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Forums Frequent flyer programs British Airways Executive Club EU compensation refused “due to startup delay”

  • Arnerd 18 posts

    I have been told by BA that my claim for EU Compensation has been assessed and it has been refused “because your flight was delayed due to startup delay.” No more explanation than that. I don’t have any evidence or knowledge of what caused the delay other than the previous incomming aircraft was already arriving with 5+ hours of delay which obviously carried over in large part.

    I’ll probably leave it here as unlikely I can change their minds but does anyone know what is commonly referred to as startup delay? Is that, in and of itself, grounds for refusing compensation without more information on what caused such startup delay?

    Thank you!

    Richie 1,040 posts

    You should really have been given more of an explanation.

    Lady London 2,141 posts

    Hi Amerd

    A reflex denial is par for the course with BA. They hope you will go away easily.

    Please post more info – what flight route, date, what happened with timings so far as possible, what BA said on the day when, what exactly did you ask them for.

    We can then help you.

    JDB 4,648 posts

    @Arnerd – BA is very creative in its responses to EC261 claims. I would respond to the message sent saying that while they have denied your claim on the basis of a “startup delay” that does not, of itself, constitute the ‘extraordinary circumstances’ required to deny your claim. You therefore seek clarification and evidence of any purported ‘extraordinary circumstances’ failing which you will escalate the matter to CEDR. They may ultimately have a better excuse relating to the earlier flight or seek to attribute the startup delay to ATC instructions.

    Matt 352 posts

    If your flight was from London then the plane getting in 5 hours late is very unlikely to be exceptional circumstances. If it was from an outstation then it would depend on the cause of the delay. Either way, ask them if that is their final answer and if it is take them to CEDR. It will take a while, but you will at least get the full explanation (and probably some money).

    Arnerd 18 posts

    To wrap up this topic, just wanted to mention that I got back on touch with BA customer service on my case number and they re-affirmed (twice!) that they had looked at the case again and the cause was ATC and therefore no compensation due. More precisely “Air Traffic Control blocked the space required to take off the flight. This blocking is known as start up delay.” I actually do not remember hearing an explanation about the delay on the day of the flight but I may well not have been paying attention.

    The flight was from an outstation and the delay was a therefore a carry-over of the incoming flight so I can only imagine the alleged ATC restriction was leaving London, which in itself seems a little odd due to length of the delay (probably closer to 4 hours). But I am not really not inclined to take this to CEDR so I will leave it here. Thank you for the suggestion anyway.

    Ihar 191 posts

    I’d ask CEDR. I think what you are referring to is a “reactionary delay” (caused by an earlier action delayed). 5+ hour ATC delay….? Someone here can track your inbound and outbound flight, and have a good idea of the reason for the delay.

    It depends on the flight/route, but I don’t buy it. I’m not getting a “spidey sense” of extraordinary measure”.

    JD_traveller 20 posts

    If I am ever delayed by BA in the future I will take it to CEDR if they deny statutory compensation. I had a similar “weather” impact ATC delay (allegedly) from BA last year to Manchester, firstly a cancellation and then the rebooked flight delayed. This was contrary to what we were told on the ground and surprisingly it was only our flight that was impacted. We finally departed LHR at 0102 after 4 hour delay and landed in MAN 18 mins later. BA claimed ATC/Weather to CEDR, even sent them the logs for the day – but CEDR ruled:

    The company has not shown that the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken

    It is up to BA to prove that they are not responsible for the delay, and that they had taken every effort to get you there on time. A 5 hour delay doesn’t sound like they have, they have obviously prioritised other flights, which is a commercial decision, not an operational one.

    Lady London 2,141 posts

    Agreed. Same as @lhar I get a sense ATC may be being blamed for a length of delay they are far from the entire cause of.

    Of course there is also what @JDB has told us previously which is that airlines can get away with pointing to issues out of their control up to 3 flights earlier on the allocated aircraft (since BA only has about 800 ? aircraft no other aircraft can be rescheduled in these cases it seems 🙂 ) and apparently get this applied to a flight 3 rotations later to avoid compensation.

    I’d make them prove it too.

    Ihar 191 posts

    These are all voluntary “operational decisions” – short turn-arounds, no spare aircraft/crew, etc. Not that I agree with the all of the EU261 rules, but they should at least be implemented consistently. It’s already baked into the ticket price.

    I just don’t believe a 5 hour ATC delay, unless it’s coming from Tel Aviv or Odessa! 🙁

    Richie 1,040 posts

    Agreed. Same as @lhar I get a sense ATC may be being blamed for a length of delay they are far from the entire cause of.

    Of course there is also what @JDB has told us previously which is that airlines can get away with pointing to issues out of their control up to 3 flights earlier on the allocated aircraft (since BA only has about 800 ? aircraft no other aircraft can be rescheduled in these cases it seems 🙂 ) and apparently get this applied to a flight 3 rotations later to avoid compensation.

    I’d make them prove it too.


    @JDB
    Is Oyj v Timy Lassooy (Case C-22/11) still relevant?

    JDB 4,648 posts

    Agreed. Same as @lhar I get a sense ATC may be being blamed for a length of delay they are far from the entire cause of.

    Of course there is also what @JDB has told us previously which is that airlines can get away with pointing to issues out of their control up to 3 flights earlier on the allocated aircraft (since BA only has about 800 ? aircraft no other aircraft can be rescheduled in these cases it seems 🙂 ) and apparently get this applied to a flight 3 rotations later to avoid compensation.

    I’d make them prove it too.



    @JDB
    Is Oyj v Timy Lassooy (Case C-22/11) still relevant?

    I don’t think it’s relevant to this case and much of the ratio decidendi has been changed by the decision in WZ v Austrian Airlines (C826/19) which introduces the three rotations principle. It is a post Brexit decision. The decision you cite is odd in that at first sight it might conflict with Recital 15 although the case is about strikes rather than weather/ATC. The circumstances are also quite specific and quite unusual.

    Richie 1,040 posts

    Thanks @JDB.

    BA Flyer IHG Stayer 2,258 posts

    (since BA only has about 800 ? aircraft

    Whwre on earth did you get that figure from?

    The number in service is around 240. With just under half that short haul planes.

    See for example https://www.airfleets.net/flottecie/British%20Airways.htm

    It’s not generally possible for a short haul plane to operate a long haul route because of the distances involved and their passenger / luggage capacity.

    It’s also not possibe for a long haul plane to operate a short haul route as some airports aren’t capable of handling such short planes.

    Some airports require specially certified pilots to be able to operate into / out of.

    Pilots are type certified so a B787 pilot can’t just operate an A350 without being certified.

    Ditto cabin crew are also type certified

    You can’t just pull a plane off one route to substitute for another every single time there is a delay because there are consequences for doing that as well – delaying other passengers / crew then being out of place / crew hours/

    Ba will do that where it can but not always.

    It’s facile to say ‘BA has plenty of planes so they can just swap another one in’

    Colin MacKinnon 297 posts

    Facile or not – BA in the days of the Super Shuttle to Scotland used to have back up aircraft (often Tridents or BAC1-11s) so if even one extra passenger wanted to fly, they had the aircraft!

    And the meals for them too! Drinks, meals and a second round of drinks!!

    BA Flyer IHG Stayer 2,258 posts

    And when was that? The last trident left the fleet in 1980’s

    BA is a very different airline these days

    And doing that ona domestic route is hardly the same as on a long haul one.

    Richie 1,040 posts

    @Lady London is correct.
    BA is operationally poor by design at LHR, T5D should have been built by now so reasonable measures could easily be taken to avoid the risk of delays greater than 3 hours and cancellations. T3 operations would have ceased.
    BA also doesn’t have enough pilots for its longer sectors. It seems to want the passengers to be inconvenienced by its high risk taking.
    Planes – it has A319s that are too small, A321s that aren’t big enough for the fatter short haul sectors.
    B772s in multiple configurations that can’t be easily swapped around.
    B781-10s that are too premium heavy and can’t fly far enough when required to be swapped in.
    No A359s and A350-1000s that are too CS heavy with poor gallies.
    Operational constraints by design really aren’t the passengers problem, BA should sort themselves out.

    Ihar 191 posts

    I don’t think it’s relevant to this case and much of the ratio decidendi has been changed by the decision in WZ v Austrian Airlines (C826/19) which introduces the three rotations principle.

    That’s still for the airline to prove, and in the case above the delay was quite small and specific. A 5-hour delay on many routes would result in a cancellation. The flight log will have the detail!

    Lady London 2,141 posts

    (since BA only has about 800 ? aircraft

    Whwre on earth did you get that figure from?

    The number in service is around 240. With just under half that short haul planes.

    See for example https://www.airfleets.net/flottecie/British%20Airways.htm

    It’s not generally possible for a short haul plane to operate a long haul route because of the distances involved and their passenger / luggage capacity.

    It’s also not possibe for a long haul plane to operate a short haul route as some airports aren’t capable of handling such short planes.

    Some airports require specially certified pilots to be able to operate into / out of.

    Pilots are type certified so a B787 pilot can’t just operate an A350 without being certified.

    Ditto cabin crew are also type certified

    You can’t just pull a plane off one route to substitute for another every single time there is a delay because there are consequences for doing that as well – delaying other passengers / crew then being out of place / crew hours/

    Ba will do that where it can but not always.

    It’s facile to say ‘BA has plenty of planes so they can just swap another one in’

    You are quite correct @BAFIS. For some reason I was thinkng of Easyjet who had about 800 planes the last time I looked and who do a good job of dynamically rescheduling aircraft – it seems to be normal to operate that way for them.

    Ihar 191 posts

    Easyjet operate short-haul and comprise almost entirely of A320s. Completely different operating model. When half of your bricks are Lego in Europe and the other half are Duplo in Australia, not so easy…

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