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SAS return to Europa from Shanghai (Corona Virus)

SAS return to Europa from Shanghai (Corona Virus)

Old Feb 7, 20, 9:34 am
  #1  
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SAS return to Europa from Shanghai (Corona Virus)

Dear SAS flyertalk community,

I am currently in mainland China and luckily in a province relatively unaffected by the current Corona virus. I had a return flight back to Europe scheduled for Monday (Feb 10th) which was cancelled in the beginning of the month when SAS stopped their schedule to China. Two days ago, I called their service hotline (as EBD). Of course I had prepared myself beforehand and already searched for alternatives on the SAS website. There were still several options to fly from Shanghai (with MU) to Hong Kong and from there back to CPH on SK966. I talked to a very friendly phone agent who after explaining my situation had initially concerns whether this was possible, but then agreed to consult with his superiors. Upon returning on the line he told me that he had even better news and he could rebook me on any date in February an AirChina flight PVG-MUC and then SK MUC-CPH because interline agreements had been extended until the end of the month. I agreed to get rebooked right on February 10th and was very happy about the friendly and efficient service and thanked the agent for his prompt support.

Today, I sat together with my Chinese partner (also EBD) and reminded him to change his ticket (booked separately with different leave but same return date - Feb 10th) as well. He called twice the SAS hotline and met twice very unhelpful agents. They both said that he has only two options: either he applies for a refund or he travels back in between March 16th and May 31st. When talking to the second agent, I actually prepared my partner already with screenshots from the SAS website for dates that were still bookable online back to CPH (not on the 10th but e.g. on the 16th, see below). After some discussion and again consulting superiors, he said that these options are not possible and that SAS had no contract with China Eastern (MU). I got a bit impatient listening into the call and went on the speaker - and asked the agent, if he could not rebook via HKG, then whether he could not offer a solution similar to mine (an AirChina flight). The agent was very astonished and said that this was even more impossible to rebook to another carrier for the intercontinental leg. He even said that agent that rebooked my flight must have been mistaken and I should give him my booking number so he could cancel my AirChina flight as well(!?!).
I refused to share my booking code to him and we terminated the call, first because this was completely done in a rude way (no apologies at all!) and second I didn't believe him because I have been rebooked by SAS several times already to Lufthansa, LOT or even intercontinental to KLM and Delta during the last year strike period.

I would like to hear the echo from the community here about this incident. I feel there went something really wrong. Also my partner feels he was discriminated and mistreated because his ticket bears a Chinese name and not a European like mine (He is though a Schengen resident and would overstay if he would need to stay in China until mid March). I will anyway try again another agent over the weekend and also complain in Copenhagen when I (hopefully) return on Monday morning.

Please see also a sample routing that can still be found (and booked) on the SAS website below

herwig is offline  
Old Feb 7, 20, 9:57 am
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Originally Posted by herwig View Post
After some discussion and again consulting superiors, he said that these options are not possible and that SAS had no contract with China Eastern (MU). I got a bit impatient listening into the call and went on the speaker - and asked the agent, if he could not rebook via HKG, then whether he could not offer a solution similar to mine (an AirChina flight). The agent was very astonished and said that this was even more impossible to rebook to another carrier for the intercontinental leg. He even said that agent that rebooked my flight must have been mistaken and I should give him my booking number so he could cancel my AirChina flight as well(!?!).
I refused to share my booking code to him and we terminated the call, first because this was completely done in a rude way (no apologies at all!) and second I didn't believe him because I have been rebooked by SAS several times already to Lufthansa, LOT or even intercontinental to KLM and Delta during the last year strike period.

I would like to hear the echo from the community here about this incident.
BS, of course they can book you on any commercial flight. Of course MU would be more expensive but a *A partner like CA wouldn't be a problem. But they excluded that option in their terms:

https://www.sas.se/trafikinformation/meddelande/VOLUNTARY CHANGE OF FLIGHT
We are offering our customers travelling to, from or via Beijing, Shanghai and Hongkong to voluntary change their reservation.

You have the possibility to rebook your flight to another travel date or refund your ticket according to below options:

Is the departure date of your flight to, from or via Beijing or Shanghai between 01 March 2020 – 15 March 2020 and your ticket number starts with 117, issued on/before 04 February 2020 on a SAS operated flight? Then your new departure date should be 16 March 2020 until 31 May 2020.

Is the departure date of your flight to, from or via Hongkong between 30 January 2020 – 29 February 2020 and your ticket number starts with 117 issued on/before 28 January 2020 on a SAS operated flight? Then your new departure date should be no later than 31 May 2020.

You can change your travel dates only if the same airlines and travel class is available as mentioned in your original ticket. You will not have to pay the change fee.

REFUND
We also offer a refund if you are travelling to, from or via Beijing, Shanghai and Hongkong between 26 January 2020 - 15 March 2020.
So, they could, but they won't.

Originally Posted by herwig View Post
I feel there went something really wrong. Also my partner feels he was discriminated and mistreated because his ticket bears a Chinese name and not a European like mine (He is though a Schengen resident and would overstay if he would need to stay in China until mid March). I will anyway try again another agent over the weekend and also complain in Copenhagen when I (hopefully) return on Monday morning.

Please see also a sample routing that can still be found (and booked) on the SAS website below
Be careful with claiming this was 'racial' or 'ethical' motivated. Probably the agent was just following the rules as in red above.
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Old Feb 7, 20, 10:13 am
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Originally Posted by fassy View Post
BS, of course they can book you on any commercial flight. Of course MU would be more expensive but a *A partner like CA wouldn't be a problem. But they excluded that option in their terms:



So, they could, but they won't.



Be careful with claiming this was 'racial' or 'ethical' motivated. Probably the agent was just following the rules as in red above.
Well I don't think he's voluntarily changing his flight. The return he's currently on is cancelled. So they will very much have to rebook him on any available option.
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Old Feb 7, 20, 10:35 am
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Of course the flight change was not done voluntarily. The flights had been booked back in late September / early October (both in Plus) and I got aware of the cancellation only on Feb 3rd/4th because originally it was announced that SAS would still continue flying to/from China. There had been no active announcement by email or call by SAS neither (though to be fair I might have not been fully reachable on my EU phone all the time).
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Old Feb 7, 20, 10:37 am
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Originally Posted by Nick Art View Post
Well I don't think he's voluntarily changing his flight. The return he's currently on is cancelled. So they will very much have to rebook him on any available option.
Oh well, that so true. Didnít make that connection... yes... and for sure they can book CA or MU or whatever for that.

So, HUCA.
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Old Feb 8, 20, 1:23 pm
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It really depends what reportection agreements SAS has made to cover the cancellations. They can't book whatever airline, that airline is not required to accept the pax on the 117 document. Such rebooking onto IATA OAL during irregs is only possible when the flight is cancelled about 24h before departure,
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Old Feb 8, 20, 1:52 pm
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SAS can at any time book a ticket on any airline that is a member of IATA for whatever reason. There are IATA agreeements that cover this. You can even go to as SAS ticket office and buy a regular ticket on their competitors, like British Airways and Air France. That ticket is just as binding as e.g. a ticket booked through Expedia. Expedia can also at any time book a ticket on any IATA airline.

An airline cannot refuse to transport a passenger because it is booked on the "wrong" ticket stock. That would be a violation of the IATA membership rules, and a violation of EU 261.

SAS will naturally have to pay the airline for this, so I don't understand why any airline would even think of refusing to accept the passenger. Why fly with an empty seat if SAS will pay for that seat through IATA?
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Old Feb 8, 20, 8:12 pm
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Originally Posted by RedChili View Post
SAS can at any time book a ticket on any airline that is a member of IATA for whatever reason. There are IATA agreeements that cover this. You can even go to as SAS ticket office and buy a regular ticket on their competitors, like British Airways and Air France. That ticket is just as binding as e.g. a ticket booked through Expedia. Expedia can also at any time book a ticket on any IATA airline.

An airline cannot refuse to transport a passenger because it is booked on the "wrong" ticket stock. That would be a violation of the IATA membership rules, and a violation of EU 261.

SAS will naturally have to pay the airline for this, so I don't understand why any airline would even think of refusing to accept the passenger. Why fly with an empty seat if SAS will pay for that seat through IATA?
Well. I think there is a big difference in the price an airline pay when there is IRROPS and when it's just a normal booking. The good question is how the cancellations due to the virus outbreak is viewed. As far as I understand it's exempted from the EU261, which will also mean that the airlines obligation to rebook on different metal and route is limited.
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Old Feb 9, 20, 2:04 am
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Originally Posted by highupinthesky View Post
Well. I think there is a big difference in the price an airline pay when there is IRROPS and when it's just a normal booking. The good question is how the cancellations due to the virus outbreak is viewed. As far as I understand it's exempted from the EU261, which will also mean that the airlines obligation to rebook on different metal and route is limited.
Seriously, I have no idea whether they have special fares for IRROPS or not. Could be. But the point is that it's possible for them. When you book tickets on SAS.se/dk/no, you can even find lots of tickets there which are on various airlines, and which are booked on 117 ticket stock. The OP showed a screenshot of an MU PVG-HKG with a connection to SK HKG-CPH.

A force majeure cancellation is exempted from the EU 261 rule about compensation, but it is not exempted from duty of care and rebooking.
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Old Feb 9, 20, 2:53 am
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I believe the SK policy for the Corona virus cancellations is not to allow rerouting or rebooking to other carriers. This is in line with how other carriers deal with this - just take a look in other forums about other carriers rebooking policy. So you probably caught the first agent off guard and he/she did a rebooking to CA that was not allowed/unauthorized whereas the agents that your friend talked to were updated on the SK waiver/policy terms.

I doubt this has anything to do with discrimination - don't throw that card. Be happy that you accomplished something that shouldn't have been allowed.
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Old Feb 9, 20, 3:22 am
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Originally Posted by SK AAR View Post
I believe the SK policy for the Corona virus cancellations is not to allow rerouting or rebooking to other carriers. This is in line with how other carriers deal with this - just take a look in other forums about other carriers rebooking policy. So you probably caught the first agent off guard and he/she did a rebooking to CA that was not allowed/unauthorized whereas the agents that your friend talked to were updated on the SK waiver/policy terms.

I doubt this has anything to do with discrimination - don't throw that card. Be happy that you accomplished something that shouldn't have been allowed.
I too doubt this has anything to do with discrimination, but as stated above. The restrictions of not rebooking on different carrier is for the volunteer rebooking of not canceled flights. There are different rules for rebooking of canceled flights. As SK probably have a lot of people calling for rebooking at the moment, I wont be surprised if the first agent were right, and the last is one who has been thrown into the job recently due to the high number of rebookings, and therefore don'r know all the variants of the rules.
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Old Feb 9, 20, 4:34 am
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Anyway EU 261 would kick in? The fact is that WHO didn't say anything about banning air traffic between China and other countries so it's the airlines own choice to cancel flight from and to China.

If a flight is cancelled OP's friend should be allowed to be rerouted - I got rerouted with LH from HKG due to MX(SK threw most people on AY and I refused because I needed my *G luggage allowance)..
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Old Feb 9, 20, 4:41 am
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Originally Posted by RedChili View Post
SAS can at any time book a ticket on any airline that is a member of IATA for whatever reason. There are IATA agreeements that cover this. You can even go to as SAS ticket office and buy a regular ticket on their competitors, like British Airways and Air France. That ticket is just as binding as e.g. a ticket booked through Expedia. Expedia can also at any time book a ticket on any IATA airline.

An airline cannot refuse to transport a passenger because it is booked on the "wrong" ticket stock. That would be a violation of the IATA membership rules, and a violation of EU 261.

SAS will naturally have to pay the airline for this, so I don't understand why any airline would even think of refusing to accept the passenger. Why fly with an empty seat if SAS will pay for that seat through IATA?
The IATA partner will not transport pax on a fare that they don't participate in. The original tickets are most certainly booked on the IATA full flex fares, so no chance. What you describe is the multilateral IATA fares, which cost a lot. SAS is not going to absorb the difference.

WHat may have been the case for the OP is that s/he had a fare that allowed a MU flight as a feeder in the first place, so rebooking was easy. The fare of Case 2 may not have that clause of feeder airlines.
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Old Feb 9, 20, 5:53 am
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Originally Posted by nacho View Post
Anyway EU 261 would kick in? The fact is that WHO didn't say anything about banning air traffic between China and other countries so it's the airlines own choice to cancel flight from and to China.
The foreign affairs of multiple countries advice against traveling to China, and have evacuated people from China. That is enough to void EU 261

Originally Posted by nacho View Post
If a flight is cancelled OP's friend should be allowed to be rerouted
I don't think anyone here disagrees to this.
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Old Feb 9, 20, 7:03 am
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Originally Posted by nacho View Post
Anyway EU 261 would kick in? The fact is that WHO didn't say anything about banning air traffic between China and other countries so it's the airlines own choice to cancel flight from and to China.

If a flight is cancelled OP's friend should be allowed to be rerouted - I got rerouted with LH from HKG due to MX(SK threw most people on AY and I refused because I needed my *G luggage allowance)..
Was that cancellation more or less than 24 hours before departure? That was Oliver's point, there are different rules for endorsement of tickets on tro other airlines. The case here is for a cancellation more than 24 hours in advance.
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