Lost baggage + cancellation help

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Old Jul 18, 19, 8:58 pm
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Lost baggage + cancellation help

Hi everyone,

I'm split on whether this belongs in the United or BA thread, but hoping you can help here as the most pressing issue concerns BA.

I was booked on an early-morning flight today LHR-EWR with United. When I arrived at the airport, United had delayed for five and a half hours due to bad weather at EWR, and gave breakfast/lunch vouchers for the wait. We went straight through security, and as soon as we'd passed it was announced that the flight was cancelled. The United transfer desk quickly rebooked us onto a BA flight leaving just under three hours after our scheduled arrival time. This flight left, and we're now in the US. Apparently bad weather for United isn't bad weather for BA....

Question 1: Are we eligible for the Ä300 per person EU cancellation compensation, even though we were quickly put on a BA flight? Our BA flight took off and landed two hours, 55 minutes after our scheduled United flight. If we are entitled, could United avoid paying by claiming bad weather as exceptional circumstances? This sounds odd given BA was able to fly.

When we arrived in EWR, our baggage didn't come through. The BA staff member told us we were entitled to 50USD total per person for "essentials" during the first 48 hours. We also have travel insurance through our UK Amex Platinum (I shared a suitcase with my partner, but we both have cards).

Question 2: The Amex insurance is much more generous than the BA offer, at 300GBP per person for the first 48 hours, followed by another 300GBP after that (refunded against receipts). Are we able to take the BA offer as well as the Amex offer, or is it an either/or (and is such a low BA offer really correct)? Secondly, what counts as "essentials" for BA and Amex? I was hoping to put toiletries etc. through BA given the much lower limit, and clothes, a replacement suitcase etc. against Amex. (A suitcase is especially important as we're moving locations in a few days). We're also on a long trip, so I'll need to visit a doctor for some replacement medicatino. Is "essentials" very strict, and do I need to speak with both BA and Amex to discuss purchases ahead of time?

(To add to this trip's pleasures, we can't submit an online BA baggage claim as we only have a United baggage receipt ID, which the BA website won't accept! So now I'll be up at 4am to ring the BA call centre...)

Thanks!
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Old Jul 18, 19, 9:00 pm
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One quick additional question: should I expect United to refund my checked baggage fee + seat reservations? I've heard the checked baggage refund applies to US flights, but not sure. And we lost the ability to sit together on the BA flight, despite paying for this on United. Thanks!
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Old Jul 18, 19, 10:10 pm
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Welcome to Flyertalk and the BA forum, mustard!

So in short,

1) No you are not entitled to any financial compensation is the cancellation is due to weather, just to duty of care (food, drink) and rebooking at the earliest opportunity and it seems that UA have done their job correctly on both counts;

2) You couldn't charge two different people for the same thing (eg. if you buy $50 for toiletries, you can't send the same bill to BA and to Amex) but if your receipts are in excess of £300 you could ask if BA would pay the difference above what Amex is willing to pay or vice versa (charge the first $50 to BA and then ask Amex if they can pay for £300 above that).. That said, that's really more of a question for Amex.

3) I should think UA would reimburse you the luggage and seat fees indeed and maybe give you a little something (miles free seat selectin on your return, etc) for the inconvenience)
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Old Jul 18, 19, 11:44 pm
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(1) quite possibly - that the Newark flight to Heathrow was delayed due to a reason that would exempt compensation for that flight, does not mean that the weather issue delaying that flight can be used to deny compensation for the LHR-EWR flight

(2) The airline is liable up to XDR1133 (Approx GBP1250) for lost/delayed baggage. If you need to make purchases you can just do so and claim against the airline. It cannot decide that the Montreal Convention does not apply to it and create its own limits. It is up to you where you make the claim - if the amount that you need is within the AMEX limit, I would claim off of AMEX; if your claim is going to exceed that which AMEX will pay, then I would just claim directly off of the airline

What counts comes down to what you need - I have , in the past, claimed a new suit , shoes, tie etc due to attending an event where these were in my luggage
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Old Jul 18, 19, 11:58 pm
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The general rule of thumb is to act reasonably and to buy essentials. Go for mid range rather than top end. Same with toiletries toothpaste etc and deodorant and shower stuff is fine.

You need to claim from BA and they’ll sort it out with UA.

Most insurers will expect you to claim from the airline first rather than from them.
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Old Jul 19, 19, 12:04 am
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Originally Posted by UKtravelbear View Post
Most insurers will expect you to claim from the airline first rather than from them.]
Not in my experience - No claim that I have tried to make with an insurer has said that. With the insurance for baggage delay from AMEX , that is one where I have claimed several times directly from AMEX with no issue at all; just filled form in online , attached required evidence and had money in bank within a week
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Old Jul 19, 19, 1:14 am
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
Not in my experience - No claim that I have tried to make with an insurer has said that. With the insurance for baggage delay from AMEX , that is one where I have claimed several times directly from AMEX with no issue at all; just filled form in online , attached required evidence and had money in bank within a week
Yes, it depends on the insurer, and in this case I would call Amex and ask for their advice. In very clear cases Amex in the UK (specifically) tends to say "use your card to buy x and x, we will email you a form so we can take it off your bill". Other insurers will have their own policies, and in some cases it could quite easily be as port of last refuge. BA generally have a good reputation for refunding excess items, as it happens, so either way the Original Poster should be OK. I see no downsides to focusing on Amex first, equally no downsides to to focusing on BA first, in this specific scenario. The total amount of your claim needs to be under the airlines' maximum, which is around £1200 per person, though Amex may give you more than that.

I would claim without discussing the items you deem to be essential, so long as in your head you have a good argument - the only time I know BA refuse a claim was for a particularly outrageous piece of passenger gouging.

I'll add my welcome to mustard, I hope the flight was good apart from that. There are two other threads to look at here, the EC261 thread in the BA Forum Dashboard, though I agree with the other FTers that it doesn't look like you have a case here and indeed United should be congratulated for doing the right thing. Also there is another thread from me explaining yesteday's baggage issues in Heathrow:
Baggage delays LHR 18 July 2019

Last edited by corporate-wage-slave; Jul 19, 19 at 1:19 am
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Old Jul 19, 19, 1:33 am
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My insurer(s) policy states I have to claim from the airline first and only if they refuse will they entertain a claim.

just as my insurer requires me, if I get injured in Europe, to make use of the EHIC card and will not reimburse me for any costs that would have been covered by the EHIC even if I don’t have one.

it also says that if I have to cancel a flight they expect me to have reclaimed whatever elements of the fare I can such as government taxes and airport fees from the airline first - or will assume I have done,

other policies may differ.
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Old Jul 19, 19, 2:24 am
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Originally Posted by UKtravelbear View Post
My insurer(s) policy states I have to claim from the airline first and only if they refuse will they entertain a claim.

just as my insurer requires me, if I get injured in Europe, to make use of the EHIC card and will not reimburse me for any costs that would have been covered by the EHIC even if I donít have one.

it also says that if I have to cancel a flight they expect me to have reclaimed whatever elements of the fare I can such as government taxes and airport fees from the airline first - or will assume I have done,

other policies may differ.
That is an example of an insurance company that I wouldn't be interested in purchasing a policy from a company that doesn't want to provide the coverage
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Old Jul 19, 19, 5:49 am
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Thanks everyone! This is all fantastic help, and a wonderful welcome to a forum! Definitely a place I'll be staying around.

- First off, I absolutely agree on United having done the right thing. Heathrow was in a state yesterday (esp. T5, as I'm sure you'll see on other threads), but they acted quickly to resolve the issue, all things considered. On a compensation point I'm just curious about the letter of the law, as Dave began to hint at above, and the "statement of your rights" document United provided sort of suggested by omission. In our situation, it seems that because the flight was cancelled but we were rerouted for arrival in under four hours, we should be able to claim 300EUR. Extreme weather would be an exception, but I've read that only applies if other airlines make the same decision, and that can't be the case because we flew with BA to the same destination just two hours after the United cancellation. Instead the extreme weather was in EWR was in the morning (when we checked in, they said the plane hadn't left yet), and that meant United didn't have a plane in LHR to take at/around the original delay time. And from what I've seen on briefly on other posts, extreme weather is only an exception if it affects your flight specifically; the airline not having a plane in place even due to bad weather isn't enough. Now whether it's ethical to still claim is another question entirely....! Is it worth me posting separately on the dedicated thread for this?

- The baggage replies are really helpful, so thank you again. My plan's still to put 50USD of toiletries etc. per person to BA as that's their initial offer, and then charge the rest to Amex. One question: do I have to demonstrate that the items in the suitcase had equivalent value to what I spend? It's a much more meagre shopping experience if I have to think which original items we actually kept receipts for! (Also, I'm making an assumption that both BA and Amex are covering my and my partner on a per person basis, even though we shared a suitcase... My Amex policy doesn't mention anything about a per-suitcase basis, or about claiming from the airline first, so fingers crossed!).

We have a long trip ahead of us, but I feel a lot more prepared to sort the admin headache after this FlyerTalk help!
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Old Jul 19, 19, 6:55 am
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Does the per person limit of around £1200 apply to all on the booking regardless of who actually checked a bag? Is the limit per person or per bag? I have noticed that when we check two bags, sometimes agents check two bags for one of us, and other times one each. I've never paid much attention to that but I wonder if I should ensure it is one bag each.

OP mentions they shared a bag with their partner. I would expect claims to be limited to people who checked a missing bag.

BA mentioned a $50 budget for essentials for each person which seems pragmatic to me. I'm pleased they aren't taking a harder line. It seems entirely reasonable to me that people would share a bag and yet both need essentials if it goes missing.
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Old Jul 19, 19, 7:16 am
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Originally Posted by windowontheAside View Post
Does the per person limit of around £1200 apply to all on the booking regardless of who actually checked a bag? Is the limit per person or per bag? I have noticed that when we check two bags, sometimes agents check two bags for one of us, and other times one each. I've never paid much attention to that but I wonder if I should ensure it is one bag each.

OP mentions they shared a bag with their partner. I would expect claims to be limited to people who checked a missing bag.

BA mentioned a $50 budget for essentials for each person which seems pragmatic to me. I'm pleased they aren't taking a harder line. It seems entirely reasonable to me that people would share a bag and yet both need essentials if it goes missing.
The limit is per person - if you check in all the bags together under a single person, then I *think* that all bags would count as the one person and so XDR1133 total. If bags are checked under 2 people, it would be XDR1133 * 2

BA might like there to be a $50 limit , but the regulations do not provide for that
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Old Jul 19, 19, 7:20 am
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1. While EC 261/2004 does apply to UA cancellation, there is no cancellation / delay compensation because this was a weather-related delay (take a look at EWR weather and you will see that there were massive cancellations / delays). UA did have a duty of care obligation and appears to have satisfied that with the meal voucher.

2. The bags are solely BA's responsibility as the last-delivering carrier. The Montreal Convention sets a limit of approximately £1,150 per passenger who has list a bag should it not be returned within 21 days. In the interim, BA will be responsible for those necessities. That reimbursement reduces the 1,150 should the bag never be returned. Medications are not likely covered because they should never be in checked luggage.

Unless your insurance expressly requires that a claim be made to the air carrier in the first instance, it is generally the case that you will do better and have fewer problems with insurance. I am especially partial to policies which provide a set limit for the first 1-2 days and then a per day amount thereafter.

That said, bags between LON-NYC generally catch up within short order. Just make certain that your bag description and mobile number are correct in WorldTracer.
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Old Jul 19, 19, 7:22 am
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
The limit is per person - if you check in all the bags together under a single person, then I *think* that all bags would count as the one person and so XDR1133 total. If bags are checked under 2 people, it would be XDR1133 * 2

BA might like there to be a $50 limit , but the regulations do not provide for that
BA just hand out cards to that value at about a dozen larger locations (EWR, JFK, DXB and so on), other locations you have to claim everything after the event. First and status passengers get a higher value card, and agents have the discretion to hand out higher cards (e.g. for those with very young children). The paperwork around the card explains how to claim over the card's value.

It is definitely per person, not per person checked per bag, not least because the regulation also applies to HBO passengers - their baggage is covered to the same mometary limit but with more restrictions on cover, see article 17. If you claim for both check and non checked luggage the XDR limit still applies.
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Old Jul 19, 19, 7:27 am
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
That is an example of an insurance company that I wouldn't be interested in purchasing a policy from a company that doesn't want to provide the coverage
But it does provide me with the coverage I want.

It just expects me to help mitigate their loses and I have no problem with them in asking me to assist them in doing that. And the wording in the policy is quite clear on this as well.

Now it's perfectly possible that AMEX just pays you but that AMEX then puts in claims to BA on your behalf as it were.
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