Advice please - Etihad refusing compensation for involuntary downgrade | Australian Frequent Flyer
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Advice please - Etihad refusing compensation for involuntary downgrade

Caversham04

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Over Christmas, I flew in business on Etihad from Adelaide to Heathrow and back. The route for the outbound journey was ADL-MEL-AUH-LHR and the ticket was purchased through Bestjet.

My originally-booked ADL-MEL leg on Virgin Australia was at 18:00-ish on an EY codeshare flight number but the original plane was substituted for an all-economy A320 so, after a fair bit of hassle, I was switched to the 16:00-ish flight.

However, on the day of the flight, the 16:00-ish flight was cancelled due to crew shortages and, under protest, I took the 18:00-ish flight instead, in economy. Virgin had originally been trying to re-schedule and re-route my entire outbound itinerary, travelling the following day instead, via Sydney.

The lounge angel was very helpful, and indicated that compensation would be forthcoming. However, Virgin Australia and Etihad customer services are both refusing compensation and are telling me to contact Bestjet. Bestjet's administrators have replied to say that they won't be paying compensation.

Both airlines will obviously know that Bestjet is in administration and I suspect they are also aware that the administrators won't pay out in this particular situation, so they are trying to fob me off and avoid responsibility.

In some circumstances, I might be prepared to shrug my shoulders and let it go, but Etihad also managed to lose my luggage for seven days and persistently lied to me that it was on its way on their next flight out of MEL, when eventually it was sent on Qantas via Singapore! My expenses for replacement clothing came to around GBP200 and Etihad have (in theory) agreed to pay. However, despite returning the indemnity form on 22nd Jan, they still haven't paid the compensation into my bank account. I have sent several requests for an update, and I know they've received them as I set the e-mail to provide a Read Receipt, but they haven't replied to any of my e-mails. I'm therefore not prepared to shrug my shoulders on the involuntary downgrade.

Does anyone have any experience of a similar situation? I'm unclear how to continue to pursue compensation for the involuntary downgrade - would a partial credit card charge-back be an option? I'm also getting increasingly frustrated with the delay in them compensating me for the lost luggage, so any advice on this would also be appreciated.
 

moa999

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I'm assuming ticketed on on Etihad?

If it was ticketed on VA then the Advocate might be a solution
Home

That said assuming the return trip is the same the ADL-MEL segment would represent under 2% of the trip distance, and they still found a way to get you to MEL seemingly without delaying the overall trip, so I can't imagine there would be a big value given to that segment.

Would be very different if you got downgraded on one of the longer legs.
 
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Caversham04

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I'm assuming ticketed on on Etihad?

If it was ticketed on VA then the Advocate might be a solution
Home

That said assuming the return trip is the same the ADL-MEL segment would represent under 2% of the trip distance, and they still found a way to get you to MEL seemingly without delaying the overall trip, so I can't imagine there would be a big value given to that segment.

Would be very different if you got downgraded on one of the longer legs.
Yes, it was ticketed on Etihad. At this point, I'd normally probably agree with you about it being a short leg and just shrug my shoulders, but the fact that Etihad took 7 days to deliver my luggage and have so far taken over a month to transfer the compensation for that (despite the amount of compensation for that being agreed and an indemnity form signed) makes me reluctant to let them off the hook for this...... The cost difference between economy and business just for ADL-MEL is several hundred dollars and even the Velocity points for a future upgrade on an east coast flight would be enough for me to be satisfied.....
 

Caversham04

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Ask Virgin for Original Routing Credit then
Good point, but already done - VA updated my status credits to reflect the original J-class ticket but no additional Velocity points were supplied; apparently the points for a flexi economy ticket (VA flight number + Gold status bonus) on the revised ADL-MEL trip are marginally more than the Velocity points for the originally-ticketed business-class flight booked on an EY flight number, so they honoured the originally-credited flexi economy points. The crediting of (more or less) the original points I would have earned on the intended flight doesn't count as compensation in my book.....
 

EtihadAirways

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Hi there, sorry to learn about what happened. Please send us your case number or email address via pm, or to any of our social media channels e.g. Facebook Messenger, Twitter . We will look into it and follow up your claim. Thank you. *Ari
 

Caversham04

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Hi there, sorry to learn about what happened. Please send us your case number or email address via pm, or to any of our social media channels e.g. Facebook Messenger, Twitter . We will look into it and follow up your claim. Thank you. *Ari
Hi Ari

Thank you for getting in touch; will send you a private message with the details for both cases

Best regards
Iain
 

dajop

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Be careful about chargebacks. I wouldn’t go down that path. Whilst the cost of a ADL-MEL flight in business is several hundred more, the way fares are constructed for international flights means the difference would be negligible or nothing for the sector as part of the overall journey to LHR. You might be better off trying to extract a customer service gesture of velocity points from VA!
 

Caversham04

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Be careful about chargebacks. I wouldn’t go down that path. Whilst the cost of a ADL-MEL flight in business is several hundred more, the way fares are constructed for international flights means the difference would be negligible or nothing for the sector as part of the overall journey to LHR. You might be better off trying to extract a customer service gesture of velocity points from VA!
Thanks; I've actually already suggested that back to them after they tried to close the case by saying it's Bestjet's problem......
 

JohnPhelan

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It may well be the case that the fare ADL-MEL-LHR is the same dollar value as just MEL-LHR, i.e. the domestic leg at the start is effectively free. In which case, the compensation question may be moot.
 

samh004

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It may well be the case that the fare ADL-MEL-LHR is the same dollar value as just MEL-LHR, i.e. the domestic leg at the start is effectively free. In which case, the compensation question may be moot.
Reminds me of the hidden city ticketing thread, and in this case if the fare was AAA-CCC – despite going through BBB – the passenger should expect to get what they paid for, even if it costs the same, otherwise the airlines can't expect to have it the other way.

Good to see @EtihadAirways has reached out though!
 

Caversham04

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It may well be the case that the fare ADL-MEL-LHR is the same dollar value as just MEL-LHR, i.e. the domestic leg at the start is effectively free. In which case, the compensation question may be moot.
Initial response was that the flexible economy fare that VA assign to you as part of their procedure for an in-lounge downgrade costs more than the discount business fare, so no refund due....:mad:

I've pointed out that the fare was booked 10 months in advance so if I'd wanted to fly ADL-MEL in economy, I'd have bought a Getaway fare, and the fact remains that I didn't get what I'd paid for. Am now waiting for a further response.
 

Ausbt

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Hang on, so you only missed J on the ADL-MEL sector? All other sectors were J? Geeze, I can't really see that's worth much. The luggage issue, yes, definitely should be compensated.
 

trippin_the_rift

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Seems like a lot of unnecessary stress for a 50 minute flight.
Why do airlines sell biz class for 50-minute flights? There is demand and some folks simply don't want to fly in economy class.

Etihad will want to fix the case as it will mean they don't need to pay VA for the biz seat.

Small things matter the most...
 

JohnK

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Initial response was that the flexible economy fare that VA assign to you as part of their procedure for an in-lounge downgrade costs more than the discount business fare, so no refund due....:mad:
Oh this is the same rubbish excuse that Qantas uses.

Last minute full flexible economy is more expensive than discount business so if you are unlucky to be downgraded you owe the airline money.
 

Caversham04

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Hang on, so you only missed J on the ADL-MEL sector? All other sectors were J? Geeze, I can't really see that's worth much. The luggage issue, yes, definitely should be compensated.
I realise it's not worth a large proportion of the overall fare but, as said before, I didn't get what I paid for...... and if everyone continues to let the BS about "we downgraded you to a flexible economy fare which costs more than your business class ticket, so there's no refund due" go through on the nod then airlines will persist in trying to get away with it......
 

Ausbt

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I didn't get what I paid for
Ok. Well I would calculate your economic loss and ask for points compo at a value of 2 points per $. I actually did that recently when a BNE-LAX was late arriving, causing me to miss a connection and pay for a hotel (different PNR and VA actually would have paid for the hotel, but I didn't want to risk being stuck in the terminal overnight so preferred surety). VA really looked after me with some points compo and it's not the first time.
 

Caversham04

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Etihad have just insisted via PM that the case is closed. I have requested that they re-consider and suggested that 20,000 Velocity points would be appropriate as this would cover a one-way upgrade on my next east-coast domestic flight, directly replacing the flight on which I was downgraded......
 

Danger

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Etihad have just insisted via PM that the case is closed. I have requested that they re-consider and suggested that 20,000 Velocity points would be appropriate as this would cover a one-way upgrade on my next east-coast domestic flight, directly replacing the flight on which I was downgraded......
That's very disappointing, @EtihadAirways.
 

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