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Downgrade Compensation with Amex Travel Booking + CEDR Next Steps

Downgrade Compensation with Amex Travel Booking + CEDR Next Steps

Old Apr 23, 2024, 2:42 pm
  #1  
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Question Downgrade Compensation with Amex Travel Booking + CEDR Next Steps

Thank you in advance for the help with this particularly tricky situation. I’m currently working through a CEDR case against British Airways and am wondering if anyone has run into a similar issue when claiming downgrade compensation.

British Airways lawyers have responded to my downgrade compensation claim saying that because I’ve booked through Amex (which they’ve designated as a travel agent), Amex is supposed to compensate me for the downgrade, not British Airways. I’ve tried that route, but Amex said British Airways is responsible. Per EU261, downgrades are entitled to compensation of 75% if my distance is >3,500km, so my sense is that British Airways is on the hook.

To keep what happened simple:
  1. I booked a business class flight through Amex
  2. The flight took off, but was forced to return to the departure airport due to an electrical failure after an hour or so
  3. I was rebooked onto a different flight in economy class >4 hours later
British Airways has compensated me GBP 520 for the delay but refuses to provide downgrade compensation. Why would Amex be responsible for the downgrade compensation as British Airways claims? It just doesn’t seem to make much sense to me.I plan on responding in the CEDR portal, but my questions are simply:
  1. Has anyone been in a similar situation?
  2. Is British Airways right?
  3. What’s the best way to respond from here?
  4. After I respond, does CEDR then adjudicate?

Last edited by awdz8112; Apr 23, 2024 at 2:42 pm Reason: typo
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Old Apr 23, 2024, 3:14 pm
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Welcome to Flyertalk and welcome to the BA forum.

One area where there is some previous cases of this is here:

The 2024 BA compensation thread: Your guide to Regulation EC261 / UK261

Because the downgrade is a reimbursement, not compensation, it is usually deemed as a refund off the original ticket price. So AMEX should really handle this, but I'm not surprised that they won't do so. In which case in law it's BA's responsibility. The key area of this is the Mennens case, which went to the CJEU, and provides the refund calculation mechanism - details are linked in from the wiki of the thread above. If AMEX won't pay Mennens then you should go to CEDR citing Article 10 and Mennens.
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Old Apr 23, 2024, 3:20 pm
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Thank you so much. Do you happen to know if the Mennens case say the airline is on the hook specifically even when booked through Amex or did it simply establish precedent for airlines compensating for downgrades?
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Old Apr 23, 2024, 3:36 pm
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Originally Posted by awdz8112
Thank you so much. Do you happen to know if the Mennens case say the airline is on the hook specifically even when booked through Amex or did it simply establish precedent for airlines compensating for downgrades?
Mennens give the calculation methodology for downgrades, essentially allowing airlines to recoup essential taxes. It hardly needs to be spelled out any more clearly that the words of article 10.2, it's the operating carrier's responsibility, and under article 13 BA is able to reclaim this from AMEX if it wishes.
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Old Apr 23, 2024, 11:21 pm
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I would push AMEX to process the 75% refund as AMEX collected the fare from you. BA may not even have info on how the fare was calculated and collected by AMEX. Not entirely unreasonable by BA to ask you to get the refund from the party you booked with and paid to.
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Old Apr 24, 2024, 12:01 am
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Originally Posted by SK AAR
I would push AMEX to process the 75% refund as AMEX collected the fare from you. BA may not even have info on how the fare was calculated and collected by AMEX. Not entirely unreasonable by BA to ask you to get the refund from the party you booked with and paid to.
It is unreasonable for the party that has liability to process the refund to try and pass it on to a party that has zero responsibility to process it
If BA needs to liaise with travel agency to identify cost, that is for BA to do
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Old Apr 24, 2024, 5:02 am
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BA specifically instructs travel agents *not* to self-issue refunds for downgrades themselves, directing agents to contact BA so that they can process it.

While not all people who work for BA have access to the fare details (especially front-line / airport teams), teams involved with refunds and advanced ticket servicing can see the total fare calculation of the ticket even for IT and private fares, calculating the refund amount is not an actual challenge; it is just an attempt to pass responsibility on to another party and give the customer a runaround.

From BA's own instructions to agents:

From BA's agency refund instructions
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Last edited by danielbk; Apr 24, 2024 at 5:23 am
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Old Apr 24, 2024, 5:22 am
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Originally Posted by SK AAR
I would push AMEX to process the 75% refund as AMEX collected the fare from you. BA may not even have info on how the fare was calculated and collected by AMEX. Not entirely unreasonable by BA to ask you to get the refund from the party you booked with and paid to.
Honestly, each of your posts should have a health warning attached that your advice is almost always wrong.

Last edited by ScruttonStreet; Apr 24, 2024 at 5:31 am
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Old Apr 24, 2024, 8:46 am
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If the tkt is flown, a travel agent won't be able to take any action anyway, they don't have anything to work with. BA would be the only party able to process any downgrade reimbursement.
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Old Apr 24, 2024, 12:48 pm
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Originally Posted by ScruttonStreet
Honestly, each of your posts should have a health warning attached that your advice is almost always wrong.
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Old May 11, 2024, 5:40 pm
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Thank you to everyone in this thread for the advice. I've just responded to CEDR and will keep you posted.
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Old May 11, 2024, 6:48 pm
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Originally Posted by SK AAR
I would push AMEX to process the 75% refund as AMEX collected the fare from you. BA may not even have info on how the fare was calculated and collected by AMEX. Not entirely unreasonable by BA to ask you to get the refund from the party you booked with and paid to.
misread 241

Last edited by nufnuf77; May 11, 2024 at 8:59 pm
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Old May 22, 2024, 3:22 am
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Just had BA's response to my claim for an F to J downgrade, CEDR ruled in my favour and they have not contested, so 75% of fare (both Avios and cash) has been agreed.

A bit frustrating that they make you do this knowing that they will lose!
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Old May 22, 2024, 6:57 am
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Originally Posted by crowe
Just had BA's response to my claim for an F to J downgrade, CEDR ruled in my favour and they have not contested, so 75% of fare (both Avios and cash) has been agreed.

A bit frustrating that they make you do this knowing that they will lose!
No, they make you do this knowing that many/most people will give up!

Good result though, well done for persevering...

Last edited by ratechaser; May 22, 2024 at 10:46 am
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Old May 22, 2024, 7:57 am
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Originally Posted by crowe
Just had BA's response to my claim for an F to J downgrade, CEDR ruled in my favour and they have not contested, so 75% of fare (both Avios and cash) has been agreed.

A bit frustrating that they make you do this knowing that they will lose!
I applaud your tenacity, and am pleased with the result.
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