BA closing check-in early - advice needed

Old Jan 29, 20, 9:55 am
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BA closing check-in early - advice needed

Hi everyone

I am looking for some advice regarding pursuing a claim against BA in small claims court. Ive been through the Cedr process with no luck.

In summary, we were due to fly on a BA flight from Algiers into Gatwick last August which was set to depart at 12.15 local time. As this was classed as a long-haul flight we arrived at check-in before the 60 mins pre-flight ie before 11.15 to find it shut with no representatives from BA. As a result we were offloaded from the flight and had to pay for new flights.

Im seeking compensation from BA for the cost of the new flights.

When I first put in my complaint the day after the missed flight, BA stated they ‘dialled’ the operations team who confirmed check-in closed at 10.35am ie. 1 hour 40 mins prior to departure. They also informed me that 132 passengers were booked on the flight and 131 made it on board telling me I was the only person who missed the flight and felt this was backed up by the fact I was the only passenger who had made a complaint.

In fact there were 3 people in my party (131 + 3 does not = 132) plus several others in the airport who were all denied boarding. This suggests to me the flight was overbooked and so BA closed check-in early to subvert their overbooking policy!

In their defence to cedr, BA have provided station logs which state check-in closed at 11.15. The adjudicator has found on ‘balance of evidence’ and sided with BA despite them providing conflicting accounts. The adjudicator has suggested that the additional passengers could be standby or crew and that the 10.35 time was actually provided in UTC/GMT making it 11.35 local time (although hasnt explained why if this is the case BAs log says 11.15!!)

BA have also provided a document that shows passengers were offloaded under code NC on the date of flight but this document does not state the flight number, airport, number of passengers offloaded or the first and last check-in details as set out on the form which makes me think BA are hiding something.

I have since asked BA to reasonably comply with my request for information for:
1. The total number of passengers booked on the flight prior to check in
2. Total number of passengers denied boarding
3. Total number of standby passengers who were accepted onto the flight
4. The time the last passenger was checked in at the desk
5. The time it takes BA to close check in desk

BA are refusing to provide this information due to GDPR despite me repeatedly pointing out that GDPR is only in relation to personal data and does not apply to anonymised data which is what im requesting.

Im getting legal advice but would appreciate any input and advice from anyone here!

Thanks in advance!
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Old Jan 29, 20, 10:14 am
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Unfortunately it looks like you have a fight on your hands here.
Out of interest, do you know the exact time that you arrived at check in?

Last edited by OddJobMan; Jan 29, 20 at 10:15 am Reason: typo
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Old Jan 29, 20, 10:29 am
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Welcome to Flyertalk and welcome to the BA forum cifenner. The BA forum has a Dashboard at the top of the listing, and from there a link to the main EC261 thread. Having said that, your case isn't similar to anything recent that I can recall, so maybe that thread won't be that helpful.

If CEDR has come down against you your two realistic options are MCOL (Money Claim Online) for EC261, or the Consumer Rights Act. BA will bring the CEDR ruling to the court's attention. Personally I wouldn't go too much away from the core issue, namely the advertised closing time is 1 hour before departure, that's then linked into EC261 in Article 3.2 and therefore all you need to do is to prove / give a Sratement of Truth that you presented yourself to check-in at least 61 minutes before departure. It matters not if you were the only person affected or 100 people were affected, that's a side show. You also need to consider why exactly CEDR on a balance of probabilities decided BA's times were right and by extension that you were incorrect. If you can point - as I think you are doing - to CEDR making a mistake on the timing issue then I imagine the Court will take that on board. The courts are perhaps more likely to side with a consumer on a balance of probability question that CEDR, but you will need to work this quite carefully to get MCOL to agree with you. The comments at the top of the main thread, and the point about a skeleton, may be particularly useful.

I have to say ALG is an airport where it is best to arrive a bit more than an hour before departure, simply due to potential delays in passport control. BA do have a problem balancing baggage and passenger numbers for ALG departures, so yes I can see some factors there, especially if it was a A319. If it was A320 then the numbers don't add up for that.
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Old Jan 29, 20, 10:32 am
  #4  
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You are making this way too complicated. Your obligation as a passenger was to present yourself for check in no later than 11:15. Did you do so? If yes, then you should have been permitted to board and if not, you were a no show and were properly denied boarding. Whether you were the only passenger to cut it so close or every passenger cut it close is immaterial.

Now that you have lost at CEDR, you may still pursue a claim in small claims (directly or through MCOL if a UK resident and only directly if you are not). In that proceeding, it is theoretically possible to obtain a directive to BA to provide you with the data you seek, but I can't see any obligation on BA's part to simply provide you with otherwise non-public data (having nothing to do with GDPR) on a voluntary basis.

Bottom line is that you are focusing on a red herring which gets you nothing. The question is solely when you presented yourself, was it 11:14, 11:15, or 11:16? If you were 1 minute late and the counter had closed hours too early, you are SOL.

This is going to boil down to credibility, not law, so focus there.
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Old Jan 29, 20, 10:58 am
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I don’t think that the flight was overbooked as the smallest aircraft operated from a LGW has 143 seats.
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Old Jan 29, 20, 10:59 am
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I agree with the others - keep it simple and focus on your party not what may or may not have happened to others. Do you have the 10:35 statement in writing (ie on an email)?

Do you have any proof of what time you got to the desk / airport? If anyone in your party has an iphone it might be worth going to Settings —> Privacy —> Location Services —> System Services —> Significant Locations and see what, if any, data your device has recorded, if you have this enabled.
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Old Jan 29, 20, 10:59 am
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Do you have any evidence that you were there on time. If you tried to call someone from BA from your mobile you can have screen shots of the call logs which would show the time. Alternatively do you have the contact details of anyone else denied boarding who can corroborate. I would have thought that just a small bit of evidence as such would give you a big boost in your chances at MCOL.
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Old Jan 29, 20, 11:06 am
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Originally Posted by Can I help you View Post
I don’t think that the flight was overbooked as the smallest aircraft operated from a LGW has 143 seats.
Wouldn’t it depend on cabin configuration - ie Club Europe?
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Old Jan 29, 20, 11:08 am
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Originally Posted by IAMORGAN View Post
Wouldn’t it depend on cabin configuration - ie Club Europe?
Apologies, I am still getting used to this forum.

I have written a longer post in response to some questions raised but am not sure where the post has gone? Suspect it may be with a moderator as I am new to the forum?

Last edited by cifenner; Jan 29, 20 at 12:09 pm Reason: Created in error
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Old Jan 29, 20, 11:11 am
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I know it is too late for the OP, but as I found in another sphere, a time/date stamped photo of self at the venue/location at the time in dispute is always difficult for the opposition argue against.
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Old Jan 29, 20, 11:17 am
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When did you arrive at the check in counter. A simple time will do :-)
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Old Jan 29, 20, 11:18 am
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Thank you all for your replies and advice which is very much appreciated!!

To answer your questions:

We arrived at check-in sometime between 11:00 - 11:07. My husband remembers looking at the time at 11:07 after we realised check-in was closed. I recognise we were cutting it fine but unfortunately had been stuck in very bad traffic on the way to the airport.

The difficulty I am having is in proving that I was at check-in prior to 11.15 and that BA had closed check-in prematurely.

I did not have location services turned on my iphone. I do have phone logs from 11:17 onwards as well as photos that show I was calling the UK from Algeria and that I was present in the airport. At the time I had an under 2 year old and it was all very distressing not being able to fly home so I didnt think in the moment to take a photo of the closed check-in or to take details of other passengers.

I have contacted my mobile phone provider to see whether they can confirm my location. They advised they can show a general area but cannot be specific. I have even contacted the airport to see if I can access CCTV!

I have it in writing from BA that they 'dialled' the Operations Team who confirmed check-in closed at 10.35. I also have a written apology from BA about this mistake and that they have taken steps to ensure it will not happen again. In all of my communications with BA they do not dispute that check-in closed at 10.35. It was only when I took the case to Cedr that BA changed their story and submitted the station log as part of their defence which stated check-in closed at 11.15.

I agree about cabin configuration - flights from Algiers have a Business Class section at the front where the middle seat is left unoccupied. This would therefore account for a higher number of seats on the aircraft, but fewer total passengers being able to fly.

Also this doesnt answer the question as to why the flight log states 132 passgengers booked on the flight and 131 boarded given that there were 3 in my party?
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Old Jan 29, 20, 11:20 am
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Originally Posted by IAMORGAN View Post
Wouldn’t it depend on cabin configuration - ie Club Europe?
That’s true, I can see a A319 configuration for 20 CE 113 ET.
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Old Jan 29, 20, 11:21 am
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I know it's not everyone's cup of tea but I've found Google Maps Timeline feature very handy for proving my whereabouts at a certain time.
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Old Jan 29, 20, 11:26 am
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Originally Posted by IAMORGAN View Post
Wouldn’t it depend on cabin configuration - ie Club Europe?
Originally Posted by Can I help you View Post
That’s true, I can see a A319 configuration for 20 CE 113 ET.
Given that the seats are the same why would you bump someone off the flight just because of where the curtain is?

You just seat them at the back of the CE 'cabin' but give then ET service
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