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#491824

FrequentTraveller
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British Midland operates a two class service, Business and Economy, on the London Heathrow to Jersey Channel Islands route.

For the 25th April 2008 19:20 BD564 LHR to JER service they have decided to operate the flight without a business class cabin. Passengers booked in business class have been downgraded to economy without any advance notice given.

The first I knew of this change was when I used the http://www.flybmi.com web site to use the online check-in facility. I thought it was strange that I was allowed to select a seat assignment anywhere on the aircraft, instead of just the first few rows at the front of the aircraft. Then the boarding card was printed with a different ticket class to that on my e-ticket and cabin description of STANDARD.

On telephoning the airline I was told this was due to an aircraft change. On Monday, I would be entitled to a refund between the business and economy class fares. When asked if this will be the difference in fares as of today or when I booked my flight a month ago, I was told it would as be as of today. This is definitely not fair as economy fare was considerably lower at the time of my booked compared with today’s fare.

Since ending the telephone call I have found out buying ticket for travel on 25th April has a one-way economy fare (on a return travel basis) which is £19 more expensive than the business class saver fare original purchased.

What may be of interest to other people is according to EU Regulation 261/2004 there are specific compensation entitlement for downgrades, separate to the cancellation and denied boarding compensation. For this particular journey 30% of the ticket. For further details of the EU Regulation see:
http://www.caa.co.uk/default.aspx?catid=306&pagetype=90&pageid=4411
http://ec.europa.eu/transport/air_portal/passenger_rights/information_en.htm

Even with compensation of 30%, this will still be less than the difference between the business saver and economy fares available at the time of booking.

Before anybody replies with a comment about why pay extra for business class on such as short route in the first place, the primary reason was to obtain the additional hold and hand baggage allowance.