Airlines taking advantage of passengers during/after ash crisisBack to Forum
Anonymous24 Apr 2010
I remained in Barcelona three nights after my flight was cancelled by BA but decided to travel by train to France and then by ferry to England (as recommened at the time by the British Embassy in Madrid). While in Paris, London airports reopened and I managed to get a seat on a BA flight back to London for a whopping 460 Euros (one way). This was an incredibly expensive restrictive ticket. I wonder whether BA and other airlines are taking advantage of desperate passengers like myself to increase the price of tickets or remove the rules allowing us to get cheap tickets. My flight was half empty. So much for BA and other airlines trying to clear the backlog caused by the volvanic ash crisis.24 Apr 2010
There is a very simple explanation for this and you can find it via the link below. It has nothing to do with taking advantage and everything to do with trying to get people home. I am afraid this particualr conspiracy theory simply will not fly….24 Apr 2010
I was forced to book BA club to nice tomorrow at ca £800 earlier in the week. This morning i checked and got a single for £80 in economy and refunded the club flight24 Apr 2010
Dear Binman: There is no conspiracy theory here. My argument is based on personal experience. Furthermore, Walsh’s argument that in order to prevent other airlines getting seats on BA flights for their passengers in detriment to stranded BA passengers, BA is selling seats at the highest prices, is simply not true–at least in my case. It was stated that I was stranded in Barcelona, my flight had been cancelled, and was a Gold member but was still charged the extraordinary 460 Euros for the 45 minutes flight from Paris to LHR (Eurostar was charging more or less the same). I know someone in similiar circumstances who was charged 800 Euros for Barcelona-Heathrow in restricted economy. Again, that flight was not full. It seems that BA is telling stranded passengers they cannot get on a flight for some time but in the meantime try to sell the available seats at a high price. I suppose BA feels the need to do this in order to improve its financial situation. What is wrong is to mislead people, really desperate people who for different reasons need to get back home or to their places of work.24 Apr 2010
HBHLondon: may we ask how you purchased your Paris to London ticket? Was it online from a third party website, online at ba.com, by telephone or in person with a third party, or by telephone or in person with British Airways?24 Apr 2010
HBHLondon.. Sorry cannot agree with you at all. Suggets you follow the link below and request a refund.
These details are all BA.com and BA appear to be going out of thrie way to make refunds and pay expenses unlike many others. I believe WW, the seats are for sale as this is the only way to make the inventory available. I saw Y class from SFO to LHR at $11,000 one way when stuck in SFO last week. It was clear then and clearer now that BA does not expect to sell new booking at these rates, but have set them up in this manner in order to allow those who are stuck to get rebooked earlier than they may have already done so.24 Apr 2010
Binman62: you are quite correct; it’s not possible for stranded passengers to re-book online (thereby avoiding potentially expensive long-distance calls) if flights are ‘zero’d out’ for bookings.
Inventory must be made available for this purpose and therefore one of the practical ways to ‘ringfence’ the inventory for those whose PNRs have been tagged with the authority to rebook at no cost, is to apply arguably punitive fares to that inventory for non-stranded passengers.
Other carriers, including Eurostar with its £89 offer, found that large numbers of seats were being snapped up by passengers, their friends, relatives, agents, PAs etc., etc., on a purely speculative basis – with no guarantee whatsoever that the passenger was going to be able to make it to the point of embarkation in time. Huge numbers of seats were therefore being reserved but not travelled, whilst passengers actually at ports, stations and airports were being told that all services were fully-booked.
It’s still the case that carriers do not know where their passengers actually are, hence the appeals for passengers to register their current locations and provide contact details. It’s likely that over a quarter of a million passengers have been impacted by these unprecedented circumstances, and helping them has resulted in some extremely creative and pragmatic plans being put in place by all carriers.
The most important thing is that everyone completes their journey, especially if it’s homeward-bound and involves families, the elderly and those with medical conditions, as expeditiously as possible. This is one occasion when I’m minded to say that the colour of your card should have little if any bearing on matters.24 Apr 2010
The national press is reporting the same dirty trick by BA.
The Sunday Times, 24 April, page 14 (‘Jet Refit…’): Some (BA) passengers in China, India and America have been told the free seats to which they are entitled will not be available for three weeks. However, many of them have accused BA of profiteering from their plight after discovering that the airline had started to sell some tickets on flights that depart earlier for nearly £4,000.25 Apr 2010
This is not a dirty trick; simply a way of reducing demand to ensure that those who have been stranded are able to be re-accommodated on the earliest service.
Not doing this would result in massive speculative booking of flexible tickets, making allocation of space much more difficult.
The policy of keeping fares high right now means those with cancelled bookings which have so far not been able to fly home can do so at the earliest opportunity, for free.
In addition to this, a number of additional flights have been laid on to places such as the Maldives and Hong Kong to clear the backlog more rapidly.25 Apr 2010
I was stranded, and this was made clear to BA, yet was still charged 460 Euros for CDG-LHR. I had a BCN-LHR which was cancelled. BA’s argument simply does not hold. By keeping fares high BA is actually preventing stranded passenger who cannot afford its exhorbitant ‘ash crisis special prices’ from returning to the UK.25 Apr 2010
As has been previously explained, though still not quite understood, these fares allow those who have had flights cancelled to be prioritised and return to London, for free, on the very next services back to London.
Most will have been able to return home, for free, by re-arranging travel. You chose not to wait, for whatever reason, and decided to jump the queue to get home fast, which is entirely your prerogative.
Not having this policy in place would mean those who simply cannot afford to buy one way tickets being stranded, as aircraft went out half empty. This cessation of the sale of all but the most expensive tickets is a much fairer way of doing things for all concerned.
Keeping the reservation system active would result in seats being sold on a fully flex basis to TMCs and others as “back up” reservations and not intending to travel, which would result in gridlock.
Aircraft would leave half empty, and it would be a very inefficient way of allocating capacity.
BA has lost several tens of millions as a consequence of these events, and continues to do so as cancelled passengers are re-accommodated, at no extra charge, on later services.
To paint this as a money-grabbing exercise is to betray a lack of understanding of the situation, and a tabloid approach to accepting any old story without recognising the underlying truth of the issue.25 Apr 2010
When last month BA had the strike the online booking system didn’t change, as a result was someone that should change his flight for free had to pay different fare for rebooking his flight. After a few days BA asked from passengers to write a form and ask for refund as they should have the rebooking in the same price.
I suppose they learned from that and they decide to do it that way.25 Apr 2010