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Have BA changed the 'Significant Change' from 2hrs to 4hrs

Have BA changed the 'Significant Change' from 2hrs to 4hrs

Old Oct 21, 20, 11:50 am
  #1  
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Have BA changed the 'Significant Change' from 2hrs to 4hrs

Hi,

Just got off the phone with BA as an outbound flight had been moved by 1hr55 and a return by 3hr40 and wanted to cancel as there was no other flight available and the earlier flight meant no way to connect.

I was informed that recently BA changed significant to mean 4 hours rather than 2 hours and as such I would have to pay a cancellation fee (Avios Ticket). I suggested surely the terms of when I booked should be applied but told that it is when the flight is rather than booking date they use to decide if 2 hours or 4 hours applies!

They have sent it away to be queried but it got me thinking if it was a non refundable cash ticket 4 hours really makes a lot of options I may consider non starters for me and find it an draconian change to the rules if indeed accurate. Just wondered if I had missed this update and if others had been advised the same?
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Old Oct 21, 20, 11:56 am
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The change to 4 hours was reported a couple of weeks ago here:

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/32709124-post4001.html
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Old Oct 21, 20, 12:12 pm
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I missed that as well. and I am pleased that a separate thread has been launched as I think that this was a bit buried last time.
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Old Oct 21, 20, 12:35 pm
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I think how significant 2 or 4 hours is depends on the traveller and is not really specifically for BA to set. If a 2 hour change means you cannot make a meeting then even that is significant.

In the past, I have shifted flights to months later due to a 1:30 change that clearly no longer served my purpose. That is almost certainly even easier to justify with 4 hours. I would stick to your guns and insist on a free change or cancellation.

In case BA doesn't play ball, couldn't you request an FTV (Future Travel Voucher) under the COVID book with confidence scheme and redeem that for another ticket at a later date?
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Old Oct 21, 20, 1:38 pm
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Originally Posted by Tafflyer View Post
I think how significant 2 or 4 hours is depends on the traveller and is not really specifically for BA to set. If a 2 hour change means you cannot make a meeting then even that is significant.

In the past, I have shifted flights to months later due to a 1:30 change that clearly no longer served my purpose. That is almost certainly even easier to justify with 4 hours. I would stick to your guns and insist on a free change or cancellation.

In case BA doesn't play ball, couldn't you request an FTV (Future Travel Voucher) under the COVID book with confidence scheme and redeem that for another ticket at a later date?
I fully agree that significant is variable but on the phone both the BA agent and his manager were very sure that it didn't matter how significant it was to me, simply that BA now consinder any schedule change under 4 hours not to be significant and as such not willing to do anything without appropriate fees. There is no now way I can get to Heathrow in time via public transport (or even a BA connection flight from Manchester as there isnt one early enough) without staying the night before they still deemed the change to be insignificant.

The voucher gives an easy way out and to be honest for Avios tickets where they are easy to cancel its not an issue, but once the Covid vouchers don't exist any more to me the risk of making a revenue booking is to great based on BA's new rules for many of the trips I would usually make.
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Old Oct 21, 20, 1:43 pm
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You bought your ticket under specific conditions, and you agreed to specific terms. If you purchased before the 4 hour rule went into effect, then you are entitled to a 2-hour rule, irrespective of the departure date.

Not an attorney, but thatís what I was told.
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Old Oct 21, 20, 2:12 pm
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3h40m must surely qualify as a cancellation in conjunction with an offer of an alternative flight under EC261/04. So you should be able to get a full refund.
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Old Oct 21, 20, 2:17 pm
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Originally Posted by smartytravel View Post
You bought your ticket under specific conditions, and you agreed to specific terms. If you purchased before the 4 hour rule went into effect, then you are entitled to a 2-hour rule, irrespective of the departure date.

Not an attorney, but thatís what I was told.
told by whom?

Originally Posted by funkydrummer View Post
3h40m must surely qualify as a cancellation in conjunction with an offer of an alternative flight under EC261/04. So you should be able to get a full refund.
under the scenario outlined by the OP, EC261 doesnít allow for a full refund.
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Old Oct 21, 20, 2:26 pm
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Originally Posted by KARFA View Post
under the scenario outlined by the OP, EC261 doesnít allow for a full refund.
Well, I don't know what is the itinerary and therefore don't know what is the jurisdiction. But courts in more than one European country have ruled, for example, that a schedule change of as little as 30 min ahead of the departure time booked qualifies as a cancellation. Of course, there is no right to compensation unless you were notified short-term. But you should have the right to choose between reimbursement, re-routing at the earliest opportunity, and re-routing at a later date of your convenience.
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Old Oct 21, 20, 2:36 pm
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BA well aware of those few jurisdictions where there is precedential authority overriding policy.
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Old Oct 21, 20, 2:40 pm
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Originally Posted by funkydrummer View Post
Well, I don't know what is the itinerary and therefore don't know what is the jurisdiction. But courts in more than one European country have ruled, for example, that a schedule change of as little as 30 min ahead of the departure time booked qualifies as a cancellation. Of course, there is no right to compensation unless you were notified short-term. But you should have the right to choose between reimbursement, re-routing at the earliest opportunity, and re-routing at a later date of your convenience.
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

Last edited by KARFA; Oct 21, 20 at 2:51 pm
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Old Oct 21, 20, 2:56 pm
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I do think that BA risk shooting themselves in the foot with changes like this and the other thread about the tightening of BA holidays policies in another thread.

BA need to build the confidence of travellers to travel - particularly leisure which is more directly in consumers hands and is discretionary. I have taken a single flight since March, and a last minute change because of changes to travel corridors was handled well (phone hold times aside due to crap IT). Confidence that flexibility to deal with changing situations over the next year is what I need to be convinced to book, and Iím sure it is the same for many others.

I get the airline is in a very difficult position. But I donít think this flexibility is being particularly abused and these type of changes undermine the confidence BA need to build right now.
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Old Oct 21, 20, 3:18 pm
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Article 6

Delay

1. When an operating air carrier reasonably expects a flight to be delayed beyond its scheduled time of departure:

[...]

passengers shall be offered by the operating air carrier:

[...]

(iii) when the delay is at least five hours, the assistance specified in Article 8(1)(a).
The right to a refund is "the assistance specified in Article 8(1)(a)" so it seems that BA won't have to refund you unless the delay is at least five hours. If BA offers a refund already after four hours, BA actually offers more than what is required.
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Old Oct 21, 20, 3:25 pm
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Originally Posted by Im a new user View Post
The right to a refund is "the assistance specified in Article 8(1)(a)" so it seems that BA won't have to refund you unless the delay is at least five hours. If BA offers a refund already after four hours, BA actually offers more than what is required.
that would be for a delay to the scheduled departure time tho.

For advanced notice retiming of a flight like the OP received (and like I have received today for a November booking) the scheduled departure time has been changed. Itís a change of the scheduled departure time rather than a delay to the scheduled departure time.
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Old Oct 21, 20, 4:13 pm
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Originally Posted by KARFA View Post
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
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.

Last edited by flyertalker28120; Oct 21, 20 at 4:21 pm
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