Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forums Frequent flyer programs British Airways Executive Club Unable to fly due to my daughter’s illness

  • Nomadic 13 posts

    Morning all,

    My 2 year old was hospitalised last week and after much back and forth with BA, they have agreed to cancel my flight. We are obviously gutted.

    The challenge is that they will only allow a booking within six months and there is no Avios availability for Mexico during the holidays. The next possibility would be to book next Christmas, but that is not viable.

    The only thing I can think of is to claim via travel insurance, but unsure how to price up companion vouchers and 200K avios vouchers alongside £600 of cash.

    Any advice gratefully received.

    Dan

    SamG 1,640 posts

    Firstly I hope they’re doing well now. I had a little one hospitalised and it was quite the stress, let alone before a trip!

    Firstly did you cancel more than 24hrs before – are BA willing to refund the miles? Secondly who is your insurer ?

    You’ll need to speak to them to see if/ how they’d pay it, some won’t pay on miles at all, some will reimburse a value (if BA aren’t giving you them back) and some will pay for you to travel at a later date (although next Xmas may be pushing it but it isn’t especially unreasonable to only be able to take a long trip at certain times of the year)

    Nomadic 13 posts

    Hi SamG,

    It is indeed stressful!

    I was in contact with BA 6 days before we flew. They were asking for a letter proving my daughter’s illness. I provided that a few days later. I have several emails and transcripts with BA, and at no point was I advised to cancel! If I had known, I would have, but it appears that option has now gone…

    Travel insurance is with HSBC, so it is AVIVA. I’m really angry as been at the hospital for 12-14 hours a day and I feel BA have been robotic in their response and unhelpful.

    executiveclubber 266 posts

    BA are indeed very robotic in their responses and in cases like these it’s simply not good enough.

    I’d recommend you put your request very simply in an email to Sean Doyle the CEO with your exec club number and your case reference and how you’d like the situation to be resolved. It’ll then be picked up a bit faster and by someone a bit more proficient. This has worked for me in the past.

    tobynow 35 posts

    Nomadic, I’m so sorry to hear that. I’ve had a sick little one and can only sympathise.

    Agree with the idea to email Sean, especially if you are still enduring hospital time. I’d consider just being frank and stating you’ve tried the customer service but aren’t getting anywhere, are still having to prioritise your sick child and are angry BA didn’t give good advice at first. Then ask for what you want done.

    I’ve only had to email him once, and it was resolved v fast.

    If you want any feedback on a draft I’d be happy to advise here, and I’m sure others would too.

    fedemenni 47 posts

    sorry to hear about your situation, few weeks ago I was due to go to Rome but I had fever in the morning of travelling so decided to not travel. The first person that picked up was not helpful and gave me contradictory solutions and not helpful so I called back and another person was very helpful, offered to change the dates without charging me a fee, moved the booking to a week later then later cancelled and got my money back.

    it is all hit and miss unfortunately if you are not happy with the call handler just simply close the call and call back, over the phone is always quicker than over email especially if you are gold member

    SamG 1,640 posts

    I’m afraid if it’s the premier free one it specifically excludes miles.

    If so I think you’ve got a couple of options

    Go back to BA and say you weren’t advised you could cancel and ask for it all back (minus £35pp)

    My understanding of the illness policy is that it is actually pretty generous in that you wouldn’t need avios seats to get rebooked so if you could do say an Easter trip could be a good outcome

    BA played absolute hardball over the ticket validity during most of covid so I wouldn’t expect at all to get next Xmas tbh but could ask via CEO office


    @executiveclubber
    I somewhat disagree – illness is a scenario that you yourself should be responsible for via insurance. Anything the airline does is a gesture of goodwill and most airlines wouldn’t do anything.

    You should consider the coverage, limits and outcomes you would require (e.g. do you want them just to pay you back or cover increased costs if you rebooked for a week later) and then buy an appropriate policy.

    The Nationwide policy is one that personally I feel covers my needs but I do always have in mind that you can get a refund of Avios tickets up to T-24 so with a refundable hotel pre departure loss risk is minimal

    Ihar 120 posts

    Claim on your insurance. You can ask BA, but ultimately you would want to be put back in the same situation. And that’s for your insurance. And the problem.

    BA could – at their discretion – refund the miles, vouchers, and cash. Anything else is goodwill.

    Your insurer – at their discretion – could put you back into a situation as if you hadn’t travelled. Avios and vouchers have a value. But I think it puts you “right”, not to keep what the Avios and vouchers promised. That has gone.

    Nomadic 13 posts

    Thank you all for your support. I have emailed Sean, let’s see what response I get. Will keep you informed.

    Dan

    points_worrier 294 posts

    Sorry to hear about this.
    I am afraid the insurance route is unlikely to help unless she became ill within 24h of you due to fly.
    If she became ill before this, they will say you should have cancelled for a full refund as per avios T&C before the 24h cutoff, and any delay is therefore down to you.
    If she became ill within 24h, they *might* pay, but may refuse to pay because BA have now offered to move the flight, so there is no financial loss (even if you choose not to go when BA is offering).
    It is all not things you want to think about when a little one is ill. Which cold hard, black-and-white T&Cs insurance companies do not take in to account.

    The best route would be to get a letter from the hospital saying she was ill and not able to travel. Send this to BA, and beg for some sort of usable flight out of it, or avios refund. If this doesn’t work, then do put a claim in to see what happens. But I suspect it will at best be complicated.

    strickers 658 posts

    @Nomadic I hope your daughter gets well soon, don’t worry about the rest too much at the moment just concentrate on what’s important. You can chase everything else up once she is at home and on the mend.

    SamG 1,640 posts

    Sorry to hear about this.
    I am afraid the insurance route is unlikely to help unless she became ill within 24h of you due to fly.
    If she became ill before this, they will say you should have cancelled for a full refund as per avios T&C before the 24h cutoff, and any delay is therefore down to you.
    If she became ill within 24h, they *might* pay, but may refuse to pay because BA have now offered to move the flight, so there is no financial loss (even if you choose not to go when BA is offering).
    It is all not things you want to think about when a little one is ill. Which cold hard, black-and-white T&Cs insurance companies do not take in to account.

    The best route would be to get a letter from the hospital saying she was ill and not able to travel. Send this to BA, and beg for some sort of usable flight out of it, or avios refund. If this doesn’t work, then do put a claim in to see what happens. But I suspect it will at best be complicated.

    Sounds like no begging involved, BA are already offering for the flight to be used within 6 months, which really is pretty reasonable if it doesn’t need Avios availability

    Agree though – the refund option should have been highlighted up front by BA as an option and this will cause issues with an insurance claim (if one was even possible – HSBC Premier doesn’t pay for miles)

    Nomadic 13 posts

    Evening all,

    So, no response from Sean, how long does it usually take?

    BA are only offering an Avios flights within 6 months. If we had known, we would have cancelled and re-booked at our own pace. I’m beyond disappointed with BA, but my priority is to get my daughter home.

    Thank you again for all your support, you have collectively given me more help than BA combined.

    Goodnight.

    robkeane 78 posts

    OP has indicated that this was an avios booking. As his phone call was 6 days before, how come the BA exec didn’t just express sympathy and advise the best course of action was to cancel, refund everything less £35 per person admin fee. The only thing that would have been in question then is the remaining time on the 2-4-1. No letter needed, no reason required for the cancellation.

    Seems You were badly informed by the phone exec, and are now in a detrimental position as a result. I’d suggest you raise it higher, explain what happened and that, assuming the call was recorded, to suggest they listen back to the call, where you weren’t offered the cancellation/avios/cash refund, and were told you needed to provide medical evidence. Perhaps note the date of the intended flight and the date of the contact, pointing out the 6 days.

    What is the actual status at the moment. Is there some note somewhere on file at BA that says you are entitled to book in the next 6 months…seems like a strange resolution.

    Nomadic 13 posts

    Hi Rob,

    I’ve not heard anything, this was the transcript I was told on the 10th:

    Daniel, may I know if you are looking to rebook right now?
    Daniel (12/10/2023, 6:56:11 PM): Well yes ideally
    Rishikesh (12/10/2023, 6:56:37 PM): I can understand, and may I know if this is a partially flown booking?
    Daniel (12/10/2023, 6:56:59 PM): No not departing until 16th of December
    Rishikesh (12/10/2023, 6:58:11 PM): Thank you for confirming and in this case, Daniel, you would need to send the medical documents of your daughter confirming the illness or unfit to fly. Once the documents would be verified, you would then need to contact our team on call for the rebooking.

    You would only be charged with fare and tax difference and there won’t be any change fee or service fee applicable.
    Daniel (12/10/2023, 6:58:33 PM): Thanks. But I cannot see availability
    Daniel (12/10/2023, 6:58:50 PM): Could you confirm if the dates are available?
    Rishikesh (12/10/2023, 6:59:16 PM): May I know the date you would like to travel on followed with origin and destination as well?
    Daniel (12/10/2023, 6:59:27 PM): London to Mexico City
    Daniel (12/10/2023, 6:59:44 PM): 28th of March leave
    Daniel (12/10/2023, 7:00:25 PM): Back on 12th of April
    Rishikesh (12/10/2023, 7:01:19 PM): Thank you for confirming, please stay connected while I am checking with the availability for you.
    Rishikesh (12/10/2023, 7:02:19 PM): Daniel, I have checked and we do have flights available with our partner airline, and the flights are connecting flights. There are plenty of flights available.

    Nomadic 13 posts

    And this was the message I received on the 16th:

    Shams (16/12/2023, 09:07:52): Daniel, as per the policy pre travel illness. You need to share the medical document on the email : basupport@email.ba.com
    Shams (16/12/2023, 09:07:53): The team will verify the document and contact us via call after 72 hours of document we will help you to make the changes. You will be charge only for the price and tax difference. We will not charge for the change and service fee.

    SamG 1,640 posts

    Don’t bother with the live chat for something like this, I’d try calling Exec club and HUACA until you get a UK agent. I’m pretty sure you do not need Avios availability to get rebooked to new dates on the same route

    Otherwise I’d be pushing them to refund your miles, if your reservations were cancelled 6 days out they’re just sitting in the ticket and there isn’t any massive impediment to them doing this if you can find the right person

    SamG 1,640 posts
    Nomadic 13 posts

    Thanks Sam, what’s the best way to get a UK agent? Is it timing?

    BA Flyer IHG Stayer 2,062 posts

    OP has indicated that this was an avios booking. As his phone call was 6 days before, how come the BA exec didn’t just express sympathy and advise the best course of action was to cancel, refund everything less £35 per person admin fee. The only thing that would have been in question then is the remaining time on the 2-4-1. No letter needed, no reason required for the cancellation.

    Seems You were badly informed by the phone exec, and are now in a detrimental position as a result. I’d suggest you raise it higher, explain what happened and that, assuming the call was recorded, to suggest they listen back to the call, where you weren’t offered the cancellation/avios/cash refund, and were told you needed to provide medical evidence. Perhaps note the date of the intended flight and the date of the contact, pointing out the 6 days.

    What is the actual status at the moment. Is there some note somewhere on file at BA that says you are entitled to book in the next 6 months…seems like a strange resolution.

    Phone agents will respond to the questions / situations put to them.

    If you call and say ‘X has happended can I rebook?’ they will respond with the rules based on the situation presented to them.

    If you ask ‘X has happened what are my options?’ will genrate a different response which would include ‘welk you can cancel or we can look to rebook’

    SamG 1,640 posts

    I find calling in the evening more likely to get UK including by calling the US number after 8pm via Skype. But it will be very YMMV I’m sure .

    points_worrier 294 posts

    Yes its unfortunate. You’ve not actually asked to cancel, you’ve asked to rebook. They’ve therefore asked for a medical certificate to waive the £35pp fee.
    You may well get somewhere appealing to BA’s goodwill (especially since they will be guaranteed your custom for this booking in the future), assuming you have the letter/proof.

    Nomadic 13 posts

    Hi all, from the first transcript I was told I could rebook in March. I was then told I couldn’t.

    I will try to call in the evening as the overseas time difference comes into play.

    Nomadic 13 posts

    Thank you all. My avios has been refunded and seems I am getting my cash back.

    Speaking to a UK agent has made the difference Sam. A world apart.

    Dan

    SamG 1,640 posts

    Ah good. I thought they’d be able to do that once you found the right person. Hope you find some availability for a great trip sometime soon and in the meantime hope your little one is doing well and you have a lovely Christmas

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