EU261 claim on BA flight delay?

  • Hi Guest, welcome to the help forum. You can get fast answers to your customer service questions here. We have a dedicated team of advocates who are ready to help. Just go to the section that matches your question and ask us!
  • If you've posted a question or issue for our advocates to assist with, please be sure to check back frequently for responses and requests for clarification.
  • Did you know you can get email notifications when something new posts to your favorite forum? It's easy. Just click the "watch" link right next to the "post new thread" button at the top of your favorite forum. The rest is easy. Now you'll never miss another conversation.
  • Want to become an expert user? Drop by the How to use this forum section and all will be revealed. We'll show you how to make the most of your experience.
Dec 26, 2018
10
25
13
51
#1
Hello dear forum experts. Would appreciate thoughts on whether a flight delay experienced yesterday warrants compensation before I contact customer service (following Elliott rules of contact, of course). Brief details of the experience:
  • Was traveling on BA553 FCO>LHR, continuing on BA203 LHR>BOS with ~4 hr layover in LHR
  • Inbound flight to FCO developed mechanical issue, requiring fix that delayed takeoff from FCO by about 3 hrs total
  • At gate, agents kept us standing in crowded line to board for almost an hour before announcing the mechanical issue and that we should all be seated until further notice
  • After boarding, pilot announced that ground crew hadn't loaded bags because engines were on during mechanical fix. Had to wait another hour on board at gate
  • On board we were all crowded, hot and exhausted but offered nothing, not even water
  • Once in the air, the in-flight service on BA in economy is not free - and their in-flight/off-line credit card system (they take no cash) apparently does not work with many bank-issued credit cards. The plane was full of Americans (like me) with cards from BofA, Wells Fargo, etc and none of us could even purchase a soda. We pointed out that given the wait, the least they could do was let us have something. But no.
  • Landed in LHR shortly before BA203 started boarding. Was a very stressful sprint between gates/passport/security but I did make the flight and got home on time.
I thought that the delay on BA553 might automatically trigger EU261...? But am not familiar with details. Even so, I did get to my final destination on time, so technically my trip was not actually disrupted. I think the BA customer service in Rome and on board fell short of their usual standards, and I'd be happy with some miles as a goodwill gesture. But these things do happen when you travel a lot, so not sure even that is a justifiable request.

Would appreciate hearing opinions. Thanks!
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
19,717
18,384
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
it depends on exactly how long the delay was. What did or didn’t happen at the gate doesn’t matter - what does matter is the exact time of the delay.
From the reg:

article 6

Delay

1. When an operating air carrier reasonably expects a flight to be delayed beyond its scheduled time of departure:

(a) for two hours or more in the case of flights of 1500 kilometres or less; or

(b) for three hours or more in the case of all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 kilometres and of all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres; or

(c) for four hours or more in the case of all flights not falling under (a) or (b),

passengers shall be offered by the operating air carrier:

(i) the assistance specified in Article 9(1)(a) and 9(2); and

(ii) when the reasonably expected time of departure is at least the day after the time of departure previously announced, the assistance specified in Article 9(1)(b) and 9(1)(c); and

(iii) when the delay is at least five hours, the assistance specified in Article 8(1)(a).

2. In any event, the assistance shall be offered within the time limits set out above with respect to each distance bracket.



Article 7
 
Sep 19, 2015
5,154
7,174
113
49
#3
I do not think you are eligible for EU 261 as your route was FCO to BOS and you made it. You did not miss the flight to BOS. Just had less time at LHR.

What day was the travel?

The credit card issue is likely not going to warrant a customer service gesture— do you only have one card?

BA is buy on board in economy. The airlines do not give out free sodas to people for delays precisely because they have to pay Eu261 compensation— so no courtesies.

There was no time to fill a water bottle at all? Or buy a soda?
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Sep 19, 2015
5,154
7,174
113
49
#4
And it is the total flight ticket that dictates the compensation issue — since you were long haul FCO to BOS the delay is 4 hours.

If you flew on Friday I just checked and it is no compensation for that itinerary.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
19,717
18,384
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#5
This is a good reminder of why having a long layover is a good idea. With all that delay you actually made your connection. It would have been so much worse it you had a shorter connection.

As far as standing around the hate for an hour- were there no seats? Or was this the normal gaggle of people who want to be the first ones on even if they are in the last boarding group?

As Christina said, on BA you pay for extras and the airline isn’t required to give out water for delays. It would be impossible as the FAs works need to pull out the carts to serve water or risk a riot on board with people fighting over who got water and who didn’t. And they couldn’t pull out carts not knowing his long the delay was.

You had a disappointing experience on your first flight that sounds like it didn’t repeat on your longer flight to the US.
 
Jul 5, 2016
5
7
3
68
#6
Americans traveling abroad, especially to Europe need to have their bank provide a PIN number for their credit card so the card can be used. We use PIN numbers for debit, why not credit?
 
Likes: Patina
Dec 26, 2018
10
25
13
51
#7
Thanks for the opinions. To be honest, in 30-some years of travel I've never once asked an airline for some form of compensation, understanding that travel just doesn't always go smoothly and sometimes you have to deal with being transiently uncomfortable. Maybe because I read this forum daily and see some of the issues people bring up for compensation, I wondered... is this a legit customer service complaint? But I wanted to vet that idea here before wasting time crafting a letter that might sound ridiculous or greedy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Re: paying on board for food/drinks. That was a lesson learned. I carry three credit cards all tied to US banks. The FA explained they require an active connection for approval so were declined. The people who could purchase had European and/or airline-issued cards that worked with their off-line system. Yes, we could all have stocked up on supplies at the gate before boarding had we anticipated. Nevertheless, being forced to sit quietly on a 2.5 hr flight without a diet coke is not exactly a human rights violation. We survived.
 
Sep 19, 2015
5,154
7,174
113
49
#8
David B it is always good to ask.

I really dislike the BA buy on board and try not to fly them but there are times I have had to — inter UK flights and such -I knew the prices were higher on the plane so I bought water and coffee in the terminal so I never even tried with a US credit card. I think there are issues with the US having signature based credit cards versus PIN based which is the standard in Europe.

I think BA will give a cup of water but it is water from the tank and often aircraft tanks are not so clean so I avoid any non bottled water on planes.

I find the US airlines more generous in giving miles and and such as gestures — because they do not have to— the European since they have to pay EU261 are less so.

You have a very positive attitude towards travel — which helps a lot nowadays— there are some who would complain that a lack of Diet Coke is a human rights violation .:)

You could still write to BA — but if they give miles it would only be for their FF program and it may take ages to get a response because of all the problems recently — strikes and all.

You planned your trip well with the connection; it is stressful to have to dash to the next flight. Despite the ending I hope you had a wonderful time in Italy.
 
Sep 19, 2015
5,154
7,174
113
49
#9
Americans traveling abroad, especially to Europe need to have their bank provide a PIN number for their credit card so the card can be used. We use PIN numbers for debit, why not credit?
It has to be a PIN priority card to get it to work. I have PINs for some credit cards and they still do not work.

The US banks and merchants do not want to pay for the technology change — look how long it took to get the chip on the cards. I do think the chip and pin is more secure. Easier to forge a signature and so many places in the US do not even look.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
19,717
18,384
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#10
Thanks for the opinions. To be honest, in 30-some years of travel I've never once asked an airline for some form of compensation, understanding that travel just doesn't always go smoothly and sometimes you have to deal with being transiently uncomfortable. Maybe because I read this forum daily and see some of the issues people bring up for compensation, I wondered... is this a legit customer service complaint? But I wanted to vet that idea here before wasting time crafting a letter that might sound ridiculous or greedy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Re: paying on board for food/drinks. That was a lesson learned. I carry three credit cards all tied to US banks. The FA explained they require an active connection for approval so were declined. The people who could purchase had European and/or airline-issued cards that worked with their off-line system. Yes, we could all have stocked up on supplies at the gate before boarding had we anticipated. Nevertheless, being forced to sit quietly on a 2.5 hr flight without a diet coke is not exactly a human rights violation. We survived.
I commend you for asking first. Some of the requests we see are absolutely ridiculous and the posters get angry when we tell them the truth- it’s not compensable. You came and asked first (and you are taking the facts well).

That said- if you think you will fly BA again, it won’t hurt to ask for a small credit towards a future flight. Their customer service wasn’t the best and if you had known you needed a pin cc in advance you could have arranged it with your bank before got left.
 
Dec 26, 2018
10
25
13
51
#11
Years ago I had this inexplicable fascination with the reality show, "Airline," and watching how passengers experiencing travel disruptions would have absurd meltdowns - demanding actions from airline staff that just weren't humanly possible. Maybe that informs my perspective in part. Whatever the case... all of us who vaguely fall into the definition of road warriors know that storms happen, machines break down, and sometimes other unruly passengers make our experiences unpleasant. It's the reality of getting from point A to B.

That said, we also live in a world where airlines constantly entice us to earn their loyalty miles while simultaneously creating ever-shifting rules that can limit how we use them. So do we in turn point out every occasion where service fails to meet expectations and ask for additional miles above what we earn for flying? I think this was what I was really wondering yesterday - if this was an example of sub-par service warranting, say, an additional 10K miles in lieu of an EU261 claim (if that was even applicable - which I'm hearing is not). My gut told me that this might just sound like a whiny passenger with unrealistic expectations. I think the comments above agree that's likely how BA customer service would see it, and that's not really who I am anyway.
 
Mar 6, 2019
5
13
3
58
#12
FYI Christina - The major US credit cards no longer require a signature, although merchants can still ask for one.
 
Sep 19, 2015
5,154
7,174
113
49
#13
FYI Christina - The major US credit cards no longer require a signature, although merchants can still ask for one.
I have the merchant terminals asking at various charge levels just depending on the store — some $25 some $50 — had no idea the banks no longer require it.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
1,467
2,526
113
#14
I suggest asking for a little something......the credit card issue is not your problem but the airline’s.
 
Mar 29, 2016
88
101
33
59
#15
One issue with getting a PIN from your bank, is that when making a credit card (not a debit card) purchase using a PIN, it could be treated as a cash advance and charged interest from the time of the transaction. I know Chase does this.
 
Sep 19, 2015
5,154
7,174
113
49
#16
Years ago I had this inexplicable fascination with the reality show, "Airline," and watching how passengers experiencing travel disruptions would have absurd meltdowns - demanding actions from airline staff that just weren't humanly possible. Maybe that informs my perspective in part. Whatever the case... all of us who vaguely fall into the definition of road warriors know that storms happen, machines break down, and sometimes other unruly passengers make our experiences unpleasant. It's the reality of getting from point A to B.

That said, we also live in a world where airlines constantly entice us to earn their loyalty miles while simultaneously creating ever-shifting rules that can limit how we use them. So do we in turn point out every occasion where service fails to meet expectations and ask for additional miles above what we earn for flying? I think this was what I was really wondering yesterday - if this was an example of sub-par service warranting, say, an additional 10K miles in lieu of an EU261 claim (if that was even applicable - which I'm hearing is not). My gut told me that this might just sound like a whiny passenger with unrealistic expectations. I think the comments above agree that's likely how BA customer service would see it, and that's not really who I am anyway.
The truth is BA short haul is competing with Ryanair and EasyJet— so they brought the short haul down to that level and I swear they channel Ryanair with the customer service gestures— unless one is a high status customer or in business. But then again BA is the airline that charges business class passengers for a seat assignment.

I took a BA day trip from London to Scotland so it was expensive — no overnight stay — did not matter to them as I was an economy passenger and economy must pay. The return flight was delayed an hour but I was fascinated to see how many people actually did buy food and alcohol on the plane for a flight less than an hour and shops and restaurants would still be open on arrival — and cost less— and there was time to buy with the delay as there was a store near the gate — without alcohol though.

I do believe in complaining on what really matters — broken long haul seat for example.

I do agree that complaining about little things does make one look like a whiner and not wanting to be that person or be flagged as that person.
 
Likes: David B
Sep 19, 2015
5,154
7,174
113
49
#17
I suggest asking for a little something......the credit card issue is not your problem but the airline’s.
I think the credit card problem is the Us bank problem— the rest of Europe and many other countries are on PIN based systems. Train ticket machines, self serve gas stations —just examples of where the US PIN less cards cannot be used. A UK based airline is going to have a system that is in line with the current best practices in their country and regions— and current best practices is chip and PIN which the US does not follow.
 
Feb 3, 2019
118
199
43
66
#18
Back to the initial inquiry regarding BA and EU 261:

I found BA's online claim process to be incredibly simple, straightforward, and fast !

In the spring of 2018, mechanical issues on a BA flight from LHR led to a significant delay in my arrival time at my final destination. I submitted my EU 261 compensation claim via BA's website, providing details from my ticket. The system immediately confirmed my flight was eligible, and then asked for my bank details for deposit of the funds.

I received an email confirmation of my claim on May 1.
The funds were in my account on May 10.

To be clear, this was a non-stop originating in the EU, on an EU carrier, and the issues were entirely mechanical, so the EU 261 determination was quite straightforward. YMMV, etc. But I probably spent more time wondering if I might be eligible than it took to actually complete the proper form and get an answer from BA.

[I will note BA did a terrible job of informing passengers the flight might be eligible for 261 compensation. As in, I never once heard anyone mention it, nor did BA provide anything in writing. I only thought to check because I'd read about it on other sites that address it frequently. I also had to do some Googling to figure out how to submit a claim. I wonder how many other passengers missed out on nearly $360 because they weren't familiar with EU 261 or didn't know how to request compensation...]
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
19,717
18,384
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#19
Back to the initial inquiry regarding BA and EU 261:

I found BA's online claim process to be incredibly simple, straightforward, and fast !

In the spring of 2018, mechanical issues on a BA flight from LHR led to a significant delay in my arrival time at my final destination. I submitted my EU 261 compensation claim via BA's website, providing details from my ticket. The system immediately confirmed my flight was eligible, and then asked for my bank details for deposit of the funds.

I received an email confirmation of my claim on May 1.
The funds were in my account on May 10.

To be clear, this was a non-stop originating in the EU, on an EU carrier, and the issues were entirely mechanical, so the EU 261 determination was quite straightforward. YMMV, etc. But I probably spent more time wondering if I might be eligible than it took to actually complete the proper form and get an answer from BA.

[I will note BA did a terrible job of informing passengers the flight might be eligible for 261 compensation. As in, I never once heard anyone mention it, nor did BA provide anything in writing. I only thought to check because I'd read about it on other sites that address it frequently. I also had to do some Googling to figure out how to submit a claim. I wonder how many other passengers missed out on nearly $360 because they weren't familiar with EU 261 or didn't know how to request compensation...]
The difference between your trip and the OPs is the OP’s return to final destination was not late enough to qualify.
 
Aug 29, 2018
151
155
43
58
#20
It has to be a PIN priority card to get it to work. I have PINs for some credit cards and they still do not work.

The US banks and merchants do not want to pay for the technology change — look how long it took to get the chip on the cards. I do think the chip and pin is more secure. Easier to forge a signature and so many places in the US do not even look.
I have worked in computer security for ages.

It isn't the signature that makes the chip/pin more secure, it is that the system allows for instant transfer of funds, and thus the merchant does not need to keep a history with credit card numbers. This means there is no personal credit information to be stored and stolen.