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-   -   Have BA changed the 'Significant Change' from 2hrs to 4hrs (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/british-airways-executive-club/2027282-have-ba-changed-significant-change-2hrs-4hrs.html)

Often1 Oct 21, 20 4:59 pm


Originally Posted by funkydrummer (Post 32763919)
IANAL. EC261 is a HUGE mess. For instance, the law is NOT explicitly saying that a delay of 3+ hours (not caused by extraordinary circumstances) entitles you to compensation. Instead, it was an ECJ ruling from 2009 (?) which declared that such a delay is equivalent to a cancellation with regards to compensation. Even more so, the regulation doesn't even define what is an "extraordinary circumstance", courts had to define that, too. Those are just two examples of the vast incompleteness of that regulation.

It has been left to the courts to decide which schedule changes are to be treated analogously to a cancellation (article 5 covers the latter). My understanding is that a substantial schedule change gives you the rights of article 8 (reimbursement and, if applicable, return to point of origin, re-routing at earliest opportunity, or re-routing at the convenience of the pax) in several countries to which EC261 applies. And article 5 of EC261 gives an orientation as to what is substantial, which is then extrapolated outside the realm of compensation. So some federal courts have ruled that, for example, a -2h schedule change you were informed about, say, 21 days before departure, gives you the right to reimbursement. (Obv, no compensation as you were informed 14+ days in advance.)

EDIT: I guess it's a little more than "my understanding is". I've won cases vs. several airlines in this regard using a lawyer from Berlin. Like, LH, FR, or IB refusing to rebook on another carrier after a schedule change. So I requested a rebooking on another carrier, setting a time limit. They usually don't react or offer an unacceptable change on their own metal. You have to rebook on your own dime and get your money back in court.

But, that is the nature of law in most Rule of Law nations. Legislatures enact law, courts interpret those laws and the decisions of the courts, at least at sufficiently high enough levels, are precedential.

This won't get easier with the passage of time. The UK has adopted the Regulation into its domestic law and "it" will thus survive Brexit. But, once the UK has exited, ECJ precedent won't bind the UK courts. Thus, should the ECJ choose, once again, to define what is an "extraordinary circunmstance," UK courts might well not find that persuasive.

The Geek Oct 21, 20 5:18 pm


Originally Posted by KARFA (Post 32763754)
could you point to the court rulings and where it says that in EC261 please?

EDIT: just to add I only ask since I have retiming of my own come through today of about 3hrs too and a refund would be preferable

Somehow I don't think a voucher would go to waste in your case. :D

Just read this article on MSE about this very subject, and it seems that it's up to the airline what is a significant change.

My mild understanding of contract / consumer law is you are bound by / agree to the T&Cs / CoC in force when you've booked as long as they are not deemed unfair. They shouldn't be able to move the goalposts in their favour beyond that.

FWIW I had a flight re-timed 1:50 earlier some time ago & a couple of weeks back some 48 hours out I rang the gold line and asked them if a free change was possible onto another flight 20 minutes later than time of the original flight. They obliged. { The latter flight was more expensive to change to online. }

flyertalker28120 Oct 22, 20 3:24 am


Originally Posted by Often1 (Post 32764116)
But, that is the nature of law in most Rule of Law nations. Legislatures enact law, courts interpret those laws and the decisions of the courts, at least at sufficiently high enough levels, are precedential.

This won't get easier with the passage of time. The UK has adopted the Regulation into its domestic law and "it" will thus survive Brexit. But, once the UK has exited, ECJ precedent won't bind the UK courts. Thus, should the ECJ choose, once again, to define what is an "extraordinary circunmstance," UK courts might well not find that persuasive.

For EC261, what matters is the departure airport.

We don't know what kind of ticket the OP holds. But if it's an itinerary UK-EU, and in light of the fact that the inbound was changed by by substantially more, it might be legally more promising to force BA to a full refund based on the change to the inbound. I admit this is a purely academic discussion at this point. It seems OP is located in the UK. And few lawyers from the UK will take on a case which requires them to work with a legal jurisdiction of, say, Spain because the inbound is MAD-LHR. So for all practical purposes, the better option is to pay the relatively low fee for cancelling an avios booking.

UKTraveller4Fun Oct 22, 20 4:39 am


Originally Posted by funkydrummer (Post 32764906)
For EC261, what matters is the departure airport.

We don't know what kind of ticket the OP holds. But if it's an itinerary UK-EU, and in light of the fact that the inbound was changed by by substantially more, it might be legally more promising to force BA to a full refund based on the change to the inbound. I admit this is a purely academic discussion at this point. It seems OP is located in the UK. And few lawyers from the UK will take on a case which requires them to work with a legal jurisdiction of, say, Spain because the inbound is MAD-LHR. So for all practical purposes, the better option is to pay the relatively low fee for cancelling an avios booking.

The flight is UK-EU and outbound changed by just under 2hrs and inbound by just under 4 hours. The argument they made was now any change under 4 hours they do not classify as significant and as such I can pay the fee to cancel or take a voucher and this rule applies apparently to all types of bookings. In this case it is not an issue my concern is more down the line that essentially BA are saying if I had a ticket booked in First or Club as a revenue ticket I would not be able to do anything once Covid vouchers are withdrawn!

gcuk Oct 22, 20 5:47 am

4 hours is a very long requirement.
Iíve had a schedule change to a domestic flight meaning I arrive on a long haul flight at 1525, and my connection which did leave at 1640 now leaves at 2050. Fortunately itís 10 minutes over the 4 hours so I could cancel but if it had been 10 minutes less, Iím sure some would consider arriving at 10pm to be a significant change from arriving at 6.05pm, particularly if onward car or public transport travel was required at the destination.

guym4c Oct 22, 20 8:40 am

Particularly embarrassing for BA is the fact that a certain pink low cost carrier allows refunds for any and all schedule changes

rossmacd Oct 22, 20 8:45 am

For those of us who are daytrippers or who do short in and outs of London, a 4 hour change is significant. Imagine a business traveler ex-FRA or ZRH on the early 7am flight to LON, then on the evening 5-7pm flight back - a 4 hour change makes the trip almost unfeasible. I cannot imagine that the business community would be very forgiving when indeed they start to travel again in large volumes compared to now. It could be a temporary change in the current circumstances, but will BA will find themselves uncompetitive in future.

lewincg Oct 23, 20 10:36 am

It could be even worse...! I was looking at the BA Holiday T&Cs (https://www.britishairways.com/en-gb...and-conditions) and they seem to define "significant change" as 12 hours or more:


8.3. We are only liable to you for cancellations or significant changes to your booking by us. A significant change is one that we make to your booking before your departure that affects an essential term of your contract. Examples of a significant change includes changes by us to:

your destination area;
your booked accommodation to that of an alternative property of a lower rating;
your departure times or accommodation occupancy periods by more than 12 hours.

SW7London Oct 23, 20 11:25 am


Originally Posted by lewincg (Post 32768108)
It could be even worse...! I was looking at the BA Holiday T&Cs (https://www.britishairways.com/en-gb...and-conditions) and they seem to define "significant change" as 12 hours or more:

Surely, say a 10 hour schedule change is material change to what the customer is buying. Similar to the day tripper example above, where 3 hours would be material and BA essentially saying only changes 4 hour or more are significant.

Likely this wouldn't stand up if taken to court. I'd just raise a dispute on the credit card.

Globaliser Oct 24, 20 5:30 am


Originally Posted by lewincg (Post 32768108)
It could be even worse...! I was looking at the BA Holiday T&Cs (https://www.britishairways.com/en-gb...and-conditions) and they seem to define "significant change" as 12 hours or more:

Isn't that pretty common on package holidays?

The apparent oddity of that provision may come from the way that some bookings now qualify to be "package holidays" even though they are a long way from what package holidays were when those T&C were first written.

hearingdouble Oct 24, 20 6:56 am


Originally Posted by rossmacd (Post 32765335)
I cannot imagine that the business community would be very forgiving when indeed they start to travel again in large volumes compared to now. It could be a temporary change in the current circumstances, but will BA will find themselves uncompetitive in future.

I sort of agree with this, although business travel is typically booked at relatively short notice and often full fare (with full flex) - so Iím not sure how likely most business travellers are to be impacted.

alex_b Oct 24, 20 7:24 am


Originally Posted by hearingdouble (Post 32769708)
I sort of agree with this, although business travel is typically booked at relatively short notice and often full fare (with full flex) - so Iím not sure how likely most business travellers are to be impacted.

Outside of financial services I don't know how much business travel is really in full fare/full flex. Everywhere I've ever worked (in technology) has always required we book lowest cost fare (even when permitted to fly premium cabins). One of the reason the SDC benefit for elites on the US carriers is so liked is it gives some of that flexibility of full fare tickets for free.

You're correct that the more short notice type of business bookings does limit the impact somewhat as I guess schedule changes are less frequent close in. Although I have had 2+ hr shifts of flight times the night before a flight, which on a day trip can make the whole journey unviable.

aks120 Nov 1, 20 1:24 am

So my flight to Istanbul was cancelled and I was put on a different flt number 3:35 hr earlier. Is this still classed a significant change? Ie not just retimed but flight cancelled and put on another one?

I am assuming I will only be entitled to a voucher but just wanted to check understanding!

aks120

Dave Noble Nov 1, 20 2:29 am


Originally Posted by aks120 (Post 32786915)
So my flight to Istanbul was cancelled and I was put on a different flt number 3:35 hr earlier. Is this still classed a significant change? Ie not just retimed but flight cancelled and put on another one?

I am assuming I will only be entitled to a voucher but just wanted to check understanding!

aks120

My understanding is that your flight was cancelled and so you are entitled to a refund regardless

aks120 Nov 1, 20 2:44 am

Thanks - will phone and ask! I will let you know how I get on.

aks120


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