Refused Downgrade - What are my rights?

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Old Feb 12, 19, 4:13 pm
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Refused Downgrade - What are my rights?

I've searched for this quite thoroughly, but whilst there are similar cases, none really give a definitive answer - This maybe as it either isn't known or hasn't been tested.

At the checkin desk on a flight from Tampa to Gatwick I was told that due to aircraft change I had been downgraded from Club to WT. After some discussion I refused the Downgrade and the check in manager booked me the following day from Orlando. During my time at the check in desk (about 90 minutes) I saw about 50 people check in, roughly half were downgraded and the other half were not asked if they were willing to be downgraded or rebooked they were just checked in (IMHO BA made no effort at this point to seek volunteers to be bumped or downgraded).

We arrived just short of 24 hours late. BA are agreeing to pay costs for hotel, food and transport in florida, but are refusing to pay transport in UK (I had a non cancellable taxi booked and paid for that I missed and had to pay another company to taxi me home) and they claim that since I 'agreed' to be rebooked for a flight the following day that EU regulation for delayed arrival doesn't apply. I would contest that i 'agreed' to anything and that at no point did the BA Check In manager advise me of my rights about anything he was doing.

I do have a ticket stamped 'Involuntary Reroute'.

So are BA right, or should I contest this? Contesting at this point would means MCOL i feel as my last response to them was asking for them to confirm that their response was final
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Old Feb 12, 19, 6:20 pm
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Can I just comment that it must, quite understandably, have really annoyed you to provoke you into making your second post in your 13 years of FT membership!!

I am sure someone with a proper answer will be along in the morning to assist.
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Old Feb 12, 19, 6:31 pm
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I would have a look at the relevant section of this comprehensive thread

The 2019 BA compensation thread: Your guide to Regulation EC261/2004
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Old Feb 12, 19, 6:36 pm
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BA has provided a correct answer.

Downgrades do not trigger EC 261/2004 rebooking rights nor do they require that the carrier seek volunteers first (that is for overbookings resulting in an oversale). BA could have declined to accommodate you, issued your WT boarding pass and then refunded you 75% of the base segment fare for the downgrade.

BA, as do most carriers rebooked you onto the next service with available space. That was voluntary on your part and a courtesy on BA's part. In fact, BA had no duty of care while you were in FL, so that was a customer service gesture as well.

But, you have no delay claim nor is BA responsible for any of your consequential losses, e.g. second taxi.

You could certainly initiate an MCOL action, but BA is unlikely to settle and the facts here seem quite clear.
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Old Feb 12, 19, 6:36 pm
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I don't think duty of care extends to consequential costs.

For what it's worth, I'd have accepted the downgrade. It's not a long flight. But ymmv
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Old Feb 12, 19, 7:25 pm
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I believe you relinquished your right for the delay-based compensation when you chose to delay flying for the purpose of avoiding being downgraded.

Consequential losses are matters for your travel insurance policy, although generally speaking non-refundable taxi booking can be rebooked.

You may be able to get some goodwill gestures such as Avios from BA but I believe that is about the extent of it.
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Old Feb 13, 19, 12:36 am
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Out of interest, if the OP had accepted the downgrade what would BA have given as compensation for the downgrade... that wasn't a single class downgrade to WTP but 2 classes to WT.
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Old Feb 13, 19, 1:44 am
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Did BA offer you some sort of compensatory payment at the time or was it simply you're being downgraded from Club to WT so tough luck?
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Old Feb 13, 19, 1:56 am
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Originally Posted by snaxmuppet View Post
Out of interest, if the OP had accepted the downgrade what would BA have given as compensation for the downgrade... that wasn't a single class downgrade to WTP but 2 classes to WT.
There's no difference in the EU261 between a one- and two-class downgrade: it's still 75%. BA may in fact offer a fare recalculation as its first response. For random dates I get an I-class TPA return at £2246, pointing to reimbursement of £842; an I/Q fare is £1,348 which would mean a refund of slightly more: £898, but I don't know how they determine whether Q is the correct Y fare. If the OP was on a higher fare originally they difference may be greater.

Originally Posted by Eskimoboy View Post
Did BA offer you some sort of compensatory payment at the time or was it simply you're being downgraded from Club to WT so tough luck?
It may be counter-intuitive, but I can't see anything in EU261 Art 14 that obliges BA to inform a downgraded passenger of their rights (as opposed to delayed/cancelled/offloaded).
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Old Feb 13, 19, 6:43 am
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Originally Posted by p17blo View Post
I've searched for this quite thoroughly, but whilst there are similar cases, none really give a definitive answer - This maybe as it either isn't known or hasn't been tested.

At the checkin desk on a flight from Tampa to Gatwick I was told that due to aircraft change I had been downgraded from Club to WT. After some discussion I refused the Downgrade and the check in manager booked me the following day from Orlando. During my time at the check in desk (about 90 minutes) I saw about 50 people check in, roughly half were downgraded and the other half were not asked if they were willing to be downgraded or rebooked they were just checked in (IMHO BA made no effort at this point to seek volunteers to be bumped or downgraded).

We arrived just short of 24 hours late. BA are agreeing to pay costs for hotel, food and transport in florida, but are refusing to pay transport in UK (I had a non cancellable taxi booked and paid for that I missed and had to pay another company to taxi me home) and they claim that since I 'agreed' to be rebooked for a flight the following day that EU regulation for delayed arrival doesn't apply. I would contest that i 'agreed' to anything and that at no point did the BA Check In manager advise me of my rights about anything he was doing.

I do have a ticket stamped 'Involuntary Reroute'.

So are BA right, or should I contest this? Contesting at this point would means MCOL i feel as my last response to them was asking for them to confirm that their response was final
Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
BA has provided a correct answer.

Downgrades do not trigger EC 261/2004 rebooking rights nor do they require that the carrier seek volunteers first (that is for overbookings resulting in an oversale). BA could have declined to accommodate you, issued your WT boarding pass and then refunded you 75% of the base segment fare for the downgrade.

BA, as do most carriers rebooked you onto the next service with available space. That was voluntary on your part and a courtesy on BA's part. In fact, BA had no duty of care while you were in FL, so that was a customer service gesture as well.

But, you have no delay claim nor is BA responsible for any of your consequential losses, e.g. second taxi.

You could certainly initiate an MCOL action, but BA is unlikely to settle and the facts here seem quite clear.
i would not have accepted that either. Why were your targeted? Were you an Avios booking?

if they rebooked you on the same class and paid duty of care then I donít believe you get any compensation.
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Old Feb 13, 19, 7:13 am
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I would have done the same and refused the downgrade as long as they agreed to foot the bill for expenses incurred which they have. I can understand why you feel aggrieved so agree with LTN Phobia and think it's worth pushing for some Avios for the inconvenience this caused you.
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Old Feb 13, 19, 4:43 pm
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Originally Posted by arh1 View Post
i would not have accepted that either. Why were your targeted? Were you an Avios booking?

if they rebooked you on the same class and paid duty of care then I don’t believe you get any compensation.
I was actually, but I deliberately omitted this in my post as I didn't want it to influence the answer - I was Avios AND 241. However, the reason given was that I wasn't targetted but just unlucky that I had pre-booked a seat after the 4th row - The aircract I was on was supposed to have 8 rows of Club and only the switched aircraft only had 4 - Apparently the 'computer' automatically transferred the first 4 rows into the new club seats and downgraded the last 4 rows.

I get that this happens, but my real beef is that I saw no sign of BA asking people in the first 4 rows of Club if they were willing to fly the next day or take a downgrade and I believe they should have done so. I also don't quite understand the difference between being bumped off an aircraft due to aircraft change and being 'offered' a downgrade and refusing it, hence being bumped off. The EU charter is also quite clear where compensation doesn't get paid (weather, industrial action), but there is a gaping whole of detail around refusing a downgrade - It just isn't included (rather than excluded)

Originally Posted by Eskimoboy View Post
Did BA offer you some sort of compensatory payment at the time or was it simply you're being downgraded from Club to WT so tough luck?

Yes - Around $260 at the point you accepted the downgrade with a Prepaid credit card (This wasn't explained, but was given to those who accepted) - Those same people are also awaiting claim settlement from BA but fully expect 50% of 75% of total fare in line with EU Charter. So all in all, pretty well compensated TBH.

WRT to the taxi, I'm surprised BA aren't covering this - I called my driver with less than 12 hours notice - He did try to accommodate me but was booked elsewhere and as an independant driver, had turned down work for the time he was supposed to collect me had the flight been on time so I'm not surprised this was non refundable. Given the level of my claim to BA so far (around £350 in costs plus the taxi costs) i'm a little miffed they won't cover this especially given the levels of 'goodwill' compensation handed out at check in for those who accepted the downgrade ($520 per couple) plus the charter refund due. Yes I have really comprehensive insurance and could (and will) claim if I don't get anywhere with BA, but come on, they messed this up and their lack of compassion, even if not legally compelled to do so, seems poor in my mind. However. My questions was about rights and the answers are in line with what I expected, so I'll chalk it up to poor customer service and vote with my wallet next time I don't have a ton of miles and 241 vouchers to use.

Thanks to all those who provided valuable input
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Old Feb 13, 19, 5:16 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
BA has provided a correct answer.
There's also the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which I think now applies to airlines. This means there's an implied term that the service [i.e. transportation] must be provided with reasonable care and skill. There are other bits about information provided to a consumer being binding, where the consumer relies on it, and so on.

I'm not a lawyer, but it seems like this angle has a greater chance of success.
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Old Feb 13, 19, 5:49 pm
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The bald wording of the regulation is what it is.

The courts have added to it over the years by various rulings such as compensation being payable for delays which was never in the regulation. They have clarified the calculation of the reimbursement of a downgrade and on the definition of various extraordinary circumstances.

The only way to get a change so that compensation (rather than duty of care) is paid to people who would rather rebook onto a later flight than be downgraded is to take it to court and eventually the ECJ to rule on the matter. Though I donít think even the most consumer friendly judge would agree that if the passenger decides to extend their journey by taking a much later flight to preserve a seat in a particular cabin they should receive additional compensation.

one thing that is likely not going to change is airlines being forced to reimburse incidental expenses such as car hire and taxis, thatís what travel insurance is for.
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Old Feb 13, 19, 6:39 pm
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Originally Posted by p17blo View Post
I was actually, but I deliberately omitted this in my post as I didn't want it to influence the answer - I was Avios AND 241.
It shouldn't but based in this forum, anecdotally, it does seem to make a difference for downgrade targeting etc.
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