British Airways says I was not shown for my flight. But I was not

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DEAR TRIP TROUBLESHOOTING: Before the pandemic, I visited Scotland with my family. It was an amazing trip, with the exception of our return flights, which were booked through Orbitz.

Christopher Elliott, the Travel Troubleshooting Tool

The first leg of our outbound flight from Los Angeles to London was delayed. American Airlines booked us another flight from London to Glasgow through its codeshare partner British Airways.

The day before our flight home, I was shocked to learn that our flights had been canceled. Somehow, British Airways thought we hadn’t presented our outbound flights. He automatically canceled our returns. To get home, we had to book new tickets with Air France, which cost $ 8,500.

I would like this amount refunded, plus maybe something extra for the stress and angst I went through when I learned my flights had been canceled the night before we left Glasgow. Can you help me?

– Ross Smith, Simi Valley, Californie.

REPLY: Your flights to the UK should have been smooth and uneventful – not the chaos you describe. This is easily one of the most complicated cases in recent memory. Let me try to sort out this no-show theft case for you.

American Airlines caused the first problem by delaying your first flight from Los Angeles to London. It appears he hasn’t informed British Airways that you will be on the next flight to Glasgow. Unfortunately for the traveler, the airlines automatically cancel the remaining route when you don’t show up.

It looks like Orbitz did their best to resolve the issue, but couldn’t. This matter is even more infuriating because American Airlines has a codeshare agreement with British Airways which is supposed to mean you are dealing with the same airline. Instead, American and British Airways played a game of ping-pong, bouncing you between their customer services as you tried to fix this.

I list the names, numbers and email addresses of American Airlines, British Airways and Orbitz (owned by Expedia) on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org. But I have to be honest: joining them probably wouldn’t have helped. Everyone was confused about your case.

I can’t believe anyone who allows airlines to enter into a codeshare deal like this without some liability. To think that you could be on the hook for $ 8,500 for new plane tickets is just nonsense!

After a lengthy investigation, which involved months of back and forth between my advocacy team, the airlines, and your travel agency, we got to the bottom of it. It appears that American Airlines has processed your ticket changes in error. This sent the wrong message to British Airways – that you had missed your flight – and it automatically canceled your return tickets.

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