CAA demands answers over BA strike confusion
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) says it is “seeking an explanation” from British Airways over confusion experienced by customers over flight cancellations ahead of pilot strikes next month.
Members of the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) are set to stage industrial action on 9, 10 and 27 September, but passengers booked onto flights on other dates were mistakenly told by the airline that their service had been cancelled.
Passengers said they received two emails over the weekend – one to say their flight had been cancelled and they should rebook or seek refunds, and another saying their booking would go ahead as planned.
However, the second message did not give customers a link to automatically rebook onto their original flight, meaning they had to contact the airline directly – something many said was made difficult by a backlog of 40,000 calls. Some said on social media they waited hours to be connected to a representative, while others said their calls were disconnected before they could speak to anyone.
BA later admitted the error and said it would refund any customers who had taken action themselves to book alternative flights, but some reported on social media that they were told otherwise when they eventually spoke to someone at the airline.
CAA director Richard Stephenson said: “We have been in contact with the airline to determine what has happened and are seeking an explanation to confirm how it complied with its re-routing obligations to consumers.
“Passengers who have seen their flights cancelled should be offered the choice of reimbursement for cancelled flights, alternative travel arrangements under comparable conditions at the earliest opportunity, which includes flights on other airlines, or a new flight at a later date at the passenger’s convenience. We also expect airlines to proactively provide passengers with information about their rights when flights are cancelled.”
The CAA also issued information about passengers’ rights if their flights are cancelled and said customers who received incorrect information about their booking “should not be left out of pocket”.
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Author: Molly Dyson