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British Airways Suspended my ticket and locked my account

British Airways Suspended my ticket and locked my account

Old Oct 18, 2023, 8:48 pm
  #1  
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Angry British Airways Suspended my ticket and locked my account

Hello from a frustrated and angry traveler,
Get ready for a little rant about a disgusting corporation in the name of British Airways.

I booked a reward Qatar Airways Business Class flight (DXB-DOH-EUROPE) through British Airways executive. The ticket was booked 15 hours before departure. Avios are deducted from my account + taxes are debited from my bank card. Everything is paid in full, I received the booking confirmation as usual (125 prefixed ticket number). Everything looked good to go.. or so I thought.
I arrived at the airport 3 hours before departure and went to the check-in desk, a little hungry by now as I had not eaten anything and looked forward to relaxing for a bit in the lounge before my flight. I handed over my passport to the check-in staff and the staff say ''Hmmm sorry sir, your ticket is suspended and you cannot fly on this ticket''
As confused as anyone would be, I check my phone, text, email, or any potential communication channel where you would expect to receive an email/message/call from the airline that your ticket is suspended. To my surprise, I have not received any communication from British Airways that my ticket has been suspended. My booking is still displayed as confirmed on the app.
The check-in agent said they could not do anything and advised me to call British Airways ASAP as they were the ones who suspended it.

I call British Airways, and explain my situation to the agent who seemed to not care what I had to say and she goes ''Your ticket is suspended, I cannot do anything, I cannot give you any more information, You must buy a new ticket''
I asked the reason for my flight suspension but I got the same rude answer. I thanked the agent and hung up. I hoped to get a new helpful agent on the phone so I called again in the meantime, I tried to log into my British Airways executive account and I got the following message in red ''We have locked your account temporarily to keep it safe and secure, We'll be in touch within the next two weeks''

Meanwhile, a new agent answers and I get the same useless answer ''Your ticket has been suspended, I cannot tell you anything more, and there is nothing I can do. Someone will contact you but I don't know when, If you want to travel you must buy a new ticket because you cannot fly on this one.''

I couldn't have asked for a better outcome my ticket is suspended, my British Airways executive account is locked and no one from British Airways is helping me or saying anything!
Sarcasm aside. The flight is gone. BA is not telling me anything nor giving me a reason for why they did this to me. I need advice, please. What can I do? Should I Sue? Does EU/UK261 apply? If I buy a new cash ticket (a couple of thousands) will British Airways reimburse me for the ticket?
What would you do if you were in my shoes?

Last edited by Prospero; Oct 18, 2023 at 9:07 pm Reason: Remove pejorative characterisation
basuspendedmyticketfornoreason is offline  
Old Oct 18, 2023, 9:28 pm
  #2  
 
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Do be aware that you are limited to 5 posts on your first day.

Others will provide further detail but at this hour (03.20am) note:

-The agents will have been informed that if you ask them why the the ticket has been suspended that it is that scripted answer that is to be provided - they may not even know themselves.

-there was a case of this recently on here whereby there was no proactive email/text from BA but the pax only found out at the airport.

-the ticket and indeed the account could be suspended for a variety of reasons. There could be a fraud concern with the bank card used or some unusual activity on your account etc. air could be some type of payment irregularity

-there is nothing the airport or CS can do as it is way out of their hands. So if I were you - as per your question - I would buy a new ticket if I had to fly and sort it out later.

-dependent on the reason as to why the ticket had been suspended would be the answer as to whether compensation applies for denied boarding.

sorry I cant really be more helpful at this hour but hope that gives something to mull over.

in the meantime have a read through this thread where a similar thing happened back in April:

British Airways Suspended my flight ticket for NO REASON! Help Needed

hope that helps a little bit
DXB2745 is offline  
Old Oct 18, 2023, 10:54 pm
  #3  
 
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It looks to me as though you have triggered some sort of fraud protection on the Executive Club account. I'm not suggesting you are a fraudster but the booking pattern (one-way journey, travelling on a partner airline, booked/travelling at very short notice) are in themselves suspicious and the exact behaviour pattern someone commuting fraud on an unassuming BA Executive Club account would do. BA clearly had very valid reasons by not allowing you to fly today (rightly or wrongly) and are just trying to protect the account holder by suspending the ticket/Exec Club account until it can be established the transaction in question is non-fraudulent. By the very nature of the extremely late booking just a few hours before departure, I just get the feeling this was never going to end well.

​​​​​And again while it may not be connected and indeed it could well be an innocent coincidence but I am also suspicious of new posters who have zero posting history on this forum who present such a dramatic scenario in their first interaction. It makes me question who you really are and why you are asking and whether you're indeed the Exec Club account holder or someone else asking for other reasons. Regardless to my suspicions however, welcome!
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Old Oct 18, 2023, 11:03 pm
  #4  
 
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It may seem suspicious but it can't be *that* uncommon. I once booked a one-way, avios ticket about 75 minutes before departure with no issues. Well...maybe too quick for the fraud team to cotton on
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Old Oct 18, 2023, 11:15 pm
  #5  
 
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Originally Posted by Beansprout
It may seem suspicious but it can't be *that* uncommon. I once booked a one-way, avios ticket about 75 minutes before departure with no issues. Well...maybe too quick for the fraud team to cotton on
Same here but I'd wager you probably weren't booking high value tickets on partner airlines starting in countries where fraudulent activity is significantly higher than say.... the country where your Executive Club account is registered. I'm just saying BA will no doubt have their reasons and the best way for the OP to address those issues moving will be with the Executive Club.
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Old Oct 18, 2023, 11:28 pm
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by Beansprout
It may seem suspicious but it can't be *that* uncommon. I once booked a one-way, avios ticket about 75 minutes before departure with no issues. Well...maybe too quick for the fraud team to cotton on
Originally Posted by 1Aturnleft
Same here but I'd wager you probably weren't booking high value tickets on partner airlines starting in countries where fraudulent activity is significantly higher than say.... the country where your Executive Club account is registered. I'm just saying BA will no doubt have their reasons and the best way for the OP to address those issues moving will be with the Executive Club.
added to which you probably had an active account with both debits and credits. Im wondering if the OP is trying to spend transferred CC miles in a shiny new account with zero history.
etiene is offline  
Old Oct 18, 2023, 11:43 pm
  #7  
 
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Originally Posted by etiene
added to which you probably had an active account with both debits and credits. Im wondering if the OP is trying to spend transferred CC miles in a shiny new account with zero history.
Im sure BA will not explain exactly what safeguard was triggered but another comes to mind as potentially causing similar results, gifted avios from multiple friends appearing to be brokerage
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Old Oct 18, 2023, 11:47 pm
  #8  
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Welcome to FT and indeed, this has all the hallmark of a fraud investigation and it means that there is nothing you can do to speed up the process nor to reach out to the people who need, instead, to reach out to you.

a few questions:

1) are the name of the account holder and the name of the passenger the same (you mention it’s you both times but best check)

2) did you have the avios on your account from flights etc all along or did you transfer/purchase the avios in any way (transfer from another baec account, transfer credit card or Amex mr points etc)

3) if you transferred anything, again, was/were the account(a) from which you transferred in your name or a different name?

4) is your baec account long standing or created recently?

5) did you book reward tickets (in particular high value like this) in the past or was this the first one?

6) did you book the award ticket directly on the Ba website or did you use any other channel (e.g. "third parties", brokers, etc)

7) what were the avios and cash amounts you were asked to pay, did they seem like standard pricing?

8) is there anything else that is unusual about the transactions that led to purchasing this ticket which you can think of which could seem unusual or which you imagine may catch the wrong sort of attention even if there is a perfectly legitimate explanation for them (which you don’t need to share)

Obviously, this is a public forum so only answer if you feel you can do so without issue/without harming your own position, but the above represent some of the main points that often seem to raise fraud concerns among airlines (new accounts, transfers, different names, and of course any form of repurchase/purchase not directly through baec) so if we know we can help you figure out your next move. If we don’t, we won’t really be able to tell you usefully and you’ll need to wait to have the tough conversation with the team investigating this. We don't necessarily know much about BA fraud investigation cases, but there are a few across airlines and "red flags" often seem the same. I'm sure they sometimes make mistakes but I think it is also fair to say that airlines don't take the sort of measures we are talking about here randomly, and when they do, there are usually fairly specific signs worrying them and they only go through such lengths if they have a fairly strong belief that their suspicions will be vindicated.

i'd say that in terms of the main immediate moves, your ticket has now been invalidated for good and your account may be frozen or suspended for unclear amounts of time, If you do need to travel, you’ll have to buy a new ticket indeed and then if you know your position is above reproach, send the bill to Ba asking them to refund you and if they say no take them to court, but this may be a long and not necessarily pleasant process. You could also seek cancellation compensation from qr but they will say you didn’t have a valid ticket and need to speak to Ba so I would again expect no easy resolution here either.

Good luck, and please do update us if you can.

Last edited by orbitmic; Oct 19, 2023 at 5:13 am
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Old Oct 19, 2023, 12:06 am
  #9  
 
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Originally Posted by basuspendedmyticketfornoreason
Avios are deducted from my account + taxes are debited from my bank card.
If this was a debit card, there also could have been a bank card fraud alert. My bank has to be notified for these sorts of purchases. It will initially appear to go through, but if I have not told them I am traveling, it gets flagged as fraud until I clear it up, which usually means rerunning the purchase. Amex sometimes does this as well. Depending on the taxes and fees, the amount and travel itself could be part of it and when it was flagged, BA also did? I only use a debit card for ATMs when traveling, but I have learned to always tell them if it's outside the US travel, even to withdraw 20 from an ATM in Scotland.
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Old Oct 19, 2023, 12:59 am
  #10  
 
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Sorry to hear about your experience, OP.
As stated above, there are only very occasional reports on here of similar eventualities.
Sadly, often it seems the use of a mileage broker leads to the account being suspended for a breach of the T&Cs and there is therefore no recourse for the passenger.
To cancel your ticket at short notice and suspend your account is a somewhat nuclear option for BA to take, and I suspect that it will only have been done on the basis of pretty solid information on their side.

If I was in your situation and was 100% confident that I was not in breach of any terms then my actions would depend on how badly I needed to be at the destination.
Next day / important / unmissable work meeting / getting married (again) etc. then I would buy a ticket and then expect to have to slug it all out in court.
Obviously all depends on the level of financial risk you can cope with.
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Old Oct 19, 2023, 1:10 am
  #11  
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Our experiences in this area are limited since it's rare - to the point of being unprecedented - for anyone with a strong relationship with this forum to see this happen. Which in turn means we don't tend to hear back from those affected.

Taking that into account, I would expect this to take a few weeks - 3 or more - before you get much back from BA. This is based on the much more common issue of accounts being suspended due to identity theft, and the actuality or risk of Avios theft. That is just in terms of expectation management. It's rare for those in this area to get next day answers. The only group that tend to get next day answers are password screw-ups, where it's just the password process that's frozen the account and nothing else.
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Old Oct 19, 2023, 2:43 am
  #12  
 
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I would also add, there must be a reason for BA taking these actions, so it is quite wrong to assume they did it for fun/for no reason.

On the flip side imagine how pi**ed off you would be if your Avios bank had been fraudulently raided - and that does occasionally happen too.

So there are (automated) procedures that kick in under certain scenarios, triggered as others have suggested by an unusual action/condition/event, or series of them. And no BA staff or agent will discuss them - they wont know. And even if they did know, to discuss them gives genuine fraudsters ideas of the controls in placeand ways to circumvent them next time....

The parallel is when your debit card is declined when you have loads of money in your account. There are suspicious activity triggers that result in a card decline/freeze to protect the card holder. In this case it is nothing more than embarrassing - although it can be inconvenient too if you dont have another card with you!
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Mutu is offline  
Old Oct 19, 2023, 2:59 am
  #13  
 
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I echo what others have said - this sounds like a fraud trigger has occurred. That's not to say you are a fraudster, but something about the way you booked the ticket, is suspicious to them.

In your dealings with BA to resolve this, try to imagine what a real fraudster might do, and realise that BA will be prepared for that.

The first thing a fraudster would do - is insist they are not a fraudster. BA will have set procedures for establishing whether you are who you say you are. The more you try and speed this up, or try to find ways around it - the more BA will suspect you really are a fraudster. Remain calm in your dealings and provide them the information they request.

You should still be annoyed, but save that annoyance until after the immediate matter is resolved.


Good luck
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Old Oct 19, 2023, 3:23 am
  #14  
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave
Our experiences in this area are limited since it's rare - to the point of being unprecedented - for anyone with a strong relationship with this forum to see this happen. Which in turn means we don't tend to hear back from those affected.
Totally agree. The OP won't be back.

I know that "victim blaming" is a bad habit amongst FTers. But people who use legitimately use their own Avios to book partner J flights at very short notice aren't people who have never used Flyertalk before. So it's pretty normal to assume that we haven't heard the whole or real story.
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Old Oct 19, 2023, 3:27 am
  #15  
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Originally Posted by craigthemif
Totally agree. The OP won't be back.

I know that "victim blaming" is a bad habit amongst FTers. But people who use legitimately use their own Avios to book partner J flights at very short notice aren't people who have never used Flyertalk before. So it's pretty normal to assume that we haven't heard the whole or real story.
Conversely I would suggest that most people who make award bookings have never even heard of flyertalk - there is nio secret knowledge that bookings can be made on partners or at short notice and I suspect there are plenty of non FTers that may use points that way
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