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sandi_travelnut Nov 16th, 2004 04:24 PM

HELP! Flight just cancelled! Would you expect compensation from British Air?
Here's the deal:

Many months ago (6) I purchased tickets for my family, inclu parents to go to Paris and Italy. The return flight had to be on January 1st (we wanted to return on the 2nd) due to the fact that my brother used his airmiles and got them first class tickets and only seats on the 1st were available.

Our original plans were to fly out of Rome at 7:50am to London (Heathrow) have plenty of time to transfer to Gatwick then fly out at 2pm straight thru to Dallas.

Now the bad news. I get a voicemail when I arrive home from AA about a flight being cancelled. So, I call and it turns out that British Air just realized that they don't want to fly out at 7:50a on New Years morning so they cancelled it. The next flight to London from Rome does not give us enough time to make the connection (different airports) to catch the last flight to Dallas on the 1st.

My dilemma(?) is this...I'm not made of money (as you may have guessed) and now 5 of us are forced to get a hotel in London when we did not expect to or budget for. With cab or train and meal and hotel...I'm slightly distraught. If I were to complain to British about my expense for thier change would it be likely that I could reimbursed a certain amount?

If not...anyone know of a decent hotel for a double and a triple? We're leaving out of Gatwick on a 2pm flight so we'll have to get there at noon and may have a brief time to see one or 2 things....


WillTravel Nov 16th, 2004 04:28 PM

I'd post on the Flyertalk forum also, because that has the best collection of experts. I don't know what your chances of compensation are, but they would be the ones to know.

You can get quite cheap hotels near Heathrow on Priceline (I have two bookings for the Holiday Inn Ariel at $43 USD/night + taxes and fees coming up), but I'm not sure that's your best location.

KT Nov 16th, 2004 04:52 PM

Who operates the Gatwick-Dallas flight, and was this all on one ticket? If they're two separate tickets, you're in a bad position. If both flights are British and on one ticket, you're in the best position.

As WillTravel said, the Flyertalk folks know all, see all.

sandi_travelnut Nov 16th, 2004 04:58 PM

2 different tickets because my parents were using my brother's airmiles and we were not. My parent's were in 1st class.

KT Nov 16th, 2004 04:59 PM

And if the flights are on different airlines but the same ticket, you're somewhere in between -- you've got rights, but it can be procedurally more difficult than with one.

And even this vague answer of mine is an oversimplification: if they're two different airlines, the way they resolve it can depend upon whether both airlines are in the same alliance.

I'm sorry. I'll leave now.

KT Nov 16th, 2004 05:02 PM

I just read your response, which came up while I was blathering in my last post.

By "one ticket" I mean this: for any one of you, did you have one ticket for the whole journey, or a separate ticket for each flight? And who operates the second flight?

sandi_travelnut Nov 16th, 2004 05:03 PM

My husband, self and son are in coach on British to London then AA to Dallas all on one ticket. My parents the same except in 1st class.

hopscotch Nov 16th, 2004 05:12 PM

I would count it up as a travel experience and take advantage of your night in London. I was stranded there for two nights once and I lived through it. The only person distraught was my boss when I didn't return on time. Have lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe and buy a T-shirt. You'll recall the event with pleasure, as time goes by.

hopscotch Nov 16th, 2004 05:14 PM

BTW, it wouldn't hurt to put on an angry face ;-) when boarding your return flight. There might be an upgrade available, especially at that time of the year.

Eloise Nov 16th, 2004 05:17 PM

I wouldn't want to get your hopes up, but since both Rome-London and London-Dallas flights are on the same ticket and since AA and BA are both members of the OneWorldAlliance, I think your chances of getting BA to put you up on the night you have to spend in London are probably fairly good.

Jocelyn_P Nov 16th, 2004 05:21 PM


Since you'll be staying one less night in Rome, surely your hotel will not charge you, unless they have an unusually strict cancellation policy. So, the only extra expenses should be transportation between the London airports and your hotel, unless I'm reading this wrong.

sandi_travelnut Nov 16th, 2004 05:49 PM

were not staying one less night in Rome...we're staying a night in London that we didn't plan for. I know London is lovely, but I did not budget for a stay over plus meals, cabs etc. That's not travel experience, that's not having money.

P_M Nov 16th, 2004 06:41 PM

Hi, Sandi. I think you should ask for a hotel voucher if a re-routing is not available. If they won't give you a freebie, I've heard they can get you something at a big discount. This is not a huge cost for the airline, and it's the least they can do for cancelling your flight. The worst that will happen is they will say no, then you could probably find a decent price as it's the off-season. Good luck and please let us know how it turns out.

KT Nov 16th, 2004 06:56 PM

"were not staying one less night in Rome...we're staying a night in London that we didn't plan for. "

Sorry, I'm confused. (Am I the only one?)

It originally sounded like you were still going to take the Gatwick-Dallas flight on Jan 1. In that case, you would have to fly from Rome to London a day earlier than planned (Dec. 31), and stay over that night in London instead of Rome.

If you're flying from Rome to London still on Jan. 1, but later in the day than originally booked, how are you getting from London to Dallas? Has BA rebooked you on both flights so that you fly to London on Jan. 1 and fly out on Jan. 2?

sandi_travelnut Nov 16th, 2004 07:01 PM

There were 2 flights available to us from Rome to London. We had an ear;y morning flight to London to give us time to catch an afternoon flight from London to Dallas. The morning rome-london flight was canceled wich gave us only one later option to get to London but too late to catch the LAST flight from London to Dallas. This forces us to catch a flight the next day, also forces us to have the unexpected expenses.

Jocelyn_P Nov 16th, 2004 07:25 PM


Would it be possible to keep your Jan 1 flight from London to Dallas and fly Rome to London on the 31st?

sandi_travelnut Nov 16th, 2004 07:30 PM

In the very beginning of the planning for the trip, we were flying rome-london, london-dallas on the 2nd but since my parents were using airmiles there was no seat avail. We then had to change our plans to come home on the 1st leaving us 2 days/3 nights in Rome (not even close to being enough). There's no way I'd cut off another day.

sandi_travelnut Nov 16th, 2004 07:31 PM

FYI - I had to go ahead and secure my flights before we were in deeper my real question here is wether your experience with BA would lead you to believe they may help with the hotel costs that we will be incurring.

sandi_travelnut Nov 16th, 2004 07:55 PM

Plus I need a good hotel choice in london for a double (my parents) and a triple. I can't afford much but don't want a dump either. Our flight is out of Gatwick.

Seamus Nov 16th, 2004 08:09 PM

Sandi, if you have already reticketed you may be SOL, but it would be worth contacting whomever issued the ticket (AA or BA) and asking if you are entitled to any form of compensation. If they offer nothing, try the Ombudsman at Conde Nast Traveler magazine.

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