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Which? Magazine investigating cancellation of flights after missed first leg

Which? Magazine investigating cancellation of flights after missed first leg

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Old Dec 10, 18, 2:56 am
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Which? Magazine investigating cancellation of flights after missed first leg

Not sure if this is has been covered elsewhere, but there's a report in the Daily Mail (I know, I know) that Which? Magazine are trying to end the practice of airlines cancelling all subsequent flights on a booking if any preceding legs are missed.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...n-flights.html

"Airlines are routinely cancelling passengers’ return flights if they miss the first leg of the journey, a watchdog claims. The ‘rip-off’ practice can leave travellers thousands of pounds out of pocket, says Which?. So-called ‘no-show’ clauses are often buried in the terms and conditions when a ticket is purchased."

The article very much focuses on people who missed a flight due to reasons beyond their control, ie stuck in traffic, with BA's response being "‘Many of our tickets allow customers to make changes to their flights if they inform us before they travel. If a customer arrives at the airport after genuinely missing their flight, their return flight will of course be protected. It is common practice within the airline industry for customers to be required to use flights in the order stated in the booking, and they are asked to agree to these terms when they make a booking."

Virgin Atlantic said "We are aware of the report and are in the process of investigating further. We never want to disappoint our customers, and make our terms and conditions clear at the point of booking."

It will be interesting to see how this plays out, there's clearly a very different argument between someone genuinely missing an outbound flight, and someone booking an ex-EU because it's cheaper and not wanting to fly the first leg, or booking a return because it's cheaper than a single and not wanting to fly the outbound. I'm going to guess that this campaign doesn't really change anything as this is a fundamental part of airlines' pricing strategy.
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Old Dec 10, 18, 3:50 am
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Also covered in the Telegraph.

I often wondered if this is legal. I think this will prove an interesting test case. The APD issue is a bit of a red herring as APD is only charged on the outbound flight. So a passenger doing an AMS > LHR > JFK >LHR routing would not be charged APD.
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Old Dec 10, 18, 4:00 am
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I can understand that this could be a big shock to the uninitiated, especially if it's not made pretty clear in the booking process.

About 10 years ago I was on holiday in Italy. My return flight was PSA-FCO-LHR on AZ (before I knew about FT!) and I was genuinely considering heading down to Rome for a bit and picking up the flight from there, like you might on a UK train. We didn't in the end, but we would have had an almighty shock as there wasn't anything in the booking process to say you have to take all flights. I think there is greater awareness now, but still, I reckon it catches people out.
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Old Dec 10, 18, 4:05 am
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Spanish court rules against Iberia on same issue!

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/iberia-airlines-iberia-plus/1941542-spanish-supreme-court-declares-ib-coc-abusive.html
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Old Dec 10, 18, 4:05 am
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Imagine booking AMS-LHR-CPT return for £1,200 instead of £3,000 and just hopping on at LHR without consequence....
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Old Dec 10, 18, 4:09 am
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Originally Posted by gustavmahler View Post
I can understand that this could be a big shock to the uninitiated, especially if it's not made pretty clear in the booking process.

About 10 years ago I was on holiday in Italy. My return flight was PSA-FCO-LHR on AZ (before I knew about FT!) and I was genuinely considering heading down to Rome for a bit and picking up the flight from there, like you might on a UK train. We didn't in the end, but we would have had an almighty shock as there wasn't anything in the booking process to say you have to take all flights. I think there is greater awareness now, but still, I reckon it catches people out.
Originally Posted by mikeyfly View Post
Imagine booking AMS-LHR-CPT return for £1,200 instead of £3,000 and just hopping on at LHR without consequence....
If you read the linked article this isn’t what Which are seeking to address.
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Old Dec 10, 18, 4:12 am
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Originally Posted by Kgmm77 View Post



If you read the linked article this isn’t what Which are seeking to address.
My bad.

Note to self - make sure you read things properly before posting vacuous anecdotes!
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Old Dec 10, 18, 4:22 am
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All that will happen if anything from this is that airlines will put a tick-box on the booking page saying "I agree that I have to use all segments in the order booked otherwise they will be cancelled", just like Lufthansa have done since the German courts ruled the same way.
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Old Dec 10, 18, 4:22 am
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Originally Posted by Mike Gold View Post
Spanish court rules against Iberia on same issue!

Spanish Supreme Court declares IB CoC abusive
Unrelated to BA as such but there was a similar court case in Italy a few years back: long-story-short, a passenger was supposed to fly to Milan from somewhere in Southern Italy (returning on the very same day, if I remember correctly), he however changed his plan (hence no force majeure here, not to mention that he didn't tell the airline i.e. Alitalia) and travelled to Milan by train instead. When he turned up at the airport in the evening as he was due to fly back home, he was told that his return flight was cancelled due to no-show on his outbound. He obviously kicked off and ended up winning the court case (Alitalia had to revise their T&Cs as a result).

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Old Dec 10, 18, 4:30 am
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Originally Posted by AlicorporateUK View Post
Unrelated to BA as such but there was a similar court case in Italy a few years back: long-story-short, a passenger was supposed to fly to Milan from somewhere in Southern Italy (returning on the very same day, if I remember correctly), he however changed his plan (hence no force majeure here, not to mention that he didn't tell the airline i.e. Alitalia) and travelled to Milan by train instead. When he turned up at the airport in the evening as he was due to fly back home, he was told that his return flight was cancelled due to no-show on his outbound. He obviously kicked off and ended up winning the court case (Alitalia had to revise their T&Cs as a result).

G
Yes, I think in that case like the IB case the cost of two one ways was the same as a return as well which was a very relevant fact. The courts have certainly not ruled in general that the practice of cancelling all subsequent flights if you miss one is illegal.

For exEUs it is rarely the case that the cost of the exEU is the same when starting at your exEU point or repricing starting in the UK so I think the idea that the court decisions somehow allow one to miss the first leg and then pick up from LHR is very misplaced.
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Old Dec 10, 18, 4:34 am
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I read the Spanish Court's decision as you can use any part of a ticket and skip the others without giving a reason. Unless this question goes before the ECJ then it looks like it only applies to IB. https://www.lexology.com/library/det...9-3d02e394cb38

Which? is campaigning against airlines that cancel return portions of the ticket when the outbound was skipped due to circumstances outside the passenger's control: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2018/12...-show-clauses/, however BA's Ts & Cs already allow for protection on these grounds as quoted in the OP.
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Old Dec 10, 18, 4:36 am
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Originally Posted by mikeyfly View Post
Imagine booking AMS-LHR-CPT return for £1,200 instead of £3,000 and just hopping on at LHR without consequence....

Well, I doubt the court would allow the passenger to be able to skip the increased cost due to the APD in that circumstance, so not entirely consequence free.
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Old Dec 10, 18, 4:39 am
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Originally Posted by KARFA View Post
Yes, I think in that case like the IB case the cost of two one ways was the same as a return as well which was a very relevant fact. The courts have certainly not ruled in general that the practice of cancelling all subsequent flights if you miss one is illegal.

For exEUs it is rarely the case that the cost of the exEU is the same when starting at your exEU point or repricing starting in the UK so I think the idea that the court decisions somehow allow one to miss the first leg and then pick up from LHR is very misplaced.
Agreed.

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Old Dec 10, 18, 4:56 am
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If anything happens then I suspect that this will go the same way as lufthansa's not taking flights in the correct sequence. A new clarification will be added to the current fares, and new 'take the flights in any order/miss a segment flight price will be added
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Old Dec 10, 18, 5:10 am
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This seems to be a pan-european effort by consumer associations - the Dutch version of Which is doing something similar.
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