How I claimed my €250 EU261 compensation from British Airways

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 put:

‘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.

BA EU 261 compensation claim payment confirmed email

Conclusion

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.

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Comments

  1. Graham Walsh says:

    I was in AMS last week with a 5 hour delay Easyjet refused my claim saying act of nature. 1cm of snow caused de icing issues. They also had no crew as hours ran out. Had to get another crew in from Gatwick.

    • Lady London says:

      I’m pretty sure de-icing issues have been thrown out of court and not accepted as a reason for denying EU261 recently.

      Apparently the need to de-ice is accepted as a predictable need during winter :-)
      Makes sense to me.

      Crew hours running out has also been rejected unless the underlying incident is has been accepted as one that was impossible to predict.

      Sorry I don’t have the case references you could try googling. Then do a moneyclaim.gov.uk anyway.

  2. “although not quite as easy as it could be”
    are the words which explain the problem.
    It’s still like asking turkeys to vote for Christmas making it easier to provide compensation or refunds. Only compulsion from a higher statutory authority can remedy.

  3. O/T – Mrs Gavin needs to get a travelcard season ticket from Reading to Moorgate (approx. 5k annual) starting on Monday. She was going to get just a monthly ticket for the first month, before getting a longer length ticket to take the end of the calendar year.

    The plan is to use the next month getting the necessary cards to maximise points. I already have a Gold card, and have recently churned BA so no signup bonuses there. Will she be able to apply for a Gold / BA card herself if she is referred? She doesn’t have much of a credit rating in this country, and this will be her first job in the UK. My thought was to get the signup bonus on the SPG Card, and then put the rest on my Lloyds Amex to trigger the voucher (I’m about half way there already). Can anyone better this? I hope if we pick a quiet time at the ticket office they will be amenable to splitting the payment.

    I also wondered if we are better off buying an annual season ticket now (as this is about the same cost as 10 months of tickets up until Christmas), and then cancelling before Christmas to get a refund, and then buying a new annual season ticket a few days later to lock in before the annual price rise. This would mean forgoing any signup bonuses however bar getting the Lloyds voucher.

    I should also add that these are effectively ‘free’ points as her company ‘grosses up’ the commuting cost through the payroll and pays her the net cost of the season ticket .

    • Advice from my commuting Swindon/Reading and Swindon/Paddington.
      1) but a ticket for five weeks rather than a month so that you miss out an extra weekend. You can buy any length ticket over a month. It used to buy five/six/eight week tickets and avoided paying for holidays, Easter etc. (This is not so important if she can reclaim the fares).
      2) I did not know how long I was going to be working at a particular place and when I changed from Reading to London I got my fingers burned. I had some time left on my Reading season ticket so cancelled it and bought one to London. BUT you do not get a pro rata refund as per American Express. They use a complicated formula based on how much it would have cost you to buy tickets for the time that you were able to travel. This can be a lot less than pro rata; I got virtually nothing back and should have bought an addition ticket from Reading to Paddington.

      • If buying an annual ticket, you get no refund after 10 months:

        “Any refund is calculated from the date the Season Ticket was handed in. It will be the difference between the price you paid and the cost of a ticket or tickets for the period for which you have actually used the ticket, plus an administration charge. Because of the discounts on longer term Season Tickets, refunds are not made pro rata to the periods before/after surrender and Annual Season Tickets have no refund value after about 10 1/2 months. For this reason we recommend that employers’ Annual Season Ticket loan schemes are set up so that reimbursements are made in 10 equal monthly payments with two ‘free’ months at the end of the year, rather than in 12 equal monthly payments.”

        From: http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/ticket_types/46571.aspx

        Could try a Gold card for Mrs Gavin, now Amex have removed personal income requirements so household could work and this could possibly help her build up a credit rating.

        Could both get the SPG card. Alternative options if not used would both get the Hilton Visas (again helping with her credit rating) and get a free weekend somewhere with the free night from both cards

    • Don’t forget the article Rob ran a couple of weeks ago about ticket splitting and how this can be used with season tickets. Although if the company are paying and you want to maximise CC points, you may not be bothered.

    • Gavin,
      I would suggest an Annual Gold Card as the benefits of discounts that you get with a Gold card on the Rail network(2 for 1 ticket, Other rail ticket discounts). You could put it on any Amex(or Split based on annual spend criteria or sign-up bonus) and then if you need to cancel a part of it owing to “Job Location changes”, you could ask for a refund to be sent to your home ? They will calculate based on no of months/weeks/days used and then refund the difference minus a processing fee(if I remember it).
      I am in Reading too, so care to meet for a drink sometime and discuss more strategies ?

  4. my daughter had a 1.5 day delay in BHD due to fog at LHR in dec. she contacted BA and was told no. LHR was not closed completely. waited in airport 10 hours before being sent home. was booked on 6 am flight next day which did not leave until after 5. 2 claims 1 claim or 0 claims??

    • Surely that’s weather related so no claims?

      • that was what she was told even though LHR was open to other flights. was booked at 6am and then there was no plane for her presumably for logistic reasons – i thought that would count as a delay

        • There are stages between simply open and closed; when there’s a reduced flow rate needed, airlines are asked to cancel a percentage of flights. It’s still a weather delay/canx as the airport can’t run at normal capacity during that time – due to the weather.

  5. Lewis Watson says:

    They must no who you are that’s not my experience of trying to claim from BA

    • Wasn’t me, was Anika. My brother also got €3,000 paid within 10 days recently (5 people).

    • I am afraid I have to agree. I have had several failed attempts at claiming for delays with BA.
      Including similar engine issues to those Rob experienced.

      • You should reclaim, you have 6 years.

        Case law is changing month by month. Huzar vs Jet2, which I covered, was the real catalyst because that was the one which decided that technical issues were not an excuse. Any claim made pre-Huzar should be resubmitted.

  6. Trots Van Het Noorden says:

    I flew from Groningen to Southend in October, on a £50 basic fare booked with flybe but operated by Stobart Air. On arrival at GRQ airport we were made aware of a c.1.5hr delay, however this kept increasing. We were given a €5 voucher to spend on food and drink at the terminal. Eventually we took off 3 hours 20 mins late, and landed at SEN with the same delay.

    On the advice of regular HFP reader ‘Friend of Biffin’ I used moneysavingexpert.com’s Resolver tool to claim. After a bit of back and forth and a delay of about 6 weeks I was offered €250, or a €350 flybe voucher. I chose the former, and had £216.47 paid into my account a couple of days later. The process was fairly smooth – possibly slightly longer than other claims because flybe had to refer it to Stobart Air.

    Anyone who has had trouble claiming from EasyJet, Ryanair or others may wish to try likewise – details here: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/flight-delays

    • Tried that tool but Ryanair bounce it. That was my first port of call in the scenario I posted earlier.

      • Trots Van Het Noorden says:

        Sorry to hear it. Did you decide to chase them through the courts? I suppose the question is whether it is worth it for the €1500 (6 pax IIRC?) you might get vs the costs and time of doing so. Good luck if you do down that route.

  7. Michael Jennings says:

    I had a three and a half hour delay out of LCY on a BA flight to Geneva last August. I used the same form as Rob to claim compensation, got a response within a few days and a 250 euro compensation payment (in my case by cheque – have they changed this?) within a few more days. Really nothing to complain about.

  8. Darren Cobb says:

    When claiming EU261 from BA I find the best and often quickest way is to send them a direct message on Twitter with the flight number,date and booking ref, they are very quick to respond using this medium

    • I used resolver for my EU261 last year. Claim was dealt with within a couple of weeks and 3000 euros paid out promptly.

  9. While we are on the subject of BA and saying some nice things about them I thought I would tell you about my recent experience. I was booked with Avios to fly to Punta Cana on 7th Feb but had a fall that morning and was checked at the airport and ruled unfit to fly. Went to casualty and to cut a long story short am having further tests for a possible seizure which now means I cannot drive. BA / Avios had no obligation to refund my Avios or the Lloyds upgrade voucher I had used as the cancellation was within 24 hours but have fully refunded everything as a gesture of goodwill. The car hire company in Punta Cana also did the same.

    BUT Gatwick Airport parking are so far refusing to budge and have charged me the full cost of 2 weeks parking for only 6 hours use AND Eurotunnel are refusing to refund me a Eurotunnel ticket which I now cant use as I am not allowed to drive. I am appealing both – I think the parking will be accommodating but Eurotunnel!!!

    Eurotunnel say i can transfer the ticket to anyone else so if anyone wants a standard 5 day car return usable anytime up to and including the firt week in October (originally it was going to use it last october but had to change my plans but the ticket is valid for 1 2months) please contact me directly simon.cross1@btinternet.com

    • With all due respect, I don’t see why you should expect eurotunnel to take a hit because you can’t use a non-refundable ticket you bought. Sounds as if they’re already being rather generous by allowing you to transfer it to someone else. This is exactly the situation travel insurance is for – this would pay out immediately if you have medical advice not to travel. If you don’t have any, more fool you.

      • The Eurotunnel ticket is transferable as standard and changable (but how does an individual in my position find someone wanting to go – so I posted the info here in case someone is interested and have also posted on a local to me website). As for travel insurance yes I have it but I was simply doing what everyone is required to do in any insurance policy and that is to try to mitigate the insurers loss and I was pointing out how amenible BA was and the car hire company when neither had to do so with a NON flexible, NON refundable ticket / booking where they would have had NIL chance of reselling the ticket / booking within the 2 hours left to take off where as Eurotunnel who say the ticket is FULLY transferable is not providing me with any assistance in making such a transfer when there is some 6 months left on the ticket that is usable.

        • Update – wow – Gatwick Airport parking have now made a full ex-gratia refund(not even charging me for the 6 hours I used the car park while in A and E) – so this means BA, the car hire company in the Dominican Republic and Gatwick parking have ALL made full ex-gratia refunds even when there was NO flexibility in the tickets / bookings and only Eurotunnel are sticking to the letter of the contract and saying feel free to transfer the ticket to anyone (but done expect any help in finding someone who wants to travel to France anytime in the next 6 months).I know who I will travel with and recommend in future. BA have certainly lost money as they could never have resold the ticket with only 2 hours to take off (unless overbooked which they weren’t) while Eurotunnel could easily resell the ticket which had 6 months left to run on it.

  10. Anybody had experience claiming under EU261 from Lufthansa ?
    We had a nightmare experience last Saturday flying ABZ-FRA-ZUR where the ABZ-FRA was delayed on take-off due to time taken loading baggage on aircraft (Local school mid-term holiday – plane packed so LH would have known to expect a bunch of bags / cases – within LH control).

    Then at FRA were waitlisted for subsequent planes – first one full but we knew the next was wasn’t – tried to demand seat allocation and certainty to travel but LH claim they are only obligated to book us on comparable class – LH ridiculous interpretation of EU261 Art. 8.1 b) “at the earliest opportunity” – every LH customer services staff whom we asked / challenged were clearly programmed to say exactly the same thing !!

    Other websites report LH as terrible to deal with so any experiences appreciated.

    Thanks

    • I had a horrible experience with LH a couple of years back. Was flying back from HND to FRA and engineers had forgotten bolts loose in the AC unit on the plane. Upon takeoff we experienced massive vibrations and smoke in the cabin. Plane had to dump all fuel and land at NRT. 3 hours later we took off on the now repaired plane, but due to the delay I missed my connection to LHR.

      I wrote to LH claiming compensation under EU261 and got a reply saying that the flight was delayed due to circumstances out of the airline’s control. I wrote back and was told weather conditions. The flight was in the middle of summer – perfect clear skies both in FRA and in TYO. On my third try I threatened to sue and asked for a detailed engineer’s report from the incident to submit to court. Within a day I got a reply that for “customer service” reasons my request for compensation would be granted but that LH admitted no liability in the case and essentially I wasn’t setting a case precedent for other travelers on the same flight…

      • AlexT

        Thanks for your input.
        LH seem to have a horrible reputation.
        I have sent a note to Rob separately.

        IanMacK

  11. Isabel Friedlander says:

    I was recently delayed on a BA flight for 4 hours at Washington Dulles as it was raining, but not torrential rain at all.. After an hour the pilot turned off the engine to save fuel. In the 3rd hour he turned on again but 3 passengers decided to accept the offer to leave the plane so we had to return to the bay to refuel and get their luggage off . We landed exactly 4 hours late and a website I consulted was clear that this weather did not constitute “exceptional circumstances”. I completed the claim form but BA ‘s replies, and several of them, would not accept the claim!!

  12. Some friends just had a delay on Swiss. They told the passengers on board that the delay was due to bad weather.
    The bad weather was nowhere to be seen (very thin dusting of snow in Zurich).
    I sent an email to Swiss and they replied that the plane arrived late due to a technical fault and it’s considered exceptional circumstances and therefore EU261 would not be applicable.
    They attached a £40 voucher per passenger.

    This is all a con, as technical faults are all eligible for compensation and the voucher is just a shutting up attempt.

    Don’t let the airline fob you off about weather. If you don’t see bad weather, check for yourself what happened and don’t be fobed off with a voucher they throw at you.

    • Whilst the UK courts have decided that technical faults count, Swiss courts may not have. As long as the flight was to/from UK you’re fine as Small Claims Court will follow Huzar v Jet2.

  13. What if you don’t want it converted from EUR to GBP and instead want the full EUR amount to be paid to your or a friend’s EUR bank account? Will BA do this?

  14. I flew BA on Saturday from Schipol to Southend ( flight was diverted as my booked arrival airport London City closes on Saturday afternoons) Flight was 3 hours late , i understand that it was due to fog. No official reason was given and it was foggy in Amsterdam . Will i succeed with a claim ?

    • No harm trying although fog is an allowed exclusion.

      • Thanks Rob.

        Off Topic : It was me that tweeted the pic from outside The IC Amstel. I will be aiming to stay there again with reward nights , with the family (2 adults 2 children) Have you ever managed to use a reward night to stay there with the family ?

  15. Last summer I was on a flight from Gatwick to Mykonos which arrived four hours and forty minutes late after leaving two hours late and then making an emergency unscheduled landing in Milan as one of the crew took ill. Easyjet wouldn’t refund me under EU law saying this was out of their control. Does anyone know if I could challenge this?

  16. Chris Cannon says:

    Just been delayed 34 hours LAS- LHR on BA. Is compensation still due if we were traveling on reward flights?

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