Dear travel troubleshooter: British Airways canceled my last flight from Boston to London. The airline said it canceled the flight due to “operational restrictions”. British Airways emailed me promising “everything you need to be where you need to be”.
Christopher Elliot, travel troubleshooter
I asked the airline for a refund but instead I received another email accusing me of “not showing up” for my flight and refusing a refund. I’ve been making multiple calls a month for the past four months and am trying to sort this out.
Eventually I received an email from British Airways stating that British Airways cannot offer refunds as per fare rules. But British Airways canceled my flight so I don’t have to pay a refund?
–Carrie Christensen, Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Answers: It definitely does. If an airline cancels a flight, you’ll receive a full and prompt refund in accordance with their fare rules and federal regulations. British Airways cannot keep your money under any circumstances.
I’m surprised your refund request took so long. I have checked the correspondence between you and British Airways. The facts were clear: you received an email from British Airways saying, “We are sorry that your flight was canceled due to operational restrictions.” And you sent that email to the airline when you requested your refund. And of course their internal systems should reflect the fact that they canceled your flight. How much more do you need?
You have done a great job keeping all your paperwork with the airline. If only British Airways had heeded their records, they would not have complained.
Sometimes you need to approach an executive to get the airline’s attention. I list the names, phone numbers and email addresses of several British Airways executives on my website www.elliott.org/company-contacts/british-airways/. I think a quick, polite message would have solved it.
But a mystery remains – why did British Airways cancel your flight and then consider you a ‘no-show’? To find out, I contacted the airline directly on your behalf. It looks like your flight wasn’t cancelled. British Airways accidentally created a cancellation notice. The airline nevertheless agreed to a full refund.
Christopher Elliott is Chief Advocacy Officer of Elliott Advocacy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping consumers solve their problems. Elliott’s latest book is How to Become the World’s Smartest Traveler (National Geographic). Contact him at elliott.org/help or [email protected]
(c) 2022 Christopher Elliott
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