BA and Comair Flights

Old Dec 9, 20, 5:34 am
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BA and Comair Flights

We arrived this morning into JNB on BA57, approximately 45 mins late. This meant we were unable to make our BA Comair domestic flight to Durban at midday. The flights were all on the same ticket/PNR. We tried moving onto the next Comair flight to Durban at 14:20, which there was plenty of availability to purchase tickets for. After being mucked about for 30 minutes we were told they had rebooked us on a 16:45 Airlink flight. The BA service desk at Jnb airport did tell us we were welcome to book the earlier flight, but weíd have to pay for it.

This new Airlink flight means a lot of waiting around (an almost 5 hour delay from our original itinerary), and we could not access the Slow lounge (we tried, but apparently management wouldnít allow as itís the fault of the international carrier), which we could do if we were a Comair flight, as we are BA silver card holders.

Are there any valid reason for not booking us on the first available flight? Any grounds for an EC261 claim? For what itís worth, the issue with international delay was due to a wait on loading catering.

Thanks - and apologies if this belongs in a master thread.
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Old Dec 9, 20, 5:51 am
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Sorry I can’t answer your question directly and sorry to hear you had a difficult experience. I flew to CPT via JNB last December and was also delayed arriving at JNB. The Comair desk staff were great and rebooked me on the next available Comair flight without any problem.

That said, the lounge was great, so I’d’ve been happy with a longer delay...
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Old Dec 9, 20, 5:52 am
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Originally Posted by Colossus View Post
We arrived this morning into JNB on BA57, approximately 45 mins late. This meant we were unable to make our BA Comair domestic flight to Durban at midday. The flights were all on the same ticket/PNR. We tried moving onto the next Comair flight to Durban at 14:20, which there was plenty of availability to purchase tickets for. After being mucked about for 30 minutes we were told they had rebooked us on a 16:45 Airlink flight. The BA service desk at Jnb airport did tell us we were welcome to book the earlier flight, but weíd have to pay for it.

This new Airlink flight means a lot of waiting around (an almost 5 hour delay from our original itinerary), and we could not access the Slow lounge (we tried, but apparently management wouldnít allow as itís the fault of the international carrier), which we could do if we were a Comair flight, as we are BA silver card holders.

Are there any valid reason for not booking us on the first available flight? Any grounds for an EC261 claim? For what itís worth, the issue with international delay was due to a wait on loading catering.

Thanks - and apologies if this belongs in a master thread.
From what Iíve read in your post it sounds like youíre eligible for the EC261 claim as this was a long haul flight and the delay in arrival to your final destination exceeded four hours at a minimum.
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Old Dec 9, 20, 10:55 am
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Originally Posted by Intl359Widget View Post
From what Iíve read in your post it sounds like youíre eligible for the EC261 claim as this was a long haul flight and the delay in arrival to your final destination exceeded four hours at a minimum.
You're also eligible for the cost of your refreshments to be reimbursed, as the wait was over 2 hours.

In your situation, I would have bought the BA JNB to DUR on my card and pursued BA, if necessary through county court, for the money afterwards.
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Old Dec 9, 20, 11:20 am
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Originally Posted by cauchy View Post
You're also eligible for the cost of your refreshments to be reimbursed, as the wait was over 2 hours.

In your situation, I would have bought the BA JNB to DUR on my card and pursued BA, if necessary through county court, for the money afterwards.
Yeah, we were going to do that, but by time the BA rep finally came back (there were around 10 others also impacted) and said weíd be on the 4:45pm flight, the ticket prices had jumped up and it would have been a rush as we were traveling with our 11 month baby. Next time I wonít wait 30-45 mins for a response and would just go and buy the other ticket and try luck in recouping cost later.

Still unsure why they would rather buy tickets on a competitor than fill their own planes first.
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Old Dec 9, 20, 12:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Colossus View Post

Still unsure why they would rather buy tickets on a competitor than fill their own planes first.
Have you been to SA before?

One of the joys of going to different countries is that they do things in different ways.

Karen Blixen's Out of Africa is filled with episodes where she tries to look at things from a local point of view, rather than a European one. And her idea of the local point of view actually makes a lot of sense one you think about it!

Long story short: I agree with your last sentence, but think there should be a question mark at the end of it - it would be good to know what the reasons was!

Last edited by flygod; Dec 9, 20 at 12:28 pm Reason: thought first sentence was a bit negative
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Old Dec 9, 20, 12:27 pm
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Originally Posted by Colossus View Post
Yeah, we were going to do that, but by time the BA rep finally came back (there were around 10 others also impacted) and said weíd be on the 4:45pm flight, the ticket prices had jumped up and it would have been a rush as we were traveling with our 11 month baby. Next time I wonít wait 30-45 mins for a response and would just go and buy the other ticket and try luck in recouping cost later.

Still unsure why they would rather buy tickets on a competitor than fill their own planes first.
If these LHR-JNB-DUR flights are the first on a return ticket check your return flights DUR-JNB-LHR are still OK. And check again. Not getting the Comair JNB-DUR flight may have had a (bad) effect.
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Old Dec 9, 20, 12:38 pm
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Originally Posted by flygod View Post
Have you been to SA before?

One of the joys of going to different countries is that they do things in different ways.

Karen Blixen's Out of Africa is filled with episodes where she tries to look at things from a local point of view, rather than a European one. And her idea of the local point of view actually makes a lot of sense one you think about it!

Long story short: I agree with your last sentence, but think there should be a question mark at the end of it - it would be good to know what the reasons was!
Yes, many times - Iím married to a South African, found out first hand the joys of the ways things (donít) work when told we should have turned up 3 weeks before our wedding date for an interview - ended up doing the official wedding in the UK later on 😄

Iíve never read Out of Africa, but I will give it a read, thanks!

I was going to put a question mark - but not sure there is an answer! I suspect it is something to do with the fact that while Comair is BA branded, it is a completely different entity, and it might as well be a separate airline.
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Old Dec 9, 20, 12:44 pm
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
If these LHR-JNB-DUR flights are the first on a return ticket check your return flights DUR-JNB-LHR are still OK. And check again. Not getting the Comair JNB-DUR flight may have had a (bad) effect.
Good point, thanks! It is indeed the first of a return - it is effectively a rebooking of direct Durban flights we held, before the route was put on ice.

I was going to call up anyway to see if I needed to think about increasing the length between the 2 flights, as weíre also less than 2 hours from scheduled arrival in JNB to scheduled departure for LHR. I thought this is less a problem domestic-international, as they can check through the bags, but not sure I want to make any assumptions now!
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Old Dec 9, 20, 2:01 pm
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Originally Posted by Colossus View Post
Yes, many times - Iím married to a South African, found out first hand the joys of the ways things (donít) work when told we should have turned up 3 weeks before our wedding date for an interview - ended up doing the official wedding in the UK later on 😄

Iíve never read Out of Africa, but I will give it a read, thanks!

I was going to put a question mark - but not sure there is an answer! I suspect it is something to do with the fact that while Comair is BA branded, it is a completely different entity, and it might as well be a separate airline.
It would have made sense for BA to rebook you onto a franchise partner like Comair for revenue sharing purposes but we don't know what was going on in the background at the time. As such BA made the decision to rebook everyone onto AirLink due to space available or the cost of reaccom or who knows why?
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Old Dec 9, 20, 3:38 pm
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off topic
Originally Posted by flygod View Post
<snip>
Karen Blixen's Out of Africa is filled with episodes where she tries to look at things from a local point of view, rather than a European one. And her idea of the local point of view actually makes a lot of sense one you think about it!
<snip>
Originally Posted by Colossus View Post
<snip>
Iíve never read Out of Africa, but I will give it a read, thanks!
<snip>.
Out of Africa is based on British colonial life in Kenya. Different to RSA
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Out_of_Africa_(film)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Out_of_Africa
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Old Dec 10, 20, 1:17 am
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Originally Posted by Colossus View Post
Still unsure why they would rather buy tickets on a competitor than fill their own planes first.
One theory is that Comair flight could have been full already, and the tickets you saw on BA.com could simply be flagrant overselling. But then the agent would have claimed the flight is full?
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Old Dec 10, 20, 2:05 am
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Originally Posted by cauchy View Post
One theory is that Comair flight could have been full already, and the tickets you saw on BA.com could simply be flagrant overselling. But then the agent would have claimed the flight is full?
Yeah, thatís right, they never claimed it was full, they just said BA werenít putting us on that flight. They offered to sell me tickets at the desk as well. Actually one other thing that happened that I forgot about is that BA made an announcement on the flight that they had rebooked people already from the 12:00 DUR flight to one at 16:45. I had assumed then it might be because immigration had long queues or the 14:20 had sold out, but we breezed through immigration and after a short wait for bags thought we could simply request to move onto the 14:20 flight (as cheap tickets were showing).
When I looked on the BA site they had single tickets for 700 ZAR (£35), but if you booked a pair it was around 1400 for each ticket, and I was quoted 3800 at the service desk for 2 adults + 1 infant.

There were possibly system issues due to Comair only restarting flights yesterday that stopped them moving us onto those flights - I hope that was it anyway, and it wasnít a pricing decision at the cost of inconveniencing passengers through an additional 2.5 hour wait, and no ability to access the lounge (as booked on a different airline) - which was frustrating as we wanted to charge phones after being in WT+ on an unrefurbished 777 without USB charging (at least from what I could tell).
In hindsight we shouldnít have accepted the itinerary we were offered originally (given a 1h:45m connection being just above the minimum recommended time), and asked for the 14:20 flight then, the assumption was that it would be a fallback, so there was nothing to lose.

Last edited by Colossus; Dec 10, 20 at 2:13 am
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Old Dec 10, 20, 11:26 am
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Originally Posted by Colossus View Post
Yeah, thatís right, they never claimed it was full, they just said BA werenít putting us on that flight. They offered to sell me tickets at the desk as well. Actually one other thing that happened that I forgot about is that BA made an announcement on the flight that they had rebooked people already from the 12:00 DUR flight to one at 16:45. I had assumed then it might be because immigration had long queues or the 14:20 had sold out, but we breezed through immigration and after a short wait for bags thought we could simply request to move onto the 14:20 flight (as cheap tickets were showing).
When I looked on the BA site they had single tickets for 700 ZAR (£35), but if you booked a pair it was around 1400 for each ticket, and I was quoted 3800 at the service desk for 2 adults + 1 infant.

There were possibly system issues due to Comair only restarting flights yesterday that stopped them moving us onto those flights - I hope that was it anyway, and it wasnít a pricing decision at the cost of inconveniencing passengers through an additional 2.5 hour wait, and no ability to access the lounge (as booked on a different airline) - which was frustrating as we wanted to charge phones after being in WT+ on an unrefurbished 777 without USB charging (at least from what I could tell).
In hindsight we shouldnít have accepted the itinerary we were offered originally (given a 1h:45m connection being just above the minimum recommended time), and asked for the 14:20 flight then, the assumption was that it would be a fallback, so there was nothing to lose.
I might be mistaken, but BA's handling agent in South Africa isn't Comair, it's Menzies. My experience is that they are, quite understandably, more worried about breaking some BA policy (which in your case might be only one rebooking after a disruption) than helping you.

The elephant in the room is BA's truly terrible on-time performance at JNB. Unfortunately, this is what happens when there's neither proper competition nor effective regulation.
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Old Dec 10, 20, 1:16 pm
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Originally Posted by cauchy View Post
The elephant in the room is BA's truly terrible on-time performance at JNB. Unfortunately, this is what happens when there's neither proper competition nor effective regulation.
I'm not sure I'd like to live in a world in which airlines feel forced to prioritise punctuality over trivia like airworthiness by either competitive pressures or regulatory measures.

On the latter point, 261/2004 applies in any event to BA's flights both on LHR-JNB and JNB-LHR. What additional regulation would you like to see to force better timekeeping? And why would JNB require a different regulatory regime from that on any other route which BA operates and which is also already subject to 261/2004?
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