British Airways has said it WILL consider claims for expenses such as hotels and car hire from travellers left out of pocket when it cancelled a wave of cheap 'error fare' flights to the Middle East, as more stories emerged from those affected.
A mum whose tickets to her daughter's wedding were cancelled is one of dozens of travellers who've vented their anger to us since we first broke the story on Monday.
The airline has come under heavy pressure to rethink its decision to cancel the £200-£300 flights, which it blamed on an "exceptionally rare" pricing error. But it's so far refusing to do so - although it has now said it will look at 'consequential loss' claims, for example when travellers who'd booked flights went on to book non-refundable hotels or car hire, on a "case-by-case basis". Some say they've paid £1,000s.
BA, which says the flights were only available via third-party travel sites for a few hours, has apologised, refunded travellers and offered a £100 voucher to be used via the original travel agent. But many of those affected believe their tickets should still be honoured and are furious they've been left out of pocket.
For full help if something goes wrong when you're booking a holiday, see our Holiday Rights guide - and for more on your rights in this specific situation, see our original BA cancels cheap tickets story.
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'As of today we'll be attending our daughter's wedding by Skype'
It's understood many travellers booked the error fares around 11 June, but many did not know they had been cancelled for up to a week later. Some have told us they only found out when reading our BA cancels cheap tickets MSE News story, which was published on Monday.
We've had more than 50 emails from frustrated travellers, such as Belinda Holder, who snapped up cheap BA flights from a third party travel agent for herself and her son to go to her daughter Adina's wedding in Tel Aviv in August. She discovered they'd been cancelled, along with four more tickets for a trip next April, when she checked the BA app.
Belinda said: "I personally blame BA for this as they should honour the tickets, which I felt were not manifestly underpriced. As of today we will be attending our daughter's wedding by Skype.
She added: "I will have to find the money for the tickets because I'm not going to miss my daughter's wedding... It really feels like David versus Goliath, and we're just Davids."
We've also heard from Paul, who even managed to add a bit humour to his complaint. He said: "We booked return flights between 20 December and 2 January to Cairo for what was going to be the trip of a lifetime for my wife and children... I feel like I have been sold down the Nile without a paddle. Come on BA, let's be phar(oah) about this and honour your prices for all those involved."
We've also seen many tweets on the issue, such as:
Also affected. a similar flight with a rival firm was c. £40 more, but booked with BA in good faith as the price was similar to our booking in July. Is the burden of proof not with BA on this? I would say that it's not an obvious price mistake. Can back with examples.— alistairkely (@alistairkely) June 18, 2018
We’ve also got £3,000 hotels paid for!— Mantonio (@Mantopike) June 21, 2018
@British_Airways 5 tickets canx for Dubai, due to fly on 16/7, found out about canx in the press, non refundable hotels booked, £100 voucher does nothing, travel agent still asking for £662 for same tickets to be reissued. Haven’t the heart to break it to the kids, now what?— Hanif (@msskz) June 20, 2018
@British_Airways Well done Bristish Airways for ruining our family holiday to see friends in Dubai. Can't even honour the prices of the the ones sold. Do you need the money that much??? Had to cancel our whole holiday as the only alternative flights were another £1500. Cheers BA
— Samantha Willson (@SamWillson26) June 20, 2018
Some travellers have tweeted other airlines asking if they can offer alternative cheaper fares, and Wizz Air has even offered £80 each way flights from Luton to Tel Aviv for BA passengers who have had their tickets cancelled. However there are quite strict restrictions with this offer - for example you must book by 25 June and travel by 18 July.
Lost out on hotels or car hire? Here's how to claim
Aside from the frustration of having tickets cancelled and being asked to pay more to rebook flights, many travellers have also told us they'd already booked hotels, car hire and more by the time they were informed their tickets had been cancelled.
British Airways today told MoneySavingExpert it WOULD consider claims from those who have been left out of pocket. Asked directly if it would accept claims for consequential loss, a spokesperson told us: "We will look at customers’ concerns on a case-by-case basis."
While there's no guarantee it will pay out, if you have incurred extra expenses you should submit a claim and add as much evidence and information as possible - such as if the booking was non-refundable, or if you are now travelling on different dates but cannot change your booking. Let us know how you get on at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you're unhappy with BA's response - either on consequential loss or the cancelled tickets - you can escalate your complaint to Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution, the alternative dispute resolution service BA has signed up to, though it's worth noting there's a £25 fee if your claim's unsuccessful. See our Flight Delays guide for more info.
Also check your travel insurance to see if you have any cover for this situation, and if your ticket was more than £100 you could also try to claim via your credit card provider under Section 75, though there are no clear-cut rules on consequential loses.
As a last resort, if you're still unhappy with the outcome you could try and argue your case at small claims court. But contract law is a bit of a grey area and there are no guarantees you will win - it is likely to come down to whether a judge decides whether you should have known these fares were obviously an 'error'. See our Small Claims Court guide for more information.
What does British Airways say?
The airline is refusing to answer many of the questions we've put to it on behalf of travellers, including how many travellers have been affected and when it considers a contract for one of its tickets to be legally binding.
In a statement issued on Monday it said: "The fare was only available to a small number of agents over a short period of time, so only a small number of our customers have been affected.
"We have apologised to customers and offered a gesture of goodwill. Errors like this are exceptionally rare, and if they do occur, under contract law, there is no binding contract between the parties."