A win against BA

Old Oct 14, 16, 1:19 am
  #1  
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A win against BA

I am BA Gold but I too have become disillusioned with BA over the past 2 years, so much so that I have cancelled all but one of my upcoming trips with them and changed carrier. I have done so knowing I won’t re-achieve Gold status as a result, but management’s growing complacency towards their customers is increasingly clear in all my interactions with them, so I am content in my decision to walk away. I am sorry for the devoted crews who always have provided excellent service.

Here is just one of many recent examples of how I have found BA inflexible and unreasonable:

I booked a flight from Gatwick to Barcelona departing at 10:00 and arriving at 13:05 in Club Europe. BA made a schedule change to the flight, which now departs at 11:35 arriving at 14:40. This new flight time is no longer suitable for me as I needed to be in Barcelona for 1pm. BA’s conditions of carriage on ba.com state:

9a) Schedules
9a3) If, after you buy your ticket:
- we make a significant change to the scheduled departure time of your flight;
- you find this change unacceptable; and
- we or our authorised agents cannot book you on another flight which you are prepared to accept;
we will give you an involuntary fare refund.

I phoned BA to advise them that the flight change was unacceptable to me as I needed to be in Barcelona for 1pm. I needed to fly from Gatwick as booked and they did not have an earlier flight from Gatwick that day. They offered me a flight the day before from Gatwick, but with overnight accommodation at my own expense.

As the alternative flight options were not suitable for me, I requested a refund as per the conditions of carriage, as the schedule change of 1 hour 35 minutes was significant to my plans. The Executive Club team leader I spoke to by phone declined this request saying that their internal policy is that schedule changes must be 2 hours or more to be eligible for a refund. Despite a long back and forth where he acknowledged there were no other options from Gatwick remotely close to the original flight time booked, it was like talking to a brick wall and he was not prepared to budge.

This I considered unreasonable as BA’s conditions of carriage were clear that I would be entitled to a refund in these circumstances, and they made no reference to a policy of schedule changes needing to be 2 hours or more for a refund. Happily, American Express agreed and forced BA to issue to the refund.

My message to other flyertalkers – don’t be bullied, stand firm, and always pay by credit card ;-)

Last edited by LondonCapeTownAnyday; Oct 14, 16 at 1:30 am
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Old Oct 14, 16, 1:29 am
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I have said before here that I do not think the flat 2-hour rule is reasonable and that it would not be upheld in court. Whether a change is significant depends on a number of factors and in many cases changes of less than 2 hours will be significant.

I'm glad Amex supported you here. ^
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Old Oct 14, 16, 1:32 am
  #3  
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^ Nice work
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Old Oct 14, 16, 1:38 am
  #4  
 
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Originally Posted by LondonCapeTownAnyday View Post
I am BA Gold but I too have become disillusioned with BA over the past 2 years, so much so that I have cancelled all but one of my upcoming trips with them and changed carrier. I have done so knowing I wonít re-achieve Gold status as a result, but managementís growing complacency towards their customers is increasingly clear in all my interactions with them, so I am content in my decision to walk away. I am sorry for the devoted crews who always have provided excellent service.

Here is just one of many recent examples of how I have found BA inflexible and unreasonable:

I booked a flight from Gatwick to Barcelona departing at 10:00 and arriving at 13:05 in Club Europe. BA made a schedule change to the flight, which now departs at 11:35 arriving at 14:40. This new flight time is no longer suitable for me as I needed to be in Barcelona for 1pm. BAís conditions of carriage on ba.com state:

9a) Schedules
9a3) If, after you buy your ticket:
- we make a significant change to the scheduled departure time of your flight;
- you find this change unacceptable; and
- we or our authorised agents cannot book you on another flight which you are prepared to accept;
we will give you an involuntary fare refund.

I phoned BA to advise them that the flight change was unacceptable to me as I needed to be in Barcelona for 1pm. I needed to fly from Gatwick as booked and they did not have an earlier flight from Gatwick that day. They offered me a flight the day before from Gatwick, but with overnight accommodation at my own expense.

As the alternative flight options were not suitable for me, I requested a refund as per the conditions of carriage, as the schedule change of 1 hour 35 minutes was significant to my plans. The Executive Club team leader I spoke to by phone declined this request saying that their internal policy is that schedule changes must be 2 hours or more to be eligible for a refund. Despite a long back and forth where he acknowledged there were no other options from Gatwick remotely close to the original flight time booked, it was like talking to a brick wall and he was not prepared to budge.

This I considered unreasonable as BAís conditions of carriage were clear that I would be entitled to a refund in these circumstances, and they made no reference to a policy of schedule changes needing to be 2 hours or more for a refund. Happily, American Express agreed and forced BA to issue to the refund.

My message to other flyertalkers Ė donít be bullied, stand firm, and always pay by credit card ;-)
Good work there, and also by American Express.

I think technically the basis of the refund relies upon the word 'significantly'. It appears that the conditions you quoted are 'AND' conditions, which means that all of them must be satisfied. So the way I see it is that it falls down to whether or not a 1.5 hour delay is 'significant'. In the context of a short haul flight for a business purpose I would agree it was, however, it could be argued that it wasn't a big enough delay to count as significant.
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Old Oct 14, 16, 2:08 am
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Well done and thanks for sharing.
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Old Oct 14, 16, 2:14 am
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Well done you and AMEX - who are in my good books at the moment as well.

I'd always argue that significant should be viewed in terms of the impact rather than the amount of time change.

If it causes you to miss something or suffer significant loss then customer service really should oblige. Perhaps I live in halcyon days.
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Old Oct 14, 16, 2:19 am
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I'm not sure I would disagree with BA assertion that the delay wasn't significant if you booked a trip arriving after 1pm when you needed to be in Barcelona by 1pm.

But it does seems ridiculous to not allow the refund at 1h35min.
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Old Oct 14, 16, 3:06 am
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This is a very good illustration of the difficulty in where the 'significant' line is drawn for refunds on schedule changes. After all, all air travel timetables are not set in stone and do need to adjust over the passage of time as circumstances change.

So, in context, where do BA draw the line? 5 mins? 10? 1 hour? 4? Is it different for sh and lh? For different passengers? How can they be fair, reasonable and consistent? A tricky one.
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Old Oct 14, 16, 3:07 am
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Well done!
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Old Oct 14, 16, 3:18 am
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Originally Posted by Flexible preferences View Post
This is a very good illustration of the difficulty in where the 'significant' line is drawn for refunds on schedule changes. After all, all air travel timetables are not set in stone and do need to adjust over the passage of time as circumstances change.

So, in context, where do BA draw the line? 5 mins? 10? 1 hour? 4? Is it different for sh and lh? For different passengers? How can they be fair, reasonable and consistent? A tricky one.
If you can not fulfill what you agreed to, then refund the ticket. Not that difficult really. Customers do not book a ticket based on "could be this departure time might be that departure time".

Last edited by FlyerTalker7654; Oct 14, 16 at 3:18 am Reason: ..
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Old Oct 14, 16, 3:19 am
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Flexible preferences View Post
This is a very good illustration of the difficulty in where the 'significant' line is drawn for refunds on schedule changes. After all, all air travel timetables are not set in stone and do need to adjust over the passage of time as circumstances change.

So, in context, where do BA draw the line? 5 mins? 10? 1 hour? 4? Is it different for sh and lh? For different passengers? How can they be fair, reasonable and consistent? A tricky one.
I'm not sure it is.

BA doesn't tweak its schedules in order to benefit its customers. It tweaks them solely in order to benefit itself.

The *only* person who can determine if the impact of this is significant is the customer themselves. Therefore, if they determine that they no longer wish to travel as a result of BA's change, then the refund is given. If the customer is still OK with it, no problem.

BA can always avoid the need to pony up refunds by not fiddling with its schedules in the first place.
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Old Oct 14, 16, 3:23 am
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Originally Posted by V10 View Post
I'm not sure it is.

BA doesn't tweak its schedules in order to benefit its customers. It tweaks them solely in order to benefit itself.

The *only* person who can determine if the impact of this is significant is the customer themselves. Therefore, if they determine that they no longer wish to travel as a result of BA's change, then the refund is given. If the customer is still OK with it, no problem.

BA can always avoid the need to pony up refunds by not fiddling with its schedules in the first place.
OK, fair enough, so your opiniom would be the line being drawn at 1 minute then? As I said before I am in agreement that the OP should have been refunded in this instance. Personally though I am not as hard line as you on this
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Old Oct 14, 16, 3:26 am
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Originally Posted by SgtRyan View Post
If you can not fulfill what you agreed to, then refund the ticket. Not that difficult really. Customers do not book a ticket based on "could be this departure time might be that departure time".
I am not sure that the exact time forms a part of the ticket contract. Anyway as I said earlier good (and right) outcome in this case.
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Old Oct 14, 16, 3:31 am
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Originally Posted by Flexible preferences View Post
OK, fair enough, so your opiniom would be the line being drawn at 1 minute then? As I said before I am in agreement that the OP should have been refunded in this instance. Personally though I am not as hard line as you on this
No - I'm saying it should be for the customer to decide. I think it's probably straying into the realms of strawman arguments to discuss whether there is a cutoff at 1 minute as I can't see any reasonable customer demanding a refund over a 1 minute schedule change. However, since we appear to agree that one cutoff will be acceptable to some customers but not others, then the only fixed arbiter we can use is for the schedule change to trigger the right to a refund if this is what the customer wants.

It don't see it as hardline, it's good customer service. As we can see in the case of the OP, the longer term outcome for BA is worse as a result of its intransigence.
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Old Oct 14, 16, 3:33 am
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I have long haul reservation with last leg on Vueling from Luton. It changed three times now. 10 minutes, 50 minutes and 10 minutes. I got option to cancel it after initial two changes. So I'm not sure why BA didn't want to refund single flight which was moved by 1,5h. Surely impact is much bigger than 10-50 minutes changes.
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