BA sold me a direct flight with a stopover

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I bought an online ticket from Heathrow to Houston. On the itinerary before purchase and on the eticket it appeared to be a direct flight. On the day of travel, I found at the gate that there was a stopover in Chicago but that I would not get off the plane. I was annoyed at that but even more annoyed when we arrived in Chicago and I had to get off the plane, go through customs and immigration, pick up my bag and then check in my bag again, while waiting another hour for the flight. On the return leg, I was in the plane for over an hour and a half waiting for BA to change crew and pick up more passengers. I complained to BA and got the following response from them.

Thank you for your email. I am sorry that you were unprepared for the stop that your flight made at Chicago airport.

We describe our flight from London Heathrow to Houston as 'direct', rather than 'non-stop'. We have to land temporarily at Chicago and because this is the first point of entry into the country, the immigration rules say that everyone has to leave the aircraft. So we take the opportunity to re-fuel and take on new catering supplies at the same time.

To view the stop over our flights take you can visit our website ba.com and click on Planning my trip and then click on Our flight timetable and enter the departure and arrival airport.

I hope this helps and that you will choose to fly with British Airways next time.

Best regards

So my question is, will I be able to get some compensation from them or is that another industry trick that I've cottoned on too late??

Who else can I bring this up with? It seems to me that this is misrepresentation, but I could be wrong.
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Comments

  • saveapenny
    saveapenny Posts: 6,773 Forumite
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    No because the term "direct" does mean they can stop for fuel or even a change of aircraft but its not a stopover, you have to be carefull with airline termanology. You always need to look for the non stop flights if you want a true direct flight
    If you look anything like your passport photo....Your too ill to travel
  • jenniferpa
    jenniferpa Posts: 1,036 Forumite
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    I think the only possible area of complaint is the idiot that told you you wouldn't have to get off the plane in Chicago. As the BA response says, US immigration regulations require everyone to get off the plane at the point where the plane first lands in the US. It's just the way it is and ground staff should know that.
  • nelly_2
    nelly_2 Posts: 17,863 Forumite
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    I'd be going !!!!ing mental cheeky b@stards.

    We describe our flight from London Heathrow to Houston as 'direct', rather than 'non-stop'

    really? I thought planes stoped when they took on fuel unlees BA have a fleet of MIG fighter jets that refuel in the air.
    get on to abta or atol 1st

    This is a complete mis selling and an utter UTTER lie.
    Email phone and write to them every day you desreve a free flight to the same value WITH NO STOPS

    Im angry for you.
  • stratford_2
    stratford_2 Posts: 452 Forumite
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    While I appreciate the OP's frustration I'm not sure the OP has a leg to stand on in terms of compensation. If they had clicked on the flight numbers on the flight selection screens they would have got details of the flights, which would include the fact that there was stop:

    For example (my bold):

    s.gif Flight :BA0295 Non Smoking Operated By :British Airways Departing From :Heathrow (London)
    Sun 23 April 2006, 09:35 Arriving At :G.Bush Intercont (Houston)
    Sun 23 April 2006, 16:05 Number of Stops :1 Flying Duration :12hrs 30mins Aircraft Type :Boeing 777 jet

    Not much help after the event, but could help those who want to check future flight bookings! (also worth pointing out that if BA arrived at the destination at the advertised time, they've fulfilled their contract with the pasengers).
  • aScottishBloke
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    My first impression is that it was very misleading. It's not a direct flight if they go via another city. However I'm now swayed by another thought. If I book the London - Glasgow east coast train and it did not venture off the beaten track but managed to pause a few times along the journey I'd still have considered this direct, even with a few stops.

    Never thought of it like that before, I hate flying with a passion, but it still needs to be done, so I'll definitely make sure that the critical element of the flight description is the no. of stops.
  • richardw
    richardw Posts: 19,458 Forumite
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    Always look at https://www.expedia.co.uk or https://www.opodo.co.uk to see what they say about a flight, often they give out more information and there are comparisons with other airlines' flights that can be useful.

    BA also has 'hopping' flights to South America. They go to Sao Paulo and on some days hop to Buenos Aires and other days they hop to Rio de Janeiro. Some Air France flights via Paris are about the same travel times as these.
    Posts are not advice and must not be relied upon.
  • Finishrich
    Finishrich Posts: 1,038 Forumite
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    I don't think they'll take you on with a complaint for compensation it seems like they've cottoned onto the US way of using flights, where you use the planes like we would a bus with stops here there and everywhere. It's just we're not really used to them doing that in the UK.
  • saveapenny
    saveapenny Posts: 6,773 Forumite
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    If you look anything like your passport photo....Your too ill to travel
  • richardw
    richardw Posts: 19,458 Forumite
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    This stop is part of Heathrow politics and Bermuda III agreement.

    If BA did a direct flight to Houston from Heathrow, then an American carrier would get the right to fly to Heathrow from Houston. So BA stops at Chicago to avoid this.

    The direct flights are from Gatwick on BA and Continental.

    Doesn't seem to be helping the passenger that much really.
    Posts are not advice and must not be relied upon.
  • redux
    redux Posts: 22,976 Forumite
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    richardw wrote:
    If BA did a direct flight to Houston from Heathrow, then an American carrier would get the right to fly to Heathrow from Houston. So BA stops at Chicago to avoid this.
    Yep - I flew from Gatwick to Houston in 1991, and was on my way down the thread wondering why BA were apparently using the wrong plane for the trip, until I read your reply. This was probably an old British Caledonian route, and things change slowly or not at all.
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