BA keeps on finding excuses to avoid a flight delay payout | Money

My BA flight to Barcelona was delayed by over three hours due to damage to an aircraft door. Although I flew with my family, we were on two separate bookings.

BA first claimed we were not due compensation because the damage was “an extraordinary circumstance” and therefore exempt under EC rules.

After I pointed out such damage is not exempted, BA agreed I was due £220 because of the delay (I am an Executive Club member) but my wife and two children (who are not) have been denied.

When I queried this, customer relations claimed that the delay due to the damaged doors was 178 minutes, two minutes under the threshold for compensation, and the remaining delay was to do with the airport and counted as “extraordinary”.

It then told me that because of this not only were my wife and children not due compensation, my claim had been approved in error.

Is this the correct interpretation of EU legislation? JC, London

Some of the excuses employed by airlines to avoid the onerous liabilities when a flight is delayed are ingenious. This is a particularly imaginative example. BA did not respond to requests for a comment but promised it would be in touch with you. Which it was, soon after my contact, with a new explanation.

You were eligible for the promised payout, it decided, but a “routine check” to ensure “exceptional service” showed the transfer of £220 had not been correctly processed and might not have been received.

Then £220 came winging its way to you. Not to your family, however, so back to the press office.

Again, no comment, but a letter to your wife stating – guess what! – her claim was eligible but a problem with the system had prevented the payout. £660 was subsequently dispatched to compensate her and your two children.

One has to assume that other passengers without your tenacity will have been left out of pocket by BA’s deft sidestepping.

If you need help email Anna Tims at or write to Your Problems, The Observer, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Include an address and phone number. Submission subject to our terms and conditions

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