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Sorry GGL on a Full-Flex J Ticket - Your Delay is Under 5 Hours We Wouldn’t Help You

Sorry GGL on a Full-Flex J Ticket - Your Delay is Under 5 Hours We Wouldn’t Help You

Old Aug 19, 18, 5:50 am
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Sorry GGL on a Full-Flex J Ticket - Your Delay is Under 5 Hours We Wouldn’t Help You

Recently had a situation where my flight was delayed 1.5 hours to JFK. It was a later service and thus the different arrival time was material to me given a morning meeting. I’m a GGL and was traveling on a fully-flex J ticket (about 6K GBP r/t). I called my travel agent and asked to be moved to a slightly earlier service. The response from BA was that the flight delay was under FIVE (!) hours and therefore any change had to be processed under the fare rules (which would have cost about 3K GBP due to inventory) and they would not make an exception due to my status/CIV score. They said maybe the airport coudl change it under their discretion but no guarantees (this would have meant leaving my family earlier and potentially sitting around the CCR for 4.5 hours if the check-in desk said “no” so I declined).

I have low expectations for anything that involves “British” and “customer services” in the same sentence. But even by British and BA’s standards of inflexibility, I was shocked at the response here. A similar call to AA or UA would have likely resulted in a flight change in less than five minutes and likely the same response for people with lesser status. On day of travel, sorting IRROPS trumps fare rules.

(1) Given that the TA warned me this was going to be the likely response, I assume the five-hour rule is actually real and enforced, even for GGLs. But curious on other’s experiences in similar situations?

(2) Should I have called the GGL line myself?

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Old Aug 19, 18, 5:56 am
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Can I just point out that a Fully Flex ticket would not attract a 3k fare difference, so clearly not a fully flex ticket...
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Old Aug 19, 18, 5:57 am
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Originally Posted by sts603 View Post
(1) Given that the TA warned me this was going to be the likely response, I assume the five-hour rule is actually real and enforced, even for GGLs. But curious on other’s experiences in similar situations?

(2) Should I have called the GGL line myself?


The five hour rule is for a refund due to long delays, that in the Conditions of Carriage. Being on a TA inflexible ticket really doesn't help here (and that is the root issue here incidentally). Calling GGL within 24 hours of departure may have been more productive, Going to JFK T7 almost certainly would have worked. If you had run this past this forum at the time I suspect we could have checked the loads and found out if - as is often the case - T7 would have wanted to move people anyway. I think it was your choice not to do that, in any event they could have gone on the original service. But frankly stuff happens with air travel, and whether you're on an expensive ticket and Zircon status, or a £300 ticket in Blue, the impact is unlikely to be any different to what it is.
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Old Aug 19, 18, 5:58 am
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Originally Posted by BLHD View Post
Can I just point out that a Fully Flex ticket would not attract a 3k fare difference, so clearly not a fully flex ticket...
Depends on your use of the term. Most people define fully flex as the right to change or refund the ticket free of charge which my ticket was. That is different from full fare (so full F J W or Y) in which case a change should not have caused a fare difference. The ticket was not full fare - likely either C or D. Can’t remember which and not really relevant here.
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Old Aug 19, 18, 6:01 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post

The five hour rule is for a refund due to long delays, that in the Conditions of Carriage. Being on a TA inflexible ticket really doesn't help here (and that is the root issue here incidentally). Calling GGL within 24 hours of departure may have been more productive, Going to JFK T7 almost certainly would have worked. If you had run this past this forum at the time I suspect we could have checked the loads and found out if - as is often the case - T7 would have wanted to move people anyway. I think it was your choice not to do that, in any event they could have gone on the original service. But frankly stuff happens with air travel, and whether you're on an expensive ticket and Zircon status, or a £300 ticket in Blue, the impact is unlikely to be what it is.
unfortunately was in the opposite direction. Less confident in flexibility in LHR T5 vs T7.

There are are many times travel delays are what they are. This was not necessarily one of them. And if I was on AA or UA (or probably D.L.) the airline would have accommodated a proactive request to reduce my delay and probably would have done so for the guy on the cheap ticket with no status as well.
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Old Aug 19, 18, 6:15 am
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It all sounds a bit strange. First, I am not aware of a 5 hour rule. I thought it was 2 hours though I may be wrong? Second, trying to understand the actual detail. I assume that this was the outbound part of a return so that a change would attract fare recalculation? Even then I wonder what bucket this was booked in and what was available as a 9k J ticket to JFK whilst keeping the same return would seem unusual. Third, indeed, unfortunately, the BA back office will help you in case of timetable changes but not of expected delays on the day. That is very much airport control and discretion. My guess is that if this was indeed booked in - say, C and the delay was confirmed as 1h30 at the time you arrived, with you being GGL, the airport would have quite likely accommodated you on the previous flight if there was space. That said, if only J seats were selling, which the price difference you quote suggests, it may well have been overbooked in the first place.
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Old Aug 19, 18, 6:16 am
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Removed - misunderstood post CWS has answered

Last edited by rssfed23; Aug 19, 18 at 6:23 am
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Old Aug 19, 18, 6:19 am
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Originally Posted by orbitmic View Post
. First, I am not aware of a 5 hour rule. I thought it was 2 hours though I may be wrong? .
Five hours for refunds per Conditions of Carriage on delays, which is likely to be stuck to with a TA ticket - 9 b3. Two hours for movement due to pre-advertised changes (e.g. schedule change) this is under the Conditions of Carriage - 9 a3 - however the 2 hour rule is a back office understanding of that, so it can be argued further. Unofficially 2 hours for delays when there is an alternative service appears to be the lever at airports to get a change, but it's still unlikely if it's not a 125 ticket or if it is Avios. Golds and above may well get that if calling up but the airport is generally better.
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Old Aug 19, 18, 6:21 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
Five hours for refunds per Conditions of Carriage on delays, which is likely to be stuck to with a TA ticket. Two hours for movement due to pre-advertised changes (e.g. schedule change) this is under the Conditions of Carriage however the 2 hour rule is a back office understanding of that, so it can be argued further. Unofficially 2 hours for delays when there is an alternative service appears to be the lever at airports to get a change, but it's still unlikely if it's not a 125 ticket or if it is Avios.
Thanks! ^ Yes, I did not think of it! I thought they were indeed talking of the schedule change rules that allow a free change.
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Old Aug 19, 18, 6:22 am
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Originally Posted by rssfed23 View Post
It never hurts to try calling the GGL line yourself or HUACA but given the choice of paying someone EU compensation or a £3k “discretion” (as it sounds like that’s the fare difference here) I’m not surprised they went with the former (which may result in no loss to them if some time is made up en route).

5 hours before changes seems pretty fair to me as well - BA have to draw a line somewhere otherwise it’d be chaos if every GGL had a DYKWIA moment every time they were delayed a hour or more.

If someone flys enough to reach GGL with BA they should already have the right expectations of BA customer service and I’m usually surprised that people get so surprised when the world isn’t magically different and fare rules remain the same as GGL. What’s improved over standard gold most would consider enough.
Five hours being the line is fair? You’ve got to be joking. And the chaos point is absurd. The entire US - at least amongst the big three - operates this way. If a flight is delayed beyond a token amount, the airline will accommodate any reasonable request regardless of fare rules/inventory etc. if seats aren’t available then there is a very organized standby system. There is no chaos.

My expectations aren’t for an override of the fare rules, just for common customer service to allow me to get to my destination at a more preferable time due to a delay. Requests that are easily accommodated on other airlines regardless of status. As I said, I have low expectations of BA and England in general. But call me a fool that I didn’t think it was this bad...
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Old Aug 19, 18, 6:48 am
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Originally Posted by orbitmic View Post
It all sounds a bit strange. First, I am not aware of a 5 hour rule. I thought it was 2 hours though I may be wrong? Second, trying to understand the actual detail. I assume that this was the outbound part of a return so that a change would attract fare recalculation? Even then I wonder what bucket this was booked in and what was available as a 9k J ticket to JFK whilst keeping the same return would seem unusual. Third, indeed, unfortunately, the BA back office will help you in case of timetable changes but not of expected delays on the day. That is very much airport control and discretion. My guess is that if this was indeed booked in - say, C and the delay was confirmed as 1h30 at the time you arrived, with you being GGL, the airport would have quite likely accommodated you on the previous flight if there was space. That said, if only J seats were selling, which the price difference you quote suggests, it may well have been overbooked in the first place.
Hi the 2 hour rule is in regards to schedule changes in advance, where if it that much change to the time a full refund is an option.
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Old Aug 19, 18, 6:51 am
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I personally wouldn’t book a flight where a small delay of <2hours wouldn’t be acceptable to me, but I can understand you desire to spend as much time with your family as possible.

My personal experience with American carriers more recently is they have become less flexible, and changes are quite clunky, whereas only 2 years ago they seamed easy, I wonder why this is.

Booking direct with the airline does tend to help and others have pointed, flexibility in BA’s operation is more likely at the airport than over the phone (opposite to AA for example).

Hope you nevertheless had had an enjoyable flight and hopefully made some time up in the air.
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Old Aug 19, 18, 7:06 am
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Originally Posted by sts603 View Post


As I said, I have low expectations of BA and England in general. But call me a fool that I didn’t think it was this bad...
Pray tell more. You rather sound like that guy on OMAAT who seems to have a bee in his bonnet about all things British and seem to suggest it's a problem in the national psyche.

If you went to Heathrow and explained the situatoon they very well most probably would have rebooked you if the preceding flight had free seats.

You could, of course, choose a different carrier or avoid Britain completely should the notion of travel to said country disappoints you so dearly.
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Old Aug 19, 18, 7:18 am
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Originally Posted by sts603 View Post
[My expectations aren’t for an override of the fare rules, just for common customer service to allow me to get to my destination at a more preferable time due to a delay. Requests that are easily accommodated on other airlines regardless of status. As I said, I have low expectations of BA and England in general. But call me a fool that I didn’t think it was this bad...
That is exactly what you are expecting - that the fare rules be overridden

If it was a full fareJ ticket as indicated , I cannot see why there would have been any fare difference - to get away earlier, with such a fare, you should have been simply able to cancel , get refund for the inbound flight and rebook on another carrier

Looking at fares on EF, it does seem that the JFK-LHR J fare is around GBP11,000
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Old Aug 19, 18, 7:20 am
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Originally Posted by sts603 View Post
The entire US - at least amongst the big three - operates this way. If a flight is delayed beyond a token amount, the airline will accommodate any reasonable request regardless of fare rules/inventory etc. if seats aren’t available then there is a very organized standby system. […]

My expectations aren’t for an override of the fare rules, just for common customer service to allow me to get to my destination at a more preferable time due to a delay. Requests that are easily accommodated on other airlines regardless of status. As I said, I have low expectations of BA and England in general. But call me a fool that I didn’t think it was this bad...
I think the difference actually isn't the one that you think. Most European airlines, BA included, will also accommodate that, but that discretion is typically reserved to the airport while call centres only deal with changes in schedules and less so with changes on the day. By contrast, the US big 3 have mostly removed non-operational staff from airports, and as a result, what used to be dealt with by airport staff there too has now been mostly transferred to call centres, alongside the discretion that comes with it. In a funny way, it also means that in case of irrops in many airports, it is not unusual for - say - AA agents to tell you that you need to call the call centre, or even them calling them for you as they do not have the same discretion themselves.

I realise you may prefer the US system (I do too actually, as someone with access to an efficient phone line) but the difference is not about who is more flexible here, more about who within the airline system is allowed to make use of that flexibility.
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