouldn’t even be aware of, that require the comfort of a bed for long haul.

    BJ 655 posts

    787-8 for us on this route from HKG-LHR in mud January. Aircraft just seems too small for HKG, figured it’ll be high chance of ny first ever involuntary downgrade as we too are using a voucher. Hope OP got lucky. At least BA have PY so not a drop to Y.

    JDB 4,800 posts

    787-8 for us on this route from HKG-LHR in mud January. Aircraft just seems too small for HKG, figured it’ll be high chance of ny first ever involuntary downgrade as we too are using a voucher. Hope OP got lucky. At least BA have PY so not a drop to Y.

    Hopefully you will be fine, but we have had reports of two class downgrades for which the compensation is no greater. BA doesn’t often do it, but it’s much cheaper for them to put Club pax in economy if WTP is full rather than also downgrading WTP pax as well. It’s not the voucher that puts pax at risk, it’s status or lack thereof.

    BJ 655 posts

    Thanks @JDB, your attention to such details is fab 🙂 we have no pressure on time so if the worst happens we could settle for a day or two more in HK.

    Slightly OT: lately you’ve been cautioning readers that BA migvt attempt to pay lesser compensation than is due in tge event of downgrades. If they do that, is it nit fraud, therefore criminal, or is it just a civil matter legally?

    JDB 4,800 posts

    @BJ it’s a purely civil matter. BA attempts to refund on the basis of a normal fare recalculation rather than paying the reimbursement under UK261. Some of the effects of that are to attribute no value to any voucher and only to pay one passenger if on a companion voucher. They are at least consistent – often on short haul the UK261 calculation will give a lower result, but they still pay the higher sum.

    Think of it as someone not receiving all the social security benefits to which they may be entitled or not claiming all the tax breaks which may apply; nobody is going to volunteer the info. You need to ask or you will lose out.

    Tracey 228 posts

    I agree that status is probably the trigger, or at least a companion voucher combined with status is protective. We’ve actually been upgraded with companion vouchers (OH is gold).

    Stu_N 112 posts

    @BJ @JDB For something to be fraudulent you have to demonstrate dishonest intent to gain or cause a loss. This is a pretty high bar, hence fraud trials usually being very long and complex.

    The wording of the regulation covering downgrading is quite forceful, Reg 10 states, (with my emphasis):

    “If an operating air carrier places a passenger in a class lower than that for which the ticket was purchased, it shall within seven days, by the means provided for in Article 7(3), reimburse….”

    You could read this as requiring OAC to do this automatically, though in practice this doesn’t happen. Reg 16 puts enforcement at the door of the CAA and tasks it with ensuring rights of passengers are respected.

    Interestingly, the wording of Reg 5 which covers cancellations is less forceful, stating passengers have “the right to compensation” under Article 7 which sets out the £220-£520 compensation depending on distance. This would imply a requirement to claim it was intended.

    JDB 4,800 posts

    @Stu_N – I think the only reason for the difference in wording between “shall” in Article 10 and “shall have the right to claim” elsewhere is that compensation is potentially subject to a defence by the airline whereas a downgrade is unarguable. I don’t think there is any intent to make one more forceful than the other. The big difference is the seven days which means that interest ought to be claimable which it isn’t usually for delayed compensation.

    Having said that, BA has started a new argument that if a flight is cancelled and you are rebooked on another flight in a lower class, that doesn’t constitute Article 10 downgrading because you weren’t downgraded on that new flight…

    Stu_N 112 posts

    @JDB I don’t see that one sticking. Reg 8 is clear that after a cancellation you shall be given the option of rerouting under comparable transport conditions – this makes it clear that the intention is for the passenger to be rebooked into same class. Should you subsequently be downgraded on the new flight, Reg 10 will apply as normal.

    JDB 4,800 posts

    @JDB I don’t see that one sticking. Reg 8 is clear that after a cancellation you shall be given the option of rerouting under comparable transport conditions – this makes it clear that the intention is for the passenger to be rebooked into same class. Should you subsequently be downgraded on the new flight, Reg 10 will apply as normal.

    I don’t know the answer but the ‘comparable transport conditions’ isn’t an absolute as shown in the Interpretative Guidelines. What gives BA’s argument some scope is that new UK261 rights attach to your rerouted flight but you effectively need to claim any Article 10 rights against the original flight you didn’t take. It particularly arose recently when BA cancelled a flight and rerouted the pax on United so ordinarily you would need to claim downgrade reimbursement from UA as the operating carrier. BA is essentially saying that it is two separate transactions and they will also rely on the fact that such downgrade was voluntarily accepted by the passenger so that only the fare difference is owed. BA will also argue that the rules can’t intend for a pax to be double compensated but that’s very weak and can happen anyway.

    It’s a very unattractive argument but has an element of technical validity. It will be interesting to see how it goes.

    BJ 655 posts

    @JDB, @Stu, thanks for these very interesting insights! I’ll remain largely a spectator to the discussion given my lack of personal expertise. However, what prompted me to raise the question initially was summed up in “intent to gain or cause a loss”. My amateur interpretation of this is that BA’s actions are fraudulent insofar as they are aware of the regulatory requirements and by extension their CS staff should be trained accordingly so there is clear intent for BA to gain at the expense of their passengers here.

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