British Airways Strike--no refund. Help.

<p>Calling all seasoned airline travelers. A couple family members flew BA from SF to Germany via Heathrow. They booked separate BA tickets for the return flight.</p>

<p>What happened? The return flight was canceled for the labor strike. Family members had been checking on line during the strike, noted the cancellation and then rebooked on another airline. BA never notifed them by email of the flight cancellation. Family did call & speak with a BA rep at the time. Somewhere along the line, after they rebooked on another airline, BA reinstated the original flight. Again, no notification from BA by email.</p>

<p>Now BA says since the flight was reinstated, there will be no refund. Now this does not seem right...they cancel a flight due to leave in about 4 days and you're far from home and you're supposed to wait around to see what they do? I don't think so. </p>

<p>Any recommendations on how to win this one? It's $2000. Couldn't find any fine print that applies.</p>

<p>From what I gather, the family members called BA about the flight cancellation and then bought a ticket on another airline when BA said that it could not accommodate them on another flight. What is important is did BA offer a refund and did they accept it? If so, then they should get a refund for the BA ticket, but they will have to pay for the other airline ticket. As far as the other airline is concerned, they bought a one-way ticket and are subject to the terms and conditions of that new ticket as far as change/cancellation fees. The fact that they once had a BA ticket which was refunded is irrelevant, though it might be possible to find an agent who would be willing to waive the change fee so that they could use the funds for future travel.</p>

<p>Once BA granted a refund, they have entered into an agreement to provide that refund. I would try having your family members file a claim with their credit card company for a clerical chargeback. If they didn't pay with a credit card or their request for a chargeback is denied, their best bet is to cancel the new tickets, use those funds for a future trip, and fly BA home on the ticket that BA originally agreed to refund.</p>

<p>Thx. This all happened in May. Family members are not seeking repayment for the other flight. They ate that. What they expected was a refund on the cancelled BA flight & when they spoke with the BA rep on the phone in Europe (who was overworked & rude) I don't know necessarily that BA promised on the phone that they'd refund the money on the cancelled flight (everything in flux with the strike), but the understanding was that family members would get reimbursed. As it was, family incurred many other expenses (hotels, meals, additional cost for new flight, car rental) as a result of the cancellation. They're not asking for reimbursement for that....just for the BA flight.</p>

<p>The odd complication was that the flight was reinstated a day or two later and family members were not notified after the initial cancellation. Now BA's position is that they do not owe them anything.</p>

<p>I was in the same position. I booked another airline, but when my flight was cancelled, I simply called BA and got a refund immediately. BA then reinstated the flight, but I got my refund anyway. (I didn't get any e-mail either, but I watched the website carefully.)</p>

<p>Since they did not request the refund when they knew that the flight was cancelled, and then the flight was reinstated, I think BA is correct; they could have flown. How was BA to know that they wanted their money back if they didn't ask for it at the time? And why did they wait from May until August to contact BA? Under what theory should BA give their money back?</p>

<p>And did they request BA to accommodate them on another airline? My d was in Europe when they cancelled her Heathrow flight home. BA rebooked her, no additional charge, from Heathrow home on a different airline. No muss, no fuss. Did BA refuse to rebook, or did they simply not ask?</p>

<p>Chedva's logic sounds about right. Chedva's situation- BA just had no idea when the flight was going to be reinstate and since the customer's needs comes first in that sense, BA was willing to give a refund. For BA, they'd rather take the chance of giving back $1,200 and then price that seat higher for last-minute bookings because they'd know about this cancellation ahead of time. For your family, BA didn't know and kept those seats reserved for your family. Who knows, maybe nobody took those seats and BA would rather not lose money. It's business. Paying for your seat is like a deposit.</p>

<p>A similar thing happened to my cousin with Delta, trying to fly from B-more to SLC, and something happened with his Delta flight. At the end, despite arguing, he never got his money back. Delta argued that if he had waited (which, of course, by the time they found another flight for him, he had already purchased another ticket and flown home), then they would've made up for everything. </p>

<p>This is largely why I stayed with BA when my flight out of Berlin was 4-5 hours late because of heavy fog in London. The pilot urged passengers to stay with BA and not run off to another airline (especially Delta, the only US carrier that flew direct) and that BA would work to rebook their flights upon our arrival in London. With this delay, I missed my connection in London but caught the last flight out of London to the US. BA did an excellent job of taking care of me. I learned a lesson of why it's important to stay with an airline.</p>

<p>Strikes are certainly risky. It all depends how much you can really afford to stick around until the flight's reinstated. For a family of 4 where an airline ticket between SF and Germany might cost $1800 and the total's about $6,400. Sticking around and paying for additional hotel and food would have been much more economical than to shell out another $7,000.</p>

<p>Well it is an oddity for sure. When family contacted the airline when they found out the flight was cancelled they DID ask for a refund but the N American BA rep was rude and most unhelpful. They lost 2 flights, one european domestic and the transcontinental and I assume they told the rep they were having to book elsewhere. They were also in transit out in the country and did not have access at all times to internet.</p>

<p>Family has written numerous times since May and it wasn't until August that family found out the flight had been reinstated (info from BA in the investigation). I think family had been told they would refunded but when this info came to light.....another story.
There is value it seems in just staying with the airline. Thanks for the advice.
BTW they flew Berlin Air (or Air Berlin?) direct from Dusseldorf to SFO and LOVED it.</p>

<p>^Often when you don't actually take a flight you have paid for, the airline will issue a credit good for one year. Even if they can't get a refund, it might be worth asking for a credit. They are often transferable to another family member.</p>

<p>We lost money this spring when we were booked to travel to Thailand. After the US go'vt issued a travel advisory against traveling there, we decided to cancel our trip - too much civil unrest and violence. We were not able to get a refund from Thai Airways (for travel inside Thailand) and Continental charged me $500 to change our tickets (from Thailand to another destination). Couldn't even get anyone to answer my emails or talk to me on the phone at Thai Airways. Very frustrating! We ended up losing about $1,500 on the whole thing. One of the risks of traveling, I guess.</p>

<p>I do agree with TicklemePink. We travel extensively and have run into snafus over the years. You really have to pay close attention to the refund policies when you book a ticket and unless someone says 'yes, I will issue you a refund right now' don't expect just because you re-booked with another airline that the first airline is going to graciously give you a refund. Things like strikes, natural disasters, weather, civil unrest, war, etc are considered to be outside the control of the airline and the airlines are not obligated to issue you a refund. Delays in getting departures are also not considered grounds for a refund. It's very aggravating but it's usually all there in the fine print.</p>