Insurance association wades into British Airways row

Airline accused of deliberately making claims difficult as airline’s compensation bill heads towards £87 million

Insurance association wades into British Airways row

Insurance News

By Allie Sanchez

The tab for the British Airways computer meltdown is mounting and is approaching 100 million euros, according to analyst estimates - and the flag carrier is trying to contain costs.

Reports have surfaced that the airline is directing its customers to their travel insurers to file for claims for the expenses they incurred while stranded during the circus that originated from a purported glitch in the BA system.

The Financial Times reports that prompts claimants to “make a claim with (the) travel insurer in the first instance.” BA reportedly only assumes expenses if no other alternatives are available to the 75,000 passengers that were affected by the outage.

In response, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) filed a complaint against the airline, saying that BA was not providing proper and accurate claims information and that it is complicating the whole process for passengers.

The organisation told the Times, “Any cover under travel insurance will kick in only if compensation is not available from any other source.”

“People affected by the disruption should be able to claim compensation and refunds for any expenses as simply as possible, not be passed from pillar to post,” it added. “EU flight compensation regulations set out that airline operators should provide compensation to passengers that suffer long delays or cancellations.”

EU stipulations require airlines to provide up to 600 euros per passenger to compensate for meals, accommodations and other expenses related to flight delays or irregularities and make up for the inconvenience caused by such events.

The organisation also asked BA to change the wording on its claims website to reflect that it will assume accountability for the expenses incurred during the system malfunction.

In response, BA said: “We will fully honour our obligations and would encourage customers to submit their expense claims to us, and we will investigate on a case-by-case basis. We have put additional resource into our call centres, and online customer relations teams to resolve these claims as quickly as possible.”

The firm also said that it will reimburse for any “reasonable expenses” incurred during the flight delays.

“BA are making it as difficult as they possibly can so that fewer people will claim,” Helen Dewdney, author of the Complaining Cow consumer website and blog, told the Times. “It looks like they’re trying to get back every penny they possibly can.”

The total compensation bill the airline is facing could be as high as €100 million, analysts estimate.

Related stories:
Government reaches out to insurers over gadget ban on UK flights
Ryanair moves into insurance

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