British Airways Downgrade to Air Belgium Flight Ruining £33,000 Christmas Holiday. 'No Options Available'

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Nov 14, 2018
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We are a party of 17. We booked a holiday to BA in March 2018 to spend Christmas 2018 in Dubai. It cost £33,000. They have advised us (with just 6 weeks to travel) we are now travelling with Air Belgium who are a low cost airline. We didn't pay for this. We were asked to put our complaint in writing which we did. Today an agent called us and explained their policy which is that they will re-book us on a different day depending on availability. As we are travelling during Christmas there is no availability and the hotel is apparently fully booked so we have no choice. We do not want to travel with Air Belgium and BA will not offer any compensation or a refund.
 
Jan 30, 2018
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#2
Are you being downgraded in class of service or just traveling on Air Belgium instead of British Airways? I wonder why you would want to cancel the entire trip because of this. You could still enjoy the hotel, whatever activities you have planned, etc.
 
Nov 14, 2018
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#3
Hi - didn't say we wanted to cancel the trip. We dont want to fly with Air Belgium - that's not what we paid for.
Are you being downgraded in class of service or just traveling on Air Belgium instead of British Airways? I wonder why you would want to cancel the entire trip because of this. You could still enjoy the hotel, whatever activities you have planned, etc.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#4
Ugh how unpleasant. BA and other airlines have had to “rent” or wet lease other planes because of the Dreamliner 787 engine problems.

When were you notified about this? Has there been a change in Cabin Class — like Premium Economy to Economy?

It looks like BA was only offering refunds for a cabin class change.

The plane seems to be a former Finnair plane but staffed by Air Belgium crew and BA catering from reports. Reports mention that it is still a Finnair configuration with only Economy and Business— no Premium Economy or First class.

I do understand the problem with 17 people — trying to get them rebooked during peak holiday season.

There do not seem to be many options.

Would you actually want to cancel the trip?

Would you want to be put on a partner airline that involves a stop and change of aircraft?

Would you want members of the traveling party to arrive on different dates?
 
Nov 14, 2018
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Hi - notified last week via e-mail, so no time/availability and as you say it's peak season. Paid for 2 of the party (elderly) to go via business but the standard will not be the same. We are actually 4 bookings, with 5 travelling on the later flight (not impacted). 2 flying business who can be moved but the remaining 10 - we are happy to split up and travel on different dates, but the BA holiday agent is saying no due to the way the hotel booking has been done and that there is no hotel availability if we go a day earlier. However, when I checked online (non BA agents), there is.

Ugh how unpleasant. BA and other airlines have had to “rent” or wet lease other planes because of the Dreamliner 787 engine problems.

When were you notified about this? Has there been a change in Cabin Class — like Premium Economy to Economy?

It looks like BA was only offering refunds for a cabin class change.

The plane seems to be a former Finnair plane but staffed by Air Belgium crew and BA catering from reports. Reports mention that it is still a Finnair configuration with only Economy and Business— no Premium Economy or First class.

I do understand the problem with 17 people — trying to get them rebooked during peak holiday season.

There do not seem to be many options.

Would you actually want to cancel the trip?

Would you want to be put on a partner airline that involves a stop and change of aircraft?

Would you want members of the traveling party to arrive on different dates?
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#6
The 787 engine problems have caused so many issues this year.

So this was a package holiday? There may not be hotel rooms at the same rate.

If there are no BA operated flights available that day would you be willing to ask for a partner flight— I think would be Finnair— which would mean a longer flight and a change

Or flying in on a BA operated plane the days before and paying for your own hotel?

Trying to think what I would do in your position— I would avoid the connecting flight option because of winter delays.

I wish I had better suggestions
 
Nov 1, 2017
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#7
We are a party of 17. We booked a holiday to BA in March 2018 to spend Christmas 2018 in Dubai. It cost £33,000. They have advised us (with just 6 weeks to travel) we are now travelling with Air Belgium who are a low cost airline.
Honestly, I don't know how long it's been since you last flew BA, but these days it is run just like a low cost airline, except with higher prices. You aren't missing out on anything! Stop worrying and enjoy your vacation !
 

Barry Graham

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Jan 7, 2015
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#9
Honestly, I don't know how long it's been since you last flew BA, but these days it is run just like a low cost airline, except with higher prices. You aren't missing out on anything! Stop worrying and enjoy your vacation !
I flew with them a few weeks ago, twice, from here to the UK and I have to disagree with what you say. I thought the service was superb. The gate agent remembered me a week and a bit later after I had told her my mother was sick. She asked me how my mother was doing without me reminding her that she had been ill (and had subsequently passed away between the two trips).
 
Sep 19, 2015
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I flew with them a few weeks ago, twice, from here to the UK and I have to disagree with what you say. I thought the service was superb. The gate agent remembered me a week and a bit later after I had told her my mother was sick. She asked me how my mother was doing without me reminding her that she had been ill (and had subsequently passed away between the two trips).
I think there are two different BAs -- the short haul domestic and inter European flights, where one has to pay for a cup of tea or coffee, and the long haul. Short haul there are going down to the pay for everything level. I had a same day domestic UK return trip and the cost was over $350 -- and pay for even a cup of coffee.