Bugger All Airlines

September 14, 2014

in Delay/Cancellation Stories

British Airlines came highly recommended by friends so I bought a ticket round trip from New York to Madrid. All owned by the same corporation, the first leg of the flight was on American, my return will be on Iberia.

We boarded the AA flight at JFK an hour late, pushed back another hour late, taxied to the runway where the pilot informed us that there were mechanical problems and we would have to return to the gate. This happened three times. We spent 7 hours in a plane, on the ground, and went nowhere.

At 3 am we were released from the aluminum tube where 200 people fought their way through a line with one gate agent to be bused off to a hotel an hour out on Long Island. Three email complaints to BA later I have heard no reply, so today I called them. They insist that any refunds or compensation (which are owed under EU regulations) must be handled by American. Called American. They insist that because the ticket was purchased through BA that they must handle the complaint.

The delay in my arrival required me to change my return. No one – neither BA nor AA – could change the return trip without charging me $305. So after 2 hours on the phone I am not only not compensated, as I should have been, I have paid an additional $305 to BA so that Iberian Airlines can (presumably) return me to New York when the time comes.

It’s a Monty Python skit. There’s a reason people in the UK refer to it as Bugger All Airlines.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

James September 14, 2014 at 1:34 pm

If you can avoid it, never fly a US flagged carrier internationally. And when you purchase tickets, always look to see if it is a code share, and who operates the actual flight.

That said, it is ridiculous that they are pointing fingers to each other to refuse to pay compensation. If you booked on line, go to manage my booking, and enter the relevant details. They are outlined here: http://www.britishairways.com/en-us/information/l

Note that you are owed compensation of €600 — this flight is a type 3 flight, over 3500 km, and even though the carrier is not an EU flagged carrier, it is operating in Europe, so the European laws apply.

The EU Air Passenger rights page has more information, including methods of appealing should your efforts with British Air fail: http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/passe

As an American, it is embarrassing that we lack these basic rights as passengers.


Katie Hamilton September 16, 2014 at 10:32 am

This is an awful story but unfortunately a common one – I too have had my share of frustrating delays and it ultimately took me three years to receive my entitled compensation in accordance with EU Regulation 261.

My terrible experience with the airlines led me to set up a company called SkyClaim which aims at helping others in the same situation. I have also drafted a free guide which anyone can download from the website (www.skyclaim.com) with information on how to make your own claim for compensation.

I hope you find it useful!


Lucy October 26, 2015 at 1:32 pm

Why were you required to change your return? Because you wanted a 7 day holiday, but due to delay were only getting 6? Doesn't count. If you want to change your un-affected flight, you need to pay a change fee- simple.


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