EC261 Claim – WIll be interesting to see how airline reacts

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  • FDOS

    Friday last, was due to fly home on KLM at 1635 to Bristol. Had checked in online, so went to agent to drop bag.

    ‘Sir, you are flying on Sunday’. No, I replied, I’m checked in for this afternoon’s flight. Bing went my phone, your flight is cancelled due bad weather that does not allow its operation.

    The email also rebooked me for this morning (Sunday). Agent confirmed all KLM flights on Friday oversold.

    So I booked easyJet at 1845 and had a non-event flight back to Bristol.

    I have submitted

    – refund of unused return segment
    – 250€ for cancelled flight, (a) because movements at both Amsterdam and Bristol seemd normal and (b) even if they can defend the weather claim (which seems unlikely), then failing to offer re-routing at the earliest opportunity (easyJet)

    It may take a number of months to gain resolution, however I’ll update the thread when its all over.

    Meanwhile, I have posted in case anyone else suffers a similar inconvenience and wishes to use the consumer protection legislation to obtain their lawful rights.

    NB: My KLM ticket was a flexi economy, so I believe that I will be slightly ahead with the refund, compared to the easyJet flight cost. If not, I will claim the difference from KLM (assuming it is a material amount). In a similar situation, if concerned that the refund will not cover the new flight, best not to seek a refund and to bill the airline for the new flight.

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    This thread is ideal for me to recount my 19-years old granddaughter’s experience on Sunday and Monday this week, August 28/29th. None of this relates to the ATC computer debacle, as it took place before that, and her experience was not affected by it. Apologies for this very long post!

    She was booked on BA to return (with three friends) from JFK at 2130 on Sunday night, to arrive at LHR at around 0930 Monday morning. At 0450 US time on Sunday, they received an email from BA stating that their flight was cancelled – no reason given. The message offered them an indirect flight that evening via Barcelona on Iberia, with a 6-hour wait at BCN, to arrive in LHR at 2055 on Monday night. This would have been 11 hours later than their originally timed arrival. Fortunately, they didn’t accept it as then they may have been caught up in the ATC debacle.

    From the UK, her mother (my daughter) phoned BA and they discussed alternative flights. The most favourable one (and therefore booked) was to fly with AA from Newark to Chicago ORD at 1745, have an 80 minutes’ wait and then from ORD to LHR on AA98 at 2046. This meant that they had to be at Newark just under 4 hours earlier than the original JFK BA flight but would get them home to LHR just one hour after the original arrival time. They accepted this, even though it meant they had to scrap their plans for NYC that day.

    They arrived at ORD early evening and were by the gate in time for their 2046 flight to London. There were then repeated announcements hourly that there would be a delay to boarding, as the aircraft was in the hangar for a fault repair. Around midnight they boarded but then they sat on the plane without take-off for an hour when the pilot announced that there was still a fault that was being fixed and that they would have to disembark and return to the gate to wait.

    They were then informed that the plane would be delayed until 0400 Monday, which was approximately the time they should have been arriving back at LHR. Passengers were offered a hotel to stay in, but as at best this would be for only three hours allowing for travel there and back, the girls declined and slept in the airport as best they could.

    An hour later, there were informed that the flight was delayed further and would not take off until 1630, which was 20 hours later than scheduled. Granddaughter tearfully phoned her Mum, who once again got on to BA by phone. The advisor she spoke to said that it was out of his hands because he didn’t have access to the AA systems. After 10 minutes of frustration, my daughter ended the call abruptly. About 10 minutes later he phoned back, clearly reflecting on the conversation, and told her that there were three seats on a different AA flight back to LHR leaving just an hour later. He said they should go straight to the AA desk, immediately. They did that and at the desk agreed that two of them would fly then and two on another flight several hours later. Granddaughter was one of the two flying immediately.

    This flight took off on time and arrived at LHR at 2130, about 11 hours after they should have arrived on the original BA booked flight.

    My questions to the Forum – if anybody can give advice prior to a compensation claim to BA, are:
    1. The BA advisor my daughter spoke with when the AA aircraft in ORD was cancelled seemed to imply that the responsibility for organising a new return flight lay with AA (although he did phone back 10 minutes later, so clearly thought again). Which airline is responsible? The booking was with BA, who were paid. They subcontracted with AA when they couldn’t honour the booking. We assume that the original BA cancellation was an aircraft or aircrew problem that meant that the “extraordinary circumstances” provision doesn’t apply because other flights (including BA) in New York and at LHR were operating as normal during that time period.
    2. If the consensus of the Forum is that BA is not responsible, is there a route to pursue AA for compensation as it is not an EU/UK airline, so UK/261 doesn’t apply?
    3. They were forced to leave NYC just under four hours earlier than originally booked: is the compensation UK/261 rule in relation to earlier flights two hours or four hours? The answer may be irrelevant as £520 is the maximum anyway.
    4. Finally, granddaughter had special food booked for her BA flights, for medical reasons, but obviously these were not supplied by AA. Is there any route to compensation because she was unable to eat anything offered on her flights home?

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