Old May 17, 2011, 4:34 AM
ATMS ATMS is offline
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 1
Default Another story from December 2010 snow strom

Thank you very much for everyone in this forum. The suggestions here have been most useful. Here is our story.
We were traveling from Chicago to Bangalore, India, via London Heathrow on Dec 19th 2010. Our flight (BA1547, operated by American Airlines) left Chicago a few hours late as it was snowing in London. By the time we reached London on 20th Dec 2010, there were chaos at the Heathrow airport. There were hand-written signs everywhere saying that all the flights for the rest of the day were cancelled and everybody must go to baggage claim and collect their luggage. There were also employees from British Airways standing everywhere, telling the stranded passengers that nobody is allowed to go to the departure gates as there were no planes leaving. That started our nightmare for the next one week.

We were traveling with kids, were not prepared for the freezing weather outside, unfamiliar with London, did not get our luggage for the next four days, even then one suitcase went missing. The employees of BA were advising all the passengers to go out into the city and make their own arrangements for accommodation and save the receipts as BA would honor these and refund our claims. We were also given a letter to this effect. BA was giving coupons to a long line of passengers. But after seeing the workload these stressed-out employees were handling, we had decided to follow their advice and make our own arrangements. For the next 3 days no one was available at British Airways to make our travel arrangements, phone lines did not work. It had taken us one entire week before we could get a flight out of London to India.

We saved all the receipts and submitted them to BA for refund as advised. After more than 12 weeks, BA customer service representatives tell us that they can not honor our refund request, as when we landed in London, our onward flight was still at the departure gate and it had actually left a little while later. They tell us that it would be the responsibility of American Airlines’ for the delay in reaching London and BA is not responsible for it as BA still operated its ongoing flight.

The truth is, we could have reached London the day before and still would have missed our onward flight as BA had specifically told the passengers that all the flights for the day were cancelled and nobody was allowed to go into the departure area. The only way we could have caught our plane was by defying the notices, which we would never have done. We have submitted all our original receipts to BA and waited all these weeks patiently, and now BA tells us that it’ll be very difficult for them to open the flight logs and check our claim, we should instead approach American Airlines with our refund request.

We are certainly not holding BA responsible for the weather, which is beyond anyone’s control. But we ended up loosing a lot of money as we had to cancel and re-book all our connecting flights in India at a very short notice, incur a lot of unplanned expenditure in London to survive, take leaves without pay from our jobs to make up the time we lost at London. All of this is because of the mismanagement of information by British Airways at the London Airport.

It is beyond disappointing to see a big corporation like British Airways trying to manipulate a family’s genuine claim for refund which would only save them a couple of thousand dollars. If it is difficult for them to check their own logs, it’ll be impossible American Airlines to do anything for us as they do not have our original receipts and this would be the first time they’d be hearing from us.

We sincerely appreciate any help or suggestions in making BA listen to our case.

Thanks and regards,
Old May 17, 2011, 5:10 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

BA continues to fail to handle this situation properly and you are right to feel aggrieved. The CAA in the UK has now taken over from the Air Transport Users Council as the appropriate body to help you. Send them your detailed complaint... I wish you well. Here are the contact details...

Write to:

Civil Aviation Authority
Room K401
CAA House
45-59 Kingsway

Phone:*******020 7240 6061 (Advice line Mon to Thurs 9.30am to 2.30pm)
Fax:********** 020 7240 7071
Email: [email protected]

I think you will be successful, but it is shaming to have British Airways behave like Delta... They are a disgrace.

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