We were left out of pocket after cancellation email was sent in error but it won’t pay
We were among the British Airways customers caught up in the autumn pilots’ strike, and subsequent email cancellation fiasco. We were due to fly to Vancouver, but a week before BA emailed us to say our flights had been cancelled because of the strike. I quickly went online and bought replacements for the same dates with Air Canada. A day or so later it emerged BA had sent this email in error and our flights would operate as before.
At the time, it promised that no passenger would be left out of pocket, but is reneging on the offer. It has refunded us the £1,400 we originally paid for its two flights. But it will not refund us the extra £346 we had to pay to buy the replacement tickets.
As soon as we returned, I lodged a claim for compensation and referred specifically to the undertaking given. I had to wait almost two months for a reply and was shocked to find that they would not pay out. They were sticking to the strict legal position that they had given more than 14 days’ notice of cancellation and therefore under EU rules I am not entitled to anything. Needless to say I will never book with BA again.
RK, by email
Having done this job for many years I’m not in the least surprised by your tale. Your claim was complicated by the fact that you made a mistake booking the Air Canada flights and paid the extra costs needed to change it. After we repeatedly explained it to the press office, it still refused to pay up, which, in effect, means the promises made by senior staff were nothing more than PR puff. Following the fiasco that led to the cancellation emails, you’d think the company would want to do everything it could to restore the trust of customers. Instead, it appears to be hellbent on destroying what little reputation it has left.
This is a firm that has been beset with IT problems in recent years – there were more cancellations last week – plus strikes and wrongly denied compensation claims, and the customer service has become appalling. We could do a letter on BA every week.
We have been backwards and forwards on this with BA but it has rejected attempts to find a resolution. We feel that BA should pay you the £346 given that it’s quite obvious that you are out of pocket because of its mistaken email. We are bewildered that BA is not paying you this sum. As Ryanair found, you can only annoy your customers for so long before they go elsewhere. BA should take note.
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