Thousands could be due BA flight compensation – here’s how to claim

British Airways has been forced to pay compesation for delayed flights (Picture: Getty)

Thousands of passengers could be entitled to flight compensation after the Supreme Court ruled that pilots calling in sick does not count as an ‘extraordinary circumstance’.

Supreme Court judges said the decision could potentially affect ‘tens of thousands’ of travellers who have had flights cancelled at short notice and failed to receive a refund or compensation.

The case was brought against British Airways by Kenneth and Linda Lipton, a couple from Kent whose flight was cancelled after the pilot got sick and no replacement was available.

BA argued the cancellation was due to an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ which was out of their control and could not be avoided- which means the airline is not required to pay compensation.

The Supreme Court rejected the airline’s appeal (Picture: Shutterstock)

The Liptons requested £220 compensation for the delay, but had their claim rejected by BA. However, a Court of Appeal overturned the verdict and ruled in the couple’s favour.

BA then took its case to the Supreme Court, who unanimously dismissed their appeal.

In their ruling, the Supreme Court said: ‘Although the sum at stake is small, the decision has the potential to affect tens of thousands of claims which are made annually under the applicable legislation.’

The crew member was an ‘inherent part of the airline’s operation’ even when not on duty, the court ruled.

It added: ‘The same is also true of the need for the captain and other cabin crew to ensure that they are properly rested during stopovers.

‘They have numerous obligations both to their employers and to the public during those periods.’

The Supreme Court said that crew sickness ‘cannot be categorised as extraordinary’, saying: ‘That phrase must be given its usual meaning, which denotes something out of the ordinary.

The landmark ruling means thousands of passengers could now make claims (Picture: Getty)

‘Staff illness is commonplace for any business. Just as the wear and tear of an aircraft’s physical components is considered an inherent part of an air carrier’s activity, so too is managing illness of staff.

‘An event can be external to a carrier but still inherent to its operations. It is irrelevant whether staff fall ill whilst they are off-duty; their attendance or non-attendance for work is an inherent part of the carrier’s operating system.’

In a statement issued by law firm Irwin Mitchell following the ruling, Mr and Mrs Lipton said they ‘never wanted to be in this position’.

They described their win as ‘a victory for people who are prepared to fight for common sense and justice against corporate behemoths who have access to every resource’.

Due to the ruling, passengers who have had claims rejected in the UK at any point over the past six years can now reapply for compensation.

A spokesperson for BA said: ‘We are disappointed with this decision and respect the judgement of the court.’

BA says it respects the ruling (Picture: PA Wire)

How can I claim compensation?

British Airways compensation policy states that passengers can claim back additional expenses incurred due to the delay or cancellation of a flight, such as hotels, transport and meals.

In order to submit a claim, you will need:

The names of all passengers that you are claiming for.

Details of all the delayed or cancelled flights in your journey.

Details of your expenses.

Receipts and other documents in support of your claim

Bank account details to process the payment.

Compensation can be claimed if you’re delayed by more than three hours and the delay arises from causes within the company’s control- which now includes pilot sickness. The company will not pay out if the flight is delayed due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’ beyond their control.

You can also make a claim If the airline informs you of a cancellation less than 14 days before the planned departure and the airline fails to arrange an alternative route which departs no more than two hours after the scheduled time of departure.

To file a claim, you need to supply your name and contact details, the names of other passengers you’re claiming for and their contact details, your booking reference and details of the cancelled flight and submitting them via an online compensation claim form

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