A couple of weeks ago I was out of the office on a week long review trip (Ibiza, Madrid and Frankfurt … you may have read about it). As I wanted to be back in London for the weekend, I booked a Friday late afternoon flight back to Heathrow.
I got to Frankfurt, had food and drinks in the JAL lounge (the review of that is still to come) and boarded the plane on time. The crew did the safety briefing, the plane taxied around for a bit – and then stopped.
After a while we were told that the engine was broken and an engineer would have to look at it. He would decide whether or not we could fly to London.
What followed was a back and forth of information and decisions that went a bit like this: we will stay on the plane, we need to get off, we will wait, ok we will get off in a bit and go back to the terminal, [more waiting and crew serving water], we are going to leave now, ok we might need to stay in Frankfurt, LONDON IS SENDING A NEW PLANE!
As confusing as this sounds, I did appreciate that the crew gave us every update they had and that the captain came through the plane to answer questions.
After two hours on the runway the plane taxied back to the terminal. We were told that we’d have to be back by the gate in 30 minutes. I went back to the JAL lounge where the receptionist assured us that she’d make an announcement. After another hour the plane from London landed. Unfortunately there was no food on board but at least I didn’t have to spend another night in Frankfurt.
When I got back to the office, I decided to seek EU261 compensation.
Under EU law you can claim compensation for flights that are more than 3 hours delayed:
Up to 1,500km within the EU – €250
Over 1,500km within the EU and all other flights between 1,500km and 3,000 km – €400
All other flights – €600
Confusingly, flights TO the EU must be operated by an EU airline for your claim to be valid. Flights FROM the EU are valid irrespective of the nationality of the airline.
My flight was 4 hours delayed so I decided to make a claim. As Frankfurt is under 1,500km from London I was theoretically due €250.
Now, how do you make your claim?
Unfortunately there is not an easy click through menu to claim your compensation on the BA website. You have to file your claim using the general ‘Contact Customer Relations’ form.
Bad IT design or a cunning plan to make it more confusing to claim? You decide …..
You need to go to this page of the BA website and fill out your personal details, flight information and a detailed description of your request.
‘I’d like to claim EU261 compensation’
The answers that followed on the screen did NOT provide me with immediate help:
… so I clicked ‘Submit’.
Three days later I received an email from an Andrew Washburne apologising for the delay and informing me that
‘the distance of [my] disrupted journey (calculated in accordance with the Regulation) was less than 1,500km, and this means [I was] entitled to €250.00 in compensation. This equates to £213.86 in local currency.’
I had to go back to the BA website and enter my case reference number as well as my bank details for the money to be send to my account.
Three days later I received an email that the payment had been made and after another three days the money was in my account.
Once I had figured out how to make my claim the process was straightforward. A few emails back and forth and the money was in my account within 9 days of my initial contact.
The email mentioned the option of getting Avios instead of money, but it didn’t say how many. Rob’s recent article on BA’s Avios offer to people who are due €600 suggests that it would probably not have been close to 21,386 Avios (1p per point).
Flight delays are annoying, but when they do happen it’s good to know that it’s fairly easy – although not quite as easy as it could be – to claim the compensation you are due from British Airways.