Passengers have told of continued delays in receiving compensation after a British Airways system outage caused travel chaos for tens of thousands.
Almost two weeks after more than 670 flights were cancelled due to a power failure over the spring bank holiday weekend, several customers said they had struggled to get in contact with the airline and still had no idea when they would receive a payout.
A lawyer, who gave her name as Milly, said there were no BA representatives at Nice airport when she arrived for her return flight to Heathrow. The 34-year-old and her eight-month-old child were forced to embark on a 14-hour train journey back to London.
She said she was still waiting for a refund as well as compensation for train and hotel expenses, adding that she can “never get through” on the phone, and has only had correspondence via Twitter. Milly said: “I know that in the grand scheme of things, it’s nothing and there are much much worse things going on in the world, but that’s why people go on holiday isnt it? To escape all that. And you choose BA to have the security and easy travel.
“I just would have thought they would have more staff helping by now.” Terry Page, 28, from London, suffered delays at Heathrow and was left without his luggage for days after it failed to make the journey with him to Texas. He was forced to pay out for replacement clothes and toiletries, and emailed BA chief executive Alex Cruz directly after receiving an apology sent to affected passengers.
He said he received a response from an airline representative who “asked for full details and said she would handle the claim personally and very quickly”. But he revealed that “a week later, nothing’s happened” and he has “no idea” how much compensation he would receive. Jodie Reichelt, 36, of Bracknell, Berkshire, was frustrated at waiting “several days” for BA to send her a direct message after the May 27 disruption led her to cancel her family holiday.
The social care worker and mother-of-three said: “It’s insulting. The onus has totally been on the customer to resolve the matter.” She has received compensation for the cancelled flights to Montepellier, but was denied a payout to cover the cost of accommodation the family were unable to use. Under EU law, passengers can claim compensation from BA for cancelled or delayed flights, worth up to €600. They can also claim expenses for items such as hotels, meals and phone calls.
Alex Neill, managing director of home products and services at consumer group Which?, said: “BA’s failure to make it easy for people to receive the compensation that they are owed shows that their response to this crisis continues to be absolutely woeful. “They are in grave danger of letting down their customers again by failing to go beyond the legal requirements in reaction to flight cancellations and delays.
“BA should do the right thing and automatically issue statutory compensation to all eligible passengers.”
A BA spokesman said: “We have put additional resources into our customer relations teams and thousands of payments have already been made to customers who have put in claims. “Our aim is to authorise payment for all completed EU compensation claims within 14 days of receipt.
“We will fully honour our obligations and would encourage customers to submit their expense claims to us, and we will investigate on a case by case basis.” Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA owner International Airlines Group, said on Monday that the actions of an engineer who disconnected and then reconnected a power supply to the airline’s data centre in “an uncontrolled and uncommanded fashion” may be central to an investigation into the incident.