BA95 LHR-YUL became LHR-YYZ

Old Feb 13, 17, 3:14 pm
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BA95 LHR-YUL became LHR-YYZ

I wonder if anyone has advice on how to approach a similar problem with a diversion during an ongoing itinerary.

Last night's flight, BA95, from London to Montreal was diverted to Toronto due to inclement weather and flight crew timing out. They put my wife up up in a hotel near the Toronto airport, and scheduled the connecting flight to Montreal for 10pm tonight (a delay of 24+ hours). This was the only travel option provided by BA, even though WestJet offers multiple flights throughout the day connecting YYZ-YUL. BA used to have an interline agreement with WestJet, but it was cancelled only 3-months ago.

Looking at the prospect of my wife missing multiple meetings in Montreal, I looked at alternative connecting options: booking her a WestJet flight, or a 5-hour train. Here's where things went from bad to worse. My wife called the BA Silver call center to explain the situation, and they threatened cancelling the rest of her itinerary if she made her own earlier connection. They advised waiting to contact the BA desk at Toronto (which doesn't open until 6pm), since the 'airport' owns the reservation. My attempt to call the Silver call center (we both happen to have Silver) and get help was met with the same response: tough luck.

Fortunately the meetings my wife was going to miss were updated so she could dial in. Still, it would have been far better if she was able to make her afternoon meetings in person.

Given the extraordinary circumstances presented by the weather, we're not looking at an EU261 situation, but I'm surprised that BA wouldn't accommodate someone helping themselves in this situation. What if this had been a can't miss event? Are BA in their rights to hold you and your itinerary hostage like this?
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Old Feb 13, 17, 3:32 pm
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This is an unfortunate course of events, to say the least.

The following is an explanation, not an excuse: the Contact Centre is somewhat constrained here. Yes to some degree it was due to the ticket being under airport control, but more from the fact that they couldn't rebook on to a sensible connection via another oneworld or more specifically, Joint Business partner. They may have suggested some silly routing via AA perhaps but they simply don't have much leeway here. This is just a long embedded fact of life, and other airlines are in a similar boat. However airport staff have more flexibility, and almost certainly could have rebooked on to Westjet. But of course no-one from BA is available until about 15:30 local time, or maybe a bit before at the ticket desk.

Now if you are fully clued up about all of this, then that is why is would have been better to get the flight rebooked the night before, rather than the hotel. BA would have paid that anyway. However usually there would be just one or two late working staff members, who may or may not have full ticketing skills, and the prospect of rebooking a whole aircraft when it was going to be going onto to Montréal anyway, would have meant that service would only be offered to difficult cases (vulnerable passengers) and top tier status/cabins.

Now back to the Contact Centre: their hands are tied, and then your wife presumably asks about sorting herself out. Now the agent is strictly speaking correct that cancelling the rest of the itinerary might happen, however in umpteen years of travelling I've never heard that being enforced in circumstances like this. The trouble is that it would be down to the airport staff to protect the on carriage, which I'm sure they would have done, after all it's one problem out of the way from their perspective.

Moreover there is a chance BA would have paid for the Westjet service too. This is not guaranteed, but it's a relatively unexplored area of EC261 and I suspect that BA are happy it remains unexplored. Travel insurance would be a better bet anyway.

So to answer your question: the agents gave the best advice they could, but in reality I very, very much doubt that the rest of the itinerary would have been cancelled in this situation, and it would be legally dubious if they did.

If the prime reason to go to Montréal was that meeting, your wife would actually have been within her rights to demand a return to London and a full refund.
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Old Feb 13, 17, 4:42 pm
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
So to answer your question: the agents gave the best advice they could, but in reality I very, very much doubt that the rest of the itinerary would have been cancelled in this situation, and it would be legally dubious if they did.

If the prime reason to go to Montréal was that meeting, your wife would actually have been within her rights to demand a return to London and a full refund.
That's what we were hoping (that BA would have kept the rest of the itinerary), but after little sleep and an accommodating set of meeting participants, my wife opted to catch up on lost sleep. Perhaps we'll get to test this hypothesis in the future, and find out for ourselves.

I agree with your recommendation on working with ground staff at the airport on initial arrival as the best option. Unfortunately this this may have been one of those no-win situations. There were 3 BA staff handling baggage related queries after the flight landed at Toronto, but none of them appeared to be performing any kind of ticketing.

Kudos are in order for the flight crew. There was minimal information to the passengers on arrival, which was being broadcast through the PA system. The directions were to use the hotel shuttle and call BA at 7am in the morning. The flight crew stuck around the terminal after the flight and were offering additional advice and information to some of the passengers.
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Old Feb 13, 17, 4:47 pm
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
They may have suggested some silly routing via AA perhaps but they simply don't have much leeway here.
CWS: Would this be permitted under cabotage regulations?
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Old Feb 13, 17, 5:24 pm
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Originally Posted by The_Bouncer View Post
CWS: Would this be permitted under cabotage regulations?
Indeed that may have been a constraint there too, I am not sure if force majeure would change that. But I can't see an agent suggesting someone flies from Toronto to Chicago to Montréal anyway.
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