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British Air change fee and left me stranded in SF

San Francisco
Level Contributor
2 posts
4 reviews
British Air change fee and left me stranded in SF

I was in France and had to return to California earlier than expected. They charged me a "change fee" of US$275. Then when the clerk finally got me the ticket she and the other clerk told me to run like mad to catch the flight. I did as they said.

When I got on the plane it took me to London and then on to San Francisco. Well, that was where the new changed itinerary ended, but my original itinerary final destination was another leg. So I ended up having to purchase another ticket to get home that night.

Does anyone know what their policy is? I've contacted them numerous times via their website, which is the only way to get anyone. The phone number for customer care has only a recording. I feel ripped off and boondoggled.

Any suggestions on how to get reimbursed for the last leg of my trip? The only people from British Airways who respond are Indians and have very bad english skills. It's obvious they don't understand the issue because of the wording of their response.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
52,511 posts
15 reviews
1. Re: British Air change fee and left me stranded in SF

Depending on the fare bucket in which you booked, the fee of $275 is the standard BA charge for changing a semi-flexiible ticket (at least it is for the WT+ tickets I usually buy). There may have been an additional fare difference payable, again depending on the fare bucket originally booked.

It sounds as if you made the change for the flight in France, probably at CDG. Did you ask for a reconfigured fare to your final destination and did the staff at CDG say that you were booked through to that destination? Had your original booking been a single ticket from XXX- SFO-LHR-CDG / CDG-LHR-SFO-XXX?

BA North America's call centre is in Florida, but the knowledge base of the agents is hit or miss (something BA need to address). I suggest a call to BA in the UK, as the agents may be much more helpful. Dial 011 44 191 490 7901; hours are from 0600 to 2000 GMT.

San Francisco
Level Contributor
2 posts
4 reviews
2. Re: British Air change fee and left me stranded in SF

yes, I changed it at CDG and also yes about the single booking from SMF-SFO-LHR-CDG and back again. I understood the fee was to change the return date --not the end destination.

I clearly understand the change fee of US275 but I surely didn't expect to have to spend an additional $200 at the last leg.

I will give them a call in the UK. Thank you so much for responding.

Destination Expert
for Livigno, Lombardy
Level Contributor
39,474 posts
192 reviews
3. Re: British Air change fee and left me stranded in SF

I think it's the standard rule that when you don't get on the first leg of the trip that's booked on the ticket the other leg is automatically cancelled but maybe someone like GOPBI who is an expert on this will give you more accurate info but BA should be able to clear this up for you.

Fredericia, Denmark
Destination Expert
for Bentota, Beruwala, Sri Lanka
Level Contributor
37,532 posts
7 reviews
4. Re: British Air change fee and left me stranded in SF

Who said OP was a no show on the first leg? He changed the date for his return flight.

11 posts
5. Re: British Air change fee and left me stranded in SF

The CDG agent did a half complete job for you, what a shame. SHe/he should have rebooked you to SFO, not sure if this would have changed the price or not but would have prevented hassle at LHR

Edinburgh, United...
Level Contributor
11,455 posts
16 reviews
6. Re: British Air change fee and left me stranded in SF

As I read it, the problem wasn't in LHR but in SFO. So the OP was booked CDG-LHR-SFO-X, had his ticket changed in CDG but the change was only applied to the first two legs, leaving the OP stranded in SFO and having to buy a new ticket to X. Other than that I agree with you that it sounds like a screw-up on BA's part.

Edited: 1:07 pm, February 14, 2013
7. Re: British Air change fee and left me stranded in SF

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Removed on: 10:48 am, April 21, 2013
Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
Level Contributor
15,056 posts
73 reviews
8. Re: British Air change fee and left me stranded in SF


Agreed with the above; sounds like the booking wasn't properly and/or entirely addressed when the OP initiated his/her voluntary change

Unfortunately most airline systems don't and won't necessarily 'flag' the agent that either a section has been missed (if you're changing an upline sector that then impacts one or more down line sections) or that due to one or more of the new changes that a download sector is now not compatible.

In my mind the system should perhaps be a bit more intuitive or at least give the agent some warning that and "issue" of some kind may exist, but most systems don't work like that and I recognize that with things like open jaws (ARNKs) and the like, that it can be complex.

I've made that mistake before when I worked at an airport location.

I changed the first two sections of a passengers return travel but missed the passengers final 3rd leg that gets them home because the total number of secrions on that booking was longer than one normal screen view.

I overlooked the system prompt that there was one or more sections to be shown on a follow-on screen and I needed to scroll forward to see them. However the system still took the two changes I did make- even though in doing so now created a schedule incompatibility.

Travel Safe,

Level Contributor
49,562 posts
92 reviews
9. Re: British Air change fee and left me stranded in SF

Possibly exacerbated by the OP turning up last minute at the airport and in the rush messing up, else why would agent be telling them to run ?!

10. Re: British Air change fee and left me stranded in SF

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