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British Airways

Excitement Turns to Disappointment for Downgraded BA Passengers

Excitement Turns to Disappointment for Downgraded BA Passengers
Jackie Reddy

Excitement turned to disappointment for two British Airways travelers who, despite having won tickets for business class in a competition, were downgraded to premium economy after the airline oversold their flight from London to Singapore. BA said that it’s not able to guarantee travel in a certain cabin class.

Excitement turned to disappointment for two British Airways (BA) passengers who, despite having won business class tickets in a competition, were told that they would be downgraded from Club World to premium economy after the carrier oversold their flight from London Heathrow Airport (LHR) to Singapore, the Telegraph reports.

Last year, Jessica Lowrey won the competition – held by retail travel outlet Flight Centre – and decided to use the luxury tickets to take her mother on vacation to Bali via Singapore.

Relating her experience to the outlet, Lowrey explained that she knew that there was some kind of problem upon attempting to use the self-service check-in kiosk at LHR. “We overheard a woman telling a family that BA had oversold their flight to Oslo… and I thought ‘how can they oversell flights?’,” she said.

“We eventually got to the front and a woman scanned our coupons (which we had been given at the kiosk). She called someone and was silent for what felt like 15 minutes. We could tell bad news was coming,” Lowrey added.

It was at this point that mother and daughter were told that no Club World seats were free and that they would be moved to BA’s premium economy cabin. Speaking of the pair’s disappointment, Lowrey said, “I was just in disbelief. Probably the one chance in our lives to fly in luxury and we weren’t able to because BA had oversold.”

BA has said that it is required to provide flights to Flight Centre for the purposes of the competition, but “that it clearly states in the terms and conditions that promotional travel is not guaranteed in the requested cabin,” the outlet reports.

A spokesperson for the carrier told the outlet, “With the flight being extremely busy we asked two customers to move to our World Traveler Plus cabin.”

Flight Centre, however, has said that it is investigating the incident, adding, “Flight Centre takes customer satisfaction extremely seriously and once all necessary details have been confirmed we shall be in contact with the customer.”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (12)


  1. Bear4Asian

    October 17, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    What a wonderful way to get positive PR for the airlines. It’s all about the money.

  2. Joan Johnson

    October 17, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    That is just appalling treatment by the airlines. if you are promised a certain certain class you should get it. It is the airlines fault if they oversold the aircraft.

  3. LukeO9

    October 18, 2018 at 12:18 am

    Assholes hiding behind the T&Cs again.

  4. adenzin7

    October 18, 2018 at 1:52 am

    marketing desaster – why not book them on another flight or next day? Sureley that would have been easier..

  5. bikesonaplane

    October 18, 2018 at 8:26 am

    The passengers weren’t ‘asked’ to move, they were moved and told that they couldn’t get the seats they won. I don’t think I’ve ever been asked if I would like to take a lesser seat.

  6. kkua

    October 18, 2018 at 11:59 am

    These travelers should have asked for alternate biz/first class accommodations or provide BA alternate dates for confirmed travel. Work with them to find a mutually agreable solution… not against them.

  7. viajero boricua

    October 19, 2018 at 9:48 am

    On BA? Ha, Ha! It sounds the same way they lost their auto industry… They’re one of the LEAST LIKELY to make any concessions. The passengers weren’t the “season pros’, some of you seem to pretend to be, they just wanted their promised seats just as any “Jane Doe” would’ve done. Sounds like the promoter will have to pay an extra flight for the winners woes (and STATE THEY WON’T USE ANY IAG AIRLINES (BA, AE and IB) IN THE FUTURE).

  8. Kabeer Mahajan

    October 20, 2018 at 12:30 am

    These were promotional tickets. Anyone know what the case is if you get downgraded on a fully paid booking?

  9. krispy84

    October 20, 2018 at 7:37 am

    Stop the presses! An airline has overbooked a flight!

    I would be interested to know if BA knew about the competition and the level of their affiliation with it. That would help us understand if this was a standard overbooking situation or cack-handed PR.

  10. jamin7998

    October 20, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    As bad as it sounds, BA did the right thing from a business perspective. If they bumped an actual revenue passenger to premium economy, it will be a much worst PR move and costs BA more money to compensate revenue passengers than a “contest” winner. The contest winner probably will never purchase business class seats on their own so there is no incentive to prioritize them. It sucks to be them.

  11. rubystone

    October 21, 2018 at 8:35 am

    Looks like some United folks went to BA.

  12. Great White North

    October 23, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    What ever the terms of the contract between BA and Flight Centre, I think Flight Centre would be on the hook to the passengers for not providing the advertised prize even though it was BA that caused the problem.

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