Involuntary downgrade

Old Jan 6, 20, 4:56 pm
  #1  
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Involuntary downgrade

Looking for some advise from the brain trust here. Hereís the situation: I had a business class ticket for a two-leg journey to the US. First leg from HEL to US on AY, second leg US domestic on AA. A combination of heavy headwinds and dog slow US immigration caused me to miss my connection. AA set me up in a hotel and rebooked me for the next morning, but first class was already sold out, and I ended up traveling in 58÷. So Iíve paid for a first class seat but got to travel in coach.

Now, the question is whether I would be entitled to any compensation for the downgrade, and if so, from whom (AA or AY)? Both flights were AY coded, although the downgraded leg obviously operated by AA. The decision to downgrade was made by AA, but the reason for having to rebook in the first place was AY.
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Old Jan 6, 20, 4:57 pm
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Did they ask you for your consent? Or perhaps let you choose, like "fly Y in the morning, or F ten hours later"?
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Old Jan 6, 20, 5:03 pm
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EC 261/2004 should apply according to this ECJ case (both flight are AY-coded).

https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/...cp190095en.pdf
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Old Jan 6, 20, 8:01 pm
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Originally Posted by ffay005 View Post
Did they ask you for your consent? Or perhaps let you choose, like "fly Y in the morning, or F ten hours later"?
No they did not. Only thing offered was the Y seat.
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Old Jan 6, 20, 8:05 pm
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Originally Posted by miikkak View Post
EC 261/2004 should apply according to this ECJ case (both flight are AY-coded).

https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/...cp190095en.pdf
The delayed arrival was caused by very strong headwinds, i.e. weather. I suppose that rules out EC 261.
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Old Jan 7, 20, 2:43 am
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Originally Posted by _ra_ View Post
The delayed arrival was caused by very strong headwinds, i.e. weather. I suppose that rules out EC 261.
In addition to compensation for delays, EC261 also governs (among other things) compensation for involuntary downgrades. As opposed to delayed flights, there is no force majeure exception for involuntary downgrades, so they must reimburse you.

I would probably first write to AY without referring to EC261. It is very much possible that they will give you monetary compensation (or a gift card) even without requesting legal compensation. The amount of compensation under EC261 is likely not very high, as the AA leg was likely very short compared to the AY leg. You likely had one fare basis for the entire trip, so your compensation for the involuntary downgrade should in my understanding be calculated pro rata (length of AA sector / length of entire trip).
2. If an operating air carrier places a passenger in a class lower than that for which the ticket was purchased, it shall within seven days, by the means provided for in Article 7(3), reimburse

(a) 30 % of the price of the ticket for all flights of 1500 kilometres or less, or

(b) 50 % of the price of the ticket for all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 kilometres, except flights between the European territory of the Member States and the French overseas departments, and for all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres, or

(c) 75 % of the price of the ticket for all flights not falling under (a) or (b), including flights between the European territory of the Member States and the French overseas departments.



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Old Jan 9, 20, 8:42 am
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The delayed arrival was caused by very strong headwinds, i.e. weather. I suppose that rules out EC 261.
You have all wrong.
First of all an EC261/2004 downgrade refund can NOT! be waived by the airline due to "exceptional circumstances".

For the downgrade refund -> AY owes you a 75% refund of total ticket value (for the two segments) of the pro-rata distance of the second segment.
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Old Jan 9, 20, 9:13 am
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The cited case expressly deals with delay compensation and makes no mention of downgrade refunds (note that there is no compensation for downgrades). Until an unless a court with precedential authority rules to the contrary, there is close to no chance that AY will refund anything other than the fare difference between F and Y for the AA segment (presuming that AY is the ticketing carrier).

In any event, OP could certainly have asked for a later flight in F. AA staff are not obligated to reel off every conceiveable reroute. While the norm would be for a passenger to want to make it to his destination soonest, it is hardly odd or infrequent to explore later options in F/.J. One does have to ask though. Sooner or later, depending on destination, there will be a flight (although it might not be the next day).

OP will need to be prepared to pursue a claim under the Regulation and then pursue that through a lengthy appeals process or accept a refund based on fare. AA will also likely issue a smallish number of miles as a gesture. Those may be of limited value to OP, although one never knows.
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Old Jan 9, 20, 9:35 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
The cited case expressly deals with delay compensation and makes no mention of downgrade refunds (note that there is no compensation for downgrades). Until an unless a court with precedential authority rules to the contrary, there is close to no chance that AY will refund anything other than the fare difference between F and Y for the AA segment (presuming that AY is the ticketing carrier).

In any event, OP could certainly have asked for a later flight in F. AA staff are not obligated to reel off every conceiveable reroute. While the norm would be for a passenger to want to make it to his destination soonest, it is hardly odd or infrequent to explore later options in F/.J. One does have to ask though. Sooner or later, depending on destination, there will be a flight (although it might not be the next day).

OP will need to be prepared to pursue a claim under the Regulation and then pursue that through a lengthy appeals process or accept a refund based on fare. AA will also likely issue a smallish number of miles as a gesture. Those may be of limited value to OP, although one never knows.
The ECJ ruling makes very clear that EC261/2004 regulation applies when both flights are AY-coded. Downgrade and delay compensations are part of the same EC regulation

By today’s judgment, the Court states, first, that a flight with one or more connections which is the subject of a single reservation constitutes a whole for the purposes of the right of passengers to compensation provided for in theregulationon the rights ofair passengers. Accordingly, connecting flights of which the first flight was performed from an airport located in the territory of aMember State, in this case Prague, fall within the scope of that regulation even if the second of those connecting flights was performed by a non-Community carrier from and to a country which is not an EU Member State.
https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/...cp190095en.pdf
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Old Jan 9, 20, 9:40 am
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Originally Posted by miikkak View Post
The ECJ ruling makes very clear that EC261/2004 regulation applies when both flights are AY-coded. Downgrade and delay compensations are part of the same EC regulation



https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/...cp190095en.pdf
To be clear, the decision speaks only to "compensation" and the rationale of the decision is all about "conpensation", There is no compensation for downgrades. It is a refund. That is the plain language of the Regulation. You are free to persist in using the term "downgrade refund" but it is incorrect in a substantively fatal (to a claim) way.

In any event, OP is free to file a claim and then pursue it to the ECJ.
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Old Jan 9, 20, 10:46 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
To be clear, the decision speaks only to "compensation" and the rationale of the decision is all about "conpensation", There is no compensation for downgrades. It is a refund. That is the plain language of the Regulation. You are free to persist in using the term "downgrade refund" but it is incorrect in a substantively fatal (to a claim) way.

In any event, OP is free to file a claim and then pursue it to the ECJ.
Often1, the ECJ decision is clear in that the ruling applies to any claim based on EC261. The ECJ states the following in the ruling:

Connecting flights such as those at issue in the main proceedings, connecting Prague to Bangkok via Abu Dhabi, departing from an airport located in the territory of a Member State, therefore fall within the scope of Regulation No 261/2004.

I also fail to see what value is added by suggesting that the OP pursue the matter to the ECJ if Finnair refuses to pay. The OP has the option of using the Consumer Disputes Board if based in Finland, and similar free options for pursuing the case exist elsewhere in most if not all EU countries. The OP is, of course, also not "free to" pursue the matter to the ECJ, as a plaintiff cannot force a national court to refer a case to the ECJ.
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Old Jan 10, 20, 2:56 am
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I had an earlier experience of an involuntary downgrade due to a delay with a missed connection. Both flights were AY-coded but operated by BA. I ended up getting the EU261 delay compensation from BA. For the involuntary downgrade BA pointed me to AY, who ended up refunding less than 100 euros for a transatlantic flight downgrade from PE to Y. Downgrade was thus on the longest leg of the journey. Needless to say, I was extremely disappointed but did not have the time and energy to pursue this further. Despite asking, I never got any information on how the refund was calculated, but my gut tells me it was the pro rata amount of the impacted segment fare minus the pro rata amount of the highest possible Y fare.

Re points, original routing credit was promptly issued by AY.
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