CAA Probing How British Airways Handles Re-routings

British Airways “celebrated” is centennial anniversary this past Sunday trying to recover from the mess the airline got itself by sending out cancellation emails for flights that were actually operating.

BA A321

Concerned passengers couldn’t get through to the airline and made alternate bookings, only to find out that the airline had send out the emails erroneously. Now, the UK regulator is trying to find out whether British Airways complies with the EC 261/2004 regulation when it comes to rerouting requirements.

You can access BA’s website here.

Here’s the announcement from UK Civil Aviation Authority:

Commenting, Richard Stephenson, Director at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said:

“We have been in contact with the airline to determine what has happened and are seeking an explanation to confirm how it complied with its re-routing obligations to consumers.

“Passengers who have seen their flights cancelled should be offered the choice of reimbursement for cancelled flights, alternate travel arrangements under comparable conditions at the earliest opportunity which includes flights on other airlines, or a new flight at a later date at the passenger’s convenience. We also expect airlines to proactively provide passengers with information about their rights when flights are cancelled.”

Further information

The UK Civil Aviation Authority’s consumer rights are laid out below:

(a) reimbursement within seven days of the full cost of the ticket at the price at which it was bought, for the part or parts of the journey not made, and for the part or parts already made if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to the passenger’s original travel plan, together with, when relevant, – a return flight to the first point of departure, at the earliest opportunity;

(b) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at the earliest opportunity;

(c) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at a later date at the passenger’s convenience, subject to availability of seats.

Advice for consumers that were informed their flight was cancelled but the flight has been reinstated or is still running:

We understand that the airline is dealing with each case on an individual basis and encourage passengers to speak to them directly. Having been informed in error by BA that their flight was cancelled, those consumers that took action should not be left out of pocket, and any reasonable costs of re-booked flights should be claimed from the airline.

Conclusion

When I wrote about this British Airways pilot strike last week, I pointed out to our readers that the airline is required to rebook affected passengers on other airlines, if required, although this option was not present online and wouldn’t be offered unprompted by the phone agents.

Airlines often fail, BA is not an exception here, when informing affected passengers what their rights are. They try to just delay or refund flights rather than moving passengers to services operated by competitors as it is the costliest option.

I hope that CAA here investigates BA’s actions and issues a fine if found not to be in compliance with the EU regulation.

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