The U.K-based travel site Head for the Points, which famously detailed the often arduous process for holding British Airways accountable for compensation obligations when flights to, from or within Europe are delayed or canceled, is back with a firsthand account of exactly what to do when all other recourse has failed.
The business traveler site Head for the Points is a fantastic resource for passengers attempting to navigate the generous, but often complicated consumer protections for European air passengers. In its latest published account, the worst case scenario of having to take British Airways to small claims court is recounted in detail.
In nearly every case, Head for the Points’ handy guide, “How to Take British Airways to CEDR Complaints Arbitration” will do the trick if customers have been unfairly denied owed compensation from the U.K-flag carrier. In those rare situations when there is no choice but to appeal to a higher authority, one blogger offers something of an inspirational story, after suing the carrier in small claims court and eventually recouping the costs associated with a canceled transatlantic flight.
“Whilst the CEDR is a simple process, going to the small claims court is an entirely different world, and slightly terrifying at that given it is an official legal process,” the conquering hero writes. “I may not even have proceeded had I not had a family friend who specializes in aviation law and deals with airline disruption all the time. He insisted that I had a case, and so I pushed on.”
In this case, it seems the author was not only unfairly denied compensation by British Airways for the costs of having to return a rental car to Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) rather than Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) after his original flight was canceled, but he also had his arbitration claim denied because the arbitrator misunderstood an unrelated mechanical issue referenced in an invoice. With no mechanism to appeal the decision, the intrepid blogger instead filed a claim in small claims court.
This might have been a more compelling tale if the judge had entered a decision in favor of the underdog, lectured the faceless airline conglomerate about customer service and angrily banged a gavel for emphasis. As it turns out, British Airways simply offered to settle the claim rather than risk a day in court.
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