I briefly mentioned the ruling from the Department of Transportation (DoT) last week with regards to the British Airways sale/mistake fare to India. The story has picked up a bit more coverage over the weekend and is now being reported somewhat widely. That’s great news for calling attention to the despicable behavior that British Airways has displayed on this issue. The bad news is that most folks are congratulating the DoT and claiming that this ruling should serve as a deterrent against future similar actions. Oh how wrong they are.
I was somewhat reserved in my judgment last week when I read the initial ruling. It looks like there was good reason for me to be concerned. As currently written it seems that the ruling does shockingly little for the vast majority of customers who were affected by BA’s actions. In fact, only folks who immediately booked other tickets, hotels or other tours right after the initial booking are really eligible to get reimbursed. And then the reimbursement will be in the form of covering those expenses, not in the form of BA actually agreeing to fly the customer to India as initially contracted.
I am quite happy to see Nicholas Kralev’s column this week covering the issue and pointing out these holes in the agreement. Sure, it may be too little too late, but it is nice to see others stepping up and acknowledging that the idea of “making [consumers] whole” isn’t really being adhered to by British Airways.
I’ve contacted the DoT again and asked for further clarification on the ruling. And I’m still going to court on Thursday. Maybe not everyone will be made whole but I am going to do everything in my power so that I am.
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