British Airways has apologized to passengers for wrongly denying them compensation when flights were canceled at short notice and says it will contact affected customers to offer them money.
BA is currently canceling more than 100 daily domestic and European flights to and from its main base at London Heathrow due to staff shortages. Passengers who are already booked on the affected flights are usually informed several weeks in advance, but some cancellations are made at short notice.
In general, if a flight is canceled less than two weeks in advance, under European air passenger rights rules known as EC261, travelers are entitled to compensation – either £220 or £350 for short-haul flights, depending on whether the journey is shorter or more than 1,500km .
But passengers demanding compensation have come forward LatestPageNews to say their claims were denied by BA. The only reason a carrier will reject a claim is if it was due to “extraordinary circumstances”.
After British Airways canceled a Heathrow-Dublin flight on Monday, a passenger claiming compensation was told: “Your claim has been denied because flight BA0828 was canceled on May 9 due to the global pandemic caused by Covid-19.
“The Covid-19 pandemic is an external factor beyond the airline’s control and is an ‘extraordinary circumstance’. It is not part of the airline’s normal operations and could not have been foreseen.”
The airline went on to say: “The flight cancellation was caused by restrictions imposed as a result of a global pandemic.” There have been no travel restrictions between the UK and Ireland for the past two months.
This was announced by a spokesman for British Airways LatestPageNews: “After investigating this, we realized that we made a mistake in the initial categorization of some of our canceled flights.
“We are very sorry and we are contacting the affected customers to request compensation.”
Passengers on flights canceled by British Airways – or other airlines – with less than 14 days in advance are advised to apply for compensation online.