British Airways Compensation Rejection

caitlinthomas98 Posts: 3
First Post Name Dropper
edited 14 November 2022 at 11:23AM in Flight delay compensation
Over the summer I flew from London Heathrow (LHR) to Port Elizabeth (PLZ) via Johannesburg (JNB) on one ticket with British Airways. After multiple changes to my ticket due to Comair (a BA-owned company) going under my layover at JNB changed from being 5 hours long to 3 hours long, landing in PLZ at 11.55 the next day. 

The flight from LHR was due to leave at 19.05. At 19.00 all passengers for the flight were still at the gate. Boarding was announced for families with children and disabled passengers at 19.03, with an open call for all passengers at 19.06, 1 minute after our intended departure time. I boarded the plane at 19.30. After this the First Officer announced an apology over the intercom for the delay. He stated the reason we could not board on time was that British Airways had not told the airport ground staff or the crew that the plane was coming from storage rather than another airport. This caused a delay in getting the plane to the gate, meant the cleaning crew had to complete a more detailed clean than they had expected, and the captain had to fill out extra paperwork before any passengers could board. He was very explicit in his announcement that these problems were due to the British Airways company rather than any airport companies. 

As no passengers had stepped foot onto the plane at the time of our intended take off we missed our air traffic control slot. We pushed back without a slot to avoid further delays by the ground control shift change at 20.00. We were given a take off slot, which then had to be abandoned when we got onto the runway through a passenger's anxiety due to the prolonged wait on the aircraft. We finally taxied and took off at 21.00. We landed 2 hours late, meaning by the time I got off the plane and collected my checked bag (JNB makes everyone recheck bags even if you fly on one ticket) my onward flight had called final boarding and shut check in. As British Airways had let go all of their Comair employees, there were no representatives from the company in the airport. A South African Airways employee had been told to deal with all BA customers and booked me onto a flight leaving 17.15 getting me to PLZ at 19.15, over 7 hours after I was meant to arrive. I was not offered any food or drinks vouchers during my wait, nor was I informed that I would be eligible for compensation for this so I stupidly did not think to keep receipts. It also meant I had to pay £90 to change my transport from PLZ to a later time. 

After sending my compensation claim in July I finally received a reply from BA last week, rejecting my compensation claim as they state the flight "was delayed due to air traffic control restrictions, which was out of our control. Hence, I am afraid you are not eligible for EU compensation". As we had not boarded the aircraft at the time of intended departure I don't understand how they can claim the delay was due to air traffic control. 

Do I have grounds to appeal their rejection? What would be the next steps to do this?
Thank you for your help in advance. 


  • rigolith
    rigolith Posts: 2,558
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    You certainly can appeal. They might have a point though, had that passenger not experienced what was presumably a pretty severe anxiety attack, they would have arrived in good time to make the connection. After that it would also have been an issue of ATC not offering them another slot for over an hour.

    You might be better off trying your travel insurance, although your excess might eat it all up. As for receipts, if you paid on card you can show them your statements.
  • JPears
    JPears Posts: 5,084
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    edited 15 November 2022 at 1:12PM
    My arguement would be:
    The initial delay was entirely within the control of BA. All the subsequent delays are due to the initial delay -
    1. You would not have missed the ATC slot.
    2. The passenger most likely would not have had the panic attack.
    This could be a case where using Bott online might be useful.
    Firstly they will let you know, usually with no obligation, if you have a case or not.
    Others on here may have legal cases or preedents for this type pf situaton if you decide to take the case to CEDR and/or small claims.
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