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How I claimed my €250 EU261 compensation from British Airways

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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.

Claiming compensation

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.

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 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


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 (110)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • OttoMH says:

    Good article Raffles,

    I am surprised how few people know about EU261! Also, airlines are appalling at informing of your rights. When affected I always make a point to ask them loudly 🙂

    That being said, BA have been good to pay when it is due. In the last 12 months I have had €1000 from BA (4 x 250) €250 from BE and €250 from SN (total PITA to get.)

  • Tom says:

    That is amazing speed. I managed to get the compensation out of easyJet once after they refused to cover my Edinburgh airport bus ticket cost (about £5) when they couldn’t fly for operational reasons. Despite me saving them a night in a hotel where they were putting passengers. Took months of back and forth but they did pay up in the end – the compensation, not the cost of the bus ticket:)

    If only BA would would be as quick as yiur experience here in fixing their IT. I cancelled an avios booking with 2x companion vouchers and only one returned to my account. Nobody at BA can see to figure out how to return the other’s been missing nearly 3 weeks and all I get are promises that someone will look into it. Meanwhile half term 2018 is only a few days away from booking..arg!

    • CV3V says:

      BA’s IT and customer service is a lottery. I had to cancel a 2-4-1 booking at weekend when I wanted to change it to open jaw. Was advised that there was no guarantee when my avios would go back into account, when the companion voucher would be returned, or what would happen to the reward seats I had cancelled (for part of flight) – I advised I would phone back again later. 2 mins later I called back, different customer advisor, and all was credited seconds after cancellation, with the seats I had cancelled also available for me to rebook (which was very fortunate as my back up options had required a night in LHR).

  • Charlie says:

    “Under EU law you can claim compensation for flights that are more than 3 hours delayed as long as the flight begins or ends in the EU:”

    You can claim for ANY delayed flight leaving the EU (and Norway, etc), and any flight arriving in the EU as long as they are an EU carrier (so no American or ME3 arrivals).

    Can also claim on EU based carriers on fifth freedom flights (like BA’s island hopping in the Caribbean).

    Good article to highlight the rights.

  • Nick says:

    Great article. Am I right in saying you can’t apply due to fog? I’m still waiting for any kind of reply due to the chaos on 30 Dec due to fog. Delayed over 3 hours which I get can’t be BA fault but the ensuing chaos of can I get on the earlier plane that hadn’t even left yet was denied plus lots of other misinformation. In club Europe we were shifted all over the place including our coats and bags as the flight was over booked. Then had one person give us one drink and then went back to economy leaving us with nothing…

    I’ve complained and received nothing so followed up last week to ask what’s happening and nothing. I assume ba have filtered it straight into the bin. Any suggestions anyone?

    • Genghis says:

      By the sounds of it you’re not entitled to EC261 compensation due to “extraordinary circumstance”. Nevertheless, BA have a contractual obligation to deliver CE service as advertised. Could we worth a letter before action?

      • Flyoff says:

        BA do appear to choose to not to reply to certain emails.We have had this with BoB being implemented on flights already purchased. I had correspondance on a cancelled flight on an evening flight when there was no fog but there had been earlier in the day. I got to Madrid in the fog in the morning but couldn’t get back with no fog until the next day. I have used flightstats to prove that in the evening very few planes were cancelled/ delayed. I assume BA were looking to position flights for the next day after disruption earlier I the day. I will be pursuing this.

      • Mr Bridge says:

        you should not write a letter before action, as this is pre action protocol for small claims.
        The courts expect (in every matter) that you try and resolve this issue yourself, going to court is the last resort.

        Your next step is alternative dispute resolution, and both BA and Easyjet are signed up to CEDR, there is an article on HFP and money saving expert about this

        • the real harry1 says:

          Do you reckon CEDR could be used to mediate missing F&B with no compo? Can’t see HFP on CEDR so a link back would be appreciated…thx

  • Sam Wardil says:

    Do they know you are a journalist? They ignored my claim for a 5 hour delay going to schiphol in September then denied it. I am claiming using the new ADR scheme CEDR

  • Jono says:

    You did well with the exchange rate! My 250E was only worth £175 in November 2015.

    • Genghis says:

      One advantage of Brexit? Another being that my work expenses suggested limits are denominated in EUR so I can now get more GBP with my limited UK travel.

      • Ro says:

        More than undone by how much more expensive travel has become once at your destination 🙁

  • Mike says:

    We claimed and received €600 each last summer from BA fro CPH to SFO . Inbound from CPH delayed, missed flight to SFO, rerouted via LAX arrived 8 hours later than originally scheduled.
    Claimed via a link on and BA paid out five weeks later. Given we had gone CW from CPH for £750 + 30000 avios each return (special fare promo and triple value promo on part pay with Avios) I felt the compensation was more than reasonable.

  • Gary Arnold says:

    You have to perceive with the airlines! I recently got Flybe to payout but had to prove it was their fault, long story but flight radar stats were very useful evidence! Anyway they offered my €250 cash or €350 in flights valid for 18 months, I took the latter.. all from a £70 return flight!!

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