Another BA EU 261 issue (staff illness excuse)

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  • Ameritalian
    Participant

    I was booked on a flight AUS-LHR on 31 Dec, which was delayed 21 hrs due to the pilot being ill. I’ve submitted an EU 261 claim to BA, but they are refusing to pay stating that staff illness is an “extraordinary circumstance.” My understanding is that there have been court cases that have decided against airlines trying to use this claim – it also seems to reason that having an adequate staffing contingency plan should be part of normal operations. If they choose to operate routes where they can’t get staff cover in in time for a flight, then they need to compensate passengers.

    Does anyone have any experience fighting claims like this? With BA? How did it go? I’m considering using a NFNW service, but if the case really is as clear cut as I think it is, I’d prefer not to give such a big chunk of the compensation away.


    SimonS1
    Participant

    From the cases I have seen it is not clear cut.

    If this happens at their home bases (like LHR, LGW etc) the expectation is that they would have standby crew and therefore they would be liable.

    However if a pilot is taken sick in somewhere like AUS, then it is not a reasonable expectation they would have spare crew sitting around in every outstation they fly to or their business would not be viable.

    HOWEVER…..that does not exempt BA from clauses 8 and 9 of EC261. With a 21 hour delay you were entitled to be rerouted from Austin on another airline via any other city to get you to Heathrow at the earliest possible time. Did BA offer you options? In not you may well have a valid claim. And of course in any case BA are responsible for duty of care – hotel, meals and phone calls.

    As it is not totally clear cut, my suggestion would be to speak to someone like Bott & Co.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    capetonianm
    Participant

    SimonS1 beat me to it.

    …….. at their home bases ……. the expectation is that they would have standby crew and therefore they would be liable.
    However if a pilot is taken sick in somewhere like AUS, then it is not a reasonable expectation they would have spare crew sitting around in every outstation they fly to or their business would not be viable.

    I think there have been cases based on this where the claimant has lost.

    It happened to me once on an EZY flight JER-LPL and although I didn’t want to claim (I was quite happy about it and went and stayed with family for another night and took the bus to the airport in the morning) I had a long and interesting discussion with another passenger who was a lawyer, and although he didn’t know about EU261 since he worked in the commercial sector, his view was as above.


    Flyboy18
    Participant

    Wow, to suggest that airlines need to have standby crew in every airport they fly to is rediculous…..like the other posts mention…out of base, be it LHR or LGW, then yes you’ve probably got a case but away from base I don’t think so.


    SimonS1
    Participant

    Wow, to suggest that airlines need to have standby crew in every airport they fly to is rediculous…..like the other posts mention…out of base, be it LHR or LGW, then yes you’ve probably got a case but away from base I don’t think so.

    But remember the delay is not the only factor to be looked at under EC261. Factors like duty of care and re-routing are also factors.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    AFlyingDutchman
    Participant

    Wow, to suggest that airlines need to have standby crew in every airport they fly to is rediculous…..like the other posts mention…out of base, be it LHR or LGW, then yes you’ve probably got a case but away from base I don’t think so.

    But remember the delay is not the only factor to be looked at under EC261. Factors like duty of care and re-routing are also factors.

    Exactly, SimonS1, I think we need to know more from the OP. What exactly did BA offer to them as compensation, did they offer other routing, hotel, food, etc? No one can expect standby crew at out stations, especially ones with only one flight a day, but the duty of care is important, and the OP should share what BA did offer. If nothing, then for sure there is a case to be made.


    ViajeroUK
    Participant

    Had a similar situation with a delay on AF flight in 2012(?) from LIM to CDG due to First Officer contracting an ear infection which meant he was unable to fly. I was contacted by AF to advise that my evening flight would be delayed until mid-morning the following day. Was also advised, without me asking, that I would be eligible for EU261 compensation, this was processed promptly with no question. I was given the choice of cash or flight credit.

    The fact that the crew illness that caused the delay occurred at an out station did not seem of any significance.


    SimonS1
    Participant

    Interesting. I do sense things have tightened a bit, BA in particular seem to use any reason to delay/refuse but to be fair there are plenty of difficult airlines.


    canucklad
    Participant

    What would concern me about all this is simply the following …..

    How can we find out that it was in fact, “ outstation crew illness” that caused the delay.
    Otherwise, it’ll become the default reason for delays that are within the airlines remit, including tech delays And one could argue that a member of the flight crew becoming Ill and thus not being able to carry out their duties is “technically “ an extension of the aircraft operation .


    SimonS1
    Participant

    There are a couple of interesting articles on Bott & Co website, suggesting they would indeed take on a case here.

    I’ve tried several times to post them but the archaic BT software won’t let me.

    But if OP googles “Bott and Co Crew Sickness” they will come up.


    openfly
    Participant

    Unless it’s a simple easy delay claim Botts and Co aren’t bothered or won’t take on a difficult case that they will have to expend time on. Only easy money!


    capetonianm
    Participant

    Bott refused to take on a case for me where the airline had a reasonable argument for ‘extraordinary circumstances’. I felt that my argument that they could have taken steps to avoid the problems I had was stronger than theirs.

    I therefore decided to take the airline on myself. I issued a claim and they settled out of court, albeit after considerable debate by email.

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