I had booked a BWI-LHR round trip ticket on British Airways. The outbound flight went fine. The return trip is supposed to be tomorrow -- BA 0229. Both of the flights are code shares with American Airlines (AA 6980.)

Less than 24 hours until the flight -- and after check in -- I get an email from American Airlines telling me that my flight has been cancelled and they've rebooked me on an LHR-JFK-DCA flight instead. But when I look, AA6980 is still showing as scheduled and on time for tomorrow. (And entering my confirmation code on AA's website still shows the flight itinerary from the original BWI flight. BA's website can no longer find my reservation.)

I am confused what's going on here. The flight does not appear to be cancelled, the AA website seems to think my original reservation is still valid -- though I've lost my seat reservation and meal preferences -- and I seem have an additional flight reservation on a multi-leg AA flight. Can someone shed some light onto what might be going on? And, assuming the multi-leg flight to DC really is what AA is offering me, what kind of compensation (if any) can I get for the inconvenience of arriving 6 hours late in the completely wrong state?

  • 2
    Have you contacted either BA or AA to ask for clarification?
    – FreeMan
    Commented Aug 17, 2023 at 14:04

1 Answer 1

  • BA show it as cancelled
  • So does Flightradar24.
  • Google still says it’s scheduled, but (for me) it shows a last update over 6 hours ago.
  • As usual AA’s status page does not know much about it (“Flight status not available”)

So IMHO your original flight is indeed cancelled. What’s weird is that AA does not show you the updated booking.

Since this is a flight departing the UK and you were notified of the cancellation less than 14 days before the flight, you are eligible for the usual “UK261” compensation for the delay, which means in this case £520, per https://www.caa.co.uk/passengers/resolving-travel-problems/delays-and-cancellations/cancellations/

For the arrival at a different airport, this is a bit more tricky. Regulations make a difference between airports “serving the same town, city or region” and those that do not. Many airlines would probably argue that BWI serves the DC area (it’s called “Baltimore Washington” after all), so they don’t owe you anything, but you can push back and try to get them to either arrange transportation or reimburse you for your costs. This can be complex since they really would only be obligated to get you to BWI while you probably want to go home directly, and probably depends on the relative position of DCA, BWI and you final destination. YMMV a lot.

Note also that:

  • The carrier which is responsible for compensation is the operating carrier, in this case BA. They will probably try to bounce the ball a couple of times back and forth.
  • You are entitled to a refund of that leg instead of rerouting if you so choose.
  • You can choose to be rebooked or rerouted on a different date if you prefer.
  • If another rerouting is more convenient for you can ask for it. The rerouting they sent you is just what they think is the best option for you (and them…), but they don’t know all your parameters.
  • While airlines prefer to reroute you on their own flights, you can ask to be rerouted on a different airline if that makes a significant difference in convenience or arrival time. In some cases airlines are obligated to accept it (usually when the rerouting they suggest is the next day and the alternative is the same day).
  • If you change the rerouting and that changes how late you arrive you may lose your right to compensation.
  • If you are on a premium fare or have status, that can help a lot in getting what you want.
  • The question makes it sound like BA sold the ticket but AA is operating the flight.
    – Ben Voigt
    Commented Aug 17, 2023 at 18:23
  • @BenVoigt Nope, it’s quite clear the itinerary was booked via AA on an AA codeshare operated by BA.
    – jcaron
    Commented Aug 17, 2023 at 19:08
  • The flight numbers back up your interpretation, I just thought from the very first sentence of the question that it's clear the purchase was made through BA.
    – Ben Voigt
    Commented Aug 17, 2023 at 19:29

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