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Avios compensation – failure of disability assist

  • Jenniekg

    On a LHR to CPT – CW – disability assist failed to turn up despite many calls – just boarded before gate closed having been pushed by companion to the boarding gate – very stressful.
    On the return CPT to LHR – no disability assist at LHR until 90 minutes after the rest of the plane had disembarked.
    Complaint lodged – BA after 2 months have offered 10000 Avios by way of an apology – is this the going rate – it feels rather low given the extent of the problems.


    Way too low, however I’ve seen airlines recently arguing that disability assistance is the responsibility of airports so I’m not sure how much extra they would be prepared to offer? This must have been very distressing for you, thank goodness you made your flight.


    Personally, I think that 10,000 Avios is unacceptable – assuming 1p per Avios at redemption, that’s about £100. BA’s website argues – as NorthernLass mentions – that the responsibility for ground assistance is the airport operator’s. But I would suggest that you could argue to BA that, since the only route to tell the operator is via them in their role as airline, they are at least partially culpable for ensuring that the operator rocks up within a reasonable time!

    To dare is to do

    It’s the airports responsibility but the airlines pay for it. Ever since 2006 of top of my head the EU made it law that disability assistance had to be outsourced to a central hub. That’s why say first class passengers can’t have their own. I had a conversation with BA woman in CCL and she said they had repeatedly tried to get their own assistance team but never could. So that’s why it’s centralised and sometimes a complete PIA. There won’t be a single customer who uses assistance that won’t have a horror story me included.

    My opinion 10k is not enough, I got 5k points for not having my first choice of meal in club.
    Impress on them the point how stressed and uncomfortable you were at having to rush to the gate.


    I think it’s ridiculous that if your flight had been delayed by > 4 hours you’d be entitled to £520 of cold hard cash but 1.5 hours of what I imagine was increasing anxiety at being stranded gets you £80 off your Sainsbury bill as a goodwill gesture. I’d rather be delayed by 4 hours than stranded like that.

    LHR needs to be repeatedly sued for failing to meet their legal obligations to provide assistance. If I were you, apart from the monetary side of things I’d want BA to explain to you the pressure they are putting on LHR to ensure this stops happening.

    The CAA also advises complaining to the airport. Please do. If you are not satisfied with LHR’s response then take it to CEDR if you can face it. It is LHR’s responsibility and they need to apologise and sort this.

    Lady London

    An offer of 50,000 avios would at least show they’re awake.

    There is something in law about failure to adapt to a person’s disability. I think it’s in whatever statute won’t let buildings accessible to the public be built without ramp access (eg for wheelchairs).

    I think it’s time someone proceeded against the assistance provider, the airport and an airline together as joint defendants. Sueing them would give a more satisfying outcome. As suing them jointly, the judge must find which of them is liable to what extent. As there are no other possible defendants and someone must be liable. Unfortunately suing them will require work and some expense so difficult for many. But they’ve got it coming with the far worse stories you hear about treatment of disabled people at airports.

    I susoect this needs a major charity to take it (fund it) to court in the public interest. And for that they’d need to find an example of a far worse case. With a more quantifiable outcome than someone feeling stressed that turned out to have made their flight anyway (that’s how the 3 prospective defendants will currently be viewing it). Until then nothing’s going to change as the 3 defendants aren’t hurting enough.

    I would suggest arbitration, eg CEDR, but I doubt all ‘defendants’ are signed up to the same arbitration service.

    I think I’d write back to BA after a bit of googling as to what statute makes them provide assistance. As the other poster said, say you hold them fully responsible, As there is no other interface for you to have obtained the assistance you were legally entitled by statute to receive. Say their having equated their neglect of the statutory duty imposed on them to the same level of importance as someone whose TV won’t switch on in their seat on the aircraft (for which 10,000 avios seems to be the general rate offered).. is insulting and shows the airline doea not take their statutory responsibilities seriously [or whatever else occurs to you]. The key is to mention their poor organisation and the stress but focus on their flouting of the law as that”s a more important external fsctor.


    Thank you to everyone for their contributions. I will revert back to BA to enquire how the 10000 was arrived at – 5000 for each sector failure or ? This seems quite a derisory amount for 2 issues.
    I have taken 12 flights since the Cape Town in March with BA and the assist has not worked on any when departing and only on 1 Return at Heathrow, and 2 returns into Gatwick. Thanks to for the PM advice – do not leave the plane at any cost – wait on it as that will speed things up as the plane cannot be turned around for its next sector until clear.

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