Inadequate compensation for my downgrade — TPG reader mistake story

Mar 22, 2020

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We’ve been asking to hear your travel success and mistake stories to both celebrate and help our TPG U.K. community.

This week Max wrote in with his confusion and frustration after a cancelled and then downgraded ticket on British Airways.

“Late last year I was booked to fly from London Heathrow to Dublin with British Airways in Club Europe using Avios as a Reward Flight Saver redemption. The morning of my flight, it was cancelled, and I was automatically rebooked on a later flight but downgraded to Euro Traveller. I called BA to ask if there were any flights with space in Club Europe, but they said there weren’t any. I decided to take the flight I was downgraded to, assuming I would receive downgrade reimbursement within seven days, which is what is required under EU261 regulations according to the CAA website.

When I arrived in Dublin, I made a claim on the BA website assuming this would be straight-forward, but some time went by, and I still hadn’t received any Avios or money back. I tweeted and called BA several times over the next few weeks but still, no refund. Eventually, I was told by a manager in the call centre that I was NOT downgraded, but I was ‘rebooked in a lower fare class’, and so I was not entitled to downgrade reimbursement. This was bizarre as throughout this whole process BA staff referred to it as a downgrade.

I was eventually told I would be offered a refund of the fare difference but only received 2,100 Avios and no cash which made no sense given the difference in both Avios and cash was more than this! BA also said this amount ‘included 1,000 Avios as a gesture of goodwill’.”

If you are downgraded through no fault of your own (such as if your airline cancels your flight), you should contact it regarding compensation. Max is correct that accordance with EU261 compensation, he is entitled to 30% compensation for the downgrade. If this was a peak Reward Flight Saver redemption, Max would have paid 9,000 Avios + £35 in fees and taxes for the one-way flight. A 30% refund of both would be 2,700 Avios + £10.50 in compensation, so Max should have received more than he did.

British Airways does usually make it quite straight forward to claim EU261 compensation on its website (assuming it pays you the correct amount!).

Featured image by David Soanes Photography/Getty Images

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