This is not a story about Joseph Tchira’s lost upgrade on British Airways. It’s not about how the airline treated him. It’s not about what happened after that.
It’s about what should happen now. Tchira doesn’t just want a refund from British Airways.
“I demand immediate reimbursement PLUS INTEREST,” he says.
PLUS INTEREST? Please, Mr. Tchira, no yelling.
Of course, he wants us to help him get that refund — plus interest.
In order to understand how we got here, let’s review what went wrong with Tchira’s itinerary.
Tchira was booked on a flight from Miami to London continuing to Istanbul. He paid $3,145 for two premium economy seats. Then he paid another $677 plus 53,500 points for an upgrade to business class, and that didn’t include $372 for “seat selection.”
(Why do they do this to us? Because they can.)
But it wasn’t meant to be. He couldn’t print out his boarding pass before leaving for the airport. When he tried to check in, same thing. They had no record of his upgrade in their computer system.
“They appeared totally stupefied as to our booking, unable to understand anything,” he says. A supervisor said there was “no way” they could fly in business class because it was booked solid.
“If there was an issue with our booking, why weren’t we advised before, and not at the last minute, prior to boarding?” he asks.
They ended up flying in premium economy class. And seats 18A and B, their original business class seats? They flew empty.
That’s so strange.
Tchira says he wants all of his money and miles back, but that’s not enough. Since he gave British Airways the money almost eight months ago, he figures he’s owed interest. (But why wait eight months to contact me?)
Should we help him get it?
Paying interest is not without precedent. In February, State Farm agreed to pay more than $300 million plus interest to customers in Texas in a settlement over insurance premiums.
(By the way, getting his money back is no sure thing. Remember, airlines recalculate their refunds using funny airline math, so he may only get a fraction of his money back. We shall see.)