Help with EU 261, BA flight, AA ticket

Old Nov 29, 18, 12:19 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: RDU
Programs: AA EXP / 1MM (the hard way), Hilton Diamond, Marriott Platinum, IHG Gold
Posts: 107
Help with EU 261, BA flight, AA ticket

I've looked at a number of different threads, as well as the full EU 261 language, and can't find specifically what I am looking for in this situation regarding making a claim... I don't know if this is better served on the BA board, but posting here because it was an AA ticket and BA is directing me to AA (as explained below) - if so, mods, please move.

I recently flew JFK-LHR on BA. I booked a World Traveller Plus ticket (fare bucket W), purchased on aa.com and sold as the AA flight number (operated by BA). Upon arriving at JFK after a domestic segment (purchased as part of same ticket) and attempting to get my boarding pass at the BA First check in counter (as a OW Emerald), since I could not get boarding pass at my original departure and I was unable to check in online on BA's website earlier that day, the agent told me that there seemed to be a problem with my ticket and I did not have a seat on the flight.

After 30 minutes of her talking to various help desks and an on-duty manager, she was unable to do anything and said that the only seat she could get me was the second-to-last row on the flight (in Economy) as Club First, Club World, and World Traveller Plus were all sold out on that flight, and every other BA flight that day. She also tried AA, and they had no availability. Obviously I was not happy, but I needed to get to London, so I sucked it up. The duty manager gave me a $100 prepaid gift card, and there was a signature / acceptance release form that she asked me to sign. I reviewed the language, was not happy with what was written (it was very vague, made a reference to it being their only responsibility of compensation, but that it did NOT affect any of my other rights to statutory compensation.) - I'm not a lawyer, I didn't have much time to make the flight, so I flat out refused to sign it and said thank you anyway but that I would deal with it (knowing that EU 261 should certainly cover more than $100 and I did not want to risk it).

I filed the claim on BA's website within 24 hours, asking for the 75% difference in fare for that segment, per EU 261. They finally responded around 10 days later, denying my claim, saying the $100 they offered me at the airport was their limit and nothing more they can do.

I replied, pointed to the specific EU 261 language (as well as the UK CAA's website, talking about passenger rights). They again replied, this time about 24 hours later, essentially saying "Sorry, no, we aren't refunding you even under EU 261, but go ahead and contact AA since you bought the ticket from them."

From what I have read about EU 261, it seems the responsibility is on the "Air Operating Carrier" (in this case BA), not the marketing/ticketing agent (AA). Am I wrong on this?

Before I proceed further I want to make sure I am correct in my assumption above... and then if so, I'm looking for suggestions from the FlyerTalk community because I have tried twice with BA with no luck (and if not, I guess I need to try with AA - in which case I'm sure all I'd get is a difference in fare, if that's even anything)... thanks in advance.
razzaba is offline  
Old Nov 29, 18, 12:29 pm
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: MEL CHC
Posts: 14,630
Originally Posted by razzaba View Post
<snip>
...I was unable to check in online on BA's website earlier that day, the agent told me that there seemed to be a problem with my ticket and I did not have a seat on the flight.
<snip>
What was the problem with the ticket?
How was it paid for?
Did you get an issued e-ticket? (001-xxxxxx) Or just a reservation PNR?
Mwenenzi is offline  
Old Nov 29, 18, 12:30 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: NYC
Posts: 7,700
First order of business is to determine why you were not ticketed for the flight. If the ticket was never properly issued I don't think you have a claim. Though you might get additional goodwill from AA.

If it was you are eligible for EU261 from BA (the operating carrier) - not AA (as they were just acting as your travel agent)..
erik123 is offline  
Old Nov 29, 18, 12:46 pm
  #4  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Brighton. UK
Programs: BA Gold / VS /IHG Platinum & Ambassador
Posts: 10,985
Originally Posted by erik123 View Post
First order of business is to determine why you were not ticketed for the flight. If the ticket was never properly issued I don't think you have a claim. Though you might get additional goodwill from AA.

If it was you are eligible for EU261 from BA (the operating carrier) - not AA (as they were just acting as your travel agent)..
Correct. You have to be properly ticketed (not only for the flight but for the right cabin) for EU261 to apply. And yes it would be BA as operating carrier who would be responsible in those circumstances.

But BA obviously believe OP wasn't properly ticketed hence their response re no downgrade reimbursement.
Often1 likes this.
UKtravelbear is online now  
Old Nov 29, 18, 12:55 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Programs: BAEC Gold, AA PlatinumPro, Hilton Diamond, SPG Gold
Posts: 145
As others have said, I believe whether BA owes anything will be dependent on whether you were properly ticketed. After the fact, I’m not sure of the easiest way to determine this.

If BA remains adamant there was a problem with the ticket, but will not give you details, you can probably avail yourself of the CEDR facility. That will at least force BA to make their case to an impartial arbiter. (OTOH, I believe there is a potential cost to this if the arbiter sides with BA completely.) Details are available in the BA forum’s EC261 thread: The 2018 BA compensation thread: Your guide to Regulation EC261/2004

If you need further assistance on dealing with BA, that thread is probably a good place to seek advice, especially if you are considering pursuing this through CEDR.
Infinite Possibilities is offline  
Old Nov 29, 18, 1:29 pm
  #6  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 40,172
That you were able to fly the 1st segment suggests that there was a ticket issued

For EC261, the claim is against BA since it is the airline that transported you in a class of service lower than that purchased

Whether or not there was an issue with the ticket, it fixed the ticket and it still did take the passenger in the end and did so after an involuntary downgrade

Regardless of whether there was a ticket issue, it is still on the hook for reimbursement of the 75% for that sector

If this was a case of missed flight / delay - then whether there was an initial ticket issue would be relevant; in this case, once the issue was resolved, the passenger had a Premium Economy ticket and was taken in Economy

Originally Posted by UKtravelbear View Post
Correct. You have to be properly ticketed (not only for the flight but for the right cabin) for EU261 to apply. And yes it would be BA as operating carrier who would be responsible in those circumstances.

But BA obviously believe OP wasn't properly ticketed hence their response re no downgrade reimbursement.
By the time the flight departed, the passenger was properly ticketed
Dave Noble is offline  
Old Nov 29, 18, 1:32 pm
  #7  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 43,636
First and foremost, whether EC 261/2004 applies, the BA COC do and OP is, at a minimum due a refund of the fare difference between FPT and WT. Given some of the fare structures on BA, it is possible that there isn't that much difference between the contractual and EC 261/2004 refund. If there isn't much, I would simply ask for that as it's easily paid out by the ticketing carrier, e.g. AA. Incidentally, the $100 card is simply a customer service gesture and does not affect EC 261/2004. OP should have accepted it and signed for it as it would be an extra $100 in his pocket no matter what the outcome is.

The fact that BA was able to "fix" the ticket does not mean that there was a properly issued ticket at the time OP presented and therefore, while OP sees it as a downgrade, it was not. More than likely, the ticket was issued into WT because that is what there is. Just one of the oddities of EC 261/2004 and its applicability only to the operating carrier. This would occur if AA did not properly push the ticket to BA (while JV partners, they are on separate GDS). If BA did not have a record of the ticket in time to board OP, that is the end of it. AA is not liable because it was not the operating carrier and because it is not an EU carrier,

One place to look is at the original e-ticket confirmation from AA. It should show a segment-by-segment breakdown, e.g. XXX/YYYYY-JFK/ZZZZZ-LHR (where the five letters are the fare basis. There will also be a dollar amount which represents the base segment fare. If JFK-LHR is missing, that would explain the inability to OLCI, the inability of the local AA station to print an onwards BP, and the problem with BA at JFK.

On a broader note, while there are usually much more benign reasons for not being able to OLCI or to obtain a BP, sometimes it is a ticket problem. It is always a good idea when a problem arises, to call immediately.

Last edited by Often1; Nov 29, 18 at 1:38 pm
Often1 is online now  
Old Nov 29, 18, 1:41 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Kiev, Ukraine
Programs: Mucci, BA Gold, PS, HHonors Lifetime Diamond
Posts: 6,358
razzaba, were you able to pre-assign seats in the WTP cabin when you purchased the ticket (as you are a OWE)?

As others have said, if you were not properly ticketed for the BA-operated flight then your only recourse is against AA. I think the check-in agent would have advised you had you really been downgraded. It's strange though that BA gave you a card if it was not their problem.
Andriyko is offline  
Old Nov 29, 18, 2:04 pm
  #9  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 23,502
I'd be inclined to think that if BA did accept the passenger for transport without any additional payment, because it was able to fix the ticket, then it's still BA's fault/responsibility. An issue with a ticket shouldn't have caused a problem with the original reservation at that point. If BA cancelled the space because it didn't have a valid ticket in the first place, that should have been done well before arrival at JFK.
ijgordon is offline  
Old Nov 29, 18, 2:14 pm
  #10  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 43,636
Perhaps. But, BA would have "seen" the reservation and simply no ticket. No reason to offload OP until the space was needed which it apparently was.

It would be interesting to know how OP booked his ticket. A TA might well have some visibility into the specific process.
Often1 is online now  
Old Nov 29, 18, 2:21 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Kiev, Ukraine
Programs: Mucci, BA Gold, PS, HHonors Lifetime Diamond
Posts: 6,358
Originally Posted by ijgordon View Post
because it was able to fix the ticket, then it's still BA's fault/responsibility.

No, it is the responsibility of whoever issued the ticket if there was a problem with the ticket. The OP is obviously owed something - either a refund from AA or the downgrade compensation from BA - depending upon what happened here.

Originally Posted by ijgordon View Post
that should have been done well before arrival at JFK.
How would that help? Airlines can cancel unticketed reservations at any time before the flight. The OP may have lost his seat long before the flight without realizing it.

I'd contact AA to hear they have to say.

Last edited by Andriyko; Nov 29, 18 at 2:28 pm
Andriyko is offline  
Old Nov 29, 18, 2:34 pm
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 23,502
Originally Posted by Andriyko View Post
How would that help? Airlines can cancel unticketed reservations at any time before the flight. The OP may have lost his seat long before the flight without realizing it.
Except I don't think that happened, it should have been clear when he tried to do OLCI on the BA website, as per the original post. I assume he didn't see a "we can't find that reservation" message (which is a HUGE red flag), more of a "sorry we can't check you in" message (which is a minor red flag but seems to happen a lot on mixed BA/AA itineraries anyway). But I guess it's not entirely clear.
ijgordon is offline  
Old Nov 29, 18, 3:12 pm
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: RDU
Programs: AA EXP / 1MM (the hard way), Hilton Diamond, Marriott Platinum, IHG Gold
Posts: 107
Thanks all...

As to reason, BA canceled another flight that night (not mine) and had an oversold cabin. For some reason, I was the odd man out. They let me know this in their response - about the algorithm they use, they offer volunteers first, etc. and sometimes they have to downgrade passengers.
razzaba is offline  
Old Nov 29, 18, 3:16 pm
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: RDU
Programs: AA EXP / 1MM (the hard way), Hilton Diamond, Marriott Platinum, IHG Gold
Posts: 107
Also I had managed my reservation online earlier (on BA.com) and it was showing a seat assignment. At OLCI I could see my res, but no seat and when attempting to check in it would not allow me to.
razzaba is offline  
Old Nov 29, 18, 3:20 pm
  #15  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Brighton. UK
Programs: BA Gold / VS /IHG Platinum & Ambassador
Posts: 10,985
It would have been much more helpful to have said what you did in your last two posts in your original one - the more info we have the better the advice!

So it now does sound like a downgrade and you are entitled to reimbursement of 75% of the cost of the sector (excluding any taxes and airport fees etc) so you need to revert back to BA makign it clear that is what is required of them.
Mwenenzi likes this.
UKtravelbear is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread