FIRST THINGS FIRST Insurance companies correct BA over passenger claims

Posted on 06/05/2017 | About Canada

Insurance companies and law firms say BA has been telling customers that claims for expenses such as meals during the delays caused by the recent IT debacle should first be made to their travel insurance companies. That’s just wrong.

The airline has now been forced to change the wording on its site after the Association of British Insurers (ABI), stipulated that those affected should initially seek compensation from BA.

Coby Benson, flight delay legal manager at Bott & Co, said, "There is no duty to passengers to disclose details of an insurance policy or go to an insurer first. The regulation applies to the 'operating air carrier', it doesn't apply to code share airlines, travel agents or booking websites.

"The responsibility lies solely with BA so passengers shouldn't be directed elsewhere."

The ABI posted a message on its website stating, "If you have been affected by the recent British Airways computer systems failure you may be entitled to compensation for disruption and additional expenses," it said.

"In the first instance you should seek compensation from British Airways. This is because EU flight compensation regulations require airline operators to provide compensation to passengers that suffer long delays or cancellations in circumstances like this.

"If you have travel insurance you may be covered for some expenses (such as the cost of food while delayed at the airport), usually payable where you are unable to claim them back from another source, such as the air carrier. So, in the first instance, you should make any claim for these to BA."

After the story was covered by the BBC, BA updated the wording on its website, which now says:

"We will be working as hard as we can to process all payments to customers as quickly as we can and have added extra people to our Customer Relations department to achieve this.

"However due to the volume of customers involved it may take a little longer than normal to process all of the payments. We are sorry for this and would like to reassure you that we will continue to meet the claims as soon as we can.

"Thank you for your support and understanding and once again we offer our sincere apologies for the situation which happened."

The system meltdown grounded hundreds of flights and disrupted the travel plans of tens of thousands of passengers around the world for three days.

BA has denied there was a problem with its system claiming instead the problem was caused by 'interrupted' electrical power supply.