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.
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 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.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 2022)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.