Misconnecting on separate PNRs

Old Dec 26, 17, 4:16 am
  #1  
DS7
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Misconnecting on separate PNRs

Seasons Greetings to you all

I wanted to share with you a recent experience I had so that others may learn from this but I also wanted to seek advice as to what, if anything, to do about it.

Earlier this year, I took advantage of a competitive Sale and purchased a return ticket on QR from Stockholm (ARN) to Auckland (AKL). I needed to see some friends in ARN so this worked well so I booked a (separate PNR) BA return flight LHR - ARN. At the time of booking, the flight from DOH to ARN was due to land at 0545 so I was in two minds whether to book the earlier BA flight ARN - LHR departing at 0720 the same morning or the much later one departing at 1140. However, i found out that it is possible to check luggage all the way through from AKL to LHR so without the need to collect bags and re-check them again, I booked the 0720 BA flight.

All was going swimmingly well until we boarded the ARN bound flight in Doha. The flight boarded a little late but nothing to be concerned at the time until I overheard a conversation between a QR cabin crew member and another passenger saying that we were being delayed as there we were waiting for approx 50 passengers who were on a late inbound flight from Saigon. When the crew member eventually got to my seat, I confirmed this with him. I checked the status of the Saigon flight and saw that it was only just about to land so a quick calculation showed that there was no way, we would make that BA flight at ARN. With this in mind, I explained my predicament to the QR crew member and asked if we could get disembark and be booked on a flight direct from DOH to LHR. The crew member agreed that this made sense and so he got off the plane and went to speak to a member of the ground crew. Whilst I was waiting, the captain also spoke to me and said he would try his best to get to ARN perhaps only 30 mins late but when I told him that our connecting flight was at 0720, he agreed that we were very unlikely to make this.

Eventually, a member of the ground crew boarded the flight and to cut a long story short, he was very apologetic but said that finding our checked suitcase would mean that the flight might be delayed even longer but he would do his best to ensure we were "fast tracked" to the BA flight once we landed in ARN. This sounded a bit far fetched but not wanting to inconvenience the rest of the plane's passengers anymore, I took him at his word. We eventually left over and hour late.

Arriving in ARN, we were met at the gate by a QR rep who said she had no way to fast track us to the BA gate (in a different terminal) but that she would call ahead to let them know that we were on the way. Arriving at the gate, the aircraft was still there but we were told that we could not board as we were "not on this flight". No call had been received from QR to advise that we were on our way and the dispatcher/captain did not want to delay the flight whilst they did the necessary to get us on the flight. The BA lady was very apologetic rebooked us on the later departure.

As you can imagine, after the extended travel time from AKL, we were keen to get home and had plans for that day. A 4 hour plus delay was not what we needed. That said, there are risks with booking two separate PNRs. My hope was that with our baggage checked through to our final destination (courtesy of OneWorld), the risk would be mitigated. If there was bad weather or the plane had to be replaced or whatever, there could be no real argument. The irony and my biggest gripe here is that we missed our flight directly because QR didn't want others to misconnect. The flight was delayed so that other passengers on a late inbound could make it. I understand this but, it also caused us significant inconvenience.

That's my story. My question to you all is, in this circumstance, should I (and would i be within my rights) to seek compensation from QR? If so, what, if anything is reasonable to expect?

Any and all advice/comment is appreciated.

Thanks
DS7
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Old Dec 26, 17, 4:26 am
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It's always difficult, I've been in your situation. Years ago, I was on a Northwest flight to TPA. Another Florida-bound flight was cancelled, so they put those pax on our flight and we went to that city (Palm Beach, maybe?) first, making us quite late into TPA.

It boils down to a business decision on QR's part. There apparently weren't anywhere close to 50 pax on your flight connecting to LHR; so it was better to inconvenience the few of you rather than the 50 coming from SGN. I completely sympathize with you; but I also understand the business decision that QR made.
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Old Dec 26, 17, 4:33 am
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Originally Posted by DS7 View Post
As you can imagine, after the extended travel time from AKL, we were keen to get home and had plans for that day. A 4 hour plus delay was not what we needed. That said, there are risks with booking two separate PNRs. My hope was that with our baggage checked through to our final destination (courtesy of OneWorld), the risk would be mitigated. If there was bad weather or the plane had to be replaced or whatever, there could be no real argument. The irony and my biggest gripe here is that we missed our flight directly because QR didn't want others to misconnect. The flight was delayed so that other passengers on a late inbound could make it. I understand this but, it also caused us significant inconvenience.
You never had a connection in the usual meaning of that word in relation to flights.
Just 1 flight ending and another flight starting, that just happen to be at the same airport on the same day.

Depending on the ticket t&c's BA could have required you to buy another ticket and forfeit the booked flight as a no show.

Looks like QR tried to help, as far as practical.

You will not get any compensation. The BA flight you no showed on is not relevant
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Last edited by Mwenenzi; Dec 26, 17 at 4:39 am
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Old Dec 26, 17, 4:45 am
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I think QR did more than they were obliged to - entertained a discussion about rerouting, talk of fast tracking you at ARN. Both of these were above and beyond what they needed to do.

You could register your dissatisfaction that your flight was delayed to ARN due to the connecting passengers from SGN, but it seems they were applying common sense and protecting the interests of the many. I doubt you will get anything from QR, their service recovery has a very poor track record.
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Old Dec 26, 17, 4:54 am
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I don't mean to sound harsh, but to focus on the facts, to make a long story short, you have absolutely no leg to stand on. Forget about it, consider yourself very lucky that it only happened to you in the return direction so that you should 'only' have lost your cheap ARN-LHR return flight and not your expensive ARN-AKL entire trip, even luckier that you apparently did not even lose that ARN-LHR at all as, if I understand the story correctly, BA accepted to put you on the next flight at no cost which they absolutely did not have to do. Had they applied the rules, you should have needed to buy an entirely new ticket..

- You did not have a connection, and as such, you bear the entire risk of not being able to make the departure of your second ticket;
- Your proposed time was entirely unrealistic for two separate tickets considering that BA and QR operate from different terminals at ARN. A mere 30 minutes delay (which is frequent) would have likely made you miss your BA flight, especially if there had been problems with OLCI which happens more than occasionally with BA;
- QR did not have to check your luggage through on separate PNRs, do note that most Oneworld airlines would not do it nowadays, including BA, AA, QF, etc. To hold that helpful move from QR against them by expecting it to grant you a protection that you never had in the first place is quite paradoxical;
- QR would not have rerouted you to LHR for free. had they allowed you to disembark, they would have repriced the ticket for your new itinerary plus levied the change fee, it would have cost you a fortune, far more than buying a new ARN-LHR ticket;
- They did not technically have to contact BA or facilitate things either nor meet you at the plane. Again, you were on your own. incidentally, I wouldn't necessarily believe the BA agents that no call was received from QR. BA ops are sub-contracted and their handling agents are not the most organised it is quite likely that a call was made but that whoever dealt with it could not care less.

In any case, you really need to revise your expectations here -you were in fact quite lucky in the very limited effect the delay had on your trip. There was a high likelihood that the luggage should not have been checked through and a very strong chance that you could have lost your ARN-LHR altogether especially with such a tight time planned between your flights. I know the experience must have been stressful and unpleasant for you, but in fact, you should count your blessings because this could and arguably was likely to have been much worse.
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Old Dec 26, 17, 3:22 pm
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This is how it will go:

"I want compensation."
"No."

Booking two separate tickets may offer great savings but always has huge risks. This is one of the many cases shared around here that didn't pan out.
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Old Dec 26, 17, 3:37 pm
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This will not be what you want to hear, nor I recognise why you started this thread, but, I think you can consider yourself extremely fortunate that BA rebooked you to the 1140 flight. They were not obliged to do so.
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Old Dec 26, 17, 3:51 pm
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Seems you have already been compensated..... by the luck gods !
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Old Dec 27, 17, 12:51 am
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It sounds more like you should be offering compensation to BA rather than seeking it from QR.
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Old Dec 27, 17, 1:17 am
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You should never have booked such a short connection on 2 different PNR for the simple reason than delays and flying schedule changes happen. Under a 2 hours flight schedule change QR won't offer you to rebook on another flight free of charge.
You were very lucky to make it with only a few hours delay without having to pay more...
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Old Dec 27, 17, 1:46 am
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ETA 0545 and ETD 0720 on two PNR’s... Boy, thats tight..

BA was very generous to rebook you without a fee (or did you have flexible tickets anyway?)
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Old Dec 27, 17, 11:20 am
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Originally Posted by EvD86 View Post
ETA 0545 and ETD 0720 on two PNR’s... Boy, thats tight..

BA was very generous to rebook you without a fee (or did you have flexible tickets anyway?)
Actually, it's not that tight if everything goes to schedule. I've connected from QR to BA at ARN several times, and always book myself on the 11am BA flight precisely to avoid this problem. But every single time I get to watch the entire boarding process of the 7am BA flight and see it taking off while I have another 4 hours to wait.

Of course, if I ever decide to book myself on the early BA flight, that will be the day when the QR flight arrives late.
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Old Dec 27, 17, 12:19 pm
  #13  
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Wonderful! Thank you all for responding.

Perusing this, and other forums, I always find it interesting to read the variety of responses to conundrums such as the one I posted. Reading the responses to my post, it would seem that the general consensus is QR owes me nothing and I was lucky to get to London with only a few hours delay and no need to buy a new ticket from ARN. I largely disagree with this but I posted to this forum specifically to invite other opinions. I think/thought that 95 mins to connect at ARN when there was no bag to collect and recheck would be tight but adequate. I appreciate that there was risk involved because of the 2 separate tickets. My issue was the reason for the delayed inbound flight.

Anyway, thank you to all who have responded. Your responses are helpful in deciding what (or what not) to do. I hope my post will help to educate others just as posts here have educated me.

Thanks again and I wish you all seasons greetings and a happy new year! :-)
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Old Dec 27, 17, 1:20 pm
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You traveled over half-way around the world (distance wise) and you were 4 hours late. That's actually not that bad.
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Old Dec 27, 17, 3:23 pm
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Originally Posted by DS7 View Post
My issue was the reason for the delayed inbound flight.
Yes, it makes sense that it feels frustrating that in a way the airline 'chose' to delay your flight.

To start with the 'practical' aspect, it is actually unusual for airlines to delay a flight departure because of late incoming passengers, but it does happen. The decision is usually taken jointly by the flight dispatcher and the captain based on various considerations (for instance because of the sheer number of passengers on that specific connection, because this is the last flight of the day or the next flights to the destination are full so that the passengers missing the connection would be very significantly delayed, because the flight is being delayed for other reasons anyway, because a short flight time means waiting for the passengers will not affect arrival time (obviously not the case here!) or because the passengers' bags have already made it and it is likely to take less long to wait for the passengers than to identify and offload the bags.

I don't know which of those it was but cruelly, you have experienced first hand the differential effects of the fact that QR was responsible for the connection of those people booked from SGN to ARN via DOH, whilst it was not responsible for your 'non-connection' between your AKL-ARN trip and your ARN-LHR one.

Now, of course, you are totally right that in that sense QR is responsible for your and everyone's delayed arrival 30 or 45 or 60 minutes late (I don't think you give the final arrival time?) though neither more nor less than if it had been due to, say, a technical issue on the plane or a missing crew member. The thing though, is that they are only responsible for your late arrival into ARN, not for your missing your ARN-LHR flight. Their responsibility is effectively based on 'how many minutes were you delayed' and my guess is that for all practical purposes, it sounds very likely that you fall below any threshold of informal compensation (I'd guess you'd need about 2 hours or so to get something informally).

As for formal compensation for that delay, not only would you certainly fall below any formal threshold but it is worth remembering that as you were flying on a non-EU airline into the EU, you are also not protected by EC261/2004 which is the most protective legal text in the field, so that even with a delay of 3 or 4 hours, you would have been likely to rely on QR's "good will" rather than the formal entitlement you would have got if the leg had been flown by SK, AF or BA for instance.

Hopefully, by now, the exhaustion and frustration is over and all you are left with are memories of a great time in beautiful New Zealand which you got to explore in great comfort at an excellent fare, whilst ultimately, the airlines (QR by through checking your luggage and BA for accepting to put you on their next flight at no cost as a gesture of good will) ended up significantly mitigating risks that were very real. Next time, however, do book the 11.40 or buy a flexible ticket back and in particular, on the outbound, do plan plenty of time between your positioning flight and your long haul departure (many people choose to arrive the day before to be safe). If you do a search, you'll find plenty of stories on FT of people who planned a lot more than 1h30 between separate bookings and ended up completely losing tickets worth several thousands of pounds, and it is really not worth the aggravation!
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