British Airways: ‘We will fully honour our EU compensation obligations’

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Consumer group Which? has said in a letter to British Airways chief executive, Alex Cruz that to “reduce the burden on passengers” and to not create “further damage to BA’s reputation,” the airline should issue statutory compensation to all those who were affected.

The managing director of home product and services, for Which? Alex Neill, said in a letter to Cruz: “Opting to do the bare minimum when compensating your customers for your failure to deliver the service you promised will undoubtedly cause further stress, inconvenience and financial hardship for passengers, and of course further damage to BA’s reputation.

“As you will know, the rules around compensation in this sector are out of step with other markets, like energy and water, where compensation is automatically awarded to customers for severe disruption to, or complete absence of, service.”

“Given the scale of the problem BA has experienced we strongly believe it is only right that you do more than the legal minimum.”

“By simplifying the compensation process, you have an opportunity to minimise the additional stress and inconvenience you cause your customers and ensure they are not pushed into the arms of claims management companies, who will take a large part of the money they are owed.”

“British Airways can, and should, seek to automatically issue statutory compensation to all affected passengers.”

Friday, Coby Benson, Flight Delay Legal Manager at Bott & Co, said to LondonLovesBusiness: “EU Regulation 261 clearly states that the ‘operating air carrier’ is solely responsible for providing compensation and passengers should not be directed to code share airlines, travel agents, booking websites or any other intermediary.”

“Further to this, passengers aren’t obliged to give away any information about their insurance policies or deal with their insurance in such circumstances.”

Last week, Bott & Co have seen cases where passengers were advised to book a new flight after their scheduled BA flight was disrupted due to the system failure have been refused any compensation from BA after re-booking with a different airline, as opposed to re-booking with BA.

Neill wrote the letter to Cruz as the Association of British Insurers said that BA’s customers who are trying to get their compensation are being “passed from pillar to post.”

Their reasoning is because BA’s website says that customers with travel insurance have to claim through their own insurer, firstly on the form ‘Make a claim for disruption expenses.’

A spokesperson for BA said: “We sincerely apologise for the difficulties and frustration customers faced during the huge disruption across the bank holiday weekend.”

“We will fully honour our EU compensation obligations and have set up a link on the home page of our website to enable customers to submit their claims as quickly and conveniently as possible.”

“We have no desire to be obstructive in any way and have put additional resources into our call centres to process claims as speedily as possible.”

According to Bott & Co the final cost to BA could well exceed the original estimates of £150m once all additional re-routed flights have been repaid.

Since the BA system outage, Bott & Co has seen an uplift in the number of British Airways passengers making flight delay claims through our online claim calculator of 2650 per cent against the week prior to the IT issues.

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