Is British Airways Heartless?

British Airways
image: Aero Shots

Is British Airways heartless?

After reading an article that Kim sent me from the New York Post I’d definitely say yes.

Imagine you need to cancel your flight for a serious medical issue. Should the airline reimburse you? I’d say that it definitely depends on the situation.

Here is what happened.

Jahmila Kelly booked a flight from London to Saint Lucia for March 17. She then got some horrible news- she was diagnosed with a brain tumor and told that she can’t fly. Her operation is scheduled for March 4, just a couple of weeks before her trip.

When Kelly was diagnosed in January, she called her travel agent Netflights. She was told that it was up to British Airways to give her a refund. She then contacted BA and was sent back to Netflights.

According to the Post, “The round-trip ticket, valued at $1,114, was issued under the condition that it is nonrefundable“.

British Airways is supposedly investigating the case.

So what do you think- should BA give a refund due to the situation? I’d vote yes.

Find out more from the NY Post here.

11 thoughts on “Is British Airways Heartless?

  1. It’s so unfortunate that Airlines are like this now because of some many other people who abused this before. I think BA should ask for medical proof if they need it and at the very least rebook her without penalty

  2. Unfortunately, this is the reason why folks need to consider travel insurance prior to booking an expensive trip, or use a credit card that provides such insurance. When you make nonrefundable travel arrangements, whether it be plane tickets, hotels, cruises etc, the disclaimers make it pretty clear that “nonrefundable” pretty much has a very plain dictionary meaning.

    I do hope that Ms. Kelly’s treatment is successful.

  3. I’ve always had problems when booking from third party agents if I ever need to adjust my flights… Airline staff themselves have said that if you book directly with the airline, they work with you better. I’m sure in the end this pax will get the refund however since the travel agent took payment, I’d imagine that they themselves will issue the refund once they (the travel agent) works with BA

  4. I think that a non-refundable ticket in most cases should be treated as that…non refundable. But in extreme cases, and i think a brain tumor is extreme, the airlines should refund the ticket as a gesture of good will. As long as she can get supporting documentation from the doctor, I think it’s the right thing to do. At the very least, BA could offer to issue a credit or rebook at a later date w/ $0 change fees & fare differences.

    I would think her credit card might have trip insurance that would help in this case, should BA decide to stick to their guns and say no to a refund.

  5. I have every sympathy for her condition, but no sympathy for her case.

    It is, and always has been, that non-refundable means precisely that. That’s why the ticket is much cheaper and that’s why everyone must have travel insurance. It sounds harsh but she gambled on it, and lost the gamble.

    Incidentally, I just had to change some flights for about $300 because of flu. My alternative was to be miserable and to infect a plane load of passengers. It never even occurred to me to ask UA to change them for free, or to go viral on the topic. I simply claim it off my insurance.

  6. As a travel agent, I can 100 per cent say that most airline fare rules include a statement saying that penalties for non-refundable fares can be waived for medical cases proved by doctor certificates.. In this case better raise your case to the head office with documentation specifying the health condition

  7. This is clearly a big misunderstanding. BA has in their conditions of Carriage a provision that covers this.
    3e) Your rights if you are prevented from travelling by events beyond your control

    you are a consumer.
    you have been prevented from travelling by events beyond your control and
    all or part of the fare for your ticket is non-refundable.
    we will give you a credit for the non-refundable part of the fare. We will do this if you:

    have a completely unused ticket
    have told us promptly about the events beyond your control and
    have given us evidence of these events.

    1. Get a grip, screw the rules, the poor girl has a brain tumour. If it was your wife, sister, Mum would you write such a response? No.

  8. I honestly don’t know what to think about the fact that some posters are more heartless and cruel than a public airlines medical exception policy.
    Might warrant some introspection.

  9. Susi- I totally agree.

    MML- I hear where you’re coming from but in extreme circumstances I do feel these rules are meant to be bent.

    Freddy- I hope you are right.

    Shaun- Great points and I agree/ hope they help her out.

    NB- Again I hear ya but in extreme situations I do think airlines should help a person out in their time of need. A brain tumor should be a good enough reason to get a refund or the flight changed.

    Malek- Thanks for the info and def good to know.

    Mario Fonseca- Definitely great info!

    Ritu Baral- Good point!

  10. BA! Investigating the fuck what? What a pack of bastards BA are. the girl has a god dam brain tumour. How about this, she turns up for the flight, tells them she has cancer, they refuse her boarding, then what BA. You fucks! Refund her money now, the poor girl does not need some bloody airline stuffing her around over a lousy $1400. Any wonder pople hare airlines more than ever. Mongrels! This is enough for me to black-ban this airline. Never again. They are sick.

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