Claiming against BA

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Flight Delay Compensation
17 replies 1.2K views
JustukJustuk Forumite
14 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Flight Delay Compensation
I have been trying to claim compensation for a cancelled flight with BA from Italy to London Gatwick. So far I have been refused any compensation from BA so I thought I would create this thread to share my experience and any information I learn along the way.

If you have any tips or information to share, please post.

How it all started:
On 18th October 2013 my flight from Turin Italy to London Gatwick was cancelled. This information was given to me via an automated email from BA. The content of the email contained a phone number to rebook or visit the BA website. As you can expect, receiving this email about 24 hours before I was due to depart was not very good but I need to get back to the UK asap for the birth of my son.

Obstacle Number one:
If you have been at the receiving end of a similar email, you might be able to relate to my first issue getting hold of someone to speak to.

BA operates minimal ground staff a Turin airport e.g. there are no BA representatives there for you to speak to. This gives you one option, to phone the premium 0844 number provided in the email to speak to someone in the UK. Doing this can be very expensive from you mobile but when your stuck you do not have many options.

After spending about three hours in total I managed to get my rerouted flight booked. I was informed the flight was cancelled due to a strike by the air traffic control and I would arrive in London at the earliest convenience.

What I had learnt up to this point:
I phoned the 0844 number to speak to a member of the BA staff in English, this can be very costly outside the UK (may also be expensive in the UK??)

Next time, BEFORE I fly, I will get hold of the airlines UK customer service number. Using a site like SayNoTo087 you can find the cheaper alternatives to calling the customer service. The BA number 0844 493 0787 was equivalent to 0191 490 7900, if I had known this I could have used my mobile for free to call a local UK number.

I wish BA had told me that and saved me some money.


Useful links:
As I am a new user I can not post link, so it will have to be text (sorry)
saynoto0870.com
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Replies

  • JustukJustuk Forumite
    14 Posts
    I have decided to split my posts up, not to bore you with a massive essay.

    My story Continued:
    So my flight was cancelled and I was concerned I was going to miss the birth of my son. Now the fun started (if you can call complaining fun).

    I was due to fly into London Gatwick but had been rerouted to London Heathrow. I was due to pick up a hire car from Hertz in Gatwick but now as I was going to Heathrow, I needed to change this.

    Moving the hire car from Gatwick to Heathrow was not a simple task. Hertz would only allow me to cancel my hire at Gatwick and rebook a new car hire at Heathrow. Long story short this cost me an additional £180. No considerably out of pocket with the costs mountain I started to look into claiming compensation.

    Obstacle number 2: BA customer service can be very unhelpful or helpful depending on whom you speak to:
    Call number one: I go through to a member of the customer service team, told them my situation and that I would like to claim compensation for the costs I have incurred. First or may response “I don’t think you can but let me transfer you to our customer relations team…………. Phone goes dead.

    Call number two: Redial and speak to a helpful gentleman who informs me that he does not know what costs I am entitled to claim and that I will need to speak to the customer relations team. They were closed so I needed to phone in the morning.

    After many phone calls I did not mange to speak to anyone in the customer relations team and submitted my issues via the BA web form.


    Lessons learnt:
    The airline (BA in my case) has up to 90 days to respond to your claim (information obtained from many phone calls). If you can submit you issue using a web form and get a reference number, do so. It can be the cheapest and easiest way for you to get a response.

    I submitted my problem using the web form and spoke to someone on the phone a few days later.
  • Caz3121Caz3121 Forumite
    14.4K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
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    Justuk wrote: »
    After spending about three hours in total I managed to get my rerouted flight booked. I was informed the flight was cancelled due to a strike by the air traffic control and I would arrive in London at the earliest convenience.

    You should have posted this on the BA thread rather than start a new one, Best place to start is the FAQs. If the issue was indeed ATC then no EU compensation is due as this is outside the airlines control.
    What options were you given for reroute, did you ask before you accepted the Heathrow flight what arrangements would be made at the other end? You may have been able to get BA to cover the cost of getting you to Gatwick as that is where you were ticketed to.
    Have you spoken to your travel insurance?
  • JustukJustuk Forumite
    14 Posts
    My story continued:
    So my issues started on the 17th October 2013, I have incurred a lot of costs for my fight cancellation and I have decided to claim compensation using the EU law (Regulation (EC) No 261/ 2004).

    Looking into this law, using this forum and many websites, I have discovered that airline customers are entitled to claim compensation as long as the reason does not fall within the list of extraordinary circumstances.

    Looking at the list “Industrial Action” is one of the extraordinary circumstances where an airline does not have to pay compensation. At this point I was very deeply unhappy as it looked like I had no way to fight BA for the costs I have incurred.

    Life line:
    In Italy striking is regular experience however what I have learnt is that strikes normally only last for a few set hours. On the 18th October 2013 Italian air traffic control and airport staff where on strike between the hours of 13:00 (GMT + 1) to 17:00 (GMT +1).

    My flight was due to depart at 17:00, so why was my flight cancelled? To cancel my flight that was due to depart after the strike seems an extreme measure taken by BA. This new information places me in a very grey area of how this EU law is interpreted.

    I have looked on many websites and lots of forum posts but no one has been able to provide a definite answer. That is slightly untrue, BA have said no compensation as there was Industrial Action that day which affected my flight.

    If you have a similar experience or can share some useful information please post

    Question: Can an airline apply an event (exceptional circumstance) that happened earlier in the day to justify the cancelation of a later flight?

    Useful links:
    I still can not post links at the moment, but once I can I will share some useful information I have found
  • JustukJustuk Forumite
    14 Posts
    Caz3121 wrote: »
    You should have posted this on the BA thread rather than start a new one, Best place to start is the FAQs. If the issue was indeed ATC then no EU compensation is due as this is outside the airlines control.
    What options were you given for reroute, did you ask before you accepted the Heathrow flight what arrangements would be made at the other end? You may have been able to get BA to cover the cost of getting you to Gatwick as that is where you were ticketed to.
    Have you spoken to your travel insurance?

    I have looked on the forums and could not find a simialr situation to mine anywhere. My flight was cancelled after the strike period.

    My insurance does not cover it, only covered for medical
  • JustukJustuk Forumite
    14 Posts
    My story continued:
    I have submitted many complaints to BA now but all have been refused so I have tried to seek further advice.

    One of the most useful websites I have come across is the Civil Aviation Authority. They have many pages to support passengers with understanding their rights and how about going to submit a claim.

    Useful information:
    If you claim gets refused by the airline and you wish to take the matter further you need to speak to the Civil Aviation authorities, they evaluate if airlines are applying the EU law correctly.

    Reading the UK CAA website, I have discovered that when submitting a claim you need to submit it to the civil aviation authority at the point the issue arouse. In my case I need to refer my complaint to the Italian Civil Aviation Authority.

    If you flight is from outside the EU, with an EU carrier, and you want to refer a complaint. You need to report the problem to the aviation authority where you land.
  • JustukJustuk Forumite
    14 Posts
    Since 17th October 2013, I have been in contact with BA to try and resolve my issue however I am still not getting any where. As my flight was cancelled which was due to depart after the Industrial Action I have been trying to clarify how the EU law is applied.

    I recently email the European Commisons Mobility and Transport Department (5th December 2013) to try and identify if I had a right to claim. I received some information which came as a complete surprise to me.

    Extract:
    Under European Union (EU) law (Regulation 261/2004)* on air passenger rights, whenever your flight is cancelled the operating air carrier must give you:
    · alternative transport or re-routing to the final destination at the earliest convenience and subject to availability, or offer reimbursement of the full cost of the unused ticket segments (with a free flight back to the initial point of departure, when relevant).
    · full assistance (meals, drinks, communication facilities and a hotel room for the night, if necessary, including transfer to the hotel and back to the airport) even if the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances.

    My flight was cancelled due to “Industrial Action”, BA left me stranded in Italy until I was rerouted. I have now identified that BA should have provided full assistance to people in my situation. BA has not informed me of this throughout my problem with them. I recently sent the above extract to BA and they have now confirm that I can claim expenses if I provide receipts.

    Also in my communication with the European Commission I have learnt the BA should have “put all possible measures in place to prevent this situation from happening”.

    My next step is to report the issue to the Italian Aviation authority:
    L’Ente Nazionale per l’Aviazione Civile
    Viale del Castro Pretorio, 118
    IT - 00185 ROME

    Hopefully I will be able to post you an update when I receive it.
  • 111KAB111KAB Forumite
    3.6K Posts
    Justuk - not wishing to discount your posts but the advise you offer has been previously posted particularly on the dedicated BA thread and there have also been numerous posts regarding the fact that NEB's are about as much use as a chocolate teapot.
  • JustukJustuk Forumite
    14 Posts
    111KAB wrote: »
    Justuk - not wishing to discount your posts but the advise you offer has been previously posted particularly on the dedicated BA thread and there have also been numerous posts regarding the fact that NEB's are about as much use as a chocolate teapot.

    Ive posted on a few websites, including these forums but have not come across a situation similar to mine.

    I thought I would try and capture my attempt at getting a resolution of see if anyone has some advice.

    Ive recently found out that the NEBs job is to oversee how the law is applied. The airline is not legally bound by any decision.
  • Caz3121Caz3121 Forumite
    14.4K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Justuk wrote: »
    Life line:
    In Italy striking is regular experience however what I have learnt is that strikes normally only last for a few set hours. On the 18th October 2013 Italian air traffic control and airport staff where on strike between the hours of 13:00 (GMT + 1) to 17:00 (GMT +1).

    My flight was due to depart at 17:00, so why was my flight cancelled?
    To depart @ 5pm, the plane would need to arrive in Turin before 5pm - eg when ATC were on strike
  • The words 'industrial action' are mentioned numerous times in this forum along with the phrase 'no compensation' so you are out of luck with that.

    As a previous poster has stated the airline is responsible for your reasonable costs of hotel and meals whilst awaiting the rerouted flight. If you have receipts for these they should be reimbursed by the airline. You will not recover the car hire cost IMO as the airline is not obliged to pay out for consequential losses.

    If you had bothered to refer at all to the BA dedicated thread you would have noticed the FAQs on the first page which would have answered your question within a few minutes of reading the links posted...

    I have read the faq, so I must not have made myself clear.

    I am trying to claim 250 euros as defined under Atrical 7 (point 1 A). This would cover my hire costs.

    Claiming for the hire costs under this EU law is not possible. However should I find some other consumer law that would apply, Article 12 gives me the right to further compensation. (Very unlikely I would be able to do this)
This discussion has been closed.
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