BA's reimbursement offer leaving me short

Old Aug 10, 16, 8:01 am
  #1  
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Angry BA's reimbursement offer leaving me short

Hoping someone can provide help or advice on this issue.

A colleague and I were flying TXL-LHR-GLA on 15/6/16. TXL-LHR leg was delayed due to weather and landed around 2 hours late in LHR. As a result we missed the onward GLA flight; this was the last flight of the day, so we had to overnight in London.

[Not really relevant, but just to complete the story - the LHR-GLA flight was actually also delayed, and the aircraft was still at LHR while we were at Flight Connection; but we had been offloaded and 'computer issues' prevented the agent re-issuing boarding passes. This was somewhat frustrating, to say the least.]

To be fair to BA, the issue was outwith their control (weather), and had affected a large number of flights, so Flight Connections was mobbed. By the time the agent had given up trying to get us on a GLA flight, BA had no hotel rooms available. We were told to make our own accommodation arrangements and claim for reimbursement.

By this time it was after 10pm. None of the LHR hotels had any availability. A search on hotels.com threw up a bunch of hotels in central London, mostly at exorbitant prices. I picked the cheapest I could find at £295 each - a place in Marylebone. We took HEX to Paddington, then a taxi to the hotel (Bakerloo line at Paddignton being out of commission, and it being late). Luckily we found somewhere nearby still selling food after 11pm, and we reversed the journey the next morning.

Total costs were:

£580 for two hotel rooms
£72 for 2 HEX standard return tickets
£11 for taxis
£45 for food and drink
Total: £708

I have duly submitted a claim, with receipts, to BA. They have responded offering:

£400 for hotel rooms
£50 for travel
£45 for food and drink
Total: £495

This leaves me £213 out of pocket.

I have gone back to BA twice saying that this is unacceptable - I booked the cheapest option I could find at short notice late at night, and at no point did anyone at LHR mention an upper limit on costs. Both times they have come back with hacked together cut-n-paste responses saying it's the best they can do.

Has anyone had any success in getting full expenses covered in this situation?
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Old Aug 10, 16, 8:09 am
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Did you take a screen print or similar for the hotel rooms? I can understand the resistance due to the cost, however care and maintenance is still the airline's responsibility and it doesn't make it right to be out of pocket.

Your explanation sounds reasonable. To be honest if you are banging against a brick wall I would send one further letter and then just head to MCOL.
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Old Aug 10, 16, 8:15 am
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This is a tricky one. On the face of it, things do sound plausible, but could the OP have tried a little harder to find less expensive accommodation?

For instance, a 25 minute hop to Woking on the National Express rail-air link would have opened up lots of acceptable hotels (premier Inn, Travelodge, Jurys, Hilton) at around £70 per room.

Was it reasonable to only consider central London when local hotels were full?
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Old Aug 10, 16, 8:15 am
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I'll leave c-w-s and others to answer the main question, but was £295 really 'the cheapest you could find'? I struggle a little to believe that (but then again I've never had to book a London hotel room at 10pm same night).
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Old Aug 10, 16, 8:18 am
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50 quid for travel is some sort of limit for this, possibly, based on other posts I've seen. Maybe the hotel is similar.

That said, in my opinion BA should reimburse you fully. It still had a duty of care obligation and it elected not to make arrangements to provide this, so it seems reasonable that in that situation it loses the right to be able to exercise control over the costs. For last minute rooms when BA themselves acknowledged availability was a problem, the costs incurred do not look unnecessarily extravagant. Unfortunately I think you may struggle to get it.

Would travel insurance cover the shortfall?
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Old Aug 10, 16, 8:25 am
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Originally Posted by Flexible preferences View Post
This is a tricky one. On the face of it, things do sound plausible, but could the OP have tried a little harder to find less expensive accommodation?

For instance, a 25 minute hop to Woking on the National Express rail-air link would have opened up lots of acceptable hotels (premier Inn, Travelodge, Jurys, Hilton) at around £70 per room.

Was it reasonable to only consider central London when local hotels were full?
I'm sure the OP probably could have tried. Maybe many other places had availability, but how many hoops is it reasonable for someone to jump through when they're stuck at Heathrow at gone 10pm at night, with no accommodation and no other onwards transportation to their final destination?
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Old Aug 10, 16, 8:27 am
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I'm staggered that it took as long as post #3 to put the OP in the wrong.

Standards are slipping on the BA board.
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Old Aug 10, 16, 8:30 am
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The round numbers do seem to indicate some arbitary limit, though.

And I share the reservation (whoops) about going for a Central London hotel. There must be many dozens of cheaper options within 10 miles of LHR, just a taxi ride away.

Apologies if that seems like a dig at the OP, but I lived/worked in the area for decades. Woking, Uxbridge, Richmond, Windsor ... they're all relatively nearby and surely cheaper than Central London which has to be the most expensive option.
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Old Aug 10, 16, 8:31 am
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Maybe I've just been lucky, but I've never had any problem finding late availability in London.

There are so many LHR hotels that there always seems to be some availability. And several times I've sat in a pub and booked on an app, or at worse, been drinking til 2am, walked into a premier inn and been offered a room for the night at just over £100 (not like they're going to sell it to anyone else at 2am).

However I do sympathise, and would second the suggestion of travel insurance claim if you get no further with BA. If you've been emailing so far it might also be worth calling BA, as the phone agents are often more sympathetic to your situation than the copy/paste email responses from Sudbury.
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Old Aug 10, 16, 8:33 am
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Originally Posted by V10 View Post
I'm sure the OP probably could have tried. Maybe many other places had availability, but how many hoops is it reasonable for someone to jump through when they're stuck at Heathrow at gone 10pm at night, with no accommodation and no other onwards transportation to their final destination?
Fair point, but perhaps more than just one?
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Old Aug 10, 16, 8:34 am
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Originally Posted by secretplantofightinflation View Post
I'm staggered that it took as long as post #3 to put the OP in the wrong.

Standards are slipping on the BA board.
Excuse me?

This is unnecessarily confrontational and frankly silly. We are trying to explore this scenario and discuss it intelligently.
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Old Aug 10, 16, 8:37 am
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I have only recently been made aware of the £200 limit per room per night, and apparently BA are now publicising this to passengers to ensure they don't go over the limit.

However while BA is entitled to set these guidelines, there are none set in EC261. It's simply the airline's responsibility to arrange accommodation, and my take on this is that where they can't/won't then they are up for the consequences. If £295 was genuinely the best you could find, then if you are prepared to take BA all the way on this then I think you would have a high degree of success. For the travel cost items, in particular, they are on very thin ice. You are also allowed to bill communication costs. In which case read the EC261 thread in the Dashboard and follow the MCOL route. Please let us know how you get on.

In terms of other people who have this issue in the future, it's always good to have the Hilton / IHG / Carlsson Apps and websites on your phone ready for this situation. Try to avoid the hotel booking units in landside T5 and T3, since they know too much! Also if central London and Heathrow gets booked out, Gatwick and Windsor may well still have hotels going at sensible rates. The Hilton in Gatwick has 821 rooms, which is in the top 5 hotels in the UK in terms of bedrooms. In addition, for my key airports I have direct telephone numbers of a few non chain hotels, which aren't on the airline systems, since they may be available when nothing else is. In the case of LHR these are The Grange in Bracknell. which has 120 rooms; Stanwell Hotel in Staines (50 rooms); Lensbury Teddington Lock (150 rooms); Heston Hyde M4 (300 rooms) and the Runnymede in Egham (180 rooms). There are quite a few others around Egham and Chertsey.

Last edited by corporate-wage-slave; Aug 10, 16 at 8:43 am
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Old Aug 10, 16, 8:42 am
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Good tip, c-w-s ... I was going to mention the Stanwell, as I've used it a few times. About a mile off the SW corner of the airport, but not (of course) a chain hotel with a major presence on hotel search websites.

But you have to know these places exist, and with IRROPs it's not an ideal time to start searching. Although TripAdvisor shoukd flag up local options, if you input Heathrow Airport instead of London
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Old Aug 10, 16, 8:43 am
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Yes the hotel was expensive but BA had him over a barrel on this. If there was an upper limit then they should say so.

It's easy for any of us who know the Greater London/Thames Valley area to know there would be hotels heading further out to places like Slough or Windsor, but I'm not sure how the OP could have known that. Especially late at night with transport options closing down all around, it seems reasonable to think in terms of staying in London in order to get to/from the hotel late/early. Especially in such a stressful situation.
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Old Aug 10, 16, 8:44 am
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Last edited by Virazuno; Aug 10, 16 at 8:45 am Reason: A lot of posts between me loading the page and typing my response that say everything I wanted to :(
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