In the eleventh hour before a weekend trip to Prague with friends, I was about to pack my cabin-size hand luggage, when I got a curious text from something called ‘BAeServices’ saying: ‘Sorry, your flight BA854 has been cancelled’.
‘Is this how free movement in the EU ends?’ was the first millisecond thought to flash across my Brexit-rattled mind. My second thought was that this message was naturally a prank or scam.
I spent the next hour anxiously listening to the mind-numbing music played on the British Airways hotline. It was interspersed with a voice intoning ‘your call is important to us’.
At last, the one person who seems to work on BA’s phone lines confirmed that our flight was indeed cancelled. The reason we were given was ‘bad weather’ which would have been a good reason if the weather had in fact been bad.
He did not offer an alternative flight until much later the next day, which defeats the purpose of a weekend trip.
Not only did BA ruin our weekend trip, it then sent us through a digital maze of pages to hunt down the form needed to claim compensation: under European Union rules, a cancelled flight entitles you to €250 (£216) for a flight of 1,500 km or less and €400 for over 1,500 km.
A few weeks later we received our compensation. I wonder what will happen to that rule when we actually leave the EU.
This article was published as part of Marina’s Imaginary Millions, the column in Money Observer, September 2016: http://www.moneyobserver.com/opinion/ba-does-its-bit-to-end-eu-free-movement