Question: I’m having a problem with an involuntary downgrade.  I bought a ticket on Virgin Atlantic Airways last March to fly from New York to London in premium economy class. When I arrived at the airport, Virgin canceled my flight but rebooked me on the next flight out on British Airways.

When I was issued my new ticket, it was in economy class. I tried to explain I should’ve been booked in the same class — in this case, World Traveller Plus — but British Airways wanted to charge me extra for it.

I’ve complained to Virgin that I should’ve at least been issued a partial refund, but haven’t heard anything. Any insight you have would be greatly appreciated. — James Simon, New York

Answer: Virgin should have either put you in the British Airways equivalent of premium economy class or refunded the price difference between the tickets.

But that’s easier said than done. Even though Virgin’s premium economy and British Airways’ World Traveller are essentially the same products — they have roughly the same amenities and services, including in-flight entertainment, meals and seats with about the same amount of space — the airlines treat the products differently in their reservations system.


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  • Elliott

    Christopher Elliott has been called one of the world’s leading travel experts. But his focus isn’t on the destination, or ev…

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