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The BA Compensation Thread: Your guide to Regulation 261/2004

The BA Compensation Thread: Your guide to Regulation 261/2004

Old Jan 6, 2014, 2:33 pm
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Often1
To be clear, under this interpretation, had OP been a pax on the AUA-LGW and had that flight been delayed by 4+ hours as it likely was, BA also would not have paid compensation. The theory is that the carrier, BA in this case, has done all that it can do to assure an airworthy aircraft and that therefore the part failure is not within its direct control.

Will be interested to see how this turns out.
Exactly. Infact the detail of the reply lead me to wonder whether BA had misinterpreted the info to think the OP was on the ANU (not AUA) to Gatwick flight.

I my book it's about fairness. If I properly maintain my car and it breaks down on the way to the airport, BA will have absolutely no hesitation in telling me to go and buy another 5 tickets for my TATL flight that I and my family had just missed.
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Old Jan 6, 2014, 2:55 pm
  #47  
 
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Originally Posted by Swiss Tony
On the basis that FlyBe paid compensation out to me last summer when the flight before had a technical fault at the up-route airport, I'd say it's poor form of BA not to pay out in these circumstances.

I seem to recall someone from the CAA (in a BBC interview) saying that if it was up-route, then the airline had no defence.

Maybe BA are just trying it on - 90% of people will just walk away here. Call them on it and say you believe that comp is payable, then either refer to the CAA or issue a letter before action & go straight to a small claims court.
Sound advice, it's cheaper for BA to pay out than test their defence.
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Old Jan 6, 2014, 5:07 pm
  #48  
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It's well worth BA's while to test this theory and the reports are that the other EU carriers are doing roughly the same. With little serious enforcement by national authorities, there is absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain.
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Old Jan 7, 2014, 12:21 am
  #49  
 
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Originally Posted by TDAIR
Hello

I am currently trying to obtain compensation from BA in respect of Flight BA2167 on 9 November 2013 from London Gatwick to Tampa. The flight arrived 4 hrs 31 minutes late at TPA.

The flight was due to depart at 12:55 London time and at 00:44 I received an SMS stating. BA2167 is delayed and will now depart at 14:55. At 09:02 a further SMS was received stating a delay until 17:00.

I made a complaint to BA and I summarise their response below.

As you are aware, a problem with the standby instrument control box was discovered on the aircraft. This discovery was made during final safety checks of the previous flight the aircraft operated. This flight, as you are aware, was from Antigua returning to London Gatwick.

The standby instrument control box had been maintained in accordance with the manufacturers guidelines and was not scheduled for maintenance or replacement. Therefore, an available spare was not present at Antigua and one had to be sourced from Miami.

This constitutes as an extraordinary circumstance and prevented the aircraft from operating as scheduled. However, under EU legislation and as per CAA guidelines concerning extraordinary circumstances, British Airways is not liable for a compensation payment in this situation.


Any thoughts/advice as to whether there is a claim and the next steps would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance

Ted
Firstly hello all, can i say that I am so glad to have discovered Flyertalk, I was recommended here by another forum. It makes me feel oddly better that I am not the only one being fobbed off and ignored by BA, it seems the technical issue hiding place is their favourite at the moment.

Ted's issue above is of great interest to me as it ties in with my own experience 3 days later, albeit we appear to have been given very different information by BA! I will try to summarise our issue as best I can.

Our flight BA2166 from TPA to LGW landed on Wednesday 13th November 2013, just under 4 hours after the scheduled arrival time. We were told at the time by several different sources that the delay was originally caused by a mechanical fault on the preceding Saturday. The time it took to fix the fault meant the original crew had to be stood down and a new crew summonsed, which lengthened the delay further. BA continued to operate the same aircraft on the route, so the delay effectively carried over from the Saturday to the Sunday, Monday, and to our flight on the Tuesday evening.

It was really frustrating as despite knowing of the delay well in advance, they only attempted to contact us by email at 1pm on the Tuesday which we did not receive as we had no wifi access after checking out of our accommodation. This is despite them having up to date mobile telephone numbers for my husband and myself. We therefore had an unecessary 6 hour wait in Tampa airport with two young children.

An initial claim by email to BA was met with a very brief standard reply (3 weeks later) stating compensation was not payable, and that the type of mechanical fault (cited as an air bleed fault) is deemed to be an extraordinary circumstance. I have checked the guidance, and it this appears to be right, providing BA can demonstrate they properly maintained the system, and that the fault occurred immediately prior to departure. It's that last point I think is potentially most important -to the best of my knowledge, the air bleed fault was on the Saturday (I have asked BA to confirm) - albeit that Ted appears to have been given a different excuse. On checking the flight statistics, all flights on this Tampa route were delayed from the Saturday, at least until our flight on the 12th. Therefore, even if the air bleed fault was an exceptional circumstance, it should not apply to our flight 3 days later.

I have written further to the initial fob off requesting that the detail of the claim is looked at properly, instead of the bland response I received, which failed to acknowledge we were not on the original delayed flight. I have also requested proof of the cause(s) of the delay(s), when it occurred, proof of adequate maintenance, and the scheduled and actual arrival times of the aircraft at TPA and LGW from the 9th to the 13th November inclusive. I have pointed out what I understand the cause of the delay to be, 3 days before our flight and so not 'immediately prior to departure'. Although I have received acknowledgements these emails were received and will be responded to, I have heard nothing further.

I am unsure what to do next. Do I wait for a reply before taking the matter further? I am thinking that if someone considers all the facts properly and addresses the points I have made, they might see sense. After the original claim on the 13th November and the bland reponse 3 weeks later, I wrote with further information on the 7th December and chased again on the 20th, but still nothing.

I am more frustrated by the apathy and lack of customer service than anything else, we have flown and recommended BA for many years, but not any more.

I would be really grateful for any information or guidance that might assist - including whether I have got it all wrong! I have looked at it all carefully though, and I am pretty confident I have understood everything correctly.
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Old Jan 7, 2014, 2:25 am
  #50  
 
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Originally Posted by Skipcool3

Were you looked after? Did you receive any Avios?
Hi, We received food and beverage vouchers at LGW for 15 per person. No Avios have been offered.
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Old Jan 7, 2014, 2:28 am
  #51  
 
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Serenseren.
I have had many great BA flights and it is refreshing to know that they take safety seriously.
The only problems I have had in 35 years of flying with them has been with customer services, which I can only assume is overwhelmed.
It does not surprise me that you have not yet heard back, particularly over the festive break.
I would suggest that you give it until the 20 th January or similar to reply.
If they don't reply by then, send a copy of your correspondence in again with a short covering letter marked "letter before court action" giving a further period of say 14 days to respond.
Find out which is your local small claims court, and mention it in your letter.
If you don't hear within that time frame, issue a small claims action which is simple.
You will look very reasonable to any sitting judge if you have been clear in what you have requested, the reasons why and the length of time you have given, but I would be surprised if it actually got anywhere near a court.
Please let us know the out come?
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Old Jan 7, 2014, 2:50 am
  #52  
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Originally Posted by serenseren
Firstly hello all, can i say that I am so glad to have discovered Flyertalk, I was recommended here by another forum.
And we are very glad you discovered us! Welcome serenseren to Flyertalk, welcome in particular to the BA forum. It is good to see you here, though it is disappointing the circumstances behind that. But please stick around and continue to participate in this lively forum.

I'll make some more general comments about this trend in a separate posting (about the "we maintained properly so any failure is extraordinary", which is a very recent policy change), but in your case I think you do have on the face of it a valid claim, and so I'd certainly push it further. I think you should write back asking for a full review of your case "or I shall take matters further", giving them 7 days to reply. After that then - if you are willing to go through the effort of legal action, send them a specific request for a specific amount of compensation, marking it "letter before action" and giving 7 days to pay up.
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Old Jan 7, 2014, 3:13 am
  #53  
 
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I am not sure why is it that people won't agree that if an airline is maintaining the aircraft/its parts in accordance with the manufacturer's requirements then it is doing all it can to avoid a cancellation? An airline cannot be reasonably expected to keep all parts at all airports it serves or to be prepared for any eventuality. The suggested list, even though it is non-binding, makes perfect sense to me. If an airline is negligent then it should pay up but if it operates within the required procedures then I am not sure why it should be expected to pay anything when it is already required to provide care. I mean, maintaining the aircraft according to the manufacturer's requirements is a reasonable measure to avoid a disruption.
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Old Jan 7, 2014, 6:02 am
  #54  
 
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Thank you everyone for your input, I will take the advice and wait it out, I don't mind as long as someone actually bothers to look at it!

I am a longstanding BA customer and Executive Club member with an accrued 200k Avios (saving for a 40th borthday trip) so I am sure I have something to offer the BA forum, beyond moaning.

I will keep you informed fo any developments, but thank you again for your help.
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Old Jan 7, 2014, 10:07 am
  #55  
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Originally Posted by Andriyko
I am not sure why is it that people won't agree that if an airline is maintaining the aircraft/its parts in accordance with the manufacturer's requirements then it is doing all it can to avoid a cancellation? An airline cannot be reasonably expected to keep all parts at all airports it serves or to be prepared for any eventuality. The suggested list, even though it is non-binding, makes perfect sense to me. If an airline is negligent then it should pay up but if it operates within the required procedures then I am not sure why it should be expected to pay anything when it is already required to provide care. I mean, maintaining the aircraft according to the manufacturer's requirements is a reasonable measure to avoid a disruption.
+1 - Very well put. The entire EC 241/2004 scheme was put in place in order to create a financial disincentive to carriers so that they would work to reduce cancellations/delays. As a simple example, a 200-passenger aircraft delayed 4+ hours at EUR600 per pax, equates to EUR120,000. That is a substantial penalty and a substantial reason to do all that can be done to prevent delay.

Conversely, there is little to be done beyond maintaining, including inspecting and replacing, parts as the manufacturer recommends. In aviation, standards are tough, so this is not simply about letting an oil change go to the weekend.

There are also reasonable limits on stocking parts, reserve aircraft and crews and the like. Finally, there is time built into most schedules to permit for delays to be made up during successive rotations (landing + takeoff).

People with fragile schedules -- and there are some with those -- should insure for actual losses. Otherwise, the purposes of government enforcement penalties are met.
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Old Jan 7, 2014, 10:24 am
  #56  
 
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Originally Posted by stifle
The regulation does not mention a maximum for care. While care does not technically include the train fare home, it would be absurd of BA to limit you in this way and it should be obvious they settle your reasonable expenses in full, as a taxi to Windsor plus the accommodation would have cost a multiple of this.
Happy to report that after a review BA have now paid all the travel expenses, plus the costs of leaving our luggage at the airport overnight, so whilst it's a shame this wasn't their immediate response, they got there in the end.
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Old Jan 7, 2014, 3:05 pm
  #57  
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Technical delays and exceptional circumstances.

This is a general comment about a recent trend, since about October 2013, it is not specifically relating to any case mentioned so far, but more to several recent postings.

From last Autumn onwards BA appears to have taken a new approach to technical delays. Broadly speaking their reaction has been that since BA has maintained their fleet according to manufacturers' specifications and servicing recommendations, pretty much any delay due to technical shortcoming is thereby "extraordinary circumstances" and therefore not eligible for compensation. This seems to have happened after National Enforcement Bodies circulated a draft document with this scenarionlisted as an example.

Personally I think this is BA attempting to redefine the Regulations in a way to minimise their financial exposure, which I can understand, but which I don't believe is what European Court had in mind. Indeed there have been a number of rulings over the year that have specifically made it clear that generally if the cause of the delay was under the airlines' control, then they are held responsible, including for technical delays.

Now I can see there are shades of grey, two extreme examples:
a) A critical meter shows irregular behaviour after take off, the captain decides to divert mid-flight out of safety concern, causing a long delay. For me that strikes me as genuinely "extraordinary", unless it turns out BA was reckless in taking to the skies in the first place, something I don't believe would happen.

b) At LHR or LGW a technical issue with a leaking valve results in a service being withdrawn after passengers have boarded, the replacement service leaves the next day. This does not seem extraordinary to me, if the airline did not have spare aircraft it almost certainly could re-route passengers to other services and other airlines. In reality BA rarely goes down this route once passengers have boarded since there are not the resources to do this at short notice late at night. That for me is the airline's choice of resource and approach, which they are free to take, but it has consequences, one of which, in my view, is opening up the possibility of passengers becoming eligible for compensation.

Some of the recent cases have been well in between a) and b), however at least one is fairly close to b).

Personally I hope this get fully tested in court, however I would personally prefer it to be carefully handled, ideally with the claimant spending time and effort to ensure a good case is brought, and ideally nearer b) than a). However it is also true that the Small Claims process does not in itself necessarily create an all embracing precedent, two similar cases can have different outcomes.

But I think it would be good to see a well prepared case taken through due process (being aware that BA reads this thread) so that future travellers can have a clearer view as to what is and is not allowed. That aspect is not up to the airline to decide, only a court can do this.
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Old Jan 7, 2014, 6:02 pm
  #58  
 
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Many (though clearly not all as we've heard with the A380s and 777-300ER delays), are occurring with BA's oldest 747-400s or Gatwick based 737s. These are getting old as we all know. I tend to fly on routes where the 744 operates and I've had a number of technical issues most of which are quickly sorted out but some aren't. I've seen issues with the slats, APUs, avionics, and 3 times issues revolving around the cargo door and cargo drive system which means the luggage is either stuck onboard and can't get off or they can't open or close the cargo door.

BA Engineering is world class and the boys and girls in Cardiff, Glasgow, Heathrow and Gatwick are excellent. They do their best with what they have.

However, it was BA's decision to keep aircraft in service for over 20+ years and as a result technical issues start to creep in. Dispatch reliability fails as aircraft age. So BA can't pretend a 20 year old jumbo having a problem is extraordinary. G-BNLE is a 747-400 that was delivered in 1989, for example, and is approaching it's retirement.

One could be blunt and argue that what BA saves having depreciated their ageing 747-400s from the early 1990s and having no leases to pay means they might have to pay out compensation.

It then becomes a financial decision. Keep the old stuff and take the risk of schedule delays, angry pax and EU compensation (and ever increasing maintenance bills) or pay $1M a month and lease a new widebody. Yes of course delays happen with newer aircraft but after teething problems have been ironed out the reliability of a young aircraft is much better than an older aircraft. BA keeps track of dispatch reliability by aircraft tail # and they will know this all too well.

Furthermore, I think a 20 hour delay is different from a 6 hour delay and a blanket approach isn't fair.

The winglet in Jo'Burg was possibly extraordinary as the pilot took the wrong turn (apparently).

This is just my input on why EU compensation on delays for technical SHOULD apply and airlines can't - and shouldn't - hide behind any excuse their lawyers can come up with.

There is no reasonable excuse to have an ultra long delay at LHR when BA could find alternative schedules for people on other carriers if necessary.

The compensation is there to incentivize airlines to think quickly, be responsive and look after the passenger. It's not about having stand-by aircraft. In this day and age the luxury of that is a cost that is too much.

Last edited by Airways45; Jan 7, 2014 at 6:15 pm
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Old Jan 7, 2014, 11:18 pm
  #59  
 
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"We've followed the servicing procedures laid down by Mr Ford and deem any problems with our Model T to be exceptional circumstances and therefore not subject to compensation"
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Old Jan 8, 2014, 3:36 am
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Slightly OT (and cheeky) in that this happened to friend on Easyjet FCo/LGW on 23/12 but I'm hoping the superb repository of aviation knowledge on the BAEC board will be able to suggest a course of action. The flight was diverted to AMS because (they were told) it wasn't up to landing in bad weather at LGW. Other planes landed throughout the day at LGW (I believe) so it wasn't as if the airport was closed due to bad weather.

Usually poor weather would be an acceptable extraordinary circumstance for an airline to avoid EU261 but would it be reasonable to argue that in this case 1) the poor weather was hardly unexpected therefore not extraordinary 2) putting a plane which can't cope with reasonably expected weather was tantamount to cancelling it. (Needless to say the IRROPS handling by Easyjet was somewhat lacking but that is another story.)

She was put on another flight AMS- LGW on the 24th so, despite landing into a blacked out North terminal, she did eventually get home for Christmas.

Is it worth her putting in an EU/261 claim do you think?
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