BA cancellation – system error?

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  • sleak76
    Participant

    Hello All,

    Need insight please.

    I have a booking LHR-PHX-FLG//JFK-LHR on a BA-issued ticket with the LHR-PHX on BA1526 but flying on AA metal. This is for October 22, 2020.

    I got an email from BA today advising me that BA1526 on Oct 22 (LHR-PHX) was cancelled and I need to call in to book an alternative. So before calling back, I went back online to see what other flights to PHX were available on 22/10 and BA.com shows me BA1526 (my cancelled flight) is still there and available for sale.

    I thought maybe the email preceded the cancellation from their system so I waited till day’s end but ba.com still shows BA1526 as avail for sale on 22/10.

    I checked my AA app (as I have uploaded my flight in there) and AA is showing me as confirmed while both AA.com and ExpertFlyer shows that particular flight still being sold (as AA195). I also checked both sites to see if my seat assigned has been released, and it hasn’t.

    So AA still sees me as a passenger, while BA doesn’t. There’s a glitch somewhere and I am wondering if anyone has faced such a situation? If so, were you able to get through to BA to get an explanation of what is happening? I have tried calling the airline but, as we all know, it is not easy to get through nowadays.


    GivingupBA
    Participant

    sleak76, I have more than once over the years on different airlines received text messages/ emails telling me my flight was cancelled, yet when I went to the airline website the flight was still shown on their website and also accepting bookings for at least a couple of days after I got the messages. The last time it happened (a month ago) I phoned the airline, and they said “It takes a while for cancellations to show on our website – ignore that”.

    I hope you can resolve your situation very soon. Good luck.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    capetonianm
    Participant

    In the old days you had a hosting system and a distribution system, which talked to each other bi-directionally. If a flight or booking was amended or cancelled in the hosting system, it sent messages out (called ‘queues’) to the hosting system with a notification which the responsible booking office would deal with. That done, a message updating the record would be kicked back to the hosting system.

    Primarily these were flight cancellations, where the hosting system would offer a ‘reacc’, timing changes, equipment changes, seat changes etc.

    As the systems have been dumbed down at the front ends to cater for the increasingly poorly trained staff employed by most airlines/agencies, there are now so many different types of interface between the back end distribution systems and the front ends used by agents. The more links there are in a chain, the more risks of complications and lack of synchronisation. Some of the interfaces don’t talk to each other, or only do so unidirectionally, and this is why we end with situations such as above.

    It’s a mess. I’m glad I don’t have to deal with it any more. One of the reasons I took early retirement from the industry.

    5 users thanked author for this post.

    CheerUp
    Participant

    Hi Sleak,

    Still showing as operating on the GDS.
    Good luck.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    nevereconomy
    Participant

    I had MAN-PHL AA fight booked as BA codeshare for mid June and BA informed me it was cancelled. I checked on AA site and indeed it was, which I would have expected so close.
    I rebooked for August and no problem getting BA through LHR (for now) but the AA still not operating – I imagine they being more cautious on a lot of non core routes, so maybe yours will come up cancelled on AA too sooner or later, depending on developments.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    sleak76
    Participant

    Update:

    It has been 3 days since the cancellation notice and when I checked BA.com today, that flight is still being sold.

    So I called AA first and the agent tells me that flight is operating and that he can see my booking on it (albeit with two PNR’s.. AHA.. that, I believe, is where the problem lies). Asked him if he can cancel one of the two PNR’s to help ensure no more future problems and he said he cant as the booking is ‘owned’ by the booking agent (in this case, BA).

    Anyway, i then called BA and they confirmed my original fight is indeed still open for sale and they have reinstated me back on it. I did mention about the double PNR with AA and that seemed to confuse her as she kept putting me on hold to check. In the end, I didn’t want to pursue this further and not wanting to hold up the lines for other callers, I just asked if I was confirmed, she said yes and that was good enough for me to go ahead and end the call.

    So just head’s up all, in case you get cancelled during this turbulent CV-19 period it may be a technical fault with the system rather than an actual flight cancellation.

    Thanks all for your insight abocce, as I did find it useful after all.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    capetonianm
    Participant

    Depending on what system they were looking in, there will be two PNRs. One belongs to the carrier responsible for the booking (BA by the look of it) and the other belongs to the operating carrier and is a ‘shadow’ PNR. Usually both can be viewed by either airline but only one can be updated.

    Really the agents should know that but as I’ve often stated, they are usually grossly inadequately trained on the increasingly complex systems which are meant to makes things simpler but in reality do the opposite.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    sleak76
    Participant

    Capetonianm, actually to make my situation worse: i got issued with 3 PNR’s. One for BA (whom I booked with), and 2 PNR’s were issued by AA and I reckon it is the two different (unique) PNR’s issued by AA for the same flights that has caused BA or AA to misunderstand this as a double booking (I am guessing here as nor myself nor BA can make sense of what is happening). And because of the two unique PNR’s with one airline for the same flight, BA system is attempting to cancel one. But becuase I only have one BA PNR, the BA or AA system that is attempting to cancel the duplicate ends up cancelling my single BA PNR.

    Confusing, I know. But I am guessing it is this explanation that has also caused the BA agent to get confused too and not know how to fix it beyond telling me that all is fine. Anyway I will leave it for now till the CV-19 saga is over with after which I will call back to try and get BA to look into my double AA PNR’s. As this is all for October travel, I can wait.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    capetonianm
    Participant

    I’m confused now! As I said there is a perfectly simple explanation for 2 PNRs but 3?

    However a look at the history by an agent who knows what they are doing should reveal all. The average call centre agent is only trained in the basics of interpreting the PNR history display, as they can be pretty complex since they include all the messages between hosting systems, but an escalation to the level above should provide an answer and solution.

    Good luck, I hope they will sort it out for you, and if you get the answer you might like to post it here.

    A funny little related story. Nearly 30 years ago, before my sister was married, we had the same surname and first initial. We both went over to stay with our parents in the UK for a few days and found out that by coincidence we were both flying from LHR at the same time on the same day, she was going to CAI and I to ALC. On the way to the airport by taxi we realised we were both on KL via AMS on the same flight. We get to check in and the lady looked from her screen to us, and back …. and said : “Oh, there are two of you!” We all laughed and I said : “As you can see.”
    She suddenly looked serious and said that the system had cancelled both bookings as they thought they were dupes because we had the same initial, surname, and contact number (our folks’ house number). The long and the short of it was that we were reinstated and off we jolly well went. One of my pieces of baggage is still going round the great carousel in the sky!


    sleak76
    Participant

    That is funny and glad to read it was resolved right there and then.

    I’ll probably wait till May/June, when the call center pressure eases, to call them again and explain what is going on and hopefully get an agent who isn’t rushed and, as you rightly suggested Capetonianm, has the time to go to their superiors to get them to dig in deeper for a clean up from triple to just double PNR.

    Will post an update in here in due course. Till then, stay safe all.

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