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With nearly 200,000 passengers having faced flight disruption due to British Airways (BA) IT failure, many people may be unaware of your legal rights. European legislation affords protection to passengers travelling within the EU.  In light of the disruption, we answer key questions about the BA delays below.

Must I be provided with food and accommodation for my BA delays?

If a passenger has been displaced by flight delays or cancellations, an instantaneous obligation is placed on BA to provide refreshments appropriate to the length of the delay.  If an overnight stay becomes necessary for a displaced passenger, BA must provide hotel accommodation. In addition, if transportation to a place of accommodation or alternative airport is deemed necessary, BA is also under a duty to cover the cost of transportation.  If an unaccompanied child or someone with reduced mobility is displaced, BA is required to consider the specialised needs of that person.

Am I entitled to a refund or alternative flight?

Yes. All passengers should be offered the choice of reimbursements of the cost of the original ticket or an alternative flight to their intended destination.

Am I entitled to compensation?

Compensation is dependent on the length of delay and the overall distance of your journey. Compensation can range from €250 to €600.

Can BA argue that the IT malfunction was an exceptional circumstance?

If BA can show that the cancellation or delay of your flight was caused by an “extraordinary circumstance” then no compensation will be payable. Extraordinary circumstances are considered to be those beyond the airline’s control such as severe weather conditions.

In this instance, the IT failure would not be considered as an extraordinary circumstance. Huzar v [2014] demonstrates that technical defects were not considered as sufficient in demonstrating extraordinary circumstances. So, in these circumstances, you would be entitled to claim compensation.

Can I claim for any further losses because of the delay or cancellation?

Unfortunately, EU legislation does not cover these losses. You could consider a further claim for consequential losses. If you believe that you have a claim for these types of losses please get in touch, as they will need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Can I claim if my flights were provided as part of a package holiday?

If the flight is part of a package holiday, you will still be able to claim compensation but only for your flights and not the total cost of your holiday.

Can I claim if my flights were not bought through BA directly?

Yes: to benefit from the regulations and the subsequent rights, you only need to have purchased a flight provided by BA. There is no requirement that you purchase your ticket directly through them.

Can I claim for replacement flights with another airline?

If you have had to pay for a replacement flight because BA was unable to reroute you, you may be eligible to make a claim to recover the additional cost. If you believe that this may be the case, please contact us, as it will need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

If you would like to discuss BA delays or delays on any other airline you have experienced, have any questions on any of the issued raised in this article, please contact Shan Parker in the Civil Litigation team at [email protected].