Backup flight to mitigate strike risk

Old Jul 29, 19, 2:44 pm
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Backup flight to mitigate strike risk

Our family of 4 is due to travel to the US on 14 Aug which is at risk of being impacted by the strike if the union gives notice on Wednesday after tomorrow's appeal. I am minded to book one way fully flexible back up flights on AA to mitigate against the risk. If I do and assuming my outbound flight is affected by the strike so I have to take the backup flight, what are the chances of BA protecting my return flight (in F booked with avois / 2-4-1 / GUFs) in circumstances where their inability to operate the outbound caused the need to take the alternative flight?
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Old Jul 29, 19, 3:52 pm
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We are flying a few days later than you (USA-Africa with London stopover, also in F booked with Avios on a 2-4-1) and I am wondering the same...I have found alternate award flights in C on Lufthansa for our outbound that I can make work with our schedule but am hesitant to book them without knowing that our return will be protected/still valid, particularly since I would be booking the replacement flights through UA and am only silver, and so would be charged $200 if I end up canceling the replacement tickets and redepositing the miles. On the other hand there is a very, very pricey safari at stake and it is not exactly clear to me at this point what costs would be covered by our trip insurance if our trip is strike-affected. Ugh - pre-vacation stress I do not need!
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Old Jul 29, 19, 3:57 pm
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Originally Posted by Newly Wed View Post
Our family of 4 is due to travel to the US on 14 Aug which is at risk of being impacted by the strike if the union gives notice on Wednesday after tomorrow's appeal. I am minded to book one way fully flexible back up flights on AA to mitigate against the risk. If I do and assuming my outbound flight is affected by the strike so I have to take the backup flight, what are the chances of BA protecting my return flight (in F booked with avois / 2-4-1 / GUFs) in circumstances where their inability to operate the outbound caused the need to take the alternative flight?
Have you priced these fully flexible one way flights? Assuming you have to take them, do you consider this good value for money or do you expect to be able to claim this back in some way?
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Old Jul 29, 19, 3:59 pm
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If you have a flight on an actual strike day (or close to, which is affected), I think you'd be in a strong position with BA to keep the return live. But there may be other options offered by BA via AA (for example) anyway so probably best to wait and see what happens with the case tomorrow and play it by ear afterwards. I would identify my other options (including indirect flights) and be ready to call immediately the situation is clearer.
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Old Jul 29, 19, 4:16 pm
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Urgh....I do not consider the backup flights to be good value for money. On the contrary, they are over 6k one way in Y and it does not look like they would be covered either on my standalone insurance or my Amex insurance. But the risk of losing our unprotected flights to Maui the following day plus over 20k of pre-paid hotels for a 2 week holiday would justify that expense if it is the only way to get there. I think that if strike dates are announced tomorrow / Wednesday it will be nearly impossible to make alternative arrangements and we will be at BA's mercy. Paying over the odds for a flexible Y fare at least gives us the backup option. I have them on hold until midnight tomorrow and will need to take the plunge at some point.
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Old Jul 29, 19, 4:28 pm
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Originally Posted by Newly Wed View Post
I am minded to book one way fully flexible back up flights on AA to mitigate against the risk.
Assuming this is a Joint Business route, surely it would be better to let BA rebook you on to this instead? Assuming this within the scope of any Customer Advisory. The fact that Maui is unprotected would be an issue even if there was no strike, it could be pointed out. E.g. technical problems or bad weather.
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Old Jul 29, 19, 4:34 pm
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I'd wait to see what happens and assume there will be somewhat acceptable re-booking (if necessary at all).

In the event of the worst, do you have travel insurance which covers missed connections for the flights to Maui? Covers missed hotel nights for flight delay?

Strikes me as an unreasonable sum to put down to to slug it in Y when there isn't any definitive knowledge of whether a strike will happen; there are of seats on other (OW and non-alliance) carriers to get you to your destination should the worst happen.
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Old Jul 29, 19, 5:04 pm
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You mentioned a flexible Y single ticket at 6k. Have you priced up a return fare with a Saturday night stay?
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Old Jul 29, 19, 5:04 pm
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Originally Posted by Newly Wed View Post
Our family of 4 is due to travel to the US on 14 Aug which is at risk of being impacted by the strike if the union gives notice on Wednesday after tomorrow's appeal. I am minded to book one way fully flexible back up flights on AA to mitigate against the risk. If I do and assuming my outbound flight is affected by the strike so I have to take the backup flight, what are the chances of BA protecting my return flight (in F booked with avois / 2-4-1 / GUFs) in circumstances where their inability to operate the outbound caused the need to take the alternative flight?
Have you looked at redeeming in Y on AA (or EI or IB)? That could be a 7p per avios redemption.

I think you can cancel up until 24 hours before departure.
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Old Jul 29, 19, 5:15 pm
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
Assuming this is a Joint Business route, surely it would be better to let BA rebook you on to this instead? Assuming this within the scope of any Customer Advisory. The fact that Maui is unprotected would be an issue even if there was no strike, it could be pointed out. E.g. technical problems or bad weather.
My thinking is to book the flexible tickets so they can be cancelled (a) if the strike does not hit; or (b) if BA come up with a suitable re-booking option. I hope it is either (a) or (b) because 11 hours in the back is not what I signed up for!

The unprotected Maui flight was a calculated risk on the basis that we are on the first LAX flight of the day (so many later / connection options) with the Maui flight 18 hours later. But I had not factored a strike into my risk assessment.

Last edited by Newly Wed; Jul 29, 19 at 5:25 pm
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Old Jul 29, 19, 5:18 pm
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Originally Posted by CloudGazer View Post
You mentioned a flexible Y single ticket at 6k. Have you priced up a return fare with a Saturday night stay?
Yes, it would be just under 9k! I expect the prospect of a BA strike is driving up the price of AA flights as there is very limited availability.
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Old Jul 29, 19, 5:22 pm
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Originally Posted by cauchy View Post
Have you looked at redeeming in Y on AA (or EI or IB)? That could be a 7p per avios redemption.

I think you can cancel up until 24 hours before departure.
Thank you. How I can check the avios available of partner airlines? All I can get through the BA website is Y seats on the BA flight we are already booked on in F.
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Old Jul 29, 19, 5:22 pm
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Originally Posted by Newly Wed View Post
My thinking is to book the flexible tickets so they can be cancelled (a) if the strike does not hit; or (b) if BA do not come up with a suitable re-booking option. I hope it is either (a) or (b) because 11 hours in the back is not what I signed up for!
Be very careful about doing this and make sure to keep a copy of the full fare rules at the time you buy the tickets. During some previous airline strikes, (other) USA carriers tended to declare that all ticket on the routes/times likely to be impacted by the strike were completely nonrefundable and nonchangeable, even at FULL Y (or FULL J, FULL F) fares. Those carriers also tended to zero out inventory in cheaper fare bucket. AA and other carriers could do the same now, for example for all flights to/from/through LHR/LGW, so do not assume.
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Old Jul 29, 19, 5:22 pm
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Originally Posted by Newly Wed View Post
My thinking is to book the flexible tickets so they can be cancelled (a) if the strike does not hit; or (b) if BA do not come up with a suitable re-booking option. I hope it is either (a) or (b) because 11 hours in the back is not what I signed up for!
The point I'm trying to make is that if you are able to book on to that flight, then BA can do the same - and would do the same if that was the only option to get you to the USA, thereby saving you tying down rather a lot of money. In reality, assuming this is LAX or PHX, BA would potentially have a range of other options and hopefully closer to the cabin you booked, given the provisions of EC261. If you're not convinced then buy return tickets, which would be cheaper than a single, and use the redemption for another time. But it's not something I would do.
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Old Jul 29, 19, 5:37 pm
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Originally Posted by Newly Wed View Post
Thank you. How I can check the avios available of partner airlines? All I can get through the BA website is Y seats on the BA flight we are already booked on in F.
I'd suggest AA's website, you're looking for "Mile Saver" tickets. You might need to call BA to book them. Also, you might have to look at other US gateways (e.g. DFW, ORD, PHL) and departing from other UK airports (e.g. MAN) or otherwise DUB.

For Aer Lingus flights, united.com tends to work.

I think it's going to be difficult to find something decent...
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