Air passengers are today facing severe delays and cancellations as British Airways’ systems have been hit by an IT glitch. Nearly 100 flights have been cancelled to or from London Heathrow and Gatwick, with more than 200 other flights delayed.
British Airways has offered its passengers the opportunity to rebook to another day but air passenger rights organization, AirHelp, highlights that the airline has neglected to inform passengers of their entitlement to compensation.
Christian Nielsen, CPO at AirHelp, said:
“According to the European law EC 261, if a flight is delayed by more than three hours, cancelled, or in an instance of denied boarding – passengers are entitled to financial compensation of up to €600 – approximately $700 – if the cause of the disruption was in the airline’s control.
“Airlines must adhere to strict safety procedures which means ‘technical issues’ should be identified and prevented during routine checks and maintenance, so passengers severely affected by this IT glitch are clearly entitled to compensation. We urge affected passengers to gather proof of the delay, for example photos of the departure board or communications from the airline confirming the disruption, and to claim what they’re entitled to.”
Flight problems: Know your rights
In case of a delay of more than three hours or a cancelled flight, and in instances of denied boarding, air passengers may be entitled to financial compensation of up to $700 per person in certain circumstances. The departure airport or, in the case of arrivals, the carrier airline must be based within the EU. Furthermore, the reason for the disruption in flight operations must be caused by the airline. In April 2018, the European Court of Justice ruled that airlines must compensate their passengers for flight delays and cancellations caused by a strike by airline staff, applying to all previous airline strikes and new ones. Passengers have up to three years to claim financial compensation following a disrupted flight.
If air passengers are stranded at an airport for more than two hours, the airlines are also obligated to provide passengers with meals, free drinks, access to communication and even accommodation, if needed. However, airlines are exempt from the obligation to compensate air passengers in extraordinary circumstances, such as storms or medical emergencies.