Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forums Other Flight changes and cancellations help BA refused compensation for a cancelled flight in July

BA refused compensation for a cancelled flight in July

Reply
  • Kirovivki

    On 11 July 2022 our fight ( BA0892) from Heathrow airport to Sofia at 8:10 in the morning was cancelled at around 1am via an email from British Airways. The link for rebooking was not working and I spend hours trying unsuccessfully. In the morning I called BA and I was told that they can not rebook us. I bought new tickets with a different company and flew on the next day to Sofia.
    I filed the compensation and reimbursement form in August before our BA flight back to London but I had no reply. I filled another form in October and I got a reply that they would pay the invoice for the new tickets purchased ( and they did pay them promptly ) but they would not pay compensation because :Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) were unable to handle the number of flights that were scheduled to operate. The cancellation was out of our control and caused unforeseen disruption to our schedule.” In addition : Article 5.3 of the EU Regulation 261/2004 and The Air Passenger Rights and Air Travel Organisers’ Licencing (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 states a carrier is not obliged to pay compensation if it can prove the delay or cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances, that couldn’t have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken. In Recital 14 and 15 of EU Regulation 261/2004, extraordinary circumstances include weather, strike and the impact of an air traffic management decision which gives rise to a long delay. This means you’re not entitled to compensation under the EU Regulation for your delayed/cancelled flight”
    However, none of the reasons cited does apply to our flight. Our flight was cancelled few hours before departure. I have read somewhere that the problems with Heathrow are not legitimate reason for not paying compensation but I am not sure how to argue my case. Please note that I have paid by American Express credit card and I have annual travel insurance with Barclays Bank. How can I dispute my case successfully?

    NorthernLass

    Do you know the actual reason for the cancellation if it’s none of the ones BA cited? BA has been wriggling out of paying compo all summer because of decisions taken by LHR to cap passenger numbers, so you may be out of luck. If you’re determined to pursue it though, send a final letter before action to their legal dept – lots of posts on here about this process and subsequent CEDR/MCOL action.

    Froggee

    I’m sorry but I don’t believe you can argue your case successfully. Heathrow were instructing airlines to cancel flights then as per below link and this was not within BA’s control.

    Depending on your policy wording with Barclays you might be entitled to something for delayed departure and/or losses such as prepaid accommodation but based upon everything I’ve read on this forum I don’t think you will get anything out of BA in terms of EC261 compensation. You actually did quite well getting them to pay for your replacement flights given that quite often they refuse this (unjustifiably).

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/jul/11/heathrow-apologises-cancellations-airport-queues-baggage

    Kirovivki

    Thank you very much for your replies. I do not know the actual reason for the cancellation. At the time I was told on the phone technical problems. In the emails now they wrote that : Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) were unable to handle the number of flights that were scheduled to operate. The cancellation was out of our control and caused unforeseen disruption to our schedule.
    But I wonder why HAL made this decision few hours before the flight and after we were already checked in.
    And if they refuse to pay for alternative flights how can we trust BA to fly with them? I often book my tickets in advance and I would not be able to pay for last minute flights if they cancel next time.
    I have sent them 2 emails now asking them to reconsider and informing them of my next step to CEDR but they said that they have review our case and we are not entitled to compensation. I somehow do not agree after what they have put us through.

    Kirovivki

    I’m sorry but I don’t believe you can argue your case successfully. Heathrow were instructing airlines to cancel flights then as per below link and this was not within BA’s control.

    Depending on your policy wording with Barclays you might be entitled to something for delayed departure and/or losses such as prepaid accommodation but based upon everything I’ve read on this forum I don’t think you will get anything out of BA in terms of EC261 compensation. You actually did quite well getting them to pay for your replacement flights given that quite often they refuse this (unjustifiably).

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/jul/11/heathrow-apologises-cancellations-airport-queues-baggage

    But if the fault is Heathrow airport why they have to make the decisions on flight cancellation at the last minute and not earlier? If BA is loosing flights and business they have to deal with Heathrow airport. I just do not understand why the passengers have to suffer and pay for Heathrow airport not hiring enough staff and poor management. I guess I do not understand the business deal between the airport and the companies at all but I believe that in this case only the passengers are the victims.

    Froggee

    The difficulty is BA love a bit of revisionist history and they will claim it was a last minute cancellation requested by Heathrow. You absolutely have my sympathy- BA cancelled my summer holiday flight at the airport. Ironically they paid compensation but would not rebook us (on flights – they offered an eight hour overnight bus journey and then maybe a flight to our end destination) and have refused to reimburse the cost I incurred rebooking which is considerably more than the compensation received.

    They are a grubby company so good luck in your claim but it will not be easy.

    Kirovivki

    Thank you very much for your replies. I do not know the actual reason for the cancellation. At the time I was told on the phone technical problems. In the emails now they wrote that : Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) were unable to handle the number of flights that were scheduled to operate. The cancellation was out of our control and caused unforeseen disruption to our schedule.
    But I wonder why HAL made this decision few hours before the flight and after we were already checked in.
    And if they refuse to pay for alternative flights how can we trust BA to fly with them? I often book my tickets in advance and I would not be able to pay for last minute flights if they cancel next time.
    I have sent them 2 emails now asking them to reconsider and informing them of my next step to CEDR but they said that they have review our case and we are not entitled to compensation. I somehow do not agree after what they have put us through.

    Thank you very much for your reply. I do not know the actual reason for the cancellation. At the time I was told on the phone technical problems. In the emails now they wrote that : Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) were unable to handle the number of flights that were scheduled to operate. The cancellation was out of our control and caused unforeseen disruption to our schedule.
    But I wonder why HAL made this decision few hours before the flight and after we were already checked in. And if it is Heathrow’s fault for cancelling flights they should be the one paying BA for the inconvenience and lost of business or they do not have any obligations towards the air companies. I really do not know and I am trying to make sense how we ended up being the victims of the mismanagement of Heathrow airport.
    And if they refuse to pay for alternative flights how can we trust BA to fly with them? I often book my tickets in advance and I would not be able to pay for last minute flights if they cancel next time.
    I have sent them 2 emails now asking them to reconsider and informing them of my next step to CEDR but they said that they have review our case and we are not entitled to compensation. I somehow do not agree after what they have put us through.

    Kirovivki

    The difficulty is BA love a bit of revisionist history and they will claim it was a last minute cancellation requested by Heathrow. You absolutely have my sympathy- BA cancelled my summer holiday flight at the airport. Ironically they paid compensation but would not rebook us (on flights – they offered an eight hour overnight bus journey and then maybe a flight to our end destination) and have refused to reimburse the cost I incurred rebooking which is considerably more than the compensation received.

    They are a grubby company so good luck in your claim but it will not be easy.

    You really made me feel lucky with your story!
    BA have certainly become a grubby and ruthless company!
    I have more faith in WIZZ air now …

    Froggee
    JDB

    @Kirovivki from what you say, BA has paid for your replacement flights which is a big win. If the cancellation was part of Heathrow ordered cancellations, BA correctly cites extraordinary circumstances to get out of paying compensation. The airport, air traffic control, weather aren’t responsible for paying; that statutory requirement lies solely with the airline. HAL instructed the cancellations because the airlines were insufficiently staffed to manage departures/arrivals, luggage etc. BA in particular was very happy to be instructed to cancel flights they didn’t have the capacity to handle.

    Lady London

    I’m sorry but I don’t believe you can argue your case successfully. Heathrow were instructing airlines to cancel flights then as per below link and this was not within BA’s control.

    Depending on your policy wording with Barclays you might be entitled to something for delayed departure and/or losses such as prepaid accommodation but based upon everything I’ve read on this forum I don’t think you will get anything out of BA in terms of EC261 compensation. You actually did quite well getting them to pay for your replacement flights given that quite often they refuse this (unjustifiably).

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/jul/11/heathrow-apologises-cancellations-airport-queues-baggage

    But if the fault is Heathrow airport why they have to make the decisions on flight cancellation at the last minute and not earlier? If BA is loosing flights and business they have to deal with Heathrow airport. I just do not understand why the passengers have to suffer and pay for Heathrow airport not hiring enough staff and poor management. I guess I do not understand the business deal between the airport and the companies at all but I believe that in this case only the passengers are the victims.

    This would be my position. I’ve said before that after, say, 2 weeks or so, any request by Heathrow Airport that airlines cut flights as a consequence of, has had time to allow airlines to replan their schedules. Thus giving airlines the opportunity to advise all passengers with flights booked more than 2 weeks ahead, that their flights are cancelled.

    And coincidentally, airlines giving notice of cancellation more than 2 weeks ahead, is the notice period required by the legislation, for airlines to be exempted from the compensation obligation of EU261/UK APR. So BA’s claiming “Heathrow made us do it” as an exemption, should only be workable for about 2 weeks after such an exceptional circumstance occurred.


    @JDB
    will know, but I can’t remember if Heathrow made statements or whatever led airlines to cancel flights, more than 2 weeks before 11th July. I think it was June but not sure when.

    And within 2 weeks of such an exceptional event occurring that airlines say made them cancel flights, yes IMV the fair thing would be the airlines would owe the lwgally mandated compensation for cancellation to passengers, and the airlines would have structures in place that let airlines claim back all compensation payments as well as duty of care claims the airlines would then have to pay to passengers, back from Heathrow. But I fear compensation would be weaselled out of, for those within the two week period.

    The onus is on the airlines to provide proof of exceptional circumstance. So why not ask them to state in writing what exact exceptional event are they relying on, also make them state a date it occurred. You are entitled to that. Their angle will be it was a continuous circumstance not an event.

    Personally I think BA in particular, from cases regularly on here when computer doesn’t spit the cancellation out to the passenger until 1am (British Summwer Time = 00:00 midnight GMT) ie passenger not told until 00:01 onthe day of his flight, is BA royally taking the pi55.

    IMV the airlines didn’t want to and couldn’t ramp up their own staff and organise to re-expand to cope with demand this summee anyway, Heathrow just gave them a smokescreen.

    I believe airlines were also unwilling to carry the extra overheads and take a full complement of extra staff through this winter. When a winter covid resurgence could leave them with those overheads and extremely low revenues. So they restricted supply partly as a result of their own staff hiring and training lags, partly due lack of airport capacity, but also as a deliberate decision. Making a revenue play as inelastic demand met still heavily reduced capacity. With the happy result of flight prices sky high.

    CEDR is too risky for this one. I think you’d have to MCOL it. But do you want to risk it? I would but I’m not sure enough of the dates involved. But morally I’m absolutely certain you are right.

    Lady London

    deleted

    Lady London

    deleted

    Not sure what happened.
    Added a longer post here, it delayed appearing slightly.
    It apppeared.
    Then I did my usual edit to correct typos. Submitted it.
    Poof! as soon as I submitted the edited post, the whole post has disappeared.

    Froggee

    yeah – I’ve found that editing posts is a disaster and frequently sees them bounced to moderation – particularly when they are longer ones. It should be released at some point!

    Kirovivki

    @Lady London : Thank you for your understanding and great input. What would I risk if I pursue the compensation route?
    I can ask again to provide explanation for the exceptional circumstances but I am not sure how it could be interpreted by the resolution team. As you mentioned, if there is a problem with Heathrow airport they should’ve planed their flights and not cancel them few hours before the flight.
    How should I present my claim that it does not fall in the exceptional circumstances rule since it was not a single , unexpected event but recurrent situation that could’ve been planned for.
    In your opinion should I try MCOL and how to approach it .
    Thank you for your help. It is not about the money but it is the way we are treated this days and my future flights with the company. I have few more tickets with them and now I completely lost confidence. I need to know what to expect and how to be prepare for it

    JDB

    @Lady London : Thank you for your understanding and great input. What would I risk if I pursue the compensation route?
    I can ask again to provide explanation for the exceptional circumstances but I am not sure how it could be interpreted by the resolution team. As you mentioned, if there is a problem with Heathrow airport they should’ve planed their flights and not cancel them few hours before the flight.
    How should I present my claim that it does not fall in the exceptional circumstances rule since it was not a single , unexpected event but recurrent situation that could’ve been planned for.
    In your opinion should I try MCOL and how to approach it .
    Thank you for your help. It is not about the money but it is the way we are treated this days and my future flights with the company. I have few more tickets with them and now I completely lost confidence. I need to know what to expect and how to be prepare for it

    The “recurrent” event/single event is a complete red herring. BA is claiming ‘extraordinary circumstances’ for your particular flight, so at this point your only option is to challenge that by writing to them again saying you are entitled to compensation as you don’t believe such circumstances existed (if that is correct) and for them to provide evidence and to respond within 14 days, failing which you will take the matter to MCOL or CEDR. You then need to decide which route to pursue or just to abandon. BA is supposed to provide evidence but as a practical matter, no airline does and CEDR or the court will accept a statement from BA that the cancellation was as a result of instructions by Heathrow.

    Lady London

    @JDB I think it’s time courts started wanting dated evidence of any communication or requirement that made an airline cancel a flight, and not just accepting the airline’s word for it, if what you are saying is cedr and courts are this lax.

    continuous is not the same as continual/recurrent btw. My worry is they will claim it’s continuous.

    The thing is, if there’s a general atc restriction and an airline gets told they can only operate slots today for 30 flights, but they’ve scheduled 40, then previous cases have allowed airline to choose which flights they cancel out of the 40. And a person has nothing that gives them compensation just because the airline chose their flight and not someone else’s to cancel, if compensation wouldn’t apply in that case anyway, because it was exceptional circs. I am assuming Heathrow passenger processing restrictions would count the same as atc restrictions.

    So yes you could go back to BA and demand the exact date of whatever made them cancel your flight, then push and ask what start and end date of that if they say it was confinuous conditions prevailing. [rather like a smokescreen ;-( ]. We know BA in particular took the p155 with passengers continually this summer, hiding behind this smokescreen they cooked up with Heathrow to protect nonperformance by both of them. But the devil is in nailing them for it.

    I would say both @JDB and @Froggee are upstanding pillars of the establishment in the UK. @JDB often comes across as solely representing them, but he often says if you’re going to challenge a practice the establishment [here BA and Heathrow] are getting away with, you have to pick a winnable case to do it with. @Froggee has said it’s not winnable in your case and I think he’s right.

    For flights cancelled at 1am on the day of the flight in late August or September though, when IIRC the CAA basically told the airlines they had 2 weeks to cancel flights ahead and to stop doing it on a rolling basis, in the CAA’s limp-wristed barely-there way, someone might have a case.

    Just for devilment I would absolutely demand copies of written dated evidence from BA of whatever made them decide to cancel your flight and copy with date of the internal instruction they gave to cancel. If what they produced was all dated more than two weeks previous, then you could take a run at it but they’re too smart to give you it I’d guess.

    In MCOL you risk just a tiny % fee based on amount of your claim and time and stress if you’re not used to legal stuff. But I would suggest that a July 11th flight is probably too early in this summer’s problems to be worth choosing as the case to pursue to finally get BA to stop taking the p155, ie stop BA’s practice of the automated system that finally establishes the flights running that day at 1.00am BST = midnight:01 the same day of the flight, being the earliest information the passenger gets, that his flight is cancelled.

    meta

    You can put BA to strict proof at MCOL and request exact document/letter/communication. However, it’s going to be a struggle and they might just muster something up on the day of hearing leaving you defenceless.

    Court does award costs to the other side as @JDB often reminds us. It’s rare, but this is one such case where this might occur. Therefore, you should really get some hard evidence before proceeding.

    I would actually try and get that information/evidence from Heathrow rather than BA. It might involve a lot of insisting though as Heathrow might not be willing to provide such data. Then if you get the right/good evidence you can go after BA.

    Froggee

    For what it’s worth, the reason I think it’s not winnable is the link to the Guardian article I posted dated Monday 11th July (the date of the flight in question) which leads off with “Heathrow airport cancelled more than 60 flights on Monday”. The article states that Heathrow asked airlines to cancel flights i.e. this was a last minute panic by Heathrow and it impacted multiple airlines.

    Now, fair enough, BA are incompetent but even if there was a technical issue with the OP’s flight then it would not be beyond the skillset of BA’s customer service team to include that in the Heathrow-forced cancellations.

    What would be excellent sport however would be for someone to sue Heathrow for consequential losses. I imagine that Heathrow have a get out clause but it would be a worthwhile endeavour to push the argument for someone with time and several hundred thousand pounds spare (in case of worst possible outcome).

    Obviously that isn’t me. It would likely be someone public spirited, legally gifted and plenty-prosperous. I wonder if @JDB might take this on pro boner?

    JDB

    @Froggee judging by the unfortunate typo in the last line, it was hard for you to type.

    I’m not sure what consequential losses Heathrow might be on the hook for; OP was paid for his rebooked flights. It’s also a bit a about t. Heathrow required the cancellations because the airlines did not have the capacity to handle / operate the flights. In the prior days, BA was cancelling flights after people had arrived and even checked in, so baggage was piling up creating chaos below stairs, pax airside who needed to be escorted out, dangerous overcrowding and aggressive unhappy passengers. LHR was unwilling to accept this. Obviously it suited BA as well to avoid EC261 compensation.

    Also, because of BA’s known hold luggage issues, people were taking much more through security than ever previously recorded creating bottlenecks. Some of the luggage problem was actually created by other airlines in other terminals not having enough handlers so luggage wasn’t loaded onto aircraft but just ferried over to T5 for BA to sort out and ship per interline arrangements!

    Froggee

    Indeed @JDB – it just becomes a game of he said, she said. As for the “typo”, I’ll send you a copy of the urban dictionary for your XXXmas.

    JDB

    Indeed @JDB – it just becomes a game of he said, she said. As for the “typo”, I’ll send you a copy of the urban dictionary for your XXXmas.

    That’s very generous, but I think you missed my reference to ‘hard’ indicating my comprehension of the ‘typo’.

    Froggee

    If you’re implying that I type with anything other than my front feet then you can hop on!

    JDB

    If you’re implying that I type with anything other than my front feet then you can hop on!

    Sorry, thought it was ‘dictation’. Off for a quick swim in the sea now followed by basil mojito and light late lunch so signing off now.

    rosstaylor

    You may be able to claim back costs caused as a result of a delayed or cancelled flight – for example, accommodation costs or food and drink while waiting at an airport. You could also be entitled to compensation for a delayed or cancelled flight under certain circumstances

  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.