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Cancellations 5 months in advance, thanks BA

Cancellations 5 months in advance, thanks BA

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Old Jul 28, 17, 3:40 am
  #1  
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Angry Cancellations 5 months in advance, thanks BA

You gotta love these single-sided contracts, which don't allow you to cancel your ticket free of charge, but if the airline feels like canceling your flight for an undisclosed reason, you have to accept it and get on with it.

So, I've had two avios bookings on BA850 on the 16th and 23rd December. Both cancelled this morning. Called the GGL line. 12 minute wait to get the call answered. After checking with operations, the agent came back and said they don't have a clear reason for the cancellation and it may be a schedule change or "for operational reasons". So I went back to ExpertFlyer and see BA850 operating every Saturday from 25/11/17 to 27/01/18. Looking up flight availability, 850 is not showing up *only* on the 16th December (and happily showing up 3 days before/after) and on the 23rd December (3 days before and one day after showing up just fine). Options presented consisted of "take a flight 4 hours earlier or next day" and "we can issue a full refund" (which the first paragraph of my moan refers to). Alternative carrier was not an option. Needless to say I am well pissed off

I've asked to be put through to customer relations to vent my frustration (frankly I feel for these guys, they must be getting a lot of heat recently). The lady reiterated on schedule changes and operational reasons (which I can understand a day out, a week out, but 5 months?!). Also, on the note of poor performance in answering phones by GGL (which I blame on cuts), she's blamed the IT meltdown from 2 months back. What a convenient excuse for the management for running the company into the ground and throwing customer experience out of the window. I'm sad to see what BA has become.

I'm now going to look for an alternative travel arrangements. ABBA it is


I feel better now, having vented a little bit Thanks for reading
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Old Jul 28, 17, 3:53 am
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GGL wait times have indeed ballooned recently, 10 minutes can easily happen these days. It probably is because BA aims to offer a more consistent product across status levels.

If you can take your business elsewhere, I guess that is the way to do it. If enough people do it, BA may even notice. How is LOT these days?
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Old Jul 28, 17, 3:54 am
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As a GGL you are seeing what we "lowly" Golds have had to put up with. The cuts were bound to reach you guys some time.
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Old Jul 28, 17, 3:55 am
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Originally Posted by wmaciej View Post
Thanks for reading
You're welcome.
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Old Jul 28, 17, 4:00 am
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I must admit that I hugely admire all these GGL people who have memorised every single BA flight number, but for the benefit of everyone else this is the Warsaw (WAW) service. And that is a route with a relatively low number of flights unfortunately. Was KRK an option, by the way?

Otherwise, believe it or not, pretty much every airline is capable of cancelling or amending services, BA is actually a lot better than many by doing such changes at quite a distance, time wise, it rarely changes in the final 3 months or so, and certainly amends flights a lot less than some airlines I could name. If I had a rant for every single flight changes I get then FT would be very uninteresting! As it happens I have had half a dozen flight changes from LOT so far this year and it's only July, and with much less notice than 5 months. At least you have plenty of time to look at alternatives out of, say, Stansted. So my well of sympathy isn't overly deep on this one.
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Old Jul 28, 17, 4:04 am
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100% agree with the rant regarding zero change options for the consumer, and carte blanche by the airline

That indeed sucks
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Old Jul 28, 17, 4:09 am
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The issue isn't about airlines being able to cancel flights. It's the imbalance between the airline and the passenger.

Sometimes I have my own operational reasons for not wanting to fly on a booked flight, but my tickets are always the cheap ones that can't be refunded for free.

I'd feel better if airlines used some of the money they made in cancellation fees (which is essentially free money for the airline) as compensation when they cancel flights, but since BA won't even pay compensation when it's due I can't see them paying it when it's not purely as a gesture of goodwill!!
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Old Jul 28, 17, 4:12 am
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@cws, I didn't think the route is particularly relevant to the issue - by no means I wanted to test your memory
KRK was not an option for me, as it's a another 3.5 hr train ride to reach WAW. I am shocked about the cancellation on the 23rd as this route is frequented by expats and - particularly around Christmas and Easter - the load factor hovers at around 100% at these times.
@LCY8737 - LO is still low-cost-ish at the back AFAIK and their B737s are pretty horrible, so most likely I will look at LH or LX. Or just stick with BA and ensure they have one less seat to sell and make hardly any money on my avios redemption.

The issue isn't about airlines being able to cancel flights. It's the imbalance between the airline and the passenger.
@HarryKUK you have hit nail on the head. Offering a rubbish schedule or free cancelation (where alternatives can be an order of magnitude more expensive now), is hardly acceptable.
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Old Jul 28, 17, 4:22 am
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I just wonder what my clients would say / do if they prepaid for my service and I just turned around and said 'no' several months later and offered nothing more than a refund. If a doctor or dentist or lawyer etc did that repeatedly they'd soon be out of business.

Airlines will hopefully be forced to change their ways over time, just a shame it may not be while I'm still alive.

PS don't even get me started on their ridiculous ticketing policies that I've raised again and again. You can explain it to me a thousand times but I'll never accept there is a logical reason why LHR-MAD-LHR is cheaper than simply LHR-MAD, as a named example. Boggles the mind.
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Old Jul 28, 17, 4:25 am
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Flights booked that far in advance are always vulnerable to schedule changes and cancellations, particularly where they are booked during the preceding season's timetable.

As others have said the options you have been offered are pretty standard in the industry. I think it's unrealistic to expect protection on other carriers this far out, particularly for a redemption.
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Old Jul 28, 17, 4:25 am
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Free cancellation is available but the quid pro quo is that we have to pay more for the ticket. Allowing unrestricted cancellation would compel airlines to heavily overbook services and you only need to trawl through FT and other forums to see the effects of that. BA (and most other airlines - one of who I work with) publish "tactical" cancellations every season a few months before the day of operation once they have a good idea what the forecast demand is. This keeps load factors up, profits up and, in theory, fares low. If we book very early - especially for months of low demand and routes with a high frequency we must always be mindful of this. Standing by for incoming..
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Old Jul 28, 17, 4:29 am
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Originally Posted by wmaciej View Post
The lady reiterated on schedule changes and operational reasons (which I can understand a day out, a week out, but 5 months?!).
I don't really get your frustration on this particular point. Surely it's better for you that they cancel 5 months ahead - giving you as much time as possible to sort things out - than a day or a week out?

The reason EU261 only mandates comp for cancellation within 14 days is precisely because last minute cancellations are far worse for the customer.
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Old Jul 28, 17, 4:30 am
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Originally Posted by Porky Speedpig View Post
Free cancellation is available but the quid pro quo is that we have to pay more for the ticket. Allowing unrestricted cancellation would compel airlines to heavily overbook services and you only need to trawl through FT and other forums to see the effects of that.
Agree. It's not different than many other industries, particularly hotels, where you can pay less for the same room, but have to forego the flexibility of cancelling. Such modelling is not uncommon for markets in ephemera or perishable goods.
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Old Jul 28, 17, 4:33 am
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Originally Posted by HarryKUK View Post
I just wonder what my clients would say / do if they prepaid for my service and I just turned around and said 'no' several months later and offered nothing more than a refund. If a doctor or dentist or lawyer etc did that repeatedly they'd soon be out of business.
But when have you ever booked an appointment with a doctor, dentist or lawyer 5 months - better even 12 months - ahead?
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Old Jul 28, 17, 4:36 am
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Originally Posted by HarryKUK View Post
PS don't even get me started on their ridiculous ticketing policies that I've raised again and again. You can explain it to me a thousand times but I'll never accept there is a logical reason why LHR-MAD-LHR is cheaper than simply LHR-MAD, as a named example. Boggles the mind.
That's what I discovered yesterday ;-) Bought return ticket just in case I decide to use inbound leg. But I need only outbound one at the moment.
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