In 1999, the imminent switchover in computerized dates prompted a worldwide scare as the new millennium approached.
The issue, experts argued, were dates stored in computer systems as two digits instead of the proper four, which meant the year 1999—stored simply as ’99’—would change to ’00’ with the new year. This would break a two-digit ascending date system that was used across various systems from banks to hospitals and, yes, even airline travel.
For months, programmers and database administrators worked tirelessly to check for and solve each potential problem, though no one knew exactly how everything would play out when the new year hit.
But when the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2000, only minor issues remained. While some had warned of catastrophic disruption to modern life as we knew it, for the most part, fears had been overblown, and Y2K was quickly forgotten.
From Y2K to British Airways and Brexit
Today, fears of a deal or no-deal Brexit have spurred another frenzy regarding airline travel—but many concerns seem similarly overblown. It’s unlikely that we’ll see mass cancellations or a worldwide lack of consumer confidence in international travel, whether on British Airways or any other UK or European airline.
And the public seems to agree, with no real change in bookings as the Brexit discussions have dragged on for the most part of 2019.
According to Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways parent International Airlines Group, they “don’t see any impact on bookings or the profile of bookings” and “are not seeing any evidence of the Brexit impact” on British Airways this year.
This echoed statements he made last October about Brexit and its impact on British Airways.
“[W]e continue to believe and strongly believe that the arrangements post Brexit will facilitate the continuing operation of the airline industry as we know it,” he added. “And we’re fully expecting a comprehensive agreement to be reached between the U.K. and the EU. If there isn’t, you’ve heard the language being used by both parties that they would expect a bare-bones agreement to apply, which I think will be sufficient for most.”
Walsh is right.
At the heart of the issue is anticipated deals that were negotiated in the run-up to Britain’s EU exit. Regardless of a deal or no-deal Brexit, these agreements mean that many of the EU-based arrangements that facilitate today’s UK-international travel already have reasonable replacements.
In March, the EU and UK agreed to a “basic connectivity” measure. This allows for “point-to-point” trips between the EU and UK member countries, keeping planes in the air and passengers moving for at least 12 months following a Brexit agreement.
Last November, a similar agreement between the UK and the US augmented the existing US-EU Air Transport Agreement that governs air travel between the European Union and the United States. This ensured the continuation of flights between the two countries in a post-Brexit world.
After all, it’s exactly these kinds of agreements that every country must negotiate with others to ensure safe and legal travel between their borders, and, EU or not, the UK is fully capable of developing and managing these agreements without going through the EU.
EU Ownership Rules and British Airways
Due to EU ownership rules, British Airways will have to make some ownership changes post-Brexit if they want to continue to be seen as an EU airline—and benefit from the freedom to fly passengers to, from, and between EU member nations.
British Airways parent IAG said in a statement earlier this year that they “are confident that we will comply with the EU and the UK ownership and control rules post-Brexit,” referring to ownership changes that may have to be made.
Either way, all the Brexit discussion doesn’t seem to have affected British Airways, which claims no impact from Brexit.
“From our point of view Brexit is not impacting the business,” the airline told the Financial Times in August.
In fact, through the first half of the year, profits rose for the airline conglomerate, beating analysts’ estimates.
EU261 and Brexit
Under EU261, passengers aboard flights (1) from the EU or (2) to the EU aboard an EU carrier are protected against significant delays, cancellations and instances of denied boarding in the case of overbooking or another issue. Depending on the delay, cancellation and flight distance, consumers may be eligible for flight cancellation compensation of up to €600 per person.
That said, it’s important to note that EU261 protects all passengers, regardless of nationality or affiliation, so British Airways passengers will still have recourse under EU261 if their flight departs any EU city. When flying into the EU, the law will only apply if British Airways reorganizes their ownership profile to adhere to EU rules post-Brexit, though such an ownership reorganization is to be expected according to IAG leadership.
From Your Friends at TravelRefund.com
At TravelRefund.com, we fight tirelessly on your behalf to get you the just compensation you deserve if a recent EU-based flight was cancelled, significantly delayed, or you were otherwise denied boarding.
According to EU law (EU261), you may be entitled to up to €600 for each leg of your trip, and possibly additional compensation if you needed to grab an extra meal, extend your hotel stay, or keep a rental car past the return date. If a delay caused you to miss work, you may also be entitled to lost wages and other compensation.
While you can try to reach out to the airline yourself, confusing protocols and protracted timelines means you’ll spend much of your time frustrated, which they hope means you’ll give up.
Don’t risk it. Let us take care of it all for you. The peace of mind of a team of professionals dedicated to your case is invaluable, and you won’t pay anything unless we win, and we’ll never ask you to pay any money out of pocket.
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