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Forums Frequent flyer programs British Airways Executive Club Tokyo > Manchester cancelled

  • lovetravel0527 12 posts

    Hi all,

    Hoping for a bit of guidance as I’ve just been advised our flights home from Tokyo in April have been cancelled and we cannot get rebooked onto another flight in the same class. We booked the outbound flight (MAN > HAN) using Avios and used our companion voucher. We are in Club World and had to call at 1am 355 days before. We weren’t able to get the reward flight home and use our companion voucher, so we booked a reward flight with Avios through BA but flying with Qatar and took the hit on extra points (as we’ve flown with Qatar in qsuites before and thought it was worth it).

    In Dec, we were advised the first leg of the journey to Doha had been cancelled and we were put onto a JAL flight instead, which was fine. I received an email last night advising that both legs of this journey have now been cancelled. The flights are still available to book online via Qatar.

    I’ve called BA this morning and they said there’s no availability for reward flights at all within 3-4 days from both Tokyo airports back to any in the UK so we either have to be downgraded to economy or pay for the flight in cash (about £3k). They cannot book us onto the BA flight as they said we needed to fly with Qatar.

    Any advice please? We’ve had this booked for nearly a year and it’s a once in a lifetime trip for us so we don’t want to cancel it completely. I just find it hard to believe the Qatar to Manchester flight has been cancelled and no other options available as I know this is a popular flight. Additionally, I don’t know why the JAL flight has been cancelled when it was only announced a couple of months ago.

    Anyone else having this issue? As our outbound flight is in just over a months time and all hotels booked, it’s not really ideal.

    Any advice appreciated.

    JDB 4,309 posts

    @lovetravel0527 – what a nightmare. It’s tricky because you don’t have any statutory UK261 rights as Qatar is a third country carrier flying from a third country. BA does have a contractual responsibility and QR is their agent for this booking, but that is difficult to enforce.

    I’m not sure what the solution is, but I would try with BA again and hope that another agent might be more helpful. If that still doesn’t work, I would contact QR directly as although they may not have 261 obligations they can actually be quite helpful and won’t want to leave you stranded. If that still doesn’t work, you should speak to your travel insurers and/or your credit card provider.

    lovetravel0527 12 posts

    Thanks. BA have had an internal memo saying they aren’t allowed to rebook anyone onto any BA or JAL flights who booked as a reward flight. Those BA flights are now £3k each one way (plus seat booking). Qatar really screwed BA up here, I can understand why they wouldn’t want to rebook passengers as they’d lose out on a cash seat but it’s hardly our fault either. There’s no alternative flights been released yet either, can’t see anything in the press yet about updated routes.

    Amex said they can only offer £400 for rebooking (we have two cards). Need to try travel insurance but 95% sure they will try and get out of it too. Really starting to wonder what the point is in having the premium plus card, availability is awful to begin with and they are continuing to market the card which won’t be helping. We traded our gold Amex for this as we thought it was a better deal for the travel we like to do, but it’s just becoming increasingly hard to use.

    NorthernLass 7,466 posts

    It’s very frustrating – a perfect storm of Japan being extremely sought-after for redemptions and QR not being subject to UK261 regs.

    Do you have enough avios to rebook yourselves on QR, if you mean that award seats are still showing as available? You should be entitled to a refund for your cancelled flights.

    As per @JDB, QR do seem to be quite helpful, there have been several posts on here about them rebooking people on alternative services in the event of cancellations.

    As you note, there are 2/3 DOH-MAN flights per day so that sector shouldn’t be an issue. We paid 21k avios plus about £60 each for economy on the 2.30 pm departure in December and it was very doable. We managed to get exit row seats so were extremely comfortable, but for a 7-hour day flight it wouldn’t have been a deal breaker.

    meta 1,423 posts

    I would first try with QR. If that fails,I would call Amex or your credit card provider and claim S75 for contractual obligations. If paid on Amex, I would call to confirm but you need to specifically mention S75.

    If this fails, I am afraid there is nothing much you’ll be able to do other than accept economy or refund.

    Tokyo is the most popular route (even more than Sydney) and booked out all the time even outside peak periods. It’s not BA/JAL/QR’s or Amex’s fault that the route is popular.

    NorthernLass 7,466 posts

    When you’ve sorted all this out, take some time to read the articles and threads on here about getting the most from your avios/241 – a lot of people assume they’ll have no problems using them for “unicorn” destinations like Japan and Maldives but then get disheartened because they didn’t do enough research to know whether or not their expectations were realistic.

    Just FYI as well – the “return” portion of your companion voucher is valid for travel within 12 months of your outbound, so you have the possibility of using it as part of a future trip (within certain parameters) if you get one another booked before you fly to Japan.

    DonLee 209 posts

    If you booked through BA then you are in more difficult position.

    Last year our flight to Maldives was cancelled and rebooked to a time that not suitable for us. As I booked through BA, QR refused to rebook me to the flight I prefer and insists there must be rewards availability. My wife in the other hand was booked through QR directly without any issue to rebook to anther date.

    JDB 4,309 posts

    @lovetravel0527 – I do hope you get this sorted out without a fuss and unfortunately you don’t have a whole lot of time before travel. If neither BA nor QR will sort this out, you need to make it someone’s else’s problem – BA and Amex can fight it out between them as to who will pay or resolve the issue. As @meta says, you will need top write to both BA and Amex, claim for the breach of contract against both parties (vs Amex under s75), cite the remedy you require and a short timetable for resolution – absolute max 14 days in view of long haul travel and many booked arrangements inside two months.

    Cranzle 274 posts

    This seems to be the third similar case in recent days.

    Is anyone able to advise which insurance companies would pay for a rebooking under these types of situations?

    lovetravel0527 12 posts

    Thanks all! Seems like it’s the JAL leg to Doha which has been cancelled. Got husband on the phone trying to sort but will definitely look into the s75 regs.


    @NorthernLass
    , thanks for the info. We’ve been to Singapore and HKG over the last couple of years in Club using the companion voucher. Had no issues there apart from having to call at 1am a couple of nights but thought it was worth the hassle overall. Didn’t help we were in Vietnam trying to book this inbound trip from Tokyo so none of the call centre times lined up when flights were released (hence why we booked the Qatar flights). It’s probably an ‘us issue’ that we don’t travel west, we prefer SE Asia where availability is much less. Qatar is our choice of middle eastern carrier so thought the one world alliance partnership with BA would give us more options.

    lovetravel0527 12 posts

    Ok, positive update. After many hours of us both trying on the phone and countless knockbacks, my husband somehow sweet talked the BA customer service advisor into putting us onto a JAL direct flight to Heathrow. Phew! He had to get it approved by upper management so seems like it was an exception. Although we won’t be flying qsuites, we will be flying the northern Arctic route which makes the nerd in me very happy as I often watch those planes on flightradar. Fingers crossed for a window seat!

    yonasl 948 posts

    Amazing news. Coming back from Japan with JAL should be (hopefully) much better than having to do a stop over.

    JDB 4,309 posts

    This seems to be the third similar case in recent days.

    Is anyone able to advise which insurance companies would pay for a rebooking under these types of situations?

    I don’t think you will find any insurer that will cover this sort of thing as it’s before travel and a contractual issue, not a travel insurance insurable event.

    JDB 4,309 posts

    Ok, positive update. After many hours of us both trying on the phone and countless knockbacks, my husband somehow sweet talked the BA customer service advisor into putting us onto a JAL direct flight to Heathrow. Phew! He had to get it approved by upper management so seems like it was an exception. Although we won’t be flying qsuites, we will be flying the northern Arctic route which makes the nerd in me very happy as I often watch those planes on flightradar. Fingers crossed for a window seat!

    That’s brilliant news. While BA knows it is responsible for resolving these sort of issues, pinning them down is harder.

    kaiW90 16 posts

    JAL direct to Heathrow is an amazing result! Were you given an option between BA and JAL?

    Lady London 2,029 posts

    I am so pleased for you @lovetravel0527.

    Though concerned that BA actually has an internal guideline that is literally against the law “BA have had an internal memo saying they aren’t allowed to rebook anyone onto any BA or JAL flights who booked as a reward flight”.

    This is a systematic and deliberate announcement that they refuse to obey the law. There is no difference in rights, between those that booked a reward flight and those that booked a revenue flight, in this case the right to a rerouting after a cancellation.
    Why do we not have regulators that will actually bother to demand that such illegal policies are eliminated?

    lovetravel0527 12 posts

    @kaiW90 for 98% of the conversation we had, there was no option for either so we just went with what they gave us and very grateful that they have seemingly made an exeption. They kept saying they could only rebook us onto Qatar operated flight and none were apparently operating. They had strict instructions not to book these passengers onto BA or JAL flights apparently (according to the advisor on the Avios line). Not sure what’s going on with the JAL/QA scheduling. We will lose a day of our trip but we are there for 2.5 weeks anyways so not the end of the world.

    Richie 970 posts

    I am so pleased for you @lovetravel0527.

    Though concerned that BA actually has an internal guideline that is literally against the law “BA have had an internal memo saying they aren’t allowed to rebook anyone onto any BA or JAL flights who booked as a reward flight”. This is a systematic and deliberate announcement that they refuse to obey the law. Why do we not have regulators that will actually bother to demand that such illegal policies are eliminated?

    Governments can’t do the simplest of things.

    lovetravel0527 12 posts

    @LadyLondon That’s only what the Avios advisor told me so taking her word for it, but yes it’s awful. I don’t know the ins and outs of the t&c (probably should learn this) but would have thought being part of an alliance would mean some sort of partnership when it came to situations like this. Clearly they wanted the seats staying as cash seats if possible. The flight is currently selling for £6k each on BA.com and £5k each on JAL (one way) at the moment.

    JDB 4,309 posts

    @LadyLondon and @Richie – there is no law being broken here and it’s not the role of the government or the regulator to deal with this situation. The passengers had no 261 rights, no rerouting rights etc. They did have contractual rights but neither the regulator nor the government can be involved in such a civil dispute any more than they can if John Lewis don’t turn up to fit your carpets.

    The BA customer guidelines also don’t prohibit rebooking of Avios flights in these circumstances, but many agents aren’t properly trained.

    This is why each case needs to be considered individually with a tailored and stepped approach rather than alleging illegality, asserting rights the pax don’t have etc.

    PS if you had read both my answer and @meta answer you would see why both our responses were different to the norm.

    Aston100 1,367 posts

    This topic reinforces my own view that it actually is NOT easier to deal with BA then Qatar when it comes to Qatar reward seats.
    There have been a few reports and I myself have experienced the frustration too.
    And yet I often see advice given out (including from Rob) to book Qatar reward seats through ba as it is allegedly easier to deal with BA. It really isn’t.

    Lady London 2,029 posts

    @JDB I simply objected that **** “BA have had *an internal memo saying they aren’t allowed* to rebook anyone onto any BA or JAL flights who booked as a reward flight” **** is a policy asserting BA’s intentions to act illegally ie deny reroutings if someone booked as a reward flight.

    This, from BA is clearly a *general* policy and not intended just for this passenger’s particular case. I’m well aware of the Qatar complication on this one aa it was a non UK non European airline flight not departing from Europe nor from UK, so 261 doesn’t work.

    I objected to this as a general policy on the part of BA not with regard to this case. This case is just how it got mentioned.

    zapato1060 625 posts

    @lovetravel0527 great outcome!

    @Lady
    London I don’t know why but I read your message as “I simply objected that sh*t” ha it startled me.

    TGLoyalty 464 posts

    100% agree do not book QR redemption flights via BA when you can transfer the Avios to QR and do it directly!

    JDB 4,309 posts

    @LadyLondon – there isn’t a shred of evidence that such a document exists and I think one should be very careful about making such serious allegations without evidence save the apparent say-so (and hearsay) of one agent. You also prioritise the theory of malice or bad faith over incompetence and a lack of agent training.

    There is just so much evidence of people with reward tickets getting rebooked on OneWorld airlines, notably on Joint Business, generally without any fuss. On the day BA will generally rebook with anyone and in advance, BA is light years ahead of Virgin in rerouting.

    BA has a published policy for this which has been posted here many times and if you were to read it you would understand why there might have been some initial confusion and reluctance by the BA agent in this case. The OP had booked to travel from Japan to the UK via Doha with QR. That happens not only to take the booking outside the scope of 261 but also outside the BA/QR Joint Business arrangement and outside the BA/JL Joint Business agreement, so a rerouting was never going to be easy, but the fact it was agreed by the call centre ought to confirm to you that the allegation you continue to make is simply wrong.

    In this instance, BA had no legal obligation to rebook the passenger but under pressure did so – simply on the telephone, no legal department involvement. Agents and even reservation managers have incredibly little latitude, so this was clearly in policy.

    What’s ridiculous is that we both champion the cause of the passenger but I have zero interest in all these allegations of illegality, useless regulators etc. partly because it’s a load of nonsense and it gets you precisely nowhere but more importantly because my sole focus is on getting the pax issue resolved in the quickest and least painful way and that requires calm and an analysis of the specific facts and details provided.

    Finally, when accusing BA of acting illegally by loudhailer, I think you actually mean unlawfully but even that isn’t correct as it is just a simple civil dispute – the passenger says I’m entitled to X, BA says no you aren’t. It’s not an illegal or unlawful position to take, even if it’s wrong. It happens in every industry every day. There are various routes for resolving such civil disputes.

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