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  • pbcold 351 posts

    Advice please – my flight from JFK stood on the stand for about an hour before we could get off the plane last week which meant I missed my connection to DUB and had to go 6 hours later. Is this reasoning valid from BA? Thank you.

    We’re sorry it was necessary to delay your flight to London Heathrow on 17 July and understand why you needed to get in contact about this. We take all reasonable measures to avoid delaying a flight and we’ll always consider if there are any alternative solutions available before we make a decision.

    Your claim’s been refused because BA0114 on 17 July was delayed because due to Air Traffic Control restriction, which caused the misconnection. London Heathrow is an extremely busy airport, which operates to 99.5% capacity. Even minimal disruption can result in significant disruption to our operation. When Air Traffic Control impose restrictions, delays and cancellations are inevitable.

    We take all reasonable measures to avoid disruption to a flight and we always consider if there are any other alternative solutions before we make a decision. The delay was out of our control and caused unforeseen disruption to our schedule.

    Thanks again for following this up with us and we apologise for the hassle caused to you due to this disruption. Please feel free to contact us if we can help you any further and we hope we have the chance to welcome you on board again soon.

    JDB 4,527 posts

    The reasoning provided by BA seems inconsistent with the information you have given. BA references a ‘delay’, yet from what you say, that delay only relates to disembarkation. If your flight from JFK landed on time, and was on stand within norms thereafter, the issue is not an ATC one. If there was nobody to meet the aircraft, that’s BA’s responsibility/issue and relatively common. If the jetty were defective, that would be a different issue. If this is correct, I would respond to BA, making it clear they appear to have made a mistake (and perhaps enclose something from FlightRadar or similar to show the flight landed on schedule) and saying you are giving them the opportunity to correct their error within the next 14 days rather than cause time and cost of going to MCOL/CEDR where the true facts of the case would inevitably prevail.

    pbcold 351 posts

    Thank you very much indeed for your reply. The flight was delayed but most of the time was made up during the flight – there was little material difference in our eventual time of landing. One of the crew spoke to me about my connection and told me that someone would meet the flight (I was not alone in needing to make the Dublin flight) but this did not happen – we were left to our own devices and then told that the next flight had closed.

    AJA 1,084 posts

    Was the Dublin connection on the same PNR as the JFK-LHR sector?

    If it was I would go for delay compensation on the arrival time in DUB. In addition to @JDB’s advice that a delay on stand at LHR is not an ATC issue I would also quote BA’s paragraph about “taking all reasonable measures” and state that abandoning you to your own devices at LHR is not “taking all reasonable measures” to get you to your destination in a timely manner. Especially if there were there other flights to Dublin that could have minimised the 6 hour delay at LHR.

    The paragraph looks identical to the answer given to another passenger a few days ago so is clearly a cut and paste. And is yet another example of BA blaming ATC to get out of its obligations.


    @JDB
    will probably respond that I’m wrong to suggest this approach of “all reasonable measures” but it is increasingly clear that BA is using ATC as an excuse that usually makes people back down.

    JDB 4,527 posts

    @AJA I wouldn’t dispute what you say re ‘reasonable measures’ in these circumstances, but actually they aren’t relevant here because if what the OP says is correct, BA has no ‘extraordinary circumstance’ vs ‘reasonable measures’ defence. If the aircraft was on stand but the doors weren’t opened/pax allowed off for an hour, it simply isn’t an ATC issue. BA is responsible for meeting its aircraft at LHR and operating the jetty. The only possible defence in that scenario would be a defective jetty issue. Unless that applied, the pax simply arrived in Dublin more than four hours later than scheduled.

    Lady London 2,114 posts

    When you’re an airline running with insufficient resources, not enough to cover the flights you’ve sold or at least not carrying enough contingency to cover the normally foreseeable issues, when even a slight delay departing can mean a service or subcontractor has to change its time to be there to meet the plane, and the airport has also put itself in the position of running on too tight a string… then this is what happens.

    This used to happen a lot on evening arrivals on the LCC I used, where staff numbers are thinner during the evening hours, and even a 30min later than expected landing could mean an overall delay of 1-2 hours on my journey from the plane. Because after a not very late landing there was a much longer delay while staff and resources were gathered to deal with the plane. Now it seems that’s happening throughout the day and not just with LCC’s.

    Your plane was doubtless scheduled to land much earlier than the time given to passengers – always the case returning Transatlantic – so in airport operations terms, it was definitely late leading to dislocation in schedules of other activities that were provided or contracted.

    It seeems BA and the airport, neither of which is sufficiently resourced,are doing everything they can to promote reasons inferring them being officially constrained. Whereas the true constraint is one they are responsible for. The fact is, neither of them has arranged sufficient resources for even this type of normally foreseeable mild contingency in their operations.

    I’d pursue BA for the full delay JFK to DUB assuming you were on one ticket, of £520 per seat, and I particularly enjoyed seeing @JDB’s wording above.

    If we hadn’t all worked out that ATC is now a routine lie (the cut and paste of fake apology and standard paragraphs isn’t new, they do that all the time) to cover for lateness and cancellation by BA which are due to irrops BA is responsible for, then the reports we’re now seeing that BA is now force scheduling changes to ultra long connection times at Heathrow onto passengers who have existing tickets with perfectly reasonable connection times, naturally still within the official Minimum Connection Time as set for each airport, should tell us that both BA and Heathrow (T5, at least) know they’re not performing.

    Good luck – please post how it goes.

    pbcold 351 posts

    Many thanks for the replies. I am encouraged to pursue this and will report back.

    AJA 1,084 posts

    @AJA I wouldn’t dispute what you say re ‘reasonable measures’ in these circumstances, but actually they aren’t relevant here because if what the OP says is correct, BA has no ‘extraordinary circumstance’ vs ‘reasonable measures’ defence. If the aircraft was on stand but the doors weren’t opened/pax allowed off for an hour, it simply isn’t an ATC issue. BA is responsible for meeting its aircraft at LHR and operating the jetty. The only possible defence in that scenario would be a defective jetty issue. Unless that applied, the pax simply arrived in Dublin more than four hours later than scheduled.


    @JDB
    BA does still have to take every reasonable measure to ensure the passenger reaches the ultimate destination in a timely manner if due to circumstances, either within BA’s control or even due to extraordinary circumstances, the passenger misses their original onward connection which is on the same PNR. It is not acceptable to force a 6 hour wait at LHR if there is an opportunity to re-route the passenger on an earlier flight than the one they automatically rebook a passenger onto. Plus abandoning the passenger at LHR to their own devices is a failure of the duty of care provisions of the regulations.

    pbcold 351 posts

    Thank you AJA, I have written again to BA and await their response.

    JDB 4,527 posts

    @AJA I wouldn’t dispute what you say re ‘reasonable measures’ in these circumstances, but actually they aren’t relevant here because if what the OP says is correct, BA has no ‘extraordinary circumstance’ vs ‘reasonable measures’ defence. If the aircraft was on stand but the doors weren’t opened/pax allowed off for an hour, it simply isn’t an ATC issue. BA is responsible for meeting its aircraft at LHR and operating the jetty. The only possible defence in that scenario would be a defective jetty issue. Unless that applied, the pax simply arrived in Dublin more than four hours later than scheduled.



    @JDB
    BA does still have to take every reasonable measure to ensure the passenger reaches the ultimate destination in a timely manner if due to circumstances, either within BA’s control or even due to extraordinary circumstances, the passenger misses their original onward connection which is on the same PNR. It is not acceptable to force a 6 hour wait at LHR if there is an opportunity to re-route the passenger on an earlier flight than the one they automatically rebook a passenger onto. Plus abandoning the passenger at LHR to their own devices is a failure of the duty of care provisions of the regulations.


    @AJA
    – morally you are correct, but there is no ‘duty of care’ provision within the EC261 regulations. Article 9 requires ‘right to care’ limited to very specific items and that wording/limitation is no accident of drafting. BA will have a general legal duty of care, but that doesn’t really apply or help here. There is also no ‘earliest opportunity’ provision for a missed connection [there is a CJEU case involving TAP in this regard, but wouldn’t be relevant here]. Of course BA should be doing these things and in an ideal world would, but like most airlines nowadays, they both fail to look after people properly and don’t deal with legitimate EC261 claims properly.

    This all matters because if one starts complaining about things for which BA isn’t strictly liable, it will likely delay your claim or even cause them to dig their heels. In this instance, the passenger arrived in Dublin more than four hours later than scheduled, there were no ‘extraordinary circumstances’ – the delay in disembarking/missed connection was BA’s responsibility so they owe €600, plus maybe some food while waiting if no lounge access. All the rest is fluff, will gain nothing more by way of compensation and obfuscates the core detail.

    JDB 4,527 posts

    @AJA – morally you are correct, but there is no ‘duty of care’ provision within the EC261 regulations. Article 9 requires ‘right to care’ limited to very specific items and that wording/limitation is no accident of drafting. BA will have a general legal duty of care, but that doesn’t really apply or help here. There is also no ‘earliest opportunity’ provision for a missed connection [there is a CJEU case involving TAP in this regard, but wouldn’t be relevant here]. Of course BA should be doing these things and in an ideal world would, but like most airlines nowadays, they both fail to look after people properly and don’t deal with legitimate EC261 claims properly.

    This all matters because if one starts complaining about things for which BA isn’t strictly liable, it will likely delay your claim or even cause them to dig their heels. In this instance, the passenger arrived in Dublin more than four hours later than scheduled, there were no ‘extraordinary circumstances’ – the delay in disembarking/missed connection was BA’s responsibility so they owe €600, plus maybe some food while waiting if no lounge access. All the rest is fluff, will gain nothing more by way of compensation and obfuscates the core detail.

    pbcold 351 posts

    I have now received a second response from BA which makes the same point essentially. Should I now be taking this further? I am most grateful for the responses from those far more experienced than I am in these matters. Thank you.

    I’ve had another look at your claim for compensation and I’ve taken time to make sure our response is accurate and up-to-date. Based on this, our decision hasn’t changed and the response you’ve received about the eligibility of your compensation claim are correct.

    Your flight departed early however it was delayed while landing into London Heathrow due to Air Traffic Control restriction. It means you’re not eligible for compensation.

    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.

    JDB 4,527 posts

    @pbcold -I’m quite confused by BA’s response vs the information you have given us. You said you were on flight BA114 on 17 July – I’m not sure whether the date you referenced was the arrival day or departure day, but in either case the flight landed early according to FlightRadar so I can’t understand BA’s claim of ATC delays on arrival (which may anyway have been routine ATC delays). You said that the key part of the delay was that you had to wait one hour after arriving on stand before being allowed to disembark. I’m surprised that BA has responded as they have if you have put the same facts to them as you have posted here. The part you have pasted doesn’t say it’s their final decision but it may be. Whether it’s worth pursuing depends on the facts over which there appears to be some confusion.

    Lady London 2,114 posts

    What BA is saying doesn’t make sense. This looks like a carefully crafted general excuse they’re trying on everything. Especially as BA must know they are potentially liable for claims of £520 for end to end longhaul journeys even for shorthaul flight cancellations if someone had a longer end to end journey, as well as for end to end lateness due to your type of cause, what I think we’re seeing is an enormous push by BA to deny every claim possible and keep denying it.

    I absolutely would pursue this at CEDR or MCOL now – my slight favourite being MCOL despite the fee – as JDB has said until one of those makes them provide the exact details of the ATC delay they’re claiming, BA won’t provide you, their passenger, with the specifics they’re relying on.

    I have no idea why BA won’t provide specifics to their passenger when asked. As if BA is confident in their reasons exempting them from compensation, surely they would want to save themselves, their passenger and CEDR or the Court all the trouble of the passenger having to take formal action to get this information.

    I therefore conclude BA’s refusal to provide details is either a policy intended to intimidate the passenger to dissuade them from claiming, or BA is deliberately handing the handling of claims to a group with a low level of competence to handle them. Neither of which gives me confidence in their refusal even if they have repeated it.

    In either case I’d pursue it just because whatever the cause of their refusal to provide substantive detail it’s not acceptable and it feels as bad as not making efforts to settle before court which is definitely frowned on.

    JDB 4,527 posts

    @Lady London – the reason BA doesn’t provide the proof is that it doesn’t exist in a simple form. There isn’t any third party documentation or evidence that shows x flight was delayed by y minutes owing to ATC restrictions. There will be various pieces of evidence that an adjudicator or judge will use to decide whether, on the balance of probabilities, ‘extraordinary circumstances’ applied. It will often be a subjective decision such that two people could reach different answers.

    When BA still showed reason codes on ExpertFlyer it led to all sorts of claims when people saw ZY or ZO – a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

    Matt 342 posts

    It is likely to be just low standard copy and paste from whoever at BA responds to these. Assuming your claim was short (2 or 3 sentences) and included the relevant detail (stuck on the plane after landing) then I would ask them to confirm their answer wouldn’t change, and then take them to CEDR. There is no point continuing to discuss it with BA at this point.

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