BA and EU261

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  AlanOrton1 28 Jan 2018
at 19:48

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  • travelworld2

    Some readers may recall that I was denied compensation by BA last year because my flight was cancelled owing to a cabin crew strike. They claimed that the EU 261 compensation didn’t apply in those circumstances-as it wasn’t “an extraordinary circumstance wholly outside the airline’s control”. That was wrong, and so when I sued them I was paid in full, with my court fees.

    I had thought that my circumstances were arguable, so I was pleased when the airline capitulated. But now a colleague is having similar difficulties.BA cancelled her flight from Miami to London and at first refused compensation because, remarkably, they could not tell why the flight had been cancelled. She persevered, of course, and ha now been told:-

    “Dear Miss

    Thanks for coming back to us about the experience you and your family had with us in December.
    I’m pleased to let you know I’ve had further information about the cancellation to BA0224 on 5 December. Unfortunately, due to the amount of engine checks, it meant we had a shortage of aircrafts (sic). As we had to wait for an aircraft to arrive, your flight was cancelled. Due to this being an operational change, we’re not liable for a compensation payment. I know this isn’t the answer you were hoping for and I’m sorry to disappoint you.”

    Now that is simply rubbish. These are precisely the circumstances in which an airline MUST compensate. What circumstances can’t be described as an “operational change”, for heaven’s sake?

    Of more concern is that it does seem to be part of a deliberate ploy by BA to obfuscate, trying to stop people from claiming money which they are perfectly entitled to have. Do other readers have similar tales?


    If I were the regulator of the aviation business in Europe, I would introduce a mandatory requirement for an airline who cancels a flight to announce either 1] immediately at the airport via the PA system (at the gate) or 2] within x hours via email to ALL checked in PAX that ‘This flight was cancelled for reason x, and as such you are entitled/not entitled to a claim under E261″….

    If announcement under 1] was not possible due to uncertainty of cause, the reason for not announcing this would need to be communuicated to the regulator and signed off by an airline official within y hours of the event.

    This would ‘soften their cough’ indeed.


    Unfortunately, due to the amount of engine checks, it meant we had a shortage of aircrafts (sic). As we had to wait for an aircraft to arrive, your flight was cancelled. Due to this being an operational change,

    What a load of bolleaux! First of all, it’s contradictory in itself and the the first phrase is an admission that in terms of EU261 they are liable (even if they outsourced the engine checks/maintenance to a third party, that remains their responsibility.) It may be a little unfair from the airline’s perspective but it’s what the regulation says.

    I have taken on a number of EU261 claims in the last few years and have yet to lose one (pride comes before a fall!). I suggest you quote the ruling of Huzzar vs (I forget the precise details, you can look it up) which set the precedent whereby maintenance faults are deemed to be within the control of the carrier.

    I wonder what planet these people who work in airline ‘claims’ departments are on. Not the same one as the rest of us for sure.

    it does seem to be part of a deliberate ploy by BA to obfuscate, trying to stop people from claiming money which they are perfectly entitled to have.

    Most people fall at the first hurdle. Of those who go to the second hurdle, most fail. Those who press on will usually win, obviously not if their case is spurious.


    It is absolutely disgusting that BA are deliberately misleading and deceiving their customers when such delays occurs. As a lawyer, I can’t understand how IAG’s legal team are still allowed to practice given the amount of b&llsh%t they allow to be communicated.

    Reg 261 is not a joke but most airlines continue to treat it as such.

    Change needs to happen.


    “Unfortunately, due to the amount of engine checks, it meant we had a shortage of aircrafts (sic).” – what on earth does this mean? Is it referring to scheduled maintenance, unscheduled maintenance, a pre flight walk around inspection taking too long.

    I would almost certainly suggest, the letter was typed with typos or cut and pasted by someone using English as a second language.


    Well it´s not just BA. Iberia lost my bag for 5 days in mid December on a domestic sector from Valencia to Madrid where I was connecting to HKG and SIN. Picked the bag back up at Madrid airport 5 days later on my return from SIN. Was given an email address to write in about compensation which was actually written on the lost bag details but no reply. Phoned twice and was cut off twice. The Iberia website says ¨download the claim form below” but of course there is neither a link nor a claim form. If anyone else has had a problem with Iberia any help gratefully received.


    Iberia will sometimes give you a good flight, but if anything goes wrong, their ground service at BCN and MAD is utterly atrocious. They have a training school where they train people, bearing in mind that the Spanish are generally pleasant, if not very efficient, to be abrasive, obnoxious, and obstructive.

    Their complaints procedure is just diabolical. The standard Spanish way of dealing with complaints is to ignore them in the hope that they will go away, and with the Spanish they often do, since they are so inured to third rate service that half the time they don’t even bother to complain, and when they do it’s more to let off steam than in the hope of getting a solution. Iberia have taken ignoring and obfuscating to a fine art. In fairness it’s not just Iberia, it’s typically Spanish, I am currently embroiled in a complaint against Banco Santander (in Spain, not the UK subsidiary.) Same story as above, links on website don’t work, etc.

    Many years ago, and it was the the last time I flew IB, from BCN to JNB and back, all the flights were, for different reasons, appalling, with lost baggage outbound and badly damaged baggage inbound. I wrote several letters and was eventually able to get through, after maybe weeks of trying, to the telephone ‘service’ of their so-called customer service department in Madrid. Needless to say they are monoglots, which is fine, I speak Spanish, I asked the woman why my written and faxed complaints had been ignored and she told me, with disarming honesty : “We have so many complaints we cannot deal with them all.”

    One of the complaints I made was that two members of the cabin crew were smoking in the galley during the overnight segment. When I took a photograph and told them I was reporting them, I was physically threatened with violence, the guy even telling me that he would find out where I lived and send his buddies to come and deal with me.

    A friend of mine has been fighting them for almost two years over a very straightforward and clearcut EU261 case. He was denied boarding on a longhaul flight due to overbooking, and he has written confirmation of that fact. I also produced the requisite printouts from their system as further evidence. They haven’t refused to pay, they have simply ignored all correspondence from him. I have offered my help but he wants, as a matter of pride, to deal with it himself.

    Fundamentally the problem is that the airline is run for the convenience of the ‘enchufados’ (meaning roughly the ‘plugged in’ which is the ‘old boy network’) of its past and present employees, and the Royal Family. When I travelled on industry discounted tickets I was treated by them far better than when travelling on commercial tickets, for one thing usually being upgraded. They are a steaming pile of what a dog leaves on the pavement and are best avoided. In every sense of the word, they are a disgrace. Sadly, the same mentality has infected BA (thanks, Alex.)

    I lived in Spain for a couple of years and had to fly them frequently, so I do know what I am talking about here.


    Capetonianm, your note , apart from turning my Sunday somewhat colder than the outside temperature, sadly it does not come as a surprise. The money here is not the primary point it is the principal of a business in this case Iberia, that screwed up being asked to meet its obligations. Is it me or is the travel industry in general that seems to offer all to frequently appalling examples of customer service failures? How are they able to dodge EU261 responsibilities or is it that people give up at the first hurdle and that is what Iberia and other errant suppliers rely on?


    or is it that people give up at the first hurdle and that is what Iberia and other errant suppliers rely on?

    I fear that is the answer.
    I agree with you, it’s a matter of principle to claim and pursue until won. Most people don’t bother so the likes of you and I are pissing into the wind.
    The only airline whom I have found to be fair and honest in dealing with EU261 claims is easyJet – and I know others who would disagree. In fact, I’ve got to the point now that on the odd occasion when they delay me, I don’t bother to claim unless I have really had significant out-of-pocket expenses.


    Not too many years ago, My wife and I were delayed on Air France from Johannesburg to Paris. By the time we got to Manchester we were about 5 hours late. I wrote to AF and asked them to reimburse some refreshments costs in Paris. AF came back to me within 48 hours arranging for a reimbursement and then advised that we were entitled to the full compensation delayed. Think it was €800 each. This virtually paid for the following year’s trip! So add AF to Easyjet in my book.


    The only time I’ve had to claim EU261 with BA was after a flight from LHR to SIN in Oct 17 was delayed due to technical issue with the A380 which resulted in a missed connection (on a through ticket) and having to overnight at Changi. I submitted a claim online a couple of days later and the funds were in my account within a week. So to be fair, only a positive experience.

    Same cannot be said with Norwegian who agreed to refund new flights I had to book when they cancelled a flight a few hours before departure. Claim made in mid-late October, in early December they advised they agreed to the claim (circa 1,000 euros as it was for 4 pax) yet funds have still not arrived. And I’m considering whether it will be worth trying to claim EU261, which I believe I’d be due to, as I just don’t think they’ll ever process it before the end of the decade.

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