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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.

  • Dan says:

    Anyone know how and if you can claim flight delays on Easyjet?

    I was flying from Luton to Madrid last summer and they shut down the airspace around Madrid airport because Obama was on leaving as part of his farewell tour.

    Had to be diverted to Valencia for refuelling before arriving in Madrid some few hours later. Not sure if that counts.

  • Patrick says:

    We had a flight booked with Avios from KUL-LHR, and paid about £200 for the single ticket each. Due to a faulty fuel filter, we sat on the ground for 3 hours. I used this website and we got back about £250 each for the delay. It did take a while for it to process, about 8 weeks I think. Since the money was more than the cost (excluding the avios points used), we didn’t mind the wait.
    The BA crew said nothing about claiming compensation, and I wasn’t even sure if a claim would be valid as we landed about 3 hours late. Glad I put it in. Always worth a try 🙂

  • steve says:

    ” as long as the flight begins or ends in the EU:”

    That’s incorrect, it should be a long as the flight begins in the EU and is operated by anyone, or it ends in the EU and is operated by an EU carrier.

    A delta flight landing in LHR wouldn’t count as its not an EU carrier.

  • Stuart 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:”

    That’s overly simplistic to the point of being wrong.

    The regulations apply to all flights departing the EU, the European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland. Litchtenstein). plus Switzerland; and to journeys on EU carriers to these parts of Europe.

    As an example, flying Delta (non EU carrier) JFK – LHR would not be covered under EC261 but your article implies that it would be.

  • Stuart says:

    Last month in Helsinki, flying to Singapore. 20 Hour delay owing to crew sickness, 30 minutes before boarding.
    Finnair refusing to pay under “Extraordinary Circumstances”.
    Is this considered extraordinary given that Helsinki is their base?

    • Stuart says:

      Smith & Collinsion-v-British Airways, Staines County Court (April 2015)

      District Judge Beck held that
      a) flight-crew sickness is inherent to the business of an airline therefore outside the ambit of the Article 5(3) Extraordinary Circumstances Defence and
      b) furthermore that even if it did fall within the ambit of Extraordinary Circumstances, the Defence could not be allowed to stand because British Airways had not proved that the ‘delay could not be avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken’.

      Stuart (but not the same one as above)

    • Rod says:

      no they should have spare crew nearby to minimize such a delay

  • JFSV says:

    I have sought compensation recently re a very similar experience. However, I did it over the phone and found it very easy. In fact, it was immediately arranged.

  • 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 anyway.

  • David says:

    “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.

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