Way back in September, I used 50,000 British Airways Avios to fly my wife and I in business class from Boston to Dublin.
This is a 2,993 mile flight, and so it’s a sweet spot on the distance-based British Airways Avios award chart (though business class would now cost 37,500 Avios one-way due to the recent British Airways devaluation)
After spending some time in the Air France lounge and Aer Lingus lounges at the Boston airport, we made our way to the gate and on to the plane. We spent a few hours on the tarmac, which we didn’t really mind that much since we were pretty much geeking out on our first-ever business class flight
But then, around midnight, the captain got back on the intercom and told us that the flight was going to be canceled. Over the next 24 hours in the aftermath of our flight being canceled, there were some things I did wrong and some things I did right, but in the end, we ended up being rebooked on a flight to Dublin the next day, but instead of the business class tickets that we paid for (with miles), we were only booked in economy. At the time this was fine with us as the most important thing for us was actually getting TO Europe, but afterwards, it was time to discuss compensation
The first stop was discussing with British Airways. To me this seems pretty straightforward – I paid 50,000 for 2 business class seats and only received 2 economy tickets (“worth” 25,000 Avios). So it seems pretty obvious that I am due a refund of 25,000 Avios.
I wrote in October about the saga of trying to get British Airways to refund my Avios, but even then the saga continued. In January, I followed up again with – I’m STILL trying to get my 25,000 Avios back. I actually called them again today and was told that British Airways had called in to the refund department on the 15th and they are waiting to hear back.
I understand that they have to call into Aer Lingus to confirm that we were booked into economy class on our rebooking (even though technically they’re both owned by the same company) and that can take some time, but it’s now been over 4 months, so it’s getting a little ridiculous…
Submitting an EU261 claim with Aer Lingus
I addition to compensation for the downgrade, the second part of the issue was compensation for the 1 day delay. Since this was a flight going to the European Union (not to mention on a Europe-based flag carrier), I filed an EU261 compensation claim. According to my understanding, we should each be entitled to 600 Euros in compensation. We initially filed the claim directly with Aer Lingus, but after months of no response, I found out that there is a body called the Commission for Aviation Regulation, so in November we submitted another claim
(READ ALSO: (Still) Fighting for EU261 / 2004 compensation)
Then this week, I heard back from the Commission
The letter also included some basic information about the EU261 regulation, which I’ve omitted. So… the good news is that at least it appears that wheels are in motion, and the bad news is that it still is likely to take (at least!) another 6 weeks.
I know that there are companies out there that will prosecute EU261/2009 compensation claims for you, usually in exchange for somewhere around a 25% cut of your winnings. I have that as a backup plan, but I am still hopeful that I can get the full compensation myself.
Anyone else have experience with EU261 compensation claims, especially with Aer Lingus? Did your story have a happy ending?