Pressure on BA after customer email mix up.

British Airways have been instructed to reimburse passengers who were mistakenly told in an email that their original journeys had been cancelled and that they should source alternative means of transport. The airline emailed passengers who were not affected in error telling them that their flights had been cancelled and “it is likely that you will not be able to travel.’’

A source from the Daily Mail further explained that the passengers were later angered even more after receiving another email saying that, their flights would proceed as planned. This however was too little too late as some passengers had already acted on the first email and had booked another flight.

The Civil Aviation Authority have expressed the fact that “Those affected should not be left out of pocket for any extra expenses such as accommodation, food and travel which incurred due to the error.’’ This is illustrated in the case of Alitalia Linee Aeree Italiane, S.p.A. v. Airline Tariff Publishing Company [1968] where the court rejected Alitalia’s negligence and gross negligence causes of action because all of the parties’ duties to each were set forth in their agreement, and ATPCO had no data input duties to the airline that were separate from those set forth in the agreement.

British Airways stated that they will reimburse passengers on a ‘‘case by case basis’’, many are not hopeful and fear that they will not be reimbursed. This incident could have ramifications for similar mistakes in the future.

The CAA added pressure on British Airways by saying that; ‘’Those consumers that took action should not be left out of pocket and any reasonable costs of re-booked flights should be claimed from the airline.’’

Guy Anker, deputy editor at consumer website Money Saving Expert said that ‘’What British Airways did was amateurish in the extreme. The CAA is absolutely correct that British Airways should return every single penny to anyone who unnecessarily booked alternative flights, transport and accommodation.’’

A spokesperson for British Airways said: “We are sorry for the frustration and inconvenience. As soon as we were issued with dates, we contacted airlines across the world to support with rebooking agreements. Our teams are providing customers whose flights have been cancelled with options.’


© 2019 Whitestone Chambers

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