It couldn’t have been a much worse start to the bank holiday week for holiday makers flying out from the UK on British Airways.
Massive system failures have affected tens of thousands of people due to board BA flights as the airline cancelled all flights on Saturday from Heathrow and Gatwick and asked people not to travel to the airports.
If you’re one of the unlucky ones caught up in the disruption then you will probably want to know what your rights are and what the obligations of the airline are.
Technical Problems are Not Extraordinary
If the BA system failure is a technical problem, rather than a cyber-attack, then any flight delays or cancellations resulting from the technical problems would be eligible for compensation under EU regulation 261/2004.
Something like a computer hack or cyber-attack could possibly be argued by British Airways in this instance as an extraordinary circumstance, although this argument has yet to be properly tested in court.
Furthermore, extraordinary circumstances in the EU regulation relate to issues affecting the aircraft concerned, not IT system failures on the ground.
More recent news reports that the IT problem was due to an engineer turning off a power supply. There would be nothing under Regulation 261/2004 that enables the airline to claim a defence of ‘extraordinary circumstances’ if this was the case.
Why Not To Claim Through Your Travel Insurance
There have been reports of BA telling people to claim via their travel insurance in the first instance, and if the the flight was booked through a travel agent then to claim from them.
This advice is incorrect and BA should be covering all expenses claims. For any cases that we issue court proceedings on we can include expenses in the claim. For cases the airline agrees to settle before court proceedings are issued then the passenger needs to submit a claim for expenses directly to the airline. We have a flight delay expenses template letter that can be downloaded for free for this purpose.
If you claim from your travel insurance policy you will likely face an excess cost and have an insurance claim against your record. The insurance policy would also not cover the compensation due under Regulation 261.
Care and Assistance
If the BA flight is cancelled or delayed due to an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ then the airline does not have to pay compensation to passengers. It does though still have a duty of care and assistance. Regardless of the reason for the delay, care and assistance is an obligation and includes:
- Food and drink in reasonable relation to the waiting time
- Overnight accommodation where necessary
- Travel to and from the airport and accommodation
- Two free calls, emails, or fax messages
How Much Can I Claim
The amounts of compensation are set by the regulation and are in Euros. They vary depending on the distance of the flight and the length of the delay.
The quickest way to find out if your particular British Airways flight delay or cancellation qualifies for compensation is to input the flight details in our flight compensation calculator and we’ll give you an instant decision.
While our calculator will work all this out for you it’s important to know that the amounts change and the delay lengths vary depending on if the flight is delayed or cancelled, and if you are offered an alternative flight.
As these flights are cancelled within 7 days of the departure date the claim amounts range from 125 Euros to 600 Euros if a replacement flight is offered:
Flight Cancellation Compensation Amounts – (Flights within 7 Days and Replacement Flight Offered)
|Flight Distance||Length Of Delay||Compensation Amount|
|Up to 1,500km||Replacement flight departs more than 1 hour early||€125|
|Up to 1,500km||Replacement flight arrives more than 2 hours late||€250|
|1,500km to 3,500km||Replacement flight departs more than 1 hour early||€200|
|1,500km to 3,500km||Replacement flight arrives 2-3 hours late||€200|
|1,500km to 3,500km||Replacement flight arrives more than 3 hours late.||€400|
|Over 1,500Km and between two EU States||Replacement flight departs more than 1 hour early||€200|
|Over 1,500Km and between two EU States||Replacement flight arrives 2-3 hours late.||€200|
|Over 1,500Km and between two EU States||Replacement flight arrives more than 3 hours late||€400|
|Over 3,500km||Replacement flight departs more than 1 hour early||€300|
|Over 3,500km||Replacement flight arrives 2-4 hours late||€300|
|Over 3,500km||Replacement flight arrives more than 4 hours late||€600|
The tariffs are simpler when no replacement flight is offered:
Flight Cancellation Compensation Amounts (No replacement flight offered)
|Flight Distance||Compensation Amount|
|Up to 1,500km||€250|
|Over 1,500km and between two EU States||€400|
How can I claim?
First of all BA should pay you compensation as per the amounts in the tables above. If they don’t then you have the option of writing to them to request payment under Regulation 261. Make sure to specify your flight details and the amount you’re claiming for.
We have a template claim letter you can use if you’re not sure how to set it out.
If you don’t get any response you might need to issue court proceedings – there is a charge to this though.
The Easy Way to Claim
To avoid any hassle and up-front costs, simply submit your flight details through our online flight compensation calculator and our legal team will take up your case on a no-win no-fee no-risk guarantee.
We’ll do all the legal work, cover all the legal costs, and present your case in court if necessary. We’ll then send you your compensation when we’ve agreed settlement with the airline and received the money from them.