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Forums Frequent flyer programs British Airways Executive Club Ticket to Beijing – CEDR?

  • timothy 11 posts

    Hi all,

    I have a booking to Beijing in the next few days which has been cancelled. I am wanting to rebook to a future date but BA are using the 1 year ticket validity line and have not offered a rebooking option which I understand is required under legislation.

    Timeline of events:
    02/03/2022: Booked LHR-MAN with 241 expirying 23/03/2022. Requested FTV immediately.
    04/03/2022: Used FTV to book LHR-PKX-LHR for January 2023
    03/11/2022: Email notification both segments are cancelled

    I’ve spoken to the Gold Line who have offered a refund which I have declined as I am seeking rebooking. They are unable to rebook due to the following constraints:
    1. PKX route is scheduled to restart in June 2023 but ticket validity is until March 2023.
    2. BA doesn’t fly to another destination within 300 miles of PKX.
    3. No policy to rebook an alternative carrier.

    Cancelling the booking would mean losing the 241 as it would return expired. It would also mean significantly more Avios even if I was to use another companion voucher. I’m wanting to be rebooked for later in the year – ideally December 2023 but do have flexibility. Given BA aren’t due to restart the route until after the ticket validity and have not offered to rebook us, I think CEDR is the only way to go.

    Is what I’m asking for reasonable? Would appreciate any thoughts or insights into this.

    SamG 1,735 posts

    I wouldn’t CEDR a future date – there have been cases that they have sided with BA on the ticket vadility. You’d need to MCOL to enforce your right to rebook at a date convenient to you

    Worth having a search on here as there are some MCOL success stories from a few months back

    kai 79 posts

    You can rebook online yourself, or at least it’s the case for me.

    JDB 4,853 posts

    Agree with @SamG that CEDR is a bit risky in this instance as, while there have been notable wins but also notable losses. In terms of reasonableness, you haven’t said when you are trying to rebook for. There is a small risk that if you do take BA to arbitration or MCOL, they may make something of the MAN cancellation ruse that might not play in your favour.

    In the first instance, if BA continues to refuse to rebook your chosen itinerary, you need to write to the Head of Legal a real letter by Special Delivery snail mail setting out your case and why in accordance with UK261, CAA guidance (CAP2155) and the CAA/CMA joint letter of 21 July 2022 [specify the relevant articles/sections of each and how they apply to your case]. Note that the ticket validity argument used by the customer service agents fails to comply with the legislation and that the conditions of carriage cannot override the APR. Give them 14 days (specify a date, allowing a few days for delivery) to respond, failing which you will issue proceedings in the County Court (or file for arbitration).

    meta 1,466 posts

    @JDB OP said he wants to ideally book for December 2023 so it’s peak travel period.

    you need to demonstrate why December is reasonable and ideally need to have some evidence for that. I wouldn’t say you’re flexible in any communications. However, to have best chances I would also insist to be rebooked at the earliest opportunity on any airline or any other date later with Ba. This will look most reasonable to MCOL, so if I’d think about whether say March travel would work for you.

    You also need to act fast rather than wait around. You had since beginning of November to pursue it and BA could have already refunded you automatically as they usually do. You haven’t really given BA opportunity to rebook you (calling Gold line once might not be enough for MCOL that you tried to make efforts to resolve it).

    timothy 11 posts

    Thanks for all the replies.

    the rebooking option is there but no flights found when I select any dates

    I hadn’t considered the original booking to MAN to be an issue. BA happily issued a FTV and happily took additional Avios and taxes. While the PNR is the same, the ticket numbers are different and the 12 month validity is being enforced on the Beijing issue date. I would argue the contract is formed for Beijing travel.

    December is ideal as we have long haul travel booked for April and September so was wanting to space it out. June/July would also achieve that purpose and coincides with the route resuming.

    I also called the Gold Line in November and was met with the same response as that of the call today. I had referenced the Bangkok route and that passengers were rebooked onto QR. The agent had suggested I wait to closer to scheduled departure to see if a policy is introduced but that’s not eventuated.

    JDB 4,853 posts

    Apologies, failed to remember the mention of December. Strongly agree with @meta that a) you need to get a move on, leaving it two months hasn’t helped and b) December looks opportunistic, so you will either need to provide a really good counter argument or ask to rebook nearer original dates.

    The prospects at CEDR or MCOL (the costs of which will be fairly high) for December are probably 60/40 so you need to focus on writing a strong letter to convince BA that you understand the legal position and mean business such that they will capitulate.

    timothy 11 posts

    Just re-reading BA’s CoC, would Section 9bc apply? Is it worth another call to BA?

    9b) Remedies for delays and cancellations

    9b3) If we:
    cancel a flight;
    delay a flight by five hours or more;
    fail to stop at your place of stopover or destination; or
    cause you to miss a connecting flight on which you hold a confirmed reservation;
    you can choose one of the three remedies set out immediately below.

    Remedy 1
    We will carry you as soon as we can to the destination shown on your ticket on another of our scheduled services on which a seat is available in the class of service for which you have paid the fare. If we do this, we will not charge you extra and where necessary, will extend the validity period of your ticket.

    We are prepared to travel in June on BA’s first schedule service to Beijing, which would conform to the wording around “as soon as we can…on another of our scheduled services” and is quite explicit in extending the ticket validity period where necessary.

    JDB 4,853 posts

    You can ask them for June; it’s certainly more reasonable than December and gives you a stronger basis to pursue a claim in the event they refuse. I think the MAN issue will only matter if you go to MCOL/CEDR and the BA legal person is on the ball and works out that the voucher was extended on a dubious basis following a very cheap booking and hasty cancellation, so the whole premise of the booking is called into question.

    StillintheSun 139 posts

    You may find the above topic helpful. Incidentally, December 2023 is a year away and I would expect you to receive CEDR’S decision within 6 months, mine was less. If you buy a fully or partially refundable ticket (Qatar are good for this) or not buy a ticket and seek a direction from CEDR that BA gives you tickets for the flights you want (within CEDR’S power but not a Court’s) then your financial risk is minimal. Even if you lose you can then ask BA to ticket you within ticket validity as to fail to do so would be a clear breach of the Regs. Indeed I’d ask CEDR to direct the same as an alternative is you lose on your primary argument. Frankly, in your shoes I’d definitely go for them if there is no financial risk and all you have to loose is £25 fee to CEDR if you case is a total loss for you.

    StillintheSun 139 posts

    I’ll also give you a couple of potential reasons why December 23 is reasonable:
    1. Your employer / your partner’s employer is more favourable to her/him/them taking time off over Christmas because (i) the office is closed for several days in any event (ii) there is less work to do over Christmas and so less pressure on staff not taking holidays during that time.
    2. Because of the number of bank holidays over Christmas you need to take fewer days as holidays.

    Of course these arguments do not apply to your original flight dates but they are entirely reasonable and BA have messed you around denying you your clear right to a re-route on the dates of the cancelled flights which is unquestionably a breach of the EC Regs.

    Incidentally, I don’t see how the MAN flight is relevant, BA cancelled LHR-PKX-LHR and so the EC Regs are operative with regards to that entire itinerary.

    JDB 4,853 posts

    @StillintheSun – the OP has already advised why he wants to move the flights to December. Presumably you are not encouraging him to lie? You have previously suggested that you have a legal background such that your first duty is to the court? I wouldn’t rule out BA playing dirty re MAN.

    StillintheSun 139 posts

    You certainly do like to focus on the negative, you must be a natural pessimist. In my line of work one is very careful before suggesting another is lying. Moreover, in my experience negligence is more likely than recklessness, recklessness more likely than maliciousness or to put it another way forgetfulness – unconscious bias – distortion – lying. One should start from the bottom up.

    Timothy simply needs to provide reasons why his date choices are reasonable that is quite different from providing his intentions. The two are conceptually different. Part of being a good lawyer is to come up with the arguments that one’s client has never even considered (but which the evidence provides) whilst staying very careful to be on the right side of the professionally ethical line. However, failing to get close to the line is professionally negligent as you have failed to do your best for your client. Personal morality is similar but different from professional duty.

    Obviously if my suggestions do not apply (i.e. his workplace does not care less when holiday is taken) then they can’t be used as examples of reasonableness but even if they are’t Timothy’s primary reason (or indeed any reason) then if true they are still examples of the reasonableness in taking the dates that he has. I may have a reason for doing something and couldn’t care less whether my act harms of benefits others. However, if my act helps others then despite my not caring my act is more likely to be reasonable.

    Still I nearly spat my cornflakes out while laughing when I read your Neasden comment…

    StillintheSun 139 posts

    I should also say that I do enjoy sparring with you. We often come as issues from different angles which certainly causes me to consider my own opinion. Life would be so dull if we all agreed with each other. Hope to see you at a HFP party sometime 🙂

    meta 1,466 posts

    I found the waiting for over two months to get rebooked more problematic.

    We are not in pandemic situation and China is open as of 9 January, so why is OP not wanting to go at the earliest opportunity? BA legal when presented with the case may eventually even offer rebooking on Cathay or another airline right now or close to the original date.

    Lady London 2,181 posts

    At least good sense has prevailed. The OP has been royally messed around by BA on a major longhaul trip. So I see no reason why it wouldn’t take him some time to get his head around his options and get together plans for what is mow convenient to him in his party’s travelling circumstances.

    I think you’re being a bit unreasonable. If there is an unexpected change forced in November it’s a miserable and often highly stressed time of year and it becomes hard to pick things up under pressure of sudden upset, miserable weather, end of year work pressures, the December slowdown approaching Christmas and New Year shutdown, family organisation for Christmas, etc. I wouldn’t have found it unreasonable for OP to have taken very considerably more time, perhaps waiting for better weather and less pressure or to see BA actually run more Beijing flights again,before he got round to trying to pick this up.

    I hope BA doesn’t succeed in bullying him and breaking the law, and that he will let us know the outcome after he sends BA Legal at Waterside the detailed wording @JDB has kindly provided to let BA know he means business and they’re not getting away with it.

    I also see no reason why he shouldn’t choose to rebook for December if that’s when it will fit in with his other travel and whatever restrictions his personal circumstances have. He’s had his plans messed up and he shouldn’t be guilted into travelling earlier just for BA’s convenience.

    SamG 1,735 posts

    BA likely would have had options available on Qatar or Lufthansa if the OP wanted to travel on his original dates (as they did for Bangkok)

    I’m not sure if the OP has tried but it’s also possible that MMB will let him rebook for the first BA flights, it usually ignores BAs ticket validity rules!

    I think whilst still in the letter of the rules as I read them, waiting and then wanting to push out the best part of a year could easily go wrong at CEDR and might get tricky at MCOL.

    Asking for travel on the first BA flights would likely be seen as more reasonable.

    meta 1,466 posts


    I’m not being unreasonable. If a flight is in January and it gets cancelled in November and if you’re serious about traveling on your original dates then you’d want this booked asap. As OP admitted (if you read his other posts on the thread), he did contact BA in November first to try and get rebooked. It’s the ‘dog ate my homework’ kind of an argument.

    I do also hope that he succeeds, but you also have to be realistic. Judge/Arbitrator may well perceive this as him trying to trick the system by first booking to MAN then waiting too long and not giving BA enough opportunities to rebook him.

    JDB 4,853 posts

    @LadyLondon I think @meta is bang on the money. When any dispute arises with an airline how you go about dealing with it, amongst other things in terms of timing and attempts to resolve is critical hopefully to getting a positive outcome before having to go court/arbitration. If you do reach deadlock, so decide to go to arbitration or MCOL, again how you proceed, how you present your case and how you communicate with the airline and decision makers is critical. Leaving cancellations to fester when travel wasn’t far away just doesn’t look good or very serious.

    One can clearly see from the numerous cases here that many are lost because the party doesn’t properly articulate their case, comes across as either too timid/uncertain or angry or appears opportunistic or asks for too much. A minor example is some recent comments you have made about pax that have been rerouted to a different airport (in a different city) than originally planned. That isn’t an Article 8 or 9 claim so if you ask for it on that basis it will usually and correctly be refused and the airline won’t help you by explaining that you could have made a successful claim on a different basis.

    In my experience, either the sledgehammer approach (excessive demand, aggressive tone, too verbose, lack of clarity, complaints about rude/unhelpful customer service, hours on the telephone (for which neither CEDR/court can award anything) or the rather incensed but woolly approach are both likely to be batted away by the airline and not seem very sympathetic to a decision maker and if they aren’t on your side, that’s bad as their decision can realistically, in most circumstances and within the law, go either way and such decisions are for all practical purposes, unappealable. In this particular case, if BA picks up on the MAN immediate cancellation ruse, the OP is stuffed anyway.

    Thus acting promptly and in a very clinical manner, setting out the background issues in dispute clearly and unemotionally, citing the law and guidance as it applies specifically to your circumstances and the justified required remedy such that anyone picking up the case can quickly understand the problem will get you a long way. The decision maker will be grateful (vs wading through loads of rubbish that leaves them confused) and see you are serious. In those circumstances, it’s much easier for them to see the airline as being rather churlish and that you are reasonable.

    timothy 11 posts

    Thanks everyone for their input, very helpful and interesting seeing the different perspectives.

    By way of update, I called BA again yesterday and was met with the same issue of validity. I had requested rebooking for June, as per the advice on this board. Despite being referenced and quoted the relevant passages in EU261 and their CoC section 9, the agent was unable to do anything. The agent suggested Section 9 only applies to cancelled flights which I disagree with but didn’t argue. They suggested I contact Customer Relations and put in notes as well as a ghost sector to prevent the ticket from expiring.

    I also reached out to a BA staffer on FT who was helpful but ultimately I’m back to square one. He offered a rebooking on another carrier within ticket validity or refund then rebook. The rebooking offer is BA to HKG then CX/CZ to PEK which we seriously considered for March but doesn’t work as it would cause an overnight layover on the outbound. BA31 arrives 1440 into HKG but all 3 CX services depart before that. CZ only operate it mid-week whereas we are currently booked for weekend travel and our March dates were for the weekend. Regardless, the CZ service also departs before BA’s arrival. As additional context, we are flying with a lap infant so while the extended journey time is not ideal, the overnight layover in HKG is a non-starter.

    I had also requested to be re-booked for June which was not entertained. He is helpful and my impression is that he would if he could so I suspect his hands are tied on the matter of ticket validity.

    I’ve also crunched the numbers on rebooking and while we would save £337 in taxes and surcharges, we would be paying 60,500 more avios. This is comparing offpeak dates with a companion voucher and lap infant. As Rob always reminds us, a 1p per avios valuation is sensible which would put it at £605 so our net loss from resolving it BA’s way would be £268. Avios availablity isn’t an issue so I think it’s a matter of whether it’s worth my time, effort and stress to go through CEDR. My gut suggests it is on principle but my brain suggests my attention best be directed towards our infant – they are hard work!

    I took inspiration from your post originally so I’m glad you popped in here and congratulations on your victory.

    and @JDB I’m not too worried on the timing between November to January. I was suggested by the BA agent in November to wait till closer to departure and that’s what I did. China was also closed until January 9 as you’ve mentioned and the Chinese embassy in the UK was not issuing visas for leisure purposes until January 8. Now that’s changed, we can theorectically travel before ticket validity and therefore seriously considered travelling in March, before realising it would force an overnight layover with CX/CZ restriction on the shorthaul connection. I am a little concerned about MAN but would argue BA accepted an amendment to the contract for carriage to Beijing by issuing the ticket and taking additional taxes and avios. They also had months to contact me before the Beijing cancellation if it was an issue.

    I will write to Customer Relations in hope, rather than expectation it can still be resolved before deciding whether to pursue it further. If they are able to resolve it then it would be June travel as I’m not sure the CEDR determination would be available by then and we would still need time to sort my visa.

    I would love to know why ticket validity is such a big issue. Surely from a commercial perspective, putting us on the first BA service in June is better than routing us via HKG with another carrier to complete the rest of the journey.

    JDB 4,853 posts

    @timothy I wouldn’t bother writing to Customer Relations; they won’t agree anything different and it will simply delay any possible resolution. Write to Head of Legal.

    I wouldn’t mention MAN unless they raise it. They may not notice, but when things get to a legal stage (or even re-ticketing as another poster discovered) and they delve into the history, these things can get picked up.

    meta 1,466 posts

    BA would cover your costs during overnight in Hong Kong under duty of care.

    BA has given you a reasonable option via HKG which you refused. You are suggesting you need to fly direct, but what other airlines are currently flying direct and have you put that option to BA as a counter offer?

    timothy 11 posts

    @meta There are no direct services so anything would now be 1 stop. The issue is the overnight layover which to us is unreasonable with an infant. I had asked for CX long haul to HKG which departs LHR earlier and allows us to do the same day connection to PEK but that was rejected.

    Lady London 2,181 posts

    Sorry @JDB not sure where you’ve got Article 8 or Article 9 from which I haven’t been mentioning.

    The simple fact is if I buy a ticket to, say, Bristol, then if the airline makes flight changes and doesn’t provide a means of getting me all the way to Bristol, whether on their own flights or someone else’s, then they sold me a flight to Bristol so if I have to spend anything to get all the way to Bristol then I expect to be able to recover it from them.

    Any compensation for delays or cancellation or reeimbursement for duty of care that’s due then I’ll refer to the relevant Article of EU261 but I also require them to provide transportation end to end from the origin I booked to the destination I booked i.e. what I purchased.

    timothy 11 posts

    Quick update, letter to BA head of legal en-route via special delivery asking to be rebooked for June. Have stated a response required by 2nd Feb.

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