Lastminute.com issue with BA flight cancellation

Perhaps someone can advise.  We booked flights through lastminute.com approximately 6 months ago to Cape Town in April 2022, which was made up of outbound with another airline and return with BA.  On the 16th November, we were informed by lastminute.com that our return flight with BA had been cancelled and whether we would like a refund or for them to rebook an alternative. We agreed for an alternative flight to be arranged for us, as for us to undertake a booking now would significantly increase the cost of the flight.  After hearing nothing for a week, we called them up and again they reassured us that the flights would be rebooked by them in the next couple of days.  We again phoned them up and they confirmed that it is taking longer than normal, but not to worry as the flights will be rebooked and not refunded, and that we don't need to worry or call back again.  Upon request we also gave them an alternative date to return and assumed they were dealing with it for us.  To our surprise, three weeks later we received a note that the flights would be refunded by voucher which it subsequently was. We have since discovered that BA are running flights on the same day that we had our flights booked, at 10 times the price. We also now have only a return flight to rebook which is more expensive than both flights combined. We feel that we have been misled by the lastminute.com and we have the following questions. 

As our flights have been cancelled, do Lastminute have a responsibility to provide us with alternative options at reasonable prices?
Should we be provided with legitimate reason for the flight being cancelled, as BA are operating a new flight on the same day 2 hours earlier?
If we have to accept this as lastminute.com incompetence,  should we be able to receive a full refund for both outbound and return flights?

Any advice would be welcomed.  

Thanks

Katy, Henry & family

Comments

  • Caz3121
    Caz3121 Posts: 15,545 Forumite
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    which airline is your outbound flight with? were you able to see both flights on that airline and BA's websites? did you have one or two airline booking references?
    Lastminute can cobble together separate tickets which means if one is cancelled only that flight is refunded and the booking for the non-cancelled flight remains
    Using a middleman will always add complexity, when informed of the cancellation you could have checked for alternatives on the BA website and asked Lastminute to ask BA for that alternative flight. Any cancelled flight I have had with BA is automatically rebooked onto an alternative which I could then accept or reject. What did your booking on the BA website show?
    I would keep your expectations low, Lastminute are a very poor third party
  • Westin
    Westin Posts: 5,940 Forumite
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    As Caz3121 has already said, more information is required to gain the best advice and range of suggestions for possible next steps.

    One of the key bits of information is whether this was on one ticket (one locator) and booked as a return - or two one way tickets.  The airline combination and dates would also give us a clue.  If your outbound for example is with Qatar Airlines via Doha and return with BA there is a high possibility that this is one return ticket. Both airlines are in the same alliance.

    Furnishing dates would also help suggestions for alternatives.

    As to the 10x increase in fare, is that because you are now searching for a one way CPT LON fare? Single one way fares will often be higher on legacy airlines that a return flight which has a length of stay and/or a Saturday night in the itinerary.
  • Thanks for the info.  Our outbound flight was Ethiopian air (on 1st April).  We didn’t check the airline websites but relied on lastminute.com  flight confirmations (which had two PNR references).  Only after the BA flight was cancelled did we go on their website and establish that BA flights are still operating on the day of return (17th April).

    Hope this additional information helps.
  • Westin
    Westin Posts: 5,940 Forumite
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    Ethiopian Airways is a Star Alliance member whilst British Airways a OneWorld alliance member. That coupled with the two PNR’s likely indicates two separate flights booked to make a round trip itinerary. 

    As you have discovered, some BA CPT-LHR flights have been cancelled although I believe BA are offering passengers to route back via J’burg on those days when a direct CPT return is not offered.  Had you booked direct with BA or with a proper travel agent then suspect they would have offered you this CPT-JNB-LHR option or CPT-LHR on an alternate day.  Chances are LM could not be bothered to ask what your wishes were and just decided on your behalf to ask BA for a refund.

    It won’t be easy to contact LM but I think you will need to try.  I think you have a good argument to insist LM either allow you to cancel the Ethiopian flight without penalty, or that they contact BA to ask that your return flight is rebooked on to a day to suit or via JNB, or that they route you back via an alternative airline. A one way ticket is not much use.

    Lastminute.com is a company head quartered in Switzerland with most office functions run from their Spanish base.  Not sure I would recommend using them during times of a pandemic when travel disruption is ongoing.  They may be marginally cheaper but as sadly you have discovered, when things go wrong or plans change, they are more trouble to deal with than any saving initially made.

    I hope you can get things sorted out.
  • Hi Westin, thanks for the useful advice.  We certainly will not book with lastminute.com again.  

    We will let you know if we have any joy.
  • More incompetence from Lastminute.com.  We have been informed by them that they will not refund the outbound flight without charge, which we believe is unreasonable.  Tried talking to a manager but it appears this matter cannot be escalated.  Therefore we have had no choice but to try and find a return flight with this useless company.  We have tried to book a flight on their website and now established that the refund credit that we have been provided is only of £95 on our account, when the amount should be in excess of £1200 as per the money we paid for the return flight and confirmation within their email.  Let’s hope we get our money back.


  • Caz3121
    Caz3121 Posts: 15,545 Forumite
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    they will not refund the outbound flight without charge


    Third parties will only pass on to you what the airline refunds them (less their fees) If the Ethiopian flight is not cancelled then Ethiopian will refund as per the fare rules of the ticket (which may be non-refundable)
  • Our saga continues with Lastminute.com.  We were left with no choice but to rebook our flight through them with the voucher that they provided.  This meant that rather than a direct flight that our money could buy previously, we had to settle for a one stop 2h:45min layover, with Ethiopian airways, which we reluctantly accepted.  

    We have now again been informed that this flight has also been cancelled and we have been provided with a thirteen hour layover option.  We have responded to lastminute.com that our preference is to rebook without such a long layover and also spoken to lastminute.com on the phone, but they cannot work this through now and “their team” will look into it for us.  Not hopeful on their previous performance. 
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