BA denied boarding - no compensation

Old Nov 18, 18, 5:11 pm
  #1  
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BA denied boarding - no compensation

Hi everyone,
I've just found this forum and wanted to check if I can get any help to figure out what to do with my situation. Thanks in advance for reading.

I'll try to summarize as much as possible:

We got denied boarding in July in Mallorca with my husband. (Were flying back home to London).
CEDR have decided we won't get compensated and we have 2 weeks to write back now.

On the flight day, our original flight was with easyjet, when it was cancelled, we bought a BA flight for the same day. Checked in online and went to the airport 3 hours early.

At the gate, there was an employee of Iberia who was handling the BA flight. He told us we were "unchecked" from the flight. We showed him our boarding passes, he said he couldn't understand the situation, called his manager 2 times, (talked in Spanish so we couldn't understand). He said he wanted to help us but his manager told him not to take us to the flight and there was nothing to do and that we should talk to British Airways. On that spot we called BA. call center only said "it says you need to buy new ticket".

Our flight took off. We found 2 people from Iberia, asked for a document telling we were denied boarding without reason. they told there is no such document, they couldn't help us and we should talk to BA again and again. We bought another ticket with another airline for next day and as it was midnight already, found a hotel for the night.

After a few calls, 3 days later we learned that we were "flagged" as a suspicious fraud case and they were supposed to ask us to present our credit card. But in reality the guy at the gate did not know this and definitely not a word of "card" was spoken. (we were probably flagged because we booked on the same day of the flight - i learned this is a reason for BA to flag passangers.)

Now, CEDR is refusing to compensate us based on this explanation: BA side said that they sent an email to Iberia to check our credit card and it's HARD TO BELIEVE that the employee did not ask our credit card. They based everything on an internal email.

We sent them the credit card records proving that we used our card on that day in that airport. Card was with us, we lost our salary from next day, there is no reason for us to deny presenting our card.
So since they are finding our claim "hard to believe", and we can't prove that the guy did not ask our credit card, we don't know what to do at this point.

What would you do if you were in our situation? If I ask the call records from the call I had with BA at the gate, would that help?

We are open to any suggestions to get our compensation.

Thank you,
Meral

Last edited by Prospero; Nov 18, 18 at 9:19 pm Reason: Add carriage returns to each paragraph to aid legibility
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Old Nov 18, 18, 7:11 pm
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Unfortunately, it is hard to figure out why CEDR may have recommended against you without reading exactly what was said (with your names and any identifying information stripped off).
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Old Nov 18, 18, 7:23 pm
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Hi Often1, thank you for replying.
I'm copying the whole reason section by CEDR:

Reasons for decision

1. After reviewing the submissions provided, I have found that the passenger has contended that she was denied boarding to the Flight and agents of the airline were unable to inform her as to why. The passenger states that she had the boarding passes in hand and was one of the first people to approach the boarding gate. The passenger states that she was informed that she was not checked-in for the Flight, this had been cancelled, and the agents could not explain why this had been cancelled. The passenger states that she called the airline’s customer service number at this point and she was only advised to buy a replacement ticket. The passenger states that this resulted in her incurring further costs on transportation to and from PMI, on hotel accommodation and on alternative flights. The passenger states that the airline subsequently altered its response to her complaint, arguing that its agents had requested to see the credit card which had been used to purchase the booking for the Flight, and that she had failed to present this credit card. The passenger argues that at no point did an agent request to see the credit card in contention and should such a request have been made it could have been easily satisfied; the passenger was in possession of the credit card at that point in time. The passenger is therefore requesting that the airline reimburse her for the consequential losses incurred and provide her with compensation in accordance with Article 7 of Regulation 261 in the total sum of €xx

2. The airline has rebutted the passenger’s claims stating that she had purchased a one-way ticket on the xx of July 2018, and during the booking it was confirmed that the payment was being made by a passenger on the booking. The airline states that, later the same date, a member of its Corporate Security department placed notes on the booking reference requesting that the passenger present the credit card used to purchase the booking prior to boarding. The airline admits that the passenger was able to check-in for the Flight online and was provided with boarding passes, however, the ground handling staff at PMI have confirmed that the passenger was unable to present the credit card used to purchase the booking, and therefore she was denied boarding to the Flight. The airline further argues that the notes left within the passenger’s booking reference show that the passenger was informed of the circumstances surrounding the denial of boarding, and it would be highly unlikely that the ground handling staff would not have informed her that she was required to present the credit card used to purchase this booking. The airline therefore denies that it should be liable to compensate the passenger for the denial of boarding that occurred, or the consequential losses incurred as a result.

3. After reviewing all of the above, in conjunction with the documentary evidence provided, I have found that the airline has provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the passenger was requested to present the credit card used to purchase the booking in contention at the boarding gate, and she was unable to do so. Whilst I note the passenger’s contentions that she was not informed as to the reason she was being refused carriage, the airline has provided a copy of an email from the ground handling staff at PMI and they have contended that the passenger was denied boarding to the Flight as she was unable to present the credit card at the boarding gate. I am further satisfied that the agents at PMI would have been aware of the circumstances given that the note recorded at 17:11z within the passenger’s booking reference was clear in that the passenger must present the credit card and if she was unable to do so she would be required to purchase another ticket in person. In any event, the notes recorded on the passenger’s booking reference indicate that the customer was informed as to why she would need to purchase another ticket, and she was informed that she would need to purchase another ticket and pay face to face.

4. With the above considered, I am satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that agents of the airline did request to see the credit card used to purchase the booking in contention, the passenger was unable to present this card and therefore she was refused carriage to the Flight. Whilst I note the passenger’s contentions that she is unable to prove a negative, i.e. she cannot provide that the airline did not request this information, I find that the evidence provided by the airline is persuasive in that it did request to see this credit card. The airline has provided a statement from the groundling handling agents at PMI indicating that such action was taken, and the notes recorded in the passenger’s booking reference show that she was required to present the credit card prior to boarding.

5. As I have found that the passenger was denied boarding as she was unable to present the credit card used to purchase the booking prior to boarding the Flight, I am mindful that Article 2(j) of Regulation 261 defines ‘denied boarding’ as:
“… a refusal to carry passengers on a flight, although they have presented themselves for boarding under the conditions laid down in Article 3(2), except where there are reasonable grounds to deny them boarding, such as reasons of health, safety or security, or inadequate travel documentation;”

6. Considering that the passenger was denied boarding as she was unable to certify the credit card used to purchase the booking, and the passenger was required to do so as a result of the airline’s fraud prevention procedures, I find that the airline did have reasonable grounds to deny the passenger boarding to the Flight. The passenger would have been able to board the Flight had she have been able to present the credit card used to purchase the booking at the boarding gate, however, she was unable to do so. With this being the case, I am satisfied that the airline had reasonable grounds to deny the passenger boarding to the Flight, and therefore the passenger is not entitled to recover compensation in accordance with Article 7 of Regulation 261, and neither is she entitled to recover the consequential losses claimed which are provided for under Regulation 261.

7. In addition to the above, I am satisfied that the contract of carriage by air is explicit in that the airline retains the rights to deny a passenger boarding should they not comply with the instructions of the ground staff, or if they are unable to present the requisite travel documents upon request. The evidence and submissions provided show that the ground staff requested the passenger to present the credit card used to purchase the booking in contention, in accordance with its fraud prevent procedures, and the passenger was unable to present this credit card; this can be deemed as a matter of security. With this being the case, I am satisfied that the airline was entitled to deny the passenger boarding to the Flight under the contract of carriage by air, and therefore I do not agree that the passenger’s claims can succeed on this basis either.

8. It follows that I am not satisfied that the passenger’s claims can succeed in this instance. Although I note the passenger’s argument that she was in possession of the credit card, and no agent asked her to present this credit card, the evidence provided by the airline contradicts this argument. In the absence of any further evidence to rebut that of the airline’s, I find that the airline did have reasonable grounds to deny the passenger boarding under Regulation 261, and, given the circumstances, the contract of carriage by air permitted the airline to refuse the passenger carriage. As a result, I do not agree that the passenger can recover compensation pursuant to Article 7 of Regulation 261, and neither can she recover the costs incurred as a result of this refusal of carriage.

Decision
• The passenger’s claim does not succeed.

Last edited by Prospero; Nov 18, 18 at 9:21 pm Reason: Add carriage returns
Mrlmrl is offline  
Old Nov 18, 18, 7:36 pm
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Did BA then subsequently refund the payment from the credit card in question?

This sounds like it will be your word against the agent in PMI claiming to have requested to see your card. Going the MCOL route might allow you to establish his or her identity and force them to make this statement on legal record. But if they stick to it, not sure you can do anything unless you also have witnesses that can confirm your side of the story.
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Old Nov 18, 18, 8:06 pm
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Did you make any “card present” payments, 1 or 2 days prior to purchasing that flight? If you can show through credit card statements that this card was used in person in Mallorca prior to arriving at the airport then you could arguably show that had someone asked to see the card, you had it with you as shown by the purchases made in the previous 48 hours in Mallorca. It would therefore not make sense that you decided not to show the card when supposedly asked for it at the airport.
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Old Nov 18, 18, 8:46 pm
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Originally Posted by Mrlmrl View Post
Hi everyone,
I've just found this forum and wanted to check if I can get any help to figure out what to do with my situation. Thanks in advance for reading.

Meral
Welcome to the forum Meral! I am sure you will get some useful information here to help you resolve what sounds like a very frustrating experience. Just a quick note for you that new members are only allowed 5 (I think) posts in first 24 hours after registering - so it is best not make a single reply post to each question asked - wait and reply to a few questions in one post if you can.(if you hit the post-limit contact one of the moderators - I think clicking on the "question mark in a triangle" icon - on the left side using the desktop version and at the bottom right using the mobile version - will do this).

Can you clarify what you meant by "We sent them the credit card records proving that we used our card on that day in the airport"?
Does that mean you that you physically presented the card at a point-of-sale terminal (either swiped/touchless/via chip) at the airport? If that is the case then I very much agree that:

Originally Posted by silonic View Post
.... It would therefore not make sense that you decided not to show the card when supposedly asked for it at the airport.
I would certainly press further on this one. There should I think be a time-stamp on any notes added to the PNR (someone please correct me if am wrong about that) - and my first thought would be to check exactly when the statement that "passenger was informed of requirement to present card" was added. I am sure others will have more valuable advice but wish you good luck with resolving this to your satisfaction.

Last edited by GinFizz; Nov 19, 18 at 12:18 am
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Old Nov 19, 18, 1:34 am
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Welcome to Flyertalk Mrlmrl, and welcome to the BA forum, it sounds like you had a very difficult time here, and the ongoing outcome wasn't very good either.

We have a thread about EC261 in the forum Dashboard. However I don't think I have come across these particular circumstances before so while that thread may help on some general issues, such as how CEDR works, it may not be that helpful to you.

You claim failed because there is a clear disagreement in the centre here, namely whether you were asked for your credit card or not. The airline presented a PNR (booking record) which says they did ask you, so a piece of evidence. There was also a statement from the ground handling company in PMI. And you couldn't produce any evidence to prove your case. Now there is an immediate response available here, it's trying to prove a negative - it would be almost impossible to prove - something the ruling did also state. But the adjudicator had to rule on the balance of probabilities and was suitably impressed with BA's documentation. I've been around long enough to have some healthy suspicion about this, including exactly when the PNR was updated (several days after the event maybe?) but clearly I don't have any evidence either of this.

Where can you go from here? Well the MCOL route (Small Claims) may get you further consideration, but before doing that you would need as far as possible to have whatever evidence you have to prove the opposite. For example, did you use that credit card physically in some other transaction that day? Even better if it was at PMI airport or immediately before it. At which point it would be evident you really did have the credit card on you at the time, and it would be perverse for you not to show it when asked. Or was there somebody with you, near you, when this all happened? MCOL may take a more passenger friendly approach here for various reasons but you really need to come up with what you can to go against the CEDR ruling.

The other thing is whether BA were reasonable in asking for your credit card, CEDR certainly think so, but would MCOL? Not sure. It's certainly in the Conditions of Carriage.

If you go the MCOL route you have to act very carefully and do a lot of preparation, BA would go into this with a head start on the CEDR ruling, and will also try to get you to pay their costs unless you can present a robust line of argument, new evidence perhaps, and do what you can to minimise BA's cost (e.g. making an out of court settlement proposal). Unlike with CEDR you can also do a "Statement of Truth" - kind of an oath - to say you had the card on you and were not asked about it. This would in turn be a significant piece of evidence for the judge, who would rate it as an important aspect of the case.

Now I'm hoping BA or your credit card company refunded the cost of the ticket, you would also get (presumably) EC261 from easyJet too, so I'm hoping you won't be out of pocket by a large amount. I think there is something in the Conditions of Carriage that if BA refuses to carry you then they will refund your ticket. If easyJet didn't reroute you then I vaguely think they are on the hook for your rerouting costs, and if BA's fare is recovered, then I'm hoping it is cost neutral for you.
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Old Nov 19, 18, 1:45 am
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The OP stated she had the physical card with her:

Originally Posted by Mrlmrl View Post
We sent them the credit card records proving that we used our card on that day in that airport. Card was with us...
It sounds very unlikely that the OP wouldn't have shown the card on request... I would take this to the small claims court...

As for BA - maybe they should focus their anti-fraud activities on fixing their IT...
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Old Nov 19, 18, 2:21 am
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Originally Posted by LCY8737 View Post
The OP stated she had the physical card with her:

It sounds very unlikely that the OP wouldn't have shown the card on request... I would take this to the small claims court...

As for BA - maybe they should focus their anti-fraud activities on fixing their IT...
Indeed, but what was less clear to me was whether CEDR had seen that evidence.
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Old Nov 19, 18, 10:11 am
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Thank you for the CEDR decision. It clarifies everything. For the benefit of others and not to OP's detriment in any way, without full facts in the OP, it is really very hard to be helpful.

This comes down to what is sometimes called a "he said, she said" and CEDR simply chose to credit the BA version against your version. Without taking sides, if one accepts the BA version of the facts, than boarding was reasonably denied and there is no compensation or anything else due.

If you are prepared to affirmatively state under oath, whether ultimately in person or in the form of an affidavit, that you had your card available at the gate and, if asked, would have presented it, but were not asked so did not present it, you might want to consider filing directly in small claims as it is quite clear that BA and OP have diametrically opposing facts and this is solely a matter of determining credibility. MCOL will simply chug along rehashing the CEDR dispute and then ultimately shipping off for a factual hearing which is all OP really needs (without commenting on likelihood of success).

If you do proceed, BA will likely go back and produce something from the ground agent who may well remember the incident but is unlikely to admit fault, e.g., that he was instructed to look at the credit card, did not, and simply denied boarding. But, this is the way to proceed and it may get you satisfaction.

Last edited by Often1; Nov 19, 18 at 11:03 am
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Old Nov 19, 18, 12:58 pm
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There are any number of legitimate reasons why you might not have the payment card. Can BA simply offload you with no further duty of care?

I may in the future pay for my children's flight. Would be very unhappy if BA simply dumped them.
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Old Nov 19, 18, 1:38 pm
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Pretty much every carrier I have flown has a provision which permits it to require the presentation of the card used to pay for the ticket on demand. While it is very uncommon for those of us purchasing tickets in low-fraud areas, in many parts of Asia and Africa as well as part of the Carribean, this is a common demand.

Every carrier has a backup procedure. That may include presenting the card at a ticket counter elsewhere, emailing a PDF or faxing the card with a copy of one's license and so on.

It is a perfectly rational thing for a merchant to protect itself against fraud, particularly when the card issuer is located in a country where chargebacks are easy.

In this case, if one puts aside the factual dispute and given that OP had just purchased the new tickets, it would be odd if OP was unable to present the card and your scenario should not occur.
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Old Nov 19, 18, 1:43 pm
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If deciding to go the MCOL route, I would echo cws's suspicion and first ask for a full history of PNR note changes. If BA added the note about your supposedly being asked about the card days after the event, this would likely play in your favour.
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Old Nov 19, 18, 2:44 pm
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The first thing I would do is raise a request under GDPR for all the information BA holds re your pnr and review this to see what exactly the notes state and when they were added

as others have said if they were added after the event, dependent when this may support your argument. I think based on the balance of probabilities the cedr adjudicator agrees with BA due to the notes so if it was me I would go through the evidence BA provided with a fine tooth comb to see if it is credible, can you discredit it? Do you have any evidence to the contrary?

I think for the GDPR request you have to contact customer relations and there shouldn’t be any charge. You can also ask CEDR for more time for your response. They should consider this fairly as you need the extra time to obtain any information necessary
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Old Nov 19, 18, 2:59 pm
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I'd be asking BA if their representative in spain is willing to stand up in court, under oath and lie? as that's what you'll be requesting he does.
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