British Airways Flight Cancellations after IT failure fiasco. Can you claim?

What happened?

At the start of one of BA’s busiest periods their booking system crashed . This was allegedly due to a power surge.  The power came back on in an “uncontrolled way” causing their IT systems to be knocked out.  This affected thousands of passengers at Heathrow and Gatwick airports causing the airline to cancel all flights until 6pm and BA requested passengers not to come to the airport.

This was a catastrophic failure of their IT systems which shows the perilous state of the National Carrier. A major airline should stress test their systems for such eventualities and ensure they have contingent plans that kick in immediately such problems arrive.  This is both an IT issue and a management issue.

What are your rights?

British Airways will be legally liable to pay compensation to their passengers unless they can demonstrate that the loss was caused by extraordinary circumstance.  Technical problems are not extraordinary and as such passengers caught up in this failure will be able to claim compensation.

How much can I claim?

The EU261/2004 lays down the amount of compensation due but this depends on whether you were offered an alternative flight and whether that flight arrived or left earlier than your original flight. See the table below:

The ruling is an EU-wide regulation and is set in Euros but compensation will be paid in Sterling at the current rate of exchange.

No Alternative flight offered

Flight Distance / Compensation per passenger Euro

Up to 1,500km – Eur 250
1,500km to 3,500km – Eur 400
1,500km to 3,500km within 2 EU states – Eur 400
3,500km and above – Eur 600
Flight Distance / Period of Delay / Compensation per passenger Euro

Alternative Flight offered

Up to 1,500kms

  • Replacement, flight arrives more than 2 hours late = Eur 250
  • Replacement flight departs more than 1 hour earlier than planned flight = Eur 125

1,500kms – 3,500kms

  • Replacement flight arrives more than 3 hours late = Eur 400
  • Replacement flight arrives 2-3 hours later than planned flight = Eur 200
    Replacement flight departs more than 1 hour earlier than planned flight = Eur 200

3,500kms and above

  • Replacement flight arrives more than 4 hours late = Eur 600
  • Replacement flight arrives 2-4 hours later than planned flight = Eur 300
  • Replacement flight departs more than 1 hour earlier than planned flight = Eur 300

Different tariffs apply if notice is more than 7 days but less than 14

Can I claim for incidental expenses?

The short answer is yes but you will be required to show receipts for expenditure and this will usually be limited to what is deemed “Care and Assistance” claims which are allowed in addition to the main compensation above.

  • Food and drink after a fixed waiting time
  • Overnight accommodation if deemed necessary
  • Travel to and from the airport (taxis bus or train fares)

This duty of care is a strict obligation placed upon the airlines and they cannot claim extraordinary circumstances so they must pay these sums where a claim has been properly lodged with the relevant receipts. There are some qualifying conditions which are

  • two hours for flights of 1,500km or less;
  • three hours for all flights of between 1,500km and 3,500km;
  • four hours for longer flights than the above.

How do I submit a claim

First of all write to British Airways and be prepared to follow up on a frequent basis. It may be necessary to instigate legal proceedings but this will involve a cost. The alternative is to lodge a claim with we take the least amount in fees of all the professional claim companies. We also operate on a No Win No Fee basis so resorting to litigation will involve further expense on your behalf.

It takes only a couple of minutes to submit your details. Call us on 01342 889777 for immediate assistance.

We have all the data to assist in checking your claim and templates to speed up the process.

We deduct only 20% plus £25 per passenger administration fee

Once the claim is settled we will simply credit your bank account or send you a cheque, whichever you prefer.

Start your Claim