Interesting potential EU261 case

Old Sep 15, 19, 1:31 pm
  #1  
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Interesting potential EU261 case

So, I have had a few straightforward and successful EU261 claims in the past (BA and other carriers) but here is a new case which has just arisen.

I am a BA GCH. I went to check in for a flight DUB-LHR with my toddler son, but in error brought my wife's passport instead of his (now don't get me started on the de facto demise of the UK/Ireland Common Travel Area...). After a lengthy call (they said with immigration in the UK, but I don't believe this was really the case), they said he couldn't fly. After a further long call to BA in London (which I do believe), the agent quoted a price to change to a later flight for both of us of nearly EUR500.

So then I had a bright idea. I told him that I had presented on time for check in, presented a valid form of ID (for myself), so please would you give me my boarding pass. After a few more minutes of calls and discussions with colleagues, the agent said the flight had closed and he couldn't give me my boarding pass. I then said that, as I had presented for check-in properly, I had been denied boarding and wished to avail of my EU261 rights and remedies, including free transfer to the next available flight.

I was quickly passed to the (Menzies) check-in supervisor, who was very rude and dismissive, giving me only a card with BA contact details and an EU261 notice, and asking me to leave the check-in area lest she call the police. Her stance appeared to be informed by her belief that, as I was there with my child, there was no suggestion of me flying alone and that I was behaving disingenuously in citing denied boarding. I left the check-in area and called the BA Gold line, the agent (who put me on hold for a long time) said that there were extensive notes on the system from check-in, and was generally unhelpful, saying that the system showed I was a "no show" and only offered to sell me new tickets (for ca. EUR800), refusing also to put me through to a supervisor.

The question which thus arises is that, given that I had presented for check-in on time with the correct documentation, was I thus denied boarding by Menzies (acting for BA), and am therefore entitled to all the rights and remedies that flow from that (and which they thus far are steadfastly refusing to honour); or, does the fact that I also presented with someone else whose documents were not in order, allow them to take an "all or nothing" stance in relation to check-in? Does anyone know of any relevant case law; or just how other similar situations have panned out?

Best wishes all,
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Old Sep 15, 19, 1:34 pm
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Feels like one where the technical argument could be kicked out by CEDR and / or judge in small claims court. Not impossible but Id manage expectations accordingly

(just imagine taking it to court and judge asking if you would have abandoned child at the airport...)
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Old Sep 15, 19, 1:38 pm
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Was there enough time for someone else to arrive to take care of your toddler son?
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Old Sep 15, 19, 1:40 pm
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Sooooo.... if theyd given you the BP, what were you planning on actually doing?
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Old Sep 15, 19, 1:55 pm
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Originally Posted by lorcancoyle View Post
Feels like one where the technical argument could be kicked out by CEDR and / or judge in small claims court. Not impossible but Id manage expectations accordingly

(just imagine taking it to court and judge asking if you would have abandoned child at the airport...)
Well, my wife came with my son's passport, arriving around 10 mins before scheduled departure time. She could have got there earlier if I had asked her to come earlier.

I suppose a key question is whether it is relevant what I would have done had the agent not denied me boarding (as I assert)? Or, whether, on the facts I was denied boarding and am thus entitled to the EU261 remedies in any case?
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Old Sep 15, 19, 1:57 pm
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Originally Posted by richardwft View Post
Was there enough time for someone else to arrive to take care of your toddler son?
Key question is, is that relevant? Is it the business of a check-in agent to assess the potential consequences of only checking in part of a group presenting for check-in; or, rather, is it more simply his duty to check in all those who properly present for check-in? I would (of course) argue the latter.
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Old Sep 15, 19, 1:59 pm
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You were actually not able to board because you had responsibilities for a toddler.
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Old Sep 15, 19, 2:01 pm
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Originally Posted by richardwft View Post
You were actually not able to board because you had responsibilities for a toddler.
Are future toddler duties a valid airline exemption in the regs?
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Old Sep 15, 19, 2:01 pm
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Originally Posted by PAL62V View Post
Sooooo.... if theyd given you the BP, what were you planning on actually doing?
Do you think a court would want to consider that matter? Is it relevant to assessing whether or not I was denied boarding?

I would argue that, in not giving me a boarding pass despite presenting properly for check-in, I was denied boarding by BA's check-in agents, and the question of what would have happened were I not denied boarding, is irrelevant.

Question is, would a court see it this way?
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Old Sep 15, 19, 2:03 pm
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Originally Posted by BA1 View Post
Are future toddler duties a valid airline exemption in the regs?
The regs dont mention toddlers.

Does the OP feel that the check in person was too quick to advise fly later?
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Old Sep 15, 19, 2:05 pm
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Originally Posted by richardwft View Post
You were actually not able to board because you had responsibilities for a toddler.
How do you (or, more relevantly, Menzies acting for BA) know that? Perhaps there were others to whom I could have delegated those responsibilities?. Perhaps I could have abandoned my son at the airport; a criminal (and unconscionable) act, of course, but is it proper for airline check-in staff to take these matters into consideration when not checking-in a passenger who has presented properly for check-in?
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Old Sep 15, 19, 2:10 pm
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Originally Posted by BTP View Post
How do you (or, more relevantly, Menzies acting for BA) know that?
I dont. I may be playing devils advocate.
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Old Sep 15, 19, 2:13 pm
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Or just suck it up and accept you screwed up by bringing the wrong passport. These things happen. Often best not to overthink them.
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Old Sep 15, 19, 2:13 pm
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Originally Posted by richardwft View Post
The regs dont mention toddlers.

Does the OP feel that the check in person was too quick to advise fly later?
Well the whole thing was quite slow, actually. Plenty of time was wasted when he was on the phone "checking" to see if my son would be allowed to fly (I am not sure who he really was on the phone to), whereas I could have got my wife with his correct passport earlier.

What are your thoughts in asking the question?
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Old Sep 15, 19, 2:14 pm
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I am hoping that this is just a theoretical discussion.

Did you ask them to cancel the toddler's ticket and for you to fly alone before the flight closed -- ie how close to the check in closure time did you have your bright idea?
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