Beware bmi regional schedules!

Old Oct 21, 13, 10:16 am
  #1  
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Beware bmi regional schedules!

Just be dealt a bit of a blow by bmi regional. Outbound flight EDI-BRU for upcoming TP run operating OK, return leg they've now decided to cancel due to a schedule change. They can only offer a flight the day before (no good as not in the country then) or the day after (no good as need to be back at work plus would cost an additional hotel night). Their only alternative was a refund of the inbound leg (~45) which will be lucky to go 1/3 of the way to a replacement ticket on another carrier for that day.

I find it dreadful that is over 14 days notice (by a whisker) they deny any and all obligations to help!
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Old Oct 21, 13, 10:52 am
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I thought EU261 stipulates that they should reroute you even if on another carrier if that is your preference...have you already accepted the refund? if not I would push back and demand rerouted...applies even outside the 14 days notice
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Old Oct 21, 13, 11:14 am
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They've said that as it's outside 14 days they just have to offer what re-routes they can on their own metal, failing that all they're obliged to offer is a refund.

I haven't accepted a refund yet just in case.

Their email reply said:
Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding Lucy and Matthew’s flight with bmi regional.

Regrettably from time to time it is necessary to make amendments to our flight schedules and I sincerely apologise for any inconvenience the change may have caused. The change was made due to commercial reasons, and unfortunately was unavoidable.

bmi regional adhere to EU legislation and this states that passengers who have been advised of a change more than 14 days in advance of travel are not entitled to compensation. Should you wish to cancel we are able to offer a refund of the amount paid for the bmi regional flight.

On behalf of bmi regional, may I thank you for taking the time to contact us with your comments and apologise once again for any dissatisfaction caused.
I've no idea who Lucy or Matthew are but suspect a boilerplate response is at work!
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Old Oct 21, 13, 11:39 am
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Originally Posted by EDIflyer View Post
They've said that as it's outside 14 days they just have to offer what re-routes they can on their own metal, failing that all they're obliged to offer is a refund.
You probably have this already somewhere, but the core Article is:-
Article 5
Cancellation

1. In case of cancellation of a flight, the passengers concerned shall:

(a) be offered assistance by the operating air carrier in accordance with Article 8; and

(b) be offered assistance by the operating air carrier in accordance with Article 9(1)(a) and 9(2), as well as, in event of rerouting when the reasonably expected time of departure of the new flight is at least the day after the departure as it was planned for the cancelled flight, the assistance specified in Article 9(1)(b) and 9(1)(c); and

(c) have the right to compensation by the operating air carrier in accordance with Article 7, unless:

(i) they are informed of the cancellation at least two weeks before the scheduled time of departure; or

(ii) they are informed of the cancellation between two weeks and seven days before the scheduled time of departure and are offered re-routing, allowing them to depart no more than two hours before the scheduled time of departure and to reach their final destination less than four hours after the scheduled time of arrival;

or

(iii) they are informed of the cancellation less than seven days before the scheduled time of departure and are offered re-routing, allowing them to depart no more than one hour before the scheduled time of departure and to reach their final destination less than two hours after the scheduled time of arrival.

2. When passengers are informed of the cancellation, an explanation shall be given concerning possible alternative transport.
...
The way that I (and many other people) read that is that Article 8 assistance must be offered in every case. Only the question of financial compensation is dependent on whether the cancellation is a late cancellation, and on that point their email is technically correct.

Article 8 says:-
Article 8
Right to reimbursement or re-routing

1. Where reference is made to this Article, passengers shall be offered the choice between:

(a) — reimbursement within seven days, by the means provided for in Article 7(3), of the full cost of the ticket at the price at which it was bought, for the part or parts of the journey not made, and for the part or parts already made if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to the passenger's original travel plan, together with, when relevant,
— a return flight to the first point of departure, at the earliest opportunity;

(b) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at the earliest opportunity; or

(c) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at a later date at the passenger's convenience, subject to availability of seats.
So on the face of it, it seems that it should be your choice whether to take a refund or get a re-route. And Article 8 does not appear to limit re-route to re-routing on the same airline's flights.

Article 9 deals with "care" and doesn't appear to be relevant in your case.
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Old Oct 21, 13, 11:46 am
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(pipped to the post by Globaliser)
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Old Oct 21, 13, 11:52 am
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Thanks for the extra replies - if I was going for their Sunday night flight then I'd definitely push them to cover accommodation/meals under duty of care, however I've got a train to catch on the Sunday afternoon so that's not an option. I've replied to them referencing Article 5 and saying I should be rerouted via another carrier & will see what they say - I suspect I'll just be told it's still a refund or the two non-options and to take things to the CAA if I'm not happy!
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Old Oct 22, 13, 1:11 pm
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Well off to the CAA I go! Here's the final reply from bmi regional...
Thank you for your e-mail.

bmi regional have offered you an alternative flight and also advised we are happy to move you to another bmi regional service, we therefore feel we have fulfilled our obligation under EU261.

On behalf of bmi regional may I thank you for taking the time to contact us.
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Old Oct 22, 13, 3:29 pm
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The problem with flying a small airline I guess. It will cost them some beans to book you onto another carrier with no agreements in place. The CAA could be a total waste of time and I'd be surprised to get a reply and any form of action in less than 14 days before departure. They tend not to act or do anything, they just make a recommendation and because an arbitrary between yourself and BM.

Fare prices will only go up. From a reasonable perspective, your rights have been denied by BM thereby forcing you to make your own travel arrangements. I would book the necessary flights on a schedule of your convenience in the original travel cabin with another airline like BA. You know you are on very strong ground so no matter how long or what the CAA say you can issue a claim against BM using the Small Claims Court which you can issue in your local Sheriffs court (given you are EDI based). I'm only guessing, but it might cost you as little as 16 if your replacement flight costs less than 200 otherwise 71.

Booking now you get some piece of mind to know your claim will be reasonable before the fares get out of hand.
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Old Oct 25, 13, 9:46 am
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CAA have rejected the complaint:
Thank you for your complaint received on 22 October 2013.

As your flight involves EC Regulation 261/2004 and you departed from another European Union (EU) country or from a country outside the EU to an airport in another European country, I am afraid that we are not in a position to assist. This is because every Member State of the EU is required to have a body to receive complaints that fall under the Regulation. These bodies deal with complaints about flights from airports within their country and within their jurisdiction. You should therefore address your complaint directly to the relevant National Enforcement Body (NEB).

EU in this sense includes all EU Member States plus EEA countries of Iceland, Norway and Switzerland (Switzerland is not a member of the EEA, but maintains a special relationship with the EEA in regards to aviation).

It is up to the individual NEB how they deal with your complaint and we have found that some may take enforcement action against airlines in cases of proven infringements of the Regulation but they may not obtain redress for individual complaints. Whilst we do not want to pre-empt their actions we felt we should let you know you may have to pursue your individual claim legally to seek redress. However the NEB should advise you further of their findings, which will help you build your court case, and your next course of action once they have reviewed your complaint.

For the individual NEB contact details please click http://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes...ent_bodies.pdf

Further passenger information and advice can be found on the CAA website, please click http://www.caa.co.uk/homepage.aspx?catid=1759
I replied trying to clarify if this means I need to contact the Belgian equivalent instead (despite bmi regional saying that the CAA cover them) and instead of answering in a sensible manner they basically just repeated the same wording!...
Thank you for your email.

As your flight involves EC Regulation 261/2004 and you departed from another European Union (EU) country, or, from an airport outside the EU to an EU airport on a non EU carrier, I’m afraid that we are not in a position to assist with your complaint. However, I am enclosing some information you may find helpful together with the address of the National Enforcement Body to whom you should address your complaint.
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Old Oct 29, 13, 2:16 am
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Yep, happened to me too (although in my case they offered a later flight on the same day, still very inconvenient for me as I will miss an important meeting). To be fair, it's not new and even in the good old times of BMI, I had flights cancelled several times on BRU-EDI, especially around Christmas.
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Old Oct 29, 13, 4:54 am
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Their obligation is to reroute "at the earliest opportunity". Whether that means at the earliest opportunity on their services or at the earliest opportunity on another carrier is debatable and, AFAIK, there have been, to date, no judgments to clarify this.

As to which national enforcement body (NEB) is responsible, it is normally the the NEB of the country of departure when the departure is from the EU, so the Belgian NEB rather than the UK NEB for a flight departing from Brussels.

If you were to take it to court, you would have a choice of jurisdiction between country of departure (Belgium) or country of destination (UK) to start proceedings.
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Old Oct 29, 13, 6:30 am
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Originally Posted by NickB View Post
Their obligation is to reroute "at the earliest opportunity". Whether that means at the earliest opportunity on their services or at the earliest opportunity on another carrier is debatable and, AFAIK, there have been, to date, no judgments to clarify this.

As to which national enforcement body (NEB) is responsible, it is normally the the NEB of the country of departure when the departure is from the EU, so the Belgian NEB rather than the UK NEB for a flight departing from Brussels.

If you were to take it to court, you would have a choice of jurisdiction between country of departure (Belgium) or country of destination (UK) to start proceedings.
Ah the expert has arrived

I think if there were to be a judgement on a reroute on another carrier it would sway in favour of a passenger given the way all the previous decisions seem to have fallen in their favour. Smaller airlines would be disadvantaged, but they already are with the present legislation anyway.

Given the purpose of air travel to get you quickly from one place to the next, being forced to take a flight on a totally different day because the carrier changes the schedule defeats the whole point of traveling. IME most large carriers will book their own metal, alliance metal and other airlines, in that priority order so it seems the larger airlines are interpreting it to be a reroute on any scheduled airline. Of course they all have interlines in place, even with competitors so the small and LCC airlines are disadvantaged.
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Old Oct 29, 13, 7:17 am
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Originally Posted by hugolover View Post
I think if there were to be a judgement on a reroute on another carrier it would sway in favour of a passenger given the way all the previous decisions seem to have fallen in their favour. Smaller airlines would be disadvantaged, but they already are with the present legislation anyway.
I would not be sure on this. If I were a better man, I'd put the likelihood at somewhere around 60/40 rather than 90/10.

Current proposals from the Commission, if adopted by the Council and the European Parliament, would establish a two-tier system on this: for an arrival less than 12 hrs after originally scheduled arrival, there is no obligation to reroute on another carrier. Above 12 hrs, you would be entitled to insist on rerouting on another carrier if the other flight arrives earlier.
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Old Oct 29, 13, 7:55 am
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Originally Posted by NickB View Post
Their obligation is to reroute "at the earliest opportunity". Whether that means at the earliest opportunity on their services or at the earliest opportunity on another carrier is debatable and, AFAIK, there have been, to date, no judgments to clarify this.

As to which national enforcement body (NEB) is responsible, it is normally the the NEB of the country of departure when the departure is from the EU, so the Belgian NEB rather than the UK NEB for a flight departing from Brussels.

If you were to take it to court, you would have a choice of jurisdiction between country of departure (Belgium) or country of destination (UK) to start proceedings.
http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/markup...2012/1355.html

Frustrating business being a passenger isn't it ( or maybe not always)?

( "In for a penny-in for 50m"-hardly worth litigating for a lesser sum is it?)
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Old Oct 29, 13, 8:15 am
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Originally Posted by Shona View Post
http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/markup...2012/1355.html

Frustrating business being a passenger isn't it ( or maybe not always)?

( "In for a penny-in for 50m"-hardly worth litigating for a lesser sum is it?)
I was aware of Graham but this is a clear case of the English Court of Appeal making a complete hash of EU law and, if anybody entertained any doubt as to the nonsense that decision is, the ECJ in McDonagh has more than amply clarified the matter.

The case, in any event, does not really address the substantive point at stake here.
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