Bits: 10% off pre-ordered BA duty free, should BA use EU261 as a marketing gimmick?

News in brief:

Save 10% on pre-ordered British Airways duty free

You have been able to pre-order duty free items for delivery to your aircraft seat on long haul British Airways flights for some time.  Not that I know anyone who has ever done it!

To give you some encouragement, BA is offering a 10% discount on pre-ordered duty free items until 30th April.  You will also receive the usual 2 Avios per £1 spent on inflight duty free items.

Here are the rules:

You need to order via

Tobacco and clearance items are excluded

Offer not available for home delivery

You need to use promo code H01EXEC17 at checkout

What is not clear is whether you need to be flying by 30th April or whether that is the deadline for placing your pre-order.


Should BA use EU261 as a marketing gimmick?

Bear with me on this one 🙂  I’ve never had a marketing job and I haven’t read a marketing book since “The Long Tail” by Chris Anderson was published eight years ago.

We have discussed EU261 compensation – the compulsory EU legislated compensation for flight cancellations, delays or downgrades – extensively on Head for Points recently.   Here is Anika’s guide to claiming EU261 from British Airways for her own benefit after a delayed flight.

There is one tweak to EU261 rules.  Inbound flights operated by non-EU airlines do not qualify.  If your Thai Airways flight TO Bangkok from Heathrow is delayed by four hours, you get €600.  If your inbound flight is delayed by four hours, you get nothing.

British Airways is legally bound to pay you this money – so why don’t they make a virtue out of it?  Perhaps put a little logo in their ads reminding readers that flights on non-EU airlines don’t quality coming home.

There is, after all, very little to choose between long-haul economy carriers these days when you balance out seat width, pitch and service.  The chance of losing out on €600 compensation if your flight home is delayed may be enough to swing a few potential passengers, especially when their ticket is likely to cost less than €600 in the first place.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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  1. Some facts:
    – EU261 is strictly by OPERATING carrier. The company whose colours are on the piece of metal you’re sitting in. This means that KL MSP-AMS does count, but AA planes on BA tickets do not.
    – The time for compensation is the time the first door is opened on arrival. This does not have to be a passenger door, a cargo one counts. Take off, pushback, wheels up/down… all irrelevant. Modern aircraft (basically Airbuses and 787s) record this automatically, for older ones it’s entered manually in a system.
    – BA would never market this as a benefit even if they were allowed to as most people don’t bother claiming – their bill would simply go up!

    And a question…
    – Does right of care really not count if it’s someone else’s strike? True there’s no compensation but surely hotels are universal?

    • Carlos says:

      Hi. Sorry to ask, but I’m in the middle of a claim with BA. When you say that time for compensation is upon arrival, does that mean that if the flight TOOK OFF from origin more than 4 hrs late but somehow made up some of the time during flight and ended up being just this side of the EU261 window, I can claim nothing?

      My flight out of Mexico City was scheduled for 9:20pm, left after 1am in the morning. Awful per se, but we were travelling with my daughters (ages 3 and 1 at the time), so not just an annoyance. However, we landed in Heathrow about 2h50-ish late, literally a breath under 3 hours. Do I have a case for a claim?

      • the real harry1 says:


        • Michael Jennings says:

          It’s a swings and roundabouts thing, if you fly a lot. Two for me from last year:

          – Back from Bordeaux to Gatwick on a Sunday evening on Easyjet. Flight was delayed. I was stuck in the extremely spartan budget terminal at Bordeaux. No facilities at all, uncomfortable seating, and no air conditioning. I had to be at work the next day, and I just wanted to go home and go to bed. Flight was just under three hours late. No compensation.

          – Flying from Geneva from LCY on a Saturday morning reasonably early on BA. Flight was delayed over three hours. The late departure was announced at about midnight the previous evening, probably because the aircraft was stuck somewhere else and would have to fly in in the morning. I thus got to spend an extra two hours in bed, didn’t have any significant wait in the airport, got to Geneva in time for why I wanted to be in Geneva, and got paid 250 euros compensation.

          I think I’ve mentally filed the money as compensation for the first delay rather than the second.

        • Michael Jennings says:

          Actually the Easyjet flight was from Lyon rather than Bordeaux, which I inexplicably typed instead. (I’ll just correct myself before someone attacks me for defaming Bordeaux airport).

        • Aeronaut says:

          @Michael Jennings

          Well Bordeaux airport also has a spartan budget terminal (called Billi)!

      • Correct. Aircraft doors must open more than 3 hours after stated arrival time.

      • Only counts for final flight – of course with connecting flights this can work to your advantage sometimes. I had a flight back from Athens via LHR – only delayed by 2h but that was enough to miss last flight to EDI therefore put up in hotel overnight and compensation given arrived at final destination the following day. OTOH have also had massive delays where connection cut from hours to minutes but no compensation due as arrived at final destination on time, just missed out on lounge time en route!

    • You have ‘right of care’ in a strike – airline must provide hotel, food etc.

    • Stuart says:

      Nick said, “– The time for compensation is the time the first door is opened on arrival. This does not have to be a passenger door, a cargo one counts.”

      You’re going to have to provide a source for that wild claim as the Judgment of the Court (Ninth Chamber) disagree with you. [Arrival time is], “only when the passengers are permitted to leave the aircraft and the order is given to that effect to open the doors of the aircraft that the passengers may in principle resume their normal activities without being subject to those constraints.”

      How does opening a cargo door permit passengers to leave the aircraft?

  2. @mkcol says:

    I don’t pre-order duty free as I’ve been told (like special meals) it blocks the ability of their computer to do any operational upgrade, coz the order then won’t follow you to your new seat.

    No idea if that’s genuinely true or not, but I’m not willing to risk missing out on an op-upgrade.

    • Nate1309 says:

      Does it also then block a potential downgrade though? Thinking way round the 241 problem.

  3. Stuart says:

    Can Finnair claim “Extraordinary Circumstances” for a 20 hour delay at Helsinki for my flight to Singapore when one of the pilots was apparently taken ill. They refuse to pay but as this is their home airport, is this really extraordinary circumstances, shouldn’t they have a plan in place for such an event?

  4. am no apologist for ba( we have had plenty of run-ins over the years!) but given the amount of negative ba stuff that appears in the comments on hfp, thought I would mention this.

    have had cause to claim 261 compo on 2 occasions in the last year, once on atl – lhr, and once on lcy – flr..on both occasions full compo sitting in my bank account within a week, no discussion.

    • Impressive you even got an acknowledgement within a week, never mind payment! Maybe there’s hope I’ll hear something by next week….

      Did you do an online claim, a fax or over the phone?

      • My brother got €3,000 within a week (5 pax) and Anika got hers in 9 days.

      • Scottydogg says:

        My parents BA flight to Florida was delayed for about 8 hours , they tried to claim something back from them direct but had no joy after lots of phones calls etc . I said I would try and claim it back for them , I used the website ‘Resolver’ and BA paid up pretty quickly to be fair to them

  5. My wife has done pre order on cosmetics and it worked fine. Interesting comment above re upgrades though.

  6. as I’m in the middle of “discussions” with SK/LH

    my tips
    get names of people, what they say and at what time, get them to write any instructions/reasons they give you on the boarding card – easier said than done I’m aware – people less likely to write bull shite which may be shown as evidence

    flightradar24 is your friend – you can get data on a flight for upto a few days after for free – arrival/departure times,
    Flightstats can help too, may show if an aircraft has been swapped, if departure time was changed and at what time – not definitive, but may give you an idea if they’re playing silly buggers.

    take photos of departure boards – remember metrological conditions as an extraordinary circumstance is only applicable for your flight, not any previous flights/legs, so you can show aircraft were coming and going.

    get an airfield weather app like aeroweather lite (free version) and grab a screen shot

    in a previous EU261 claim from Easyjet, I also engaged with their social media team which provided a timeline – they paid up within 14 days of my claim being received, without arguement – it was a technical failure with part coming from LGW to EDI

    • Michael Jennings says:

      >remember metrological conditions as an extraordinary circumstance is
      >only applicable for your flight, not any previous flights/legs,

      So “Flight delayed due to late incoming arrival of the aircraft due to bad weather somewhere else” is not a valid reason for denying compensation. Interesting.

      >so you can show aircraft were coming and going.

      Bad weather can reduce the capacity of an airport without actually closing it, though. The fact that some aircraft are taking off and landing does not necessarily mean that the delay to yours is not due to local weather issues. (Of course, if yours is the only flight that is delayed, it might).

      • Andrew says:

        I have successfully claimed from BA in these circumstances. Icy weather requiring de-icing of all aircraft before departure. The aircraft I was on sat at the gate for 45 minutes after the scheduled departure time waiting for a de-icing truck, whereas other aircraft on the same route/city pair (EDI-LON) were de-iced and departed on schedule. The delay meant I missed a connecting flight at Heathrow and was 5 hours late to my destination. I argued that it wasn’t weather-related – rather that it was poor organisation by ground staff – and they paid up.

  7. I pre-ordered 2 bottles of gin for our return flight from Grenada as it was on a special. Worked a treat (no chance of an upgrade as we were in Club on 3 class LGW service)

  8. Looks like the onboard delivery option is restricted to selected flights – we are flying to Oakland and BA 2279 does not appear on their list.

  9. Sam Wardill says:

    To the original question, it would be great for customers if BA and other European airlines saw EU261 as giving them competitive advantage. It would be great if they changed their practices to reduce delays, involuntary downgrades and cancellations (that is, after all, the intent of the law). Instead airlines have decided to fight the regulation all the way. What a great society we live in! I just hope that the European Commission on Aviation holds steadfast. I’m pretty sure the UK government will cave into airline lobbying post Brexit.

  10. the real harry1 says:

    O/T time is running out for the Amex Holiday Extras 15% statement credit offer – ends 2 April I think. With that in mind I made 3 bookings this am, 3 success messages, M.S.E. discount 27% on DriveFly meet & greet @ Heathrow, plus T.C.B. tracked 3 times @ 10%. The elusive triple whammy 🙂

    [Gosh the Easter parking prices are already pretty high, I had to change a booking for my wife and it was about twice as much as a couple of months ago, luckily DF said I could change the dates on the old cheaper booking free of charge as it is a smaller number of days in total.]

  11. Dominic says:

    I used to pre-order Duty Free, and I don’t think it has any impact on changing cabins. Indeed, I think only the cabin crew even know about it – it is done through the DF company and not BA, and I don’t think it is even in a record. I stopped as the choice started to be unrewarding (there were some nice whiskies once upon a time).

  12. BruceN says:

    A very good short video about the history of airline classes for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet – definitely worth a watch

    • Genghis says:

      I’ve not seen this before. Excellent video

    • +1 Great stuff, esp the bit about First class V Business class. Was thinking that somewhere as desirable as the Maldives could maybe support First Class, but maybe it’s only just viable for cities & business destinations?

    • Nate1309 says:

      Thanks BruceN, really enjoyed watching that. Very interesting. Especially the $/sq ft difference between business and first.

    • Great video – ex-EU routings get a look-in and also very interesting to see the impact of Concorde. The revenue from C vs F at the end also certainly explains the trends we’re seeing!

  13. roberto says:

    Currently in Gibraltar’s lounge waiting to be bused to Malaga to pick up our diverted Heathrow flight. Its too windy apparantly si i guess i wont be able to claim.

    The bigget pain is I live in malaga and drove 90 mins to get the Gib-Lhr flight in the firat place.

    The second pain is that it looks like we are waiting here for the coaches to come from there to collect us and and take us back further extending the delay

    And thirdly I think the crew might go out of hours having left LHR at 12:30 GMT although i dont know the rules on that – can anybody advise how long they have…

    • roberto says:

      Too many beers to spell correctly i would seem.. opps

      • I had a similar problem last year – flying to Lanzarote it was too windy to land, got diverted to Fuerteventura then sat on the plane for 2 hours while RyanAir staff refused us so much as a free drink of water. We were then allowed to collect our bags, next put on a bus to the ferry terminal, then on the ferry over to Lanzarote. After that it was another bus ride to Lanzarote airport, our original destination.

        Total delay – 10 hours
        Amount of compensation entitled to – nada!

      • the real harry1 says:

        haha! if you live in Cornwall you sneer at 90 mins there & 90 mins back 🙂

        an extra few in the lounge does seem a good coping strategy

        • There’s a lovely exterior terrace at the Gibraltar lounge with great views over the runway to the Rock. Hope it wasn’t too windy to enjoy it!

        • roberto says:

          It is and it was.. there was also and easyjet and a monarch plane there since yesterday waiting for clearence to take off.. Spoke to the airpoet manager who said they ahould go tomorrow if things improve. Apparantly gusts of 100mph over the last 24 hours have blocked all flights in and out.

          Currently at Malaga seated on board waiting for a slot to materialize.

          Travel is fun.. Just not here today.. Ho hum

  14. Mike G says:

    What will happen to EU261 once we leave the EU? I’m guessing to goes on the bonfire?

    • the real harry1 says:

      of course not – it gets incorporated into UK law

      • the real harry1 says:

        as in – all EU laws become UK laws from now on – we reserve the right to change them as we see fit from now on

        • Although of course if we change them too much (in particular Data Protection) this has a major impact on our ability to trade with the EU…

    • Should be incorporated into UK law, but of course going forwards I’d imagine it’s one that the government will receive heavy lobbying on from the airlines and they may well pull back on. Also won’t be able to rely on European court cases any more and unlikely we’ll keep up with any changes that are made at that level either.