BA delays: Insurers clash with airline over expenses


BA disruptionImage copyright AFP

Insurers have clashed with British Airways over covering the cost of expenses incurred by passengers caught up in last weekend’s travel chaos.

The BA website suggests that customers should initially make a claim on their travel insurance for expenses such as meals during the delays.

But the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and a consumer rights expert say responsibility is with the airline.

BA said it would update the language, but its website has yet to change.

Saturday’s IT fiasco grounded hundreds of flights and disrupted the travel plans of tens of thousands of passengers around the world.

Passengers travelling in the EU are entitled to compensation, but insurers are angry with the airline for claims over non-flight expenses such as hotels, meals and phone calls.

BA’s website says: “You should make a claim with your travel insurer in the first instance. If you have expenses that either you were not successful in claiming or which are not covered by your policy, you may claim for only these expenses in the form below.”

However, the ABI contacted the airline earlier in the week pointing out that the initial claim should be to the airline, and only if that was unsuccessful would some policies pay out for these costs.

“No-one wants these passengers pushed from pillar to post,” said Malcolm Tarling, of the ABI.

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Media captionIAG boss Willie Walsh says BA did “everything possible” to get flying again after the IT fiasco

This position has been backed by consumer rights campaigner Helen Dewdney.

“Looking at the claim for expenses online, once you start the online process, it suggests that you should claim from your travel insurance first. For EU flights, this is in breach of EU law – the airline must pay for reasonable expenses, For all flights, BA even says this as part of its terms and conditions,” she said.

“It is the airline’s responsibility to inform people of their rights and it does not appear to me that BA has done nearly enough.”

In an interview on Thursday, Willie Walsh, the head of British Airways’ owner IAG, said: “Clearly we will do everything we can to make up [for] the disruption they suffered.”

The airline told the Financial Times: “We will fully honour our obligations and would encourage customers to submit their expense claims to us.”

View the original article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40131997

However, the advice had yet to be updated on the BA website by late on Friday morning.

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