BA 14 hour delay.. advice wanted!Back to Forum
Hi Everyone.. so first of all let me say that I have been a regular reader of this forum for probably over 5 years so feel that I ‘know’ a lot of you – however in all that time I have never contributed or commented until now. (its a biggie, if you dont want details skip to the end) The reason for my none contribution is mostly because i’m not a regular business traveller and indeed when i do fly business which is a maybe couple of times a year, it is for personal vacations.
Before I get into this, can I just say I don’t wish this to turn into yet another BA bashing forum, we all know there strengths and weaknesses and it has been done to death on here. That said, yesterday I returned from what should have been a nice quick weekend break in Malta. Was booked in club europe and the return sector was to be operated by Titan Airways. Outbound was delayed by almost an hour, usual scrum boarding at LGW and my priority bag was obviously one of the last out behind all the none priority. No biggie. However the return yesterday and the reason for this post was just beyond all possible extremes of what is acceptable. I will put as bullet points as otherwise I will end up with a never-ending ramble;
– Check in didn’t open until -2 hours, and then only 2 desks with the priority desk left unmanned.
– The Titan aircraft arrived a little behind schedule after doing a go-around, but boarding was initially called more or less on time.
– After waiting at the bottom of the aircraft steps for few minutes we were then ushered back into the gate area and told that due to ‘operational reasons’ there would be a delay. Further update would be in approx 30 mins.
– Each subsequent update was pretty much exactly the same speech – operational reasons, further update in 20 mins
– After just over 2 hours, we were handed a bottle of water and a biscuit.
– After 3 hours vouchers were handed out to use in the one eatery place in the gate area which was a Costa Coffee. After waiting for the scrum to be over, by the time I reached the desk there were discussions finally being had about letting us back into main airport lounge- long story short I never ended up getting a voucher, instead waited till we could finally go back into airport/lounge.
– The BA app was suddenly updated to show a delay of some 13 hours – the staff at the gate had no idea about this, eventually after numerous phone calls they announced officially the delay, that a new aircraft was being sent from London and that we would be ‘set free’ and released from our gate prison after immigration had individually unloaded us from the flight.
– approx 4.5 hours after departure time, we got access back to lounge. From that moment of seeing the staff at the gate area and being told it was a 13 hour delay, until boarding, at no time was there any single contact made be any member of staff. Not a peep. Not an update. Not an offering of voucher so we could get some decent food outside of the lounge. Nothing. Nada, Zero. Whilst I am now eternally glad I booked business and had access to the (actually really nice) lounge in Malta, the food offering was both limited and really not good at all.
– The more savvy of us were on the apps etc and the replacement aircraft did leave London and arrived in Malta at about midnight and we departed just after 01.00 – No proper service, just a limited drinks run and sandwiches (economy also and thank god BA didnt make people buy on board)
Now I have worked in the airline industry for 15+ years and understand planes break. They are a complicated bit of kit, I get it. And give me a delay of any length over putting me on a plane that isn’t working properly. An almost 14 hour delay was horrible, but handled with typical ‘britishness’ by all of us passengers and indeed by the time we boarded, everyone knew everyone in business class and it was dare I say it, quite a jovial atmosphere – after all what else can you do in that situation. The limited service on board – whilst you could argue that was one thing they really should have got right after such an awful delay – for me at least was really not a big deal as we all just wanted to get home – maybe I just also know the other side of what its like working for an airline and understand the logistics of it all so am more accepting when things go wrong.
The main thing though that properly p****d everyone off was the complete and utter silence and lack of ANY information from BA. Apart from them updating their app there was literally no info given at any stage. You certainly cant blame the poor handling agents in Malta – they can only do what is instructed by BA. Most of us spent nearly 16 hours in Malta airport and in that time, we essentially were told there is a 13 hour delay, you will eventually be set free, come back 2 hours before were due out again. See ya later. After leaving the gate there was no interaction with any member of staff again until boarding. Several people tweeted BA including me – I sent 7 and got a standard ‘we’ll look into it’ response when i woke up this morning – most helpful. The only stand out thing of the whole experience was the crew and especially the captain on the return, rescue flight. You could hear in his long, quite heartfelt speech at Malta before departure, he was completely embarrassed for us about the experience we had had, and even came through the cabin in flight and spoke to every one of us in biz and handed us leaflets about claiming compensation, and even phone numbers to follow up with. He honestly seemed genuinely upset by what had happened to us and he is a credit to BA.
SOOOOO…. the actual reason for my (epic first) post… When I send off my complaint and compensation request to BA, where I wont say how understanding I am, what should I actually expect in terms of compensation – both legally and as way of BA of saying sorry. I think the EU 261 rule thing is 400 euro for this delay and length of flight is that right ? or is it 600 ? And should I expect/ask for more on top – how about avios ? Any tips or thoughts would be appreciated.
Thanks and nice to meet you all after all this time 🙂20 Sep 2018
There are 2 school of thoughts on this subject. Either undertake the EU261 your self OR use a claims company. I think quite a few people have used Bott and Co (although I am not in a position to recommend or otherwise).
I also believe that if the EU261 claijm is successful, the chance of getting further compo via avios etc, is slight, but never say never.
Good luck and let us know if you are successful.20 Sep 2018
Sounds like one of those nightmare trips that happen from time to time. The frustration is always the lack of information the local staff can provide and the complete lack of initiative or empowerment for said personnel to do anything to make the situation better for customers. I had a similar trip from London City where they were canceling flights due to weather but just kept delaying mine. I was told if I left the airport and they did fly I wouldn’t get compensation so had to hang around until late night before they cancelled. Then, as its London city, they closed the airport with 100s of us waiting for accommodation or alternate travel, told to figure it out for ourselves and come back in the morning sometime to complain!
Anyway, thoughts on your compensation. You are entitled to claim compensation under EU regulations (at least for now, not sure what happens after brexit) and you should. This is simply a procedural thing and is based on facts around the delay.
I would separately send a note of dissatisfaction to BA providing them with details of how you were made to feel and your dissapointment etc. Its worth providing some positive feedback for individuals if at all due and also provide some feedback to help them do better in future. BA may throw some Avios your way which they used to be bad at in the past but have improved. If someone from Customer Services contacts you directly then dont be shy to ask for some.
Good Luck!20 Sep 2018
Yes, think it should be EU400 each as it’s over five hours and over a certain distance, but check around online. We had a 5hr delay from Spain earlier this summer and there’s a link on BA’s website (apologies my wife did it all) to apply, so I wouldn’t bother with the companies that do it for you as they’ll take a cut. My wife did it very quickly, there’s a section where you can explain why you’re claiming for that amount (for us it was as the flight was right on the edge of the distance for additional money but we sent scans of my son’s flight book showing the real distance). 2wks later I got a call from BA explaining that we’d be receiving the money in 5 days and then there it was – £1107 thank you very much. It certainly made the delay a lot easier!20 Sep 2018
Malta to London is just over 2,000km so OP is due €400 compensation under EC261, assuming no exceptional circumstances are involved. Plus any duty of care expenses like phone and food/drink.
Just log the claim on BA website with a simple summary….I was travelling from MLA to London, I was delayed 16 hours etc. Leave out the ‘story’ bit as the person handling the claim won’t be interested and it may just delay things.
Forget asking for anything else, it won’t happen. EC261 sets out what you are due.
As far as poor communications locally – well BA has few staff at outstations these days and the standard model is to outsource and abdicate responsibility. When combined with Titan it probably meant the first real BA person you encountered was the pilot on return. Unsatisfactory, yes, but it is what happens on low cost airlines.21 Sep 2018