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EU 261 compensation

Liverpool, United...
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EU 261 compensation

Your flight is delayed till the following day because of a mechanical problem. You find there is a flight with another airline the same evening so you book it, arriving home six hours late. You apply for reimbursement and compensation and are refused.

When I read a tale like this I always think what I would have done at the time, and what I would do now, and in this instance I'm really not sure. But this is a real life case in the Troubleshooter column in The Times today. Behind a paywall, I think, so here's the response (in part).

<<< Some airlines will agree to pay for you to travel on an alternative airline if you are delayed, but there is no guarantee. They should either arrange to take you home, or refund the flight you missed in full. British Airways has admitted as much and has now reimbursed Ian and paid compensation. A spokeswoman for BA says: “We have apologised to Mr Ganney for the delay to his flight and the genuine error with issuing EU compensation.” >>>

Note that there is no mention of "a gesture of goodwill". BA acknowledges a "genuine error", at least with regard to EU compensation. So I would read this as saying that if your airline cannot get you home within the three hours for a reason not outside their control, you are entitled to compensation irrespective of what you actually end up doing. But you are not necessarily entitled to reimbursement of any alternative travel costs (though you might well quote this as a precedent if BA were to refuse you).

Is that right?

5 replies to this topic
Liverpool, UK
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1. Re: EU 261 compensation

My understanding is that if you make your own alternative flight arrangements then you lose your rights under EU 261

Leeds, United...
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for Leeds, Bradford
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2. Re: EU 261 compensation

"if you make your own alternative flight arrangements then you lose your rights under EU 261"

---

But you'd be able to claim a refund on your original tickets wouldn't you?

Liverpool, UK
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3. Re: EU 261 compensation

But you'd be able to claim a refund on your original tickets wouldn't you? - Yes but you lose out on duty of care and any compo, at least that's my understanding.

Happy to be corrected if I'm wrong

Edinburgh, United...
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4. Re: EU 261 compensation

"My understanding is that if you make your own alternative flight arrangements then you lose your rights under EU 261"

Aside from some very specific circumstances, that isn't correct.

Edited: 20 January 2018, 15:01
Edinburgh, United...
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5. Re: EU 261 compensation

from Citizens Advice site

"If your flight’s delayed for 5 hours or more

You don’t have to take the flight if it’s delayed for 5 hours or more. It doesn’t matter whose responsibility the delay is.

If you don’t take the flight

The airline legally has to give you all of the following:

a full refund for the flight

a full refund for other flights from the airline that you won’t use in the same booking, eg an onward or return flight

if you’re part-way through a journey, a flight back to the airport you originally departed from

food and drink

access to phone calls and emails

accommodation if you’re delayed overnight, as well as journeys between the airport and the hotel

Talk to someone from the airline as soon as you decide you don’t want to take the flight."

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