British Airways failure – compensation

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This topic contains 18 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  SimonS1 1 Jun 2017
at 14:56

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  • SimonS1

    So the tactics have already started then to minimise costs.

    Including telling travellers on Twitter they are not entitled to EC compensation due to exceptional circumstances.

    A few PR thoughts on the BA system outage

    What a sad and miserable excuse for an airline to treat people like that.


    I fail to see how they can claim exceptional circumstances as it had happened before and was foreseeable. It was not outwith their control since they contracted the service provider who provided, or in this case failed to provide, the service. If the cause turns out be the claimed ‘power outage’ then their contractor is negligent in not having ensured the robustness of the power supply.

    Not just that, but if they refuse to pay compensation, they will have numerous ‘class action’ claims against them, not to mention the loss of the goodwill,if any, that they might have. It may well cost them more if they refuse to pay claims than if they pay them and walk off with their tails between their legs, and hopefully with Señor Cruz shipped back to Spain….


    My guess this would be the advice from lawyers, get the denial and excuses in early in a hope of reducing the liability from those not so aware of their rights.


    Just seen an advert on SKY that makes a direct reference to the BA problem and how they can “help you with your claim” – the vultures are beginning to circle.


    In the good old days it was illegal for vultures to circle.


    How sad that a once great airline has fallen so low!

    If the top management had any sense at all, instead of looking for ways of wriggling out of paying compensation they would come out and actively invite people to claim their compensation and make sure it is paid out as quickly as possible.

    If they did that then they might be seen to actually mean what they said about being truly sorry for all the inconvenience and stress that they caused their customers and maybe even begin to regain a bit of goodwill instead of killing it off completely.

    However, as I have said many times before on this forum, until enough people vote with their feet to the point that the number boycotting BA starts to hurt their numbers then they will not have any incentive to do anything about it.

    To be clear, I am not talking about the average staff member who has to take the flack from the public, I am talking about those at the top for whom the only measure that seems to matter is the bottom line and keeping shareholders happy!

    I wonder how happy those shareholders are that the latest debacle has wiped £500m of the companies value?


    Just googled about vultures and, as I thought, vultures do not circle:-

    “Contrary to popular belief, vultures do not circle over dead or dying animals. They soar on thermals of warm, rising air.”

    The hot air generated by the experts on Business Travel forum should keep them there for years!


    And how do you know they don’t soar in a circle, using these thermals of warm air?


    “Contrary to popular belief, vultures do not circle over dead or dying animals.

    I grew up in the African Bush and yes they do. They use the rising warm air to provide lift and they circle until other predators have left the scene or until they feel comfortable to begin feeding. They also circle over dying animals that are losing blood, it is thought they can smell the blood.


    This doesn’t surprise me at all. They know people will keep flying them so they try and wriggle out of their obligations. I think they’ll be sued and they’ll lose.


    You wouldn’t think they would be that stupid and arrogant, would you?
    On second thoughts …… yes.


    Just read this article in the Standard

    The headline appears to be a typo, so substitute uncontrollable with uncontrolled, as the body of the article makes clear.

    I do not understand

    “There was a loss of power to the UK data centre which was compounded by the uncontrolled return of power which caused a power surge taking out our IT systems. So we know what happened we just need to find out why.

    “It was not an IT failure and had nothing to do with outsourcing of IT, it was an electrical power supply which was interrupted.

    Power supply in a data centre is via UPS (uninterruptable power supply) units, which I would regard as being very much part of an IT setup – after all IT is short for Information Techonology.

    UPS units not only provide power for long enough for generators to start and stablilise or to be shutdown in an orderly fashion, but also ‘clean’ the utility power of spikes and surges. I don’t understand how the servers were physically damaged, if the UPS units did their job as designed.

    Doesn’t make sense, to me – capetonianm, any thoughts from you? (or anyone else?).


    FDOS, you are absolutely correct. Any UPS system is designed to handle short interruptions of power and filter out any spikes and surges on the grid. If anything like this had happened it is likely that it would have affected a lot more companies in the vicinity. If so, I’m sure the press would have picked up on that.
    Spikes and surges on the open grid are much more common than almost anyone recognizes and most buildings and appliances have some sort of protection against this build in. When these events happen almost no one recognizes them or is affected by it.

    So it seems more like a local problem with the data center infrastructure. And what happened within the walls of that building is still a mystery.
    I would expect BA to use a Tier V or VI data center operation where two identical data centers are used for redundancy purposes with a safe geographical distance in between them. For some reason this obviously has failed.

    Any professional organization in the IT outsourcing business has (or, better, has to have) a contingency plan and a tested business continuation plan. The same should be true for the customer and those plans need to be coordinated. Especially in cases where the customer, in this case BA, is so dependent on IT systems.

    One thing is for sure now: IT is now as high on the agenda of the BA board as it can be. And not only at BA, at any large corporation.


    I have visited the data centres of several of the world’s major airlines and GDSs and one feature that was always impressed upon me was the enormous redundancy that exists in case of failures of either networks or power and even in the case of physical destruction of the facility.

    I am not technically minded but in the last few days I have read, and understood, a number of clear explanations of how UPSs and backup power supplies work and it seems inconceivable to me, or at least it did until a few days ago, that such a failure could happen. If this is the case, it points to monstrous incompetency on the part of whatever entity oversaw the installation.

    It might just be a case of so many holes in the cheese eventually lining up, an explanation I’d be inclined to accept in a third world country such as India where power supplies can be erratic, but in the UK, a few miles from one of the world’s major airports, no.

    As a matter of interest, were any other businesses in this area affected or was it purely within the BA data centre?


    Even if the UPS system failed, which is highly unlikely, normal power would continue unless there was a power cut in the mains supply, which we know from the power companies was not the case.

    This looks more and more like BA fishing for excuses. But even if AC/WW are correct, it’s still down to BA to pay compensation as a broken down computer is a bit like a broken down plane, and we know from the ECJ that a broken down plane is no longer an excuse not to pay out.

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