Reader Question: Philippine Airlines London – Manila Flight Cancellation On November 24 & Rebooking To Alternate Airline (PR Not Co-operating)

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A LoyaltyLobby reader forwarded me an email that she had sent to CAA (UK regulator) after Philippine Airlines had refused to rebook her from London to Sydney on other airlines after Manila flight on November 24 was canceled.

Philippine Airlines

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Here’s the email from the reader:

I would like to beg for your urgent intervention in my case of flight cancellation.

I was set to take the following flights out of London Heathrow on 24 Nov 17.

London (LHR), GB
Fri, 24 Nov 2017, 22:20
Terminal: TERMINAL 3
Manila (MNL), PH
Sat, 25 Nov 2017, 19:15
Terminal: TERMINAL 2
Philippine Airlines
PR 721
Manila (MNL), PH
Sat, 25 Nov 2017, 22:30
Terminal: TERMINAL 2
Sydney (SYD), AU
Sun, 26 Nov 2017, 09:30
Terminal: TERMINAL 1 INTE   

However, I was informed by the Philippines Airlines PR today that the first leg of the flight has been cancelled. I was offered to take the flight on the following day, namely 25 Nov, which, however, doesn’t fit my schedule.

Citing EC261, I then requested PR to book me other flights, including flights of other carriers on 24 Nov. However, the customer service representatives, whom I was advised by the flight change email to contact, said they are not authorised to book flights of other carriers. They claimed that only the customer relations officer at the airport is authorised to do so. I then asked them to put me through to these customer relations officer, or anyone who is authorised/competent to reroute me at the earliest opportunity, but the customer service representative said they could not do so. I did bring their attention to CAA letter to Ryanair published in late Sept. I told them that CAA had already made it public that it was utterly wrong that an airlines are not obligated to book flights of other carriers.

In effect, the operational practice of PR has frustrated the spirit of the rerouting obligation under EC261, esp Art 8. Since passengers would never be able to reach the authorised staff, it is practically impossible for passengers to be booked on alternatives flights which depart at the earliest opportunity.

In the short term, I beg your authority to urgently contact the Philippines Airlines and direct them to offer me the rerouting options as prescribed under EC261.

My preferred alternative flight options (in ascending priority) are as follows.

  1. SQ 321 LHR to SIN; SQ 231 SIN to SYD
  2. CX254 LHR to HKG; CX111 HKG to SYD
  3. NH 212 LHR to HND; NH 879 HND to SYD
  4. TG917 LHR to BKK; TG 475 BKK to SYD
  5. OZ522 LHR to ICN; OZ601 ICN to SYD

In the medium term, I believe there might be a need to carry out enforcement action against the Philippines Airlines as their standing operational practice is systematically frustrating passengers’ due rights to rerouting.

I also attach the live chat record, which testifies PR has persistently denied my right to rerouting.

May I ask for your urgent intervention?

Look forward to seeing your reply.

Conclusion

Seems that Philippine Airlines is basically buying time here and hoping that passengers either won’t notice this change before day of travel and accept to travel day later OR that there are no other options and basically are forced to.

It is clear that the airline should have rebooked the passenger in question over the phone and not requested to go to the airport to utilize these mysterious “Customer Relation Officers”. I would assume that this is just the basic rebooking/ticketing desk. The reader emailed me also the copy of the chat that she had with the airline.

If Philippine Airlines here refuses to rebook the passenger, she could go ahead and purchase the ticket on competing airline and sue Philippine Airlines in the UK court. Based on the information received, this should be clear case.

Alternative option is to take the flight day later and claim the 600 euro compensation for the delay plus the duty to care (hotels + meals) in both London and Manila.

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