British Airways experienced a huge IT meltdown over the weekend that crippled operations at London Heathrow and Gatwick. If you were impacted, what kind of compensation can you expect?
First, let’s start with basic amenities. Under EU law (which the UK still must abide by, despite the Brexit vote, for now…) British Airways must compensate you for:
- Overnight accommodation
- Transport between the airport and your accommodation
- Two telephone calls or emails
British Airways has set compensation levels at the following amounts:
- £200 for a hotel room (couples are expected to share a room)
- £50 for transport between the airport and your accommodation
- £25 per day for food/drink
You must pre-pay then claim it back from British Airways. It could take months to receive your money back. Keep receipts.
You’ll submit your claim through this page on the British Airways website.
British Airways says-
We won’t refund any unreasonable expenses
but since it has specified an upper limit above for expense compensation, you’re safe abiding by these numbers.
What about EU Delay Compensation?
Key question: will British Airways claim the IT meltdown constituted an “extraordinary circumstance” and therefore falls outside of the mandatory compensation scheme?
An “extraordinary circumstance” is an event outside the airlines’ control, typically a strike or horrible weather. The consensus among industry experts (myself included) is that this glitch cannot reasonably be construed as an “extraordinary circumstance” especially since British Airways has dealt with similar IT issues in the past (though nothing on this scale). Then again, BA has claimed this IT glitch was a “power supply” issue. It would not surprise me to see BA blame energy providers as a means to deflect blame from itself. I don’t think it will work, though.
Under EU regulation 261/2004, you are eligible for the following delay compensation if you arrive into your final destination three or more hours late:
- 250 EUR – flights of up to 1,500km
- 400 EUR – flights between 1,500km and 3,500km
- 600 EUR – flights over 3,500km
Should British Airways find you an alternate route to your final destination so that you arrive between 2-4 hours late (based on distance), your compensation is halved:
- Two hours for flights of up to 1,500km
- Three hours for flights between 1,500km and 3,500km
- Four hours for flights over 3,500km
You can use a free online refundme tool to get a better idea of how much you are owed.
Use the same BA link above to claim compensation. You can also write BA:
British Airways Customer Relations
EU Compensation Claims
PO Box 1126
What a mess British Airways has made. Like aging roads and highways that are prone to break, the aging technical infrastructure that underlies many airline systems, including BA’s, can break unexpectedly and cause huge damage. British Airways is not going to be proactive in issuing refunds and compensation: you’ll have to do the legwork yourself and be patient. But follow the steps above and eventually you will be cut a payment from British Airways.