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British Airways faces payouts over Heathrow delays

British Airways faces payouts over Heathrow delays

British Airways has been told to pay compensation to passengers delayed by an emergency landing at Heathrow that disrupted flight schedules last year

» Airlines - UK | Friday, May 9, 2014 • Telegraph
A runway at Heathrow was closed following the incident on May 24.

BA initially said it was not liable to pay compensation to passengers, some of who missed their connecting flights, as it claimed that the technical fault which led to delays was “an extraordinary circumstance” outside of its control.

This would have exempted the carrier from paying compensation of between £206 and £495 per person under EU regulation 261, according to solicitors currently looking into passengers’ claims.

However, a report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch concluded that the fault was due to human error.

A couple from Preston whose holiday was affected arrived in New York a day later than they should have. A spokesman for the firm Bott & Co said that the fault at Heathrow caused a two-and-a-half-hour delay on their flight from Manchester, meaning they then missed their connecting BA plane to JFK Airport.

They were left without hotel accommodation, sleeping on the airport floor until the next available flight the following day. British Airways initially offered the travellers £100 in vouchers to be spent on another flight with the airline.

But they have now won £989 in compensation.

Another couple, from Morecambe, were awarded £412 following the cancellation of their flight from Heathrow to Stockholm-Arlanda Airport (BA-780), also as a result of the incident. Passengers on the BA-460 flight to Madrid, another cancelled following the incident, have also been awarded £206 each.

A spokesman for BA said: "BA complies with its obligations as set out in EU Regulation 261. We always do everything we can to support our customers during times of disruption, including offering refreshments and hotel accommodation to those who require it."
What to do when your flight is delayed

First gather any evidence, including proof you were on the flight, such as receipts, emailed confirmation or, better, the boarding pass. Even if you don’t have all these things, as long as you know the flight number and length of delay, the airline will have passenger logs for those who have checked in. Find out the reason for the delay (not all delays entitle you to compensation) and make a note of the person who gives out this information.

You can check whether you have a good case with the CAA’s travel advice team (020 7453 6888; caa.co.uk).
Then write to the airline (some require an online submission) quoting the ruling “EC Regulation 261/2004”, listing your delay and the compensation request for each of those in your party.

In your complaint, briefly explain what went wrong and state what you want in terms of compensation and/or reimbursement.
If your delayed flight was ex-UK the CAA should take up your case. If it was a flight from a European country you will need to get a letter from that country's equivalent of the CAA and present this to the airline.

If the airline still refuses to pay

The next step is to lodge a claim in the small claims court. The fee is £35 for a claim like this. For information on this visit gov.uk/make-court-claim-for-money/overview.

Telegraph
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