According to a query sent posted in the Guardian’s “Consumer Affairs with Anna Tims” section, it is believed that British Airways is outright denying its role in a flight delay.
The query indicates that the affected passenger had purchased tickets to Tokyo on Japanese Airlines for herself and her daughter in October 2017. Japanese Airlines collaborates with BA and Finnair to cover the distance. The Heathrow to Helsinki stretch is a BA route while Finnair covers Helsinki to Tokyo.
However, the passenger claimed that the BA flight had been delayed for over an hour due to two crew members arriving late. This is believed to have caused the passenger and her daughter to miss the connecting flight to Tokyo.
The pair were then rerouted via Beijing and landed in Tokyo a day later than originally planned. Apart from having their schedule ruined, the passengers were also forced to foot the costs of the first day’s stay in their Tokyo hotel.
When the passengers claimed compensation from BA, the carrier refused to pay up, citing that compensations were only applicable to delays that lasted 3 hours or more. However, the passenger stated that, though the delay did last only an hour, it still affected their overall schedule, forcing them to land at the final destination a day later.
When the passenger approached Japanese Airlines, it is believed that they were told to take the matter to BA.
Though BA is technically correct regarding the “3-hour rule”, the airline is forgetting another important clause. According to EU fight compensation rules, when a passenger purchases a through ticket and has the first leg of the journey delayed, the concerned airline must compensate, especially when the delay has caused the passenger to miss the connecting flight. In such scenarios, the duration of the initial delay becomes irrelevant.
Also, the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) makes it very clear that the carrier responsible for the delay must pay the compensation.
Though BA eventually paid up, it has failed to learn from its mistakes.
In a separate incident, involving another connecting flight to Tokyo, a passenger was denied compensation on the grounds that the delay lasted less than 3 hours. The airline even went on to claim that the compensation request was invalid due to the delay being caused by “operational issues beyond its control”.
When the passenger contested further, BA is said to have offered up another excuse. This time it claimed that the passenger was not traveling on a through ticket, which made the claim invalid. Eventually, with pressure from the right quarters, the airline coughed up the compensation.
Experts advise passengers affected by BA’s behavior to report the issue to the CEDR, which is the dispute resolution scheme the carrier subscribes to. Though this can take a long time, the chances of a claim being successful are much higher.